Union Olimpija’s 85-84 overtime win over Panathinaikos gave the Slovenians a perfect 3-0 record to start the year, but it wasn’t all smiles and confetti in Ljubljana. With Panathinaikos trailing by two in the fourth quarter, Panathinaikos big man Mike Batiste squashed Saso Ozbolt’s head between his right foot and the floor. As Ozbolt rolled around underneath the hoop, Batiste trotted off as the refs blew their whistle for the unsportsmanlike foul. The class move here belongs to Zeljko Obradovic, who insisted Batiste go over to the Union Olimpija bench and apologize to Saso before having a seat. If I’m Saso, I’m sure as hell not shaking that guy’s hand, and if I’m Goran Jagodnik or another Ljubljana player watching Batiste’s forced apology, I’d rather tackle him to the floor than let him take one step closer to my teammate. Call me a bad sport, but I’m a firm believer that a simple handshake can’t always wipe the slate clean.
Every sport has its own retaliatory protocol, and getting T’ed up in overtime is never a good idea, but keep your eyes on December 9 when these two next play in Athens. I have a feeling Kevinn Pinkney might Bill Laimbeer the big guy the moment Batiste’s same right foot steps into the paint and leaps toward the rim. And as for a suspension, the Euroleague hasn’t released anything and Mike played this weekend in the Greek League, so obviously Panathinaikos has not levied a suspension of their own just yet.
But the whole ordeal got ELA thinking about some of the most notorious stompage in sports history. Scope the vids and vote at the bottom. Possible criteria include, but are not limited to, ferocity, intent, resulting injury, and the always reliable “I bet that shit hurt” test. Once you’ve watched them all, vote either here or at the bottom.
Haynesworth Head Stomp: Albert Haynesworth is in the midst of a 7-year, $100 million contract with the Redskins, not a cent of which was earned through his solid display of character. Among Haynesworth’s disgraceful moments, none should embarrass him more than this clip, caught in crystal clear slow motion. The victim is Andre Gurode, an until-then little known offensive linemen for the Dallas Cowboys. Albert’s cleats put holes in his face which required 30 stitches, a trip to a plastic surgeon and left Haynesworth with a five-game unpaid suspension, the longest in NFL history for a roughness related infraction.
Izzy Cleats Catcher: Pitcher throws ball. Catcher receives ball. Batter avoids ball, stomps catcher in chest, approaches pitcher, horrendously outnumbered. Catcher lays on ground, wondering what the hell he did to deserve this.
Marcus Vick Kicks Elvis: This stomping was the beginning of the end for Virginia Tech’s Marcus Vick. The younger, just as idiotic brother of Michael, who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after being released from prison for dogfighting, delivered this cheap shot to Louisville’s Elvis Dumervil in the 2006 Gator Bowl. This stompage, plus at least nine traffic violations, giving the crowd a middle finger and allegedly threatening a 17-year-old with a gun at a local McDonald’s were enough to get him booted out of school. Considering Dumervil just signed a six-year, $61.5 million deal with the Denver Broncos while Vick is probably pulling soggy leaves out of a gutter somewhere seems like justice enough. Despite the clear intent here, back of the leg is a little less inhumane than kicking someone in their brain holster. But not by much.
Soccer Dropkick: Playing a sport which allows cleats apparently gives this guy an excuse to turn himself into a spiky sweat missile. Man up and punch him in the face if you need to make a statement. Hockey players don’t drop kick opponents just because blades are attached to their feet.
But OK, it did look pretty badass. There, I said it.
Lights, Camera, Rodman: And finally Dennis Rodman reminds us all that anything you can kick, he’s probably already kicked for no apparent reason. And based on his reaction, the cameraman possesses the world’s most sensitive thigh or Dennis Rodman’s foot is made of titanium.
Time to kick the living poo out of our poll question: