The scariest players in sports
Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
What’s the point in dressing up for Halloween? To look terrifying, menacing and frightening. A lot of professional athletes exhibit this persona without a costume. Flagrant fouls, bone crushing hits and fights after the whistle are the common stigmas of the biggest and baddest. So who are the best at making their presence felt in their respective sports?
NFL: Ray Lewis, middle linebacker, Baltimore Ravens
Gagnon: This one is obvious. Could it be anyone else? Ray Lewis may be one of the most intimidating people on the face of the earth. For the last decade or so, the Baltimore Ravens have had one of the best defenses in football every year, and that can largely be attributed to Lewis. At the end of his career, he will go down as one of the best defensive players in NFL history. And he hasn’t done it quietly. The “Sunday Soundtracks” on ESPN, which Lewis is often a part of, send chills up my spine, and I’m not even on the field playing against him. Plus, in 2000, Lewis was indicted on murder and aggravated assault chargers for the stabbing and deaths of two people after Super Bowl XXXIV. The charges were eventually dismissed, but I think it goes without saying: Ray Lewis is one scary mother f***er.
Konze: No. 52 has haunted my wildest dreams since 1999. I am deeply scared of the 6-foot-1, 240 pound linebacker who mans the middle of a defense that has tormented the AFC for over a decade. From his intense pregame speeches to his hard-hitting mentality on the field, Lewis has exemplified the true meaning of a hard-nosed linebacker. Like Jon said, his indictment on murder and assault charges is what placed him on this list as the “scariest” in the NFL. Although the charges were dismissed, Ray Lewis is a bad ass and will always haunt the dreams of quarterbacks around the NFL.
NBA: Kevin Garnett, forward, Boston Celtics
Gagnon: On the court, Garnett is a sure Hall of Famer. He has dominated the paint for the better part of two decades, and he often lets his opponents hear it when he crams drunks and rejects offensive players at the rim. He may be the most infamous trash talker in all of pro sports. Garnett’s feuds with fellow NBA players ring across the league. Tim Duncan apparently hates KG due to an elongated battled on the court, which was capped off with KG going to places that most would consider out of bounds even for KG’s loose mouth. As the rumor goes, Garnett whispered to Duncan, “Happy Mother’s Day, mother f***er” while Duncan was shooting free throws in a game back in 1999. It was well known at the time that Duncan’s mother had died from breast cancer. KG is willing to say anything to get in his opponents’ heads. I’m not here to promote this ill behavior; I’m just here to point out KG is undeniably the most frightening opponent an NBA player can face.
Konze: Any person who has the cojones to tell another NBA player that he looks like a “cancer patient” scares me. Why? Because it demonstrates the guy has no heart. Garnett allegedly said this to Charlie Villaneuva, who suffers from a rare disease that leaves with him no hair on his entire body. The cold-blooded Garnett will do anything and everything at all costs to gain the upper hand. Is it always respectful? No. Does it work? I couldn’t tell you. All I know is this free-spirited player will never let up. He makes Charles Barkley’s trash talk look like an episode of Jersey Shore. Hands down, Kevin Garnett wins this. He deserves it because he is going to hell.
MLB: Justin Verlander, pitcher, Detroit Tigers
Gagnon: It’s hard to be a menacing presence on the baseball diamond, a sport where physical play is rare. But Verlander promotes the opposite of this generalization. He’s won an MVP as a who that only sees the field once every five days and he’s thrown three no-hitters in the last two seasons. The best thing about Verlander is that he only gets better as the game goes on. In the latter part of the game when most pitchers are replaced by the bullpen, Verlander throws the ball harder than he did in the first inning, leaving opponents dazed and confused by his freakish velocity.
Konze:Swing and a miss is all I ever see when I watch Verlander. There must have been something in the water where he grew up because a miserable performance by Verlander is more rare than me taking a girl home for the night. Over the course of his eight-year career, the Tigers’ ace has posted a record of 124-64. What is most impressive, though, is his career ERA of 1.17. And we share a stat: strikeouts. Verlander has 1,454 in 8 seasons. I have 1,454 in a month with the female gender.
NHL: Zdeno Chara, defenseman, Boston Bruins