Udonis Haslem might have authored one of the best send-offs in team sports history last night.
Haslem is not much more than a mascot for the Heat these days. He’s there to teach the young kids about the culture and what it means to be a pro, and then the Heat always wheel him out at the last home game every year to get an ovation from the crowd that still adores him. He’s the guy who gets to stay at the bar after closing time, basically.
Which makes it particularly wonderful, even awe-inspiring, that in what perhaps might be his last appearance in an NBA game, although it’s always his last appearance until the next year, he got himself ejected just three minutes in. Look, there’s a long list of people who probably would sacrifice a lot of things to get at Dwight Howard, so Haslem ending his career on it is understandable. Still, it feels like a lot. Possibly your last NBA game, the last time you’ll hear the crowd cheer for you, and you figure you’ll cut it short just to make a point to Howard. You’d have to admit it’s more memorable than playing eight minutes and heading back to the bench for good. Everywhere Haslem goes, people will say, “Look son, there’s the guy who ended his career telling Dwight Howard he’s a chump. Life goals.”
Still, where does it rate on the best ejections? It’s hard to top Sheed...though it’s hard to top Sheed really in any category…
Sheed only needed a minute to get bounced, but then again, Sheed can one-up you in whatever competition you choose. Fun fact: a comedian friend from back in the day got ejected from Game 4 of the 2008 World Series in Philly because Sheed was sitting a few rows in front of him and he spent the first six innings yelling at Sheed that he could outdrink him pound for pound. A. He couldn’t. B. Sheed thought it was hilarious. C. Security didn’t. So put that on the list too.
We can’t restrict it to basketball of course. Here’s Bryan Pryce getting the thumb before his Reds even took the field.
Only baseball managers can carry a grudge from a game before to the point that they’re going to use the lineup card exchange to air their grievance. Basketball coaches would just go get drunk with the refs. There are too many refs for football coaches to just choose one. Hockey coaches and refs might actually fight, but they’ll forget it by the time each leave the arena. But baseball managers… that’s some quality grudge-carrying.
Here’s a personal favorite:
This actually isn’t that much different than Haslem’s. Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard had already announced the 2014-2015 season would be his last, and this was the last time he would play their biggest rival Manchester United at Anfield. He didn’t start the game, because his powers had waned to the point that he was kind of being carried around the field. He came on at half, and was so charged up and pissed off about being left out from the start he got himself sent off in 40 seconds. That’s a swan song. Anyone can just complete the 90 minutes and do the wave after. It takes a true god to scythe someone down and skulk off as a lasting image.
So that’s the hall Haslem has enshrined himself into tonight. Congrats.
UEFA moved the Champions League final from Istanbul to Porto yesterday. It pretty much had to move the game, because Turkey is in the midst of a lockdown due to COVID and the UK isn’t allowing residents to travel there. Which kind of sucks for fans of the two English teams in the final.
But why not move it to England? Well, for maybe the most UEFA reason ever: The UK government wouldn’t give UEFA waivers on quarantine for all their dignitaries and officials and sponsors, so they picked Portugal where they would.
It’s shit like this that gets us a World Cup in Qatar in winter. The cheek on these fucksticks to think they could get waivers on quarantine simply because they’re bigshots at UEFA.
UEFA is just Frasier and Niles in shock that they can’t get a reservation.