Athletes injuring themselves ... celebrating?

May 29, 2015
May
29

On this day five years ago, Kendrys Morales, who played for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at the time, fractured his leg after celebrating a walk-off grand slam.

Because of his freak accident, we decided to take a look at some other athletes who were injured while celebrating big plays:

Gus Frerotte

After scoring a touchdown, he banged his head against the padding in the end zone -- that covered a concrete wall -- and sprained his neck in a 1997 game. At least he left his helmet on.

Gus FrerotteJoel Richardson/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Ted Ginn Jr.

After returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown in the 2007 BCS national championship game, Ginn sprained his ankle after his foot got twisted under a teammate as they celebrated. He didn't return to the game.

Ted Ginn JrAlbert Dickson/Sporting News/Getty Images

Bill Gramatica

Gramatica, a kicker for the Arizona Cardinals at the time, jumped in the air in celebration of a made field goal late in the 2001 season. When he landed, he tore his ACL.

Bill GramaticaJamie Squire/Getty Images

Kevin Johnson

After hitting a game-winning shot, 252-pound Charles Barkley jumped into his point guard's arms. As a result, he missed three games, including the 1993 playoff opener, with a knee injury.

Kevin Johnson, Charles BarkleyAP Photo/Mark Elias

Brad Keselowski

After Keselowski won the Quaker State 400 in 2014, he was going to celebrate with a nice bottle of champagne. The only problem was the champagne bottle exploded in his hand.

Brad KeselowskiTodd Warshaw/Getty Images

Thomas Levet

In 2011, Thomas Levet won the Alstom French Open and decided to take a dip in the lake on the golf course. It proved costly as he fractured his shin and later had to have surgery to correct the injury.

Thomas LevetStuart Franklin/Getty Images

Malcolm Mitchell

After Todd Gurley scored on a 75-yard run against Clemson in 2013, Mitchell ran to greet him in the end zone. He landed awkwardly and the Bulldogs' top receiver was out for the remainder of the season with an ACL injury.

Malcolm MitchellAP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Jason Getz

Kendrys Morales

In 2010, Morales hit a walk-off grand slam. When he reached home plate, he jumped on top of the base, where his teammates stood to greet him, and fractured his lower left leg.

Kendry MoralesHarry How/Getty Images

Stephen Tulloch

The Lions linebacker sacked Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a 2014 game. When he landed after jumping in the air to celebrate the sack, he injured his ACL.

Stephen TullochAP Photo/Rick Osentoski

Just missed the cut:

Kent Mercker (1992): Suffered a rib injury during Braves' celebration of NL West title

Deion Sanders (1994): Pulled his groin while celebrating a pick-six

Desmond Howard (2001): Ran into a wall and injured his shoulder while celebrating a touchdown

Denny Hocking (2002): Injured finger in postgame celebration after Twins clinched the ALDS

Paolo Diogo (2004): Tore off a chunk of his finger when his wedding ring got caught as he jumped on a fence

Jake Peavy (2005): Fractured a rib celebrating the Padres NL West championship

Adrian Peterson (2006): Broke his collarbone when he dove into the end zone in a game against Iowa State (didn't really need to dive)

Jason Arnott (2008): Received a concussion when teammates jumped on him after scoring a goal

Fabian Espindola (2008): Injured knee while doing a back flip to celebrate a goal

Chris Coghlan (2010): Injured his left knee while attempting to smash a pie in the face of Wes Helms

Jeff Baker (2013): Sprained his thumb on a wayward high five after scoring a run

Maurides (2013): Sprained his knee doing a backflip to celebrate his first professional goal

Lamarr Houston (2014): Tore his ACL while celebrating a sack

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Coffee funeralCoffee County Ga. Police Scanner/Facebook

The Coffee County High School football players said goodbye to teammate Malik Sparkman on Monday, but not before granting his dying request.

The body of Sparkman, who died May 17 following a battle with kidney cancer, was escorted across the school's campus in Douglas, Georgia, during an emotional funeral procession, through the Trojans' tunnel and onto the Jardine Stadium field one final time.

Coffee FuneralCoffee County Ga. Police Scanner/Facebook

"Malik was certainly special to all of them," Coffee County football coach Robby Pruitt told WTVM, the local ABC affiliate.

According to the Coffee County Police Scanner YouTube account, more than 500 people -- including members of the football team wearing Trojans jerseys -- paid their final respects to Sparkman inside the school's gym.

The 18-year-old was diagnosed with renal medullary carcinoma last year, and treatments forced the end of his playing days. Throughout, the linebacker remained in high spirits and confident he would conquer the disease. His ordeal became an inspiration for the tight-knit southern Georgia community.

"Every time I called him and checked on him, he always said, 'I am great, coach.' Never one time did he complain about hurting or being in pain," Pruitt said.

An outpouring of love and support flooded social media in the days after Sparkman's death, including a somber tweet from close friend and Florida State signee Jalen Wilkerson:

According to WTVM, the football team plans to further honor Sparkman during the upcoming season, which would have been his senior year.

Much of the poignant gesture was shared on YouTube:

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President Barack Obama's basketball fandom is well-known -- he's big on the Chicago Bulls and has been known to play a few pickup games himself. The president recently launched a personal Twitter handle (@POTUS), and on Thursday afternoon he chatted with fans about a wide variety of topics . One asked him about the matchup between the Warriors and Cavs, and the president responded:

Another asked his thoughts on the recent firing of Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau:

UPDATE: Here's how the Cavaliers responded:

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Appearing Wednesday on The Dan Le Batard Show, rapper and creator of the "cooking dance" Lil B (aka The Based God) discussed his gripe with James Harden, the origin of the cooking dance and why LeBron James might be the next NBA star to face his wrath.

Before heading to Oakland (where he sat behind the Houston Rockets' bench and watched James Harden fall to Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors) on Wednesday night, the rapper aired his grievances with Harden, while emphasizing the importance of authenticity:

"People want original paintings. There are a lot of artists that might recreate Picasso's painting. So the gullible buyers, they might buy the off-brand Picasso painting. But for the real artist and the real people, they want that Picasso painting, which is Lil B."

It doesn't get much realer than calling someone fraudulent through a Pablo Picasso analogy. If only Harden had squadded up with Lil B when he had the chance.

In other news, J.R. Smith posted an Instagram video of himself, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Iman Shumpert and Kendrick Perkins getting hyphy to Chedda Da Connect's "Flicka Da Wrist" after clinching the Eastern Conference title.

What more can I say!! ##JustSaying @k1irving @imanshumpertthe1st @perk_409

A video posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on

Needless to say, Lil B noticed and was NOT pleased. This is because all dances that involve any cooking motion or wrist-flicking originate from Lil B's cooking dance. Therefore, the players -- specifically LeBron James -- must give credit to The Based God immediately or they are going to land themselves a classic case of "The Based God's Curse":

"That is what LeBron James, J.R. Smith, Kyrie Irving ... that is the celebration they all were doing ... but they called it something else. I think they are a bit misled."

Lil B went on to single out LeBron as the culprit behind this offense. He also questioned the leadership ability of the four-time MVP:

"Now the thing is, if LeBron James continues to be arrogant and with all his leadership, the supposed leader that LeBron James is, if he's doing dances and celebrations where he doesn't know the source, that shows a little bit about LeBron James' personality. If LeBron James is doing things where he doesn't really know the source, LeBron James might be the person who buys a fake Picasso painting too. He might do that."

Luckily one of King James' teammates, Iman Shumpert, isn't chancing letting a Based God's Curse get in the way of the Cavs winning an NBA title.

And just like that, Shump appeased The Based God! "Major respect to the Cavaliers organization and for them having a great, stand-up, honorable player like Iman Shumpert to come out and say he is doing the Lil B cooking dance and he's been doing that," Lil B said.

LeBron: It might not be a bad idea to take his lead lest you risk ending up like Kevin Durant and James Harden. Just saying.

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What is Metta World Peace up to these days?

Done with his run in the NBA -- and subsequent stint as Key & Peele's main newsman -- the man formerly known as Ron Artest signed in March with Italian Serie A club Pallacanestro Cantu. The often-fiery 35-year-old even talked up his maturity.

"When you play angry you can't focus," he told the Associated Press. "I've got five more years to have a great time, so I will be playing with a lot of fire but not anger, just passion."

So much for that. In the decisive fifth game of their quarterfinal with Reyer Venezia Mestre, World Peace got involved in a skirmish (what a great series of seven words) and was booted in the fourth quarter with his team down eight. Here it is, from the Italian broadcast.

Espulso Metta!

Not only was Metta World Peace ejected, according to the play-by-play he was charged with five fouls in less than a minute (although not in a hack-a-DeAndre sense, as evidenced in the video).

Cantu went on to lose 88-73, while their opponents advanced to the semifinals. According to calcioweb.eu, World Peace will be suspended two games if he returns to Italy next season.

But not all was lost: The best item to emerge from this video was the fact that World Peace, as promised, wore a jersey that said "The Panda's Friend" on the back (even though he's still officially listed under World Peace).

Metta World PeacePallacanestro Cantu Basketball

Fiery, not fiery, mature or immature, The Panda's Friend will always be our friend.

H/T The Big Lead

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