Lakers’ Playoff Disgrace a Reminder of Previous Sports Meltdowns

COMMENTARY | It’s no secret the issues the Lakers now have to face after falling 122-86 to the Mavericks in Game 4 of the Western Conference semi-finals, thus concluding the Mavericks’ improbable, and utterly dominant, sweep of the defending champions. According to the Washington Post, both Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom were ejected for cheap shots they put on the Mavericks. Odom’s was a cheap shot. Bynum’s was a “you ought to be kicked out of the league for pulling crap like that” cheap shot, exposing his elbow to the side of JJ Barea during an attempted lay-up. Here is a brief list of the top three sports tantrums:

3. Phillip Wellman, Mississippi Braves Manager; June 1, 2007

After a series of calls that Wellman considered less than stellar, he erupted on the umpires by throwing one of the best, meaning most ridiculous, tantrums of all time (seen here). Following the normal throw of the hat, and scream at the umpire, he went on to cover up home plate with dirt, uproot two bases and throw them across the field, then proceeded to “steal” the two bases that he uprooted and walked off the field with them in tow.

While the whole escapade is brimming with hilarity, it’s also utterly ridiculous that a grown man would act like that. He received a three-game suspension for the tirade, along with a place in sports meltdown history.

2. Canada v. Soviet Union, World Junior Hockey Championship; Jan. 5, 1987

This brawl (seen here) was brought on because Canada had a long history of physical intimidation against the Soviets. In this particular instance, the Soviets just had enough and fought back. Eventually, almost every player on the ice was in a fist fight with another player. The officials had no success at controlling the matter and more or less gave up. Then, in a move that resembles a parent or teacher attempting to control rambunctious children, they turned the lights out in the arena in an effort to stop the fighting. No dice. The fight continued on until the two sides just stopped it themselves. The game was immediately called and both teams were disqualified from the tournament.

1. Indiana Pacers v. Detroit Pistons, Nov. 19, 2004

Late in a regular season game, Ron Artest of the Pacers made a hard foul on Ben Wallace. It started relatively routine as far as brawls go, with Wallace screaming and being held back. Artest appeared to remain calm by lying on the scorer’s table, seeming to wait it out. Fans began throwing things at Artest. Eventually, he ran into the stands and began punching the spectators. Others joined in, with Artest aided by a few of his teammates. Fans came on to the court. Larry Brown, attempting to control the crowd, got on a microphone with no success, and the clash went on for close to five minutes.

In the end, the game was called, and Artest was suspended for the duration of the season (73 games). (See it here)