Happy New Year! Another 365 has come and gone. Time to look back at the year in smack. Time to pay homage to those rare, few heroes of sports smack who really know how to talk the talk and demonstrated that skill with aplomb in 2015.
Here are 10 memorable moments of shade and hard-core snark – and, of course, good, old-fashioned smack.
(Editor’s note: We hated everything about Deflategate. Even typing that fake “word” hurts our fingers. There will be no mention of Deflategate or Tom Brady or the Patriots here. OK, no MORE mention of those things. SO OVER IT.)
Joey Bat Flip. The Blue Jays didn’t make it to the World Series, but slugger Jose Bautista sent Toronto into hysterics and the ALCS with a walk-off home run to end the division series against the Rangers. Joey Bats took a lot of heat for that demonstration of bravado, but it was classic smack and deserves a place on any list of iconic sports moments in 2015.
You like that! The Redskins trailed the Buccaneers, 24-0, but roared back behind quarterback Kirk Cousins. Afterward, Cousins – who had operated in the shadow of RGIII for too long – became the voice of redemption when he yelled at Washington beat reporters – “You LIKE that! You like THAT!”
Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman: Giants-Panthers in Week 15 featured an NFL heavyweight battle – the best receiver in the league against one of the top, if not the top, cover corners in the game. It quickly devolved into a nasty brawl that landed Beckham a one-game suspension and Norman a hefty fine.
Johnny Rehab. The Browns drafted Johnny Manziel, then immediately began to mishandle the mercurial partier from Texas A&M. Johnny Football’s swagger demanded a starting role right out of college, but he instead had to sit and that idle time was not spent working in the film room. One of the off-season’s biggest story lines will be Johnny Football’s future – and the speculation will be sure to provide sweet smack fodder for many more months.
Kevin Durant vs. Stephen A. Smith. The NBA All-Star from Oklahoma City and the loud-mouthed former sportswriter from Philly got into it publicly when Smith “reported” that Durant wanted a trade to the Lakers. Durant called Smith a liar. Smith responded with a weird, threatening declaration that Durant didn’t want to make an enemy out of him. So much sound. So much fury. So much smack.
MJ, GOAT. With aloof amusement, Michael Jordan observed the “emoji war” sparked by Chandler Parsons after DeAndre Jordan spurned the Dallas Mavericks to remain with the Clippers. While Chandler fooled around with his little airplane and others jumped in with their insipid foolishness, His Airness – one of the acknowledged Smack Zone Legends of Smack – ended the debate with his allusion to himself as the Greatest Of All Time:
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) July 8, 2015
Jonathan Papelbon vs. Bryce Harper. The Nationals closer and MVP got into it in the dugout during a game. Who knows why? Something about a half-eaten sandwich, maybe? I don’t know. Anyway, they fought like cats (not cats and dogs – cats), and later buried the hatchet.
Kurt Busch vs. Trained Assassin. NASCAR nabob and former champion Kurt Busch went off the deep end in February when he publicly asserted that his ex-girlfriend, Patricia Driscoll, was a trained assassin and shadow operative. Maybe she is, maybe she isn’t. But Busch is one weird dude, regardless. Either he dated a trained assassin and let it slide until they broke up, or he decided to publicly out a trained assassin – someone who could, by definition, kill him in his sleep with a Q-tip. Ain’t no smack like NASCAR smack!
Chase Utley vs. Ruben Tejada: The Dodgers-Mets NLDS took an ugly turn when Utley plowed Tejada breaking up a double play, breaking Tejada’s leg and becoming Public Enemy No. 1 in NYC. This was physical smack that overnight transformed Utley into one of the most hated opponents in Mets history.
The Head Ball Coach Suddenly Calls it Quits. Steve Spurrier, another of the Smack Zone Legends of Smack – the inspiration for the creation of Smack Apparel – left the South Carolina Gamecocks high and dry in the middle of the season. We appreciate the Ole Ball Coach orchestrating the perfect exit for one of sports’ best smack talkers of all time.