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Sports Shorts: the Masters of Malaprop 

Fact can be stranger than fiction. So can sports quotes. These are the vastly strange, bizarre, silly, dumb, racist, sexist and outrageous quotations of various sports figures. What can we do but watch in stunned awe as they turn sheer stupidity into an art form? Please prepare to be entertained by the kings of unintentional comedy ...

"I dunno. I never smoked any Astroturf."
Tug McGraw, when asked whether he preferred grass or Astroturf

"Raise the urinals."
Darrel Chaney, when asked how team management could help keep the Braves on their toes

"Sometimes they write what I say and not what I mean."
Pedro Guerrero, criticizing sportswriters for not being telepaths

"No comment."
Michael Jordan, after being asked for his response to making the NBA’s All-Interview Team

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
The wis-dumb of Joe Theismann, ESPN announcer and former NFL quarterback

"It's almost like we have ESPN."
Magic Johnson, on how well he and fellow Laker James Worthy worked together

"I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."
Shaquille O'Neal, when asked if he had visited the Parthenon during his stay in Greece

"We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees."
Jason Kidd

"Play some Picasso."
Chris Morris, to a piano player at a hotel bar while trying to impress his date

"I ain't gonna be no escape goat!"
Karl Malone

"Every time that I have ever tried to help a woman out, I have been incarcerated."
Jose Canseco

"The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing."
Dizzy Dean, after being hit by a baseball during the 1934 World Series

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton."
Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson’s return to boxing

After hearing Joe Jacoby of the Washington Redskins say, "I'd run over my own mother to win the Super Bowl," Matt Millen of the Raiders confirmed, "To win, I'd run over Joe's mom too."

"Whatever happened in the past, hopefully it`s over."
Donovan McNabb

"Therapy can be a good thing; it can be therapeutic."
Alex Rodriguez

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."
Yogi Berra, the all-time master of the malaprop, and a pretty good catcher

"Baseball is 90% mental ... the other half is physical."
Yogi Berra

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."
Yogi Berra

"He couldn’t spell 'cat' if you spotted him the 'c' and the 't.'"
Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson, a Dallas Cowboys linebacker, commenting on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Terry Bradshaw’s intelligence, or lack of it

"I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid."
Terry Bradshaw

During a Fox broadcast, Bradshaw said that a black running back, Reggie Bush was "chasing a bucket of chicken," leading to guffaws from Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson and an awkward groan from co-host Curt Menefee.

"I want all the kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I want all the kids to copulate me."
Andre Dawson

"When you get that nice celebration coming into the dugout and you’re getting your ass hammered by guys—there’s no better feeling."
Matt Stairs

In 2004 the Minnesota Timberwolves offered Lattrell Sprewell a $21 million contract extension. He flatly rejected the deal, claiming that his family would starve to death: "That’s not going to cut it … If [team owner Glen] Taylor wants to see my family fed, he better cough up some money. Otherwise, you’re going to see these kids in one of those Sally Struthers commercials soon." Sprewell then played out his contract, had the worst statistical year of his career, and never played in the NBA again.

"It isn't like I came down from Mount Sinai with the tabloids."
Ron Meyer, Indianapolis Colts head coach, after being criticized about a decision

"I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!"
Mike Tyson, waxing religious about an upcoming fight with Lennox Lewis

"Sure, there have been injuries and deaths in boxing—but none of them serious."
Alan Minter

When asked if he was a volatile player, soccer star David Beckham replied: "Well, I can play in the centre, on the right, and occasionally on the left side."

"I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."
George Rogers:

"You guys line up alphabetically by height."
Bill Peterson

Bill Peterson again, proving that lighting can strike twice in the same airy space:
"Men, I want you just thinking of one word all season. One word and one word only: Super Bowl."

"I used to have this slight speech implement and couldn't remember things before I took the Sam Carnegie course."
Bill Peterson, explaining the source of his verbal success, or lack of it. I assume he was referring to the Dale Carnegie course on public speaking.

Peterson may want to consider asking for a refund, after this gem:
"Just remember the words of Patrick Henry: 'Kill me or let me live.'"

"I wouldn't ever set out to hurt anyone deliberately unless it was important, like a league game."
Dick Butkus, a Hall of Shame linebacker for the Chicago Bears. (Hey, at least he held back in practice and intramurals!)

"I've been big ever since I was little."
William Perry, the Chicago Bears defensive tackle known as the Refrigerator

"I feel like I'm the best, but you're not going to get me to say that."
Jerry Rice

"Hawaii doesn't win many games in the United States."
Lee Corso, a college football analyst whose major was hopefully not geography or history

"I'm really happy for Coach Cooper and the guys who've been around here for six or seven years, especially our seniors."
Bob Hoying, Ohio State quarterback, after winning the Big Ten title

"I told Roland Hemond to go out and get me a big name pitcher. He said, 'Dave Wehrmeister's got 11 letters. Is that a big enough name for you?'"
Eddie Eichorn, owner of the Chicago White Sox

"The only reason I don't like playing in the World Series is I can't watch myself play."
Reggie Jackson

"They shouldn't throw at me. I'm the father of five or six kids."
Tito Fuentes, after being beaned

"That's why I don't talk. Because I talk too much."
Joaquin Andujar

"Sure. I'm proud to be an American."
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Steve Foster, when asked by a Canadian customs agent if he had anything to declare

"It's a partial sellout."
Atlanta Braves broadcaster Skip Caray, trying to avoid admitting that a game had only drawn 6,000 fans

"I don't think there's anybody in this organization not focused on the 49ers ... I mean Chargers."
Bill Belichick

"We're not attempting to circumcise rules."
Bill Cowher, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach

"Left hand, right hand, it doesn't matter. I'm amphibious."
Charles Shackleford

"Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points, they almost always win."
Doug Collins

"Are you any relation to your brother Marv?"
Leon Wood to announcer Steve Albert

"My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt."
Chuck Nevitt, a North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he seemed nervous during a practice

Tom Nissalke, coach of the NBA's Houston Rockets, when asked how his name is pronounced

"I quit school in the sixth grade because of pneumonia. Not because I had it, but because I couldn't spell it."
Rocky Graziano

"[He] called me a rapist and a recluse. I'm not a recluse."
Mike Tyson, responding to allegations made by Wallace Matthews

"I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."
Greg Norman

"His nerves. His memory. And I can't remember the third thing."
Lee Trevino, on the three things that go as a golfer ages

"I don't think anywhere is there a symbiotic relationship between caddie and player like there is in golf."
Johnny Miller

"Then I was skinnier. I hit it better, I putted better, and I could see better. Other than that, everything is the same."
PGA Senior Tour player Homero Blancas

"My handicap is that I don't have a big enough beer cooler for the back of my golf cart."
Pro football linebacker Rick D'Amico, on his golf handicap

"(We) should be allowed to wear shorts. God almighty, (LPGA) women are allowed to wear 'em, and we've got better legs than they do."
Greg Norman

"Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the Cambridge president is kissing the cox of the Oxford crew."
Harry Carpenter of the BBC

"This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria ... I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing."
Weightlifting commentator Pat Glenn

The best quotes from Sky TV's rugby man, Murray Mexted:

"You don't like to see hookers going down on players like that."
"He's looking for some meaningful penetration into the backline."
"Spencer's running across field calling out, 'come inside me, come inside me.'"
"It's a magnificent sensation when the gap opens up and you just burst right through."
"Your first instinct when you see a man on the ground is to go down on him."
"There's nothing that a tight forward likes more than a loosie right up his backside"
"Everybody knows that I have been pumping Martin Leslie for a couple of seasons now."

"That's what I call the ultimate laxative."
Canadian Prime Minister of Sports Otto Jelinek, after riding the luge

"Some people think football [soccer] is a matter of life and death. I don't like that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that."
Bill Shankly, in the Sunday Times (UK)

More wis-dumb of Yogi Berra:

"Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours."
"He hits from both sides of the plate. He's amphibious."
"I never said most of the things I said."
"Predictions are difficult. Especially about the future."
"Ninety percent of putts that are short don't go in."

Pat Williams, Orlando Magic general manager, on his team's 7-27 record: "We can't win at home. We can't win on the road ... I just can't figure out where else to play."

"God created the sun, the stars, the heavens and the earth, and then made Adam and Eve, The Bible never says anything about dinosaurs. You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus Rex."
Carl Everett

"The sun has been there for 500, 600 years ..."
Mike Cameron

"My career was sputtering until I did a 360 and got headed in the right direction."
Tracy McGrady, after signing with the Orlando Magic in 2000

"Chemistry is a class you take in high school or college, where you figure out two plus two is ten, or something."
Dennis Rodman

"Don’t say I don’t get along with my teammates. I just don’t get along with some of the guys on the team."
Terrell Owens

"The Hall of Fame ceremonies are on the thirty-first and thirty-second of July."
Ralph Kiner

"That’s what they get for building a ballpark on the ocean."
Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, after a game at Cleveland Municipal Stadium was postponed due to fog

"I couldn't find London on a map if they didn't have the names of the countries. I swear to God. I don't know what nothing is. I know Italy looks like a boot. I learned that. I know London Fletcher. We did a football camp together. So I know him. That's the closest thing I know to London."
Channing Crowder, talking about the Miami Dolphin’s upcoming trip to London in 2007

When Randy Ready told Andy Van Slyke that switch-hitter Greg Harris was "amphibious," Van Slyke asked, "What does that mean, he can pitch underwater?"

"Let no one accuse baseball of not being tough on drugs. During his baseball career, Steve Howe was given seven lifetime suspensions."
Bill Ferraro

"Sparky is the only guy I know who's written more books than he has read."
Ernie Harwell, a broadcaster, on Sparky Anderson's autobiography They Call Me Sparky

"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
Rogers Hornsby

"I say this from the bottom of my heart, that if you don't root for the Dodgers, you might not get into Heaven."
Tommy Lasorda

"Fear was absolutely necessary. Without it, I would have been scared to death."
Floyd Patterson, former heavyweight boxing champion

"You can sum up this sport in two words: You never know."
Lou Duva, boxing trainer

"Well, Rickey’s not one of them, so that’s 49 percent right there."
Rickey Henderson, on reports that 50 percent of ballplayers were using steroids

"He's one of the best power forwards of all time. I take my hands off to him."
Scottie Pippen.

"Yankee pitchers have had great success this year against Cabrera when they get him out."
Tim McCarver.

"When you're rich, you don't write checks. Straight cash, homey."
Randy Moss.

"This team is one execution away from being a very good basketball team."
Doc Rivers.

"If rape is inevitable, relax and enjoy it."
Bobby Knight's advice to interviewer Connie Chung during an NBC television interview on April 25, 1988, as reported in the May 9, 1988 issue of Sports Illustrated

"When my time on earth is done and my activities here are past, I want them to bury me upside down, so my critics can kiss my ass."
Bobby Knight, in a public address given by Knight at Indiana University; the quotation may come from a 1970's poster titled "To My Critics" that depicted a man lying face down with lipstick covering his bare buttocks

"I don't think you could lead a whore to bed."
Bobby Knight commenting on Steve Alford's leadership skills in A Season on the Brink

In a 1981 Sports Illustrated profile, Knight was quoted as telling a black player to help out another black player, "Because if you don't start to shape him up, I'll have to get some white guys working on him. You guys don't show any leadership, you don't show any incentive since you started getting too much welfare."

In another highly questionable incident, Knight playfully lashed star player Calbert Cheaney—who is black—with a bullwhip during practice. Butch Carter, who later became head coach of the Toronto Raptors, wrote, "I don't know if Knight is a racist, but I know he does not like educated, strong-willed blacks."

"He's a classic bully, I'll tell you. He tries to intimidate everybody. His entire life is based on intimidation."
Lou Henson, a long-time Knight rival, as reported by BBC Sports, March 22, 2001

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