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2017: The year in pettiness

No one was content to take the high road in 2017 (Yahoo Sports illustration)

From 28-3 to Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City welcome to Baker Mayfield’s crotch-grabbing antics, this past year saw pettiness reign supreme in the world of sports. Let’s recap the best of the best of a wild, and salty, year.  

The Trump effect

Politics and sports have always been intertwined, but 2017 saw a sitting U.S. president wage wars against multiple superstar athletes, their fathers, and entire sports leagues. Here are just a few of his sports targets:

Colin Kaepernick and NFL players who protest during the anthem

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch

LaVar Ball

 


 

The pettiest of all his tirades was when he announced, via Twitter of course, that he was un-inviting the Warriors from the White House after Stephen Curry already said he would not attend. Seriously, this is like deleting your friend from the Facebook event after they’ve already RSVPed “No.”

The incident gave us one of the best, nay, the best, tweet in the history of Twitter dot com.


The NBA: Where pettiness happens

Where to start? Pettiness ruled the NBA this season, all the way from the All-Star game to the offseason to Christmas Day.

Take MVP, Chief Petty Officer and Pettyweight Champion of the World Russell Westbrook’s year in review. In 2017 he …

Warmed up by himself before the All-Star game rather than share a hoop with former teammate Kevin Durant

Watched “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit” instead of the NBA Finals, which featured Durant’s Warriors

Wore an “Adopt a Cat” shirt after Durant got exposed for tweeting an anonymous troll “KD can’t win a championship with those cats”

Signed a contract extension ON DURANT’S BIRTHDAY

The pettiness was strong in Oklahoma City, whose fans brought cupcake shirts, cupcake signs and cupcake-painted bellies to Durant’s first game since he signed with Golden State in the 2016 offseason. An Oklahoma steakhouse even refused to accept a reservation from Durant’s team, citing “loyalty.”

Then, after Durant’s Warriors came out victorious, the Warriors found some leftover cupcake apparel to don. Durant would later release a special “red velvet” KDX and was spotted in the summer wearing a custom cupcake hat with an championship ring in lieu of a cherry on top.

Speaking of the Warriors, Draymond Green has emerged as a social media foil to his real-life friend LeBron James. As you’ll recall, in 2016, James sent a not-so-subliminal message when he stepped off of the Cavaliers’ plane wearing an “Ultimate Warrior” shirt. This year, Green was spotted at the Warriors’ victory parade donning “Quickie” Loans Arena garb.


In the summer, an emoji war over the services of free agent Gordon Hayward emerged involving Jazz big man Rudy Gobert, then-Celtics star Isaiah Thomas and Heat center Hassan Whiteside. When Thomas was traded in August, Gobert unleashed a particularly savage retweet.  

And who could forget the video that surfaced of Warriors star Steph Curry mocking James’ workout routine, playfully or otherwise, at a wedding while Kyrie Irving looked on.


This season, we’ve already seen Knicks center Enes Kanter practically beg for a social media war with James and a beautiful bit of Christmas trolling from Green.

The pettiness wasn’t just reserved for active players, either.

Members of the 2008 Celtics reunited on Kevin Garnett’s TNT show and refused to let Ray Allen join the party, still salty over his 2012 move to the Heat. The group is planning a vacation to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their championship, and Allen will not be invited.

And all of this fails to mention 76ers star Joel Embiid, whom we recently dubbed “Troll of the Year.”

This upcoming year brings the potential for pettiness the likes of which we’ve never seen before, as the 2018 All-Star game will no longer be between the Eastern and Western conferences. Instead, team captains will pick their squad, playground style.  

Dear NBA overlords,

Please, please, please, please, pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee televise the draft.  

Sincerely,

NBA fans everywhere

28-3: The joke that will never die

It might seem like ages ago, but it was actually this year that the Atlanta Falcons squandered a 28-3 lead, the largest in Super Bowl history, to the New England Patriots. And the Falcons, and their fans, have never heard the end of it.

New England’s fifth champion ring featured …. Yup, 283 diamonds. When the new season opened at Gillette Stadium, 28-3 was prominently featured on the scoreboard.

Get used to it Atlanta, because the 28-3 jokes aren’t going away anytime soon.

And did you really think a Super Bowl title would make New England fans forget about Deflategate?! When commissioner Roger Goodell made his return to Gillette for the first time since the saga unfolded at the 2014 AFC Championship game, he was greeted by thousands of rally towels featuring a clown likeness of himself.

Baker Mayfield bursts onto the scene

Oh, Baker. When the Oklahoma quarterback, and newly minted Heisman Trophy winner, made headlines for his spectacular play, and his penchant for silly drama. Like, planting OU’s flag on Ohio State’s field. Or delivering a few choice words, and gestures, in the direction of Kansas fans.  

With NFL executives reportedly high on Mayfield’s potential, we can only imagine what type of antics he’ll bring to the No Fun League.