Nothing spices up athletic competition like a good fight. Whether you’re a fan of hockey (a sport practically built on fighting), football, basketball, baseball or soccer, the sudden outbreak of violence ratchets up the energy level and draws the interest of everyone. Even non-sports fans are glued to the screen when a fight happens. There’s just something about hot-headed athletes duking it out that arrests our attention. However, in the long-standing tradition of hot-headed athletes, a few stand out. Their fights were either so incredible (or so frequent) that fans associate the athlete with his fights first, and his play second. This article celebrates 20 of these hot-headed athletes, the cream of the crop from both past and present.
1) Ron Artest
Ron Artest was one of the sparkplugs behind the now-infamous Detroit Pistons vs. Indiana Pacers slugfest from 2004, which commentator Bill Walton lamented as “a low moment in NBA history.” It all started when Artest fouled Ben Wallace from behind. Wallace did not react favorably to the hard foul and retaliated by shoving Artest clear across the court. What unfolded was, as ESPN’s Steve Berthiaume called it, “one of the ugliest incidents of player/fan violence that we’ve even seen in this country.” The fight between Artest and Wallace exploded into an arena-wide brawl that saw Artest assaulting a fan who threw a cup of beer at him. Although the game was just 45 seconds from being over, officials quickly called it off once fans began storming the court and throwing bottles at the players. Read the rest of this entry »