It is not easy to become a world-class sports troll. In addition to a natural aptitude and predilection for pissing people off, it requires years of dedication and persistence to hone your craft. You have to know exactly what to say to provoke an emotional response from your audience, and you need to know exactly when and how to say it in order to maximize social discord. And that is not easy.
Today we are celebrating the biggest trolls in sports. Some people probably think we should not encourage this sort of flippant, disrespectful behavior. However, we’re grateful to trolls for drumming up so much entertaining sports rage. Without them, people like the legendary Phyllis from Mulga wouldn’t exist. And that would be a terrible shame.
So lighten up, take a look, and remember—they’re just messing with you.
Lots of pro sports teams have social media people who troll opposing teams, players, and fans. However, nobody does it better than the Dallas Stars. (Sorry, Rockets.) They don't just burn anyone and everyone. As the Dallas Cowboys found out the hard way, the Dallas Stars themselves are totally burn-proof.
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is probably best known for trolling reports with curmudgeonly answers to their asinine questions. However, it's important to remember that Pop knows how to troll players, too. (Just ask Shaq.)
Keith Olbermann might be the most thoughtful sports troll on our list. His epic rants are often littered with truth bombs and insights. However, at the end of the day, Olbermann still gets off on getting people all riled up. And that makes him a troll.
12. Keith Olbermann
What do you get when you take two of the world's most preeminent sports trolls and pit them against each other on the same show? You get ESPN's First Take.
Of course, it was too hard for us to decided between Stephen A. Smith and John Edward "Skip" Bayless. So we called it a tie.
First up, we have Smith, with this classic rant against LeBron James.
11a: Stephen A. Smith
Ah, but let's not forget about Skip Bayless. He and Smith have swapped roles of late. Skip is now the indefatigable LeBron troll. Smith is LeBron's biggest apologist.
Both are utterly ridiculous human beings.
11b. Skip Bayless
Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao has been publicly challenging Floyd "Money" Mayweather to fight him for a couple of years via social media. And that was cute. however, how that Mayweather-Pacquiao is finally happening, Pacman has stepped up his trolling game big time.
10. Manny Pacquiao
Of course, while Manny Pacquiao may have stepped up his trolling game, he's still no match for The Money Team. They've taken the art of trolling opponents to another level.
9. Floyd Mayweather
True, 50 Cent himself isn't a sports personality. But his internet trolling is directed almost entirely toward his ex-BFF, Floyd Mayweather. And damn if it's not some of the greatest trolling in the history of the internet.
8. 50 Cent
What makes Marshawn Lynch so unique is that he doesn't troll opposing players on social media. He trolls the NFL and every the media by blatantly violating dress codes and refusing to speak at press conferences—then making commercials about speaking at length at fake press conferences, and giving interviews to sports media in Turkey, where nobody cares about football.
This man is a trolling genius.
7. Marshawn Lynch
SB Nation and Grantland are no slouches when it comes to trolling. But what really sets Deadspin apart from the new media pack is their unabashed utilization of vulgarities. Vox-owned SB Nation and ESPN-owned Grantland will troll sports writers and sports fans. Hell, Grantland editor-in-chief Bill Simmons trolls his ESPN overlords on a regular basis, which is to be commended. But at the end of the day, Deadspin are the only ones willing to drop f-bombs in headlines and publish hardcore pornography. (Sorry, no link. Google it for yourself.) And that takes serious balls.
Last spring about 300,000 female residents of San Antonio wanted to kick Charles Barkley in the balls. And did you hear what he had to say about that messy Ferguson situation? (Hint: he basically blamed black people!)
This man is easily one of the most successful sports trolls of all time.
5. Charles Barkley
South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier pretty much exclusively trolls Clemson fans. But damn does he do it well. All he has to do is pause or wink and Tigers fans fly into a rage.
4. Steve Spurrier
Mark Cuban has been trolling former NBA commissioner David Stern since he bought the Mavericks from Ross Perot Jr. in 2000. However, his trolling game really took off with the advent of Twitter in 2006. All of a sudden, his disparaging comments about referees and league administrators could be instantly disseminated to millions of people.
Want to read some of Cuban's greatest hits? Click here.
3. Mark Cuban
Sure, everybody's familiar with the infamous Crabtree rant after the 2014 NFC Championship Game. But Sherman's trolling repertoire is actually quite extensive. He can dish out burns by shouting at the top of his lungs, he can dish them out in autographs, and he can dish them out almost in passing—as in the clip you see here.
That's what a Stanford education does for you, I guess.
2. Richard Sherman
While Richard Sherman is a brilliant troll, his words are like laser guided bombs. They strike with precision, only taking out the intended target.
The UFC's Chael Sonnen drops atomic bombs that take out everyone in a fifty mile range.
Case in point? This classic interview with Dan Le Batard ahead of his fight against Anderson Silva a few years back. Not only does Sonnen challenge the legacy of Silva, a man widely regarded as the greatest MMA fighter of all time. He also manages to insult the entire nation of Brazil.
It takes a special talent to make 200 million people hate you. That's why Chael Sonnen is the biggest troll in sports today.