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THE 10 BEST SPORTS URBAN LEGENDS OF ALL TIME

Sports are the best, man. On the field, a no-name athlete can become a legend in a matter of seconds thanks to a clutch home run or touchdown catch or some other impressive feat that makes them seem damn near inhuman. Off the field, their accomplishments can often be even more impressive.

In both situations, stories become attached to these exploits over time, and in some instances, those stories have become bigger than both the athlete and the game they played. And as those stories are handed down from one person to the next, they are often tweaked to the point where it seems as though there is no way they could possibly be true. We’ll let you be the judge.

Dikembe Mutombo used to pick up women by walking into clubs and saying, “Who wants to sex Mutombo?”

sports urban legends, dikembe mutombo

The 7′ 2″ center was beyond legendary on the court during his three years at Georgetown. In the 1990-91 campaign, he averaged more than 15 points and 12 rebounds as well as damn near five blocks every game. And every time he swatted away an opponent’s futile attempt, he gave him the “not in here” finger wave that can still be seen in Geico commercials today.

But one phrase has been attached to Mutombo since his college days thanks to triumphs off the hardwood. The story goes that the big guy allegedly would walk into clubs and parties on a regular basis and yell out, “Who wants to sex Mutombo?” One witness said that he saw him leave a block party in 1991 with a girl under each arm after saying it.

When Mutombo appeared on ESPN’s “Highly Questionable” last year, he said that he didn’t know how that rumor got started, and it crushed the souls of sports enthusiasts everywhere. Thankfully, Alonzo Mourning appeared on the same show recently and brought it back to life.

“There was some truth to that,” Mourning said. “That was his pick-up line. And it worked.”

Wade Boggs once downed 64 beers on a cross-country flight when he played for the Red Sox.

sports urban legends, wade boggs beers

Boggs finished with 3,010 hits in his 18-year MLB career, but that number pales in comparison to the amount of brewskis he could throw back.

Former pitcher Brian Rose said that he witnessed Wade’s drinking ability firsthand when Boggs was the hitting coach in Tampa and said he once saw the flight attendant bring him a case of beer for a one-hour flight.

“I said to him, ‘I’m impressed with the way you hit, but I’m more impressed right now.’ He goes, ‘Yeah, beer doesn’t affect me. I don’t get drunk unless I’ve had at least a case and a half.’ I don’t think he even went to the bathroom.”

Boggs’s feat of 64 beers on one trip was so legendary that the gang from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” made it the focus of a recent episode. Boggs himself appeared on the show but told Charlie Day that it was more like 107 cold ones, not 64.

Toni Braxton broke up the Dallas Mavericks.

sports urban legends, toni braxton dallas mavericks

Toni Braxton was a smoking hottie in the 1990s, and her pipes were so amazing that she took home five Grammy awards in that decade alone.

The combination of sexy and talented made Braxton a hot commodity at the time, and she allegedly arrived at an Atlanta hotel one night to pick up her date: Mavericks point guard Jason Kidd. She left the hotel shortly thereafter, but it was with Kidd’s teammate Jim Jackson instead.

Kidd wasn’t very happy about that, and he told the Mavericks the only thing that would unbreak his heart was a trade, so they shipped him to Phoenix.

And that, kids, is why he spent more than four years playing hoops in the desert.

The blood on Curt Schilling’s sock from his epic 2004 postseason performance was actually red paint.

sports urban legends, curt schilling bloody sock

Prior to Game 6 of the 2004 ALDS against the rival Yankees, Schilling had surgery to reattach a tendon to his ankle. The Red Sox were trying to become the first team in MLB history to erase a 3-0 postseason deficit, and the fact that Schilling was even able to take the mound was considered nothing short of a miracle.

Schilling was magnificent that night, throwing seven innings of one-run ball. But it was his bloody sock a la “The Natural” that was captured so well by the FOX cameras that night that made his performance the stuff of legend.

Or was it red paint?

In April 2007, Orioles broadcaster Gary Thorne said he had spoken with Red Sox backup catcher Doug Mirabelli a year or two earlier, and he came to the understanding that the bloody sock was fake. In July 2010, Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Lincoln Chafee said he remembered Kevin Millar saying Schilling used red paint to make it look like he was bleeding.

Real or fake, somebody who must really like feet dished out more than $92,000 for Schilling’s rank used sock last year.

Cal Ripken once beat the snot out of Kevin Costner for having sex with his wife.

sports urban legends, cal ripken kevin costner beating

On August 14, 1997, Ripken was letting Costner crash at his place following the wrap of a god-awful movie called “The Postman.” Ripken left one afternoon for a game, but he realized somewhere along the way that he forgot something and returned to his house.

That’s where he found Costner plowing his wife.

The story goes that Ripken became so enraged that he beat the piss out of Costner, so bad that the “actor” couldn’t make public appearances for weeks. Then, because he was either too distraught, beat up himself or being held at the local cop shop for assault, he called the Orioles and said he wasn’t going to make the game that night.

In an effort to preserve Ripken’s consecutive games streak, the owner decided to postpone that night’s game, sighting “electrical failure” as the culprit.

Ripken and Costner both denied the story. Ripken claimed he was at the game in question, a game that actually was postponed due to faulty lighting. He even said he was on the field and encouraging the umpires to play the game that night. Costner said he had never spent more than 10 minutes with Ripken’s wife, although there are allegedly reports that he has spent entire games in the stands sitting next to her.

Wilt Chamberlain slept with 20,000 women.

sports urban legends, wilt chamberlain slept with 20,000 women

This urban legend is rare in that Chamberlain started this one himself. In his 1991 autobiography “A View From Above,” the Hall of Famer made the claim that he had slept with 20,000 women.

“Yes, that’s correct, twenty thousand different ladies,” Chamberlain wrote. “At my age, that equals out to having sex with 1.2 women a day, every day since I was fifteen years old.”

Actually, we did the math, and it’s closer to something like 1.4. But hey, at that point, it’s not the number after the decimal point that matters.

The 1985 NBA Lottery was fixed.

sports urban legends, 1985 nba draft fixed

And that’s probably not the only one. Ahem, Derrick Rose. Ahem, 2008.

The story goes that NBA commissioner David Stern wanted Patrick Ewing in a Knicks jersey to revive basketball in New York so bad that he was willing to go to any length to make that happen, even fixing the NBA Lottery in front of the cameras.

One rumor was that the Knicks’ envelope was frozen, so Stern would have no problem reaching into the drum and figuring out which one that was. But a closer look at the video below shows a man inserting the envelopes into the drum in a casual manner until he gets to the fourth one. He kind of hits that one against the glass to, I don’t know, bend a corner, maybe?

Be sure to pay close attention to the corner of what would turn out to be the Knicks’ envelope at the 47-second mark.

Delonte West had sex with LeBron’s mom, and that’s why he left Cleveland.

sports urban legends, lebron's mom and delonte west

Juicy.

Following the 2010 season, LeBron James created a media frenzy when he announced he was taking his talents to South Beach. But while many experts viewed the move as a way for “The King” to add some crowns to his resume, others felt the move was just a tad more personal, like a “one of my teammates is banging my mom” kind of personal.

That teammate was Delonte West, who is now out of the league after brief stints with Boston and Dallas. West addressed the rumor in 2012 and said it never happened, but he was singing a different tune during a 2014 interview with Vice Sports as he talked about why he didn’t name his son Delonte.

“I don’t want my son going to school and people making fun of him for something his daddy did. He goin’ to school and ‘didn’t your daddy have sex with LeBron’s mamma?’ I don’t want him to deal with all that man.”

Babe Ruth once called his shot.

sports urban legends, babe ruth called shot

If only television cameras would have existed in the 1930s. (Instead, all we have is this grainy photo.)

In the top of the fifth inning of Game 3 of the 1932 World Series against the (gasp) Cubs, the Great Bambino allegedly stood at home plate and pointed his bat toward the Wrigley Field center field bleachers in a manner that suggested he was going to pulverize the next pitch to that exact location.

And I’ll be damned, on the next pitch, that’s exactly what happened.

Hey, it’s not as juicy as Delonte West tagging LeBron’s mom, but every kid in America heard that story growing up, and it’s arguably the biggest urban legend in sports history.

Michael Jordan didn’t retire the first time around; he was secretly suspended for his gambling addiction, and that same addiction was also responsible for his father’s death.

sports urban legends, michael jordan gambling

Well, it doesn’t get any juicier than that.

The story goes that David Stern was ready to levy a one-year suspension on Jordan because of his gambling problem. And that gambling problem wasn’t one of those, “I went to Vegas and lost $1,200 on hookers and craps,” kind of problems.

In 1991, Jordan allegedly lost more than $1.2 million in a series of high-stakes golf matches to Robert Esquinas. He was then subpoenaed to testify against a cocaine dealer later that year because police found a $57,000 check with Jordan’s name on it in the dealer’s possession. In 1992, a bail bondsman was killed during a robbery. The thieves made off with $20,000 in cash but left behind checks totaling $108,000 from Jordan that were allegedly for gambling debts.

Many people speculate there were other instances of high-stakes gambling with Jordan, some of which he never payed off. And that led to speculation that his father’s murder was a result of those unpaid gambling debts. At that point, David Stern had no choice but to suspend the league’s biggest star. But “in an effort to save face,” he came up with the retirement and baseball idea as a cover until Jordan had served his suspension in full.

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