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The 16 Biggest Shoe Fails in Sports

Nick DimengoFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2014

The 16 Biggest Shoe Fails in Sports

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    There are a lot of sneakerheads out there who might take some offense to this article, but the truth is that athletes do some weird things with their shoes.

    It can be wearing customized kicks—even if it is for a good cause or inspiration—having a malfunction or using one to try to get a competitive advantage.

    Accept it or not, these are the biggest shoe fails in sports.

Albert Haynesworth

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    It might not be an instance where his shoe came off or where something malfunctioned—besides his brain—but seeing former NFL All-Pro defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth use his big shoe as a weapon constitutes as a fail in my book.

    For his decision to give then Dallas Cowboys lineman Andre Gurode an up close and personal look of his foot size, Big Al earned a five-game suspension.

Lionel Messi

3 of 17

    Luca Bruno/Associated Press

    Barcelona and Argentine national team forward Lionel Messi is one of the best goal scorers in the world, so, naturally, he has to bust out some celebrations that other players haven't used before.

    That's what the Little Lion did back in 2009 after netting a score against Manchester United in the Champions League final, removing his boot and giving it a smooch to reward it for the magic it gives him on the pitch.

Herschel Walker

4 of 17

    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    There are many people who believe that the trade made between the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings involving Hershel Walker was one of the most lopsided trades in sports history, ultimately landing the Cowboys a variety of picks that helped them build a Super Bowl-winning squad.

    As a a sign of things to come, Walker's first run in Minnesota saw him lose his shoe, which, though a big gainer, was quite the shoe fail.

Marshawn Lynch

5 of 17

    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Most of us are all familiar with the love that Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has for Skittles—even snagging himself a marketing deal before the Super Bowl this year.

    But Lynch took things to a whole new level a few seasons ago by busting out some customized Skittles kicks that went so far against the NFL's uniform rule that it cost him $10,000.

    And to prove Lynch didn't care, Beast Mode did something similar this past season, picking up a $5,250 fine for wearing lime green shoes—and he wasn't the only one who did.

'Shoeless' Joe Jackson

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    Michael Nagle/Getty Images

    Many of us fans know the name "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, but do you know how the baseball great actually earned himself the nickname?

    It's because while playing in a minor league game early in his career, the man most famous for fixing the 1919 World Series removed his cleats because they were giving him blisters.

    And from that, the guy had one of the more famous shoe fails in sports history.

Aaron White

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    What's with some ballers who lose their shoes?

    You'd think that someone good enough to play college hoops would know the importance of properly lacing their kicks to avoid one slipping off, right?

    Well, for Northwestern Wildcat player Alex Marcotullio, he sure didn't.

    And if the shoe falling off Marcotullio wasn't bad enough—this dude, Aaron White—picked up the piece of clothing and tossed it towards Iowa's bench, nearly decapitating head coach Fran McCaffery.

    Insert the very cliche question of: "Honestly? Who throws a shoe?"

George Tsamis

8 of 17

    There have been plenty of epic outbursts between players or coaches and officials, but when minor league manager George Tsamis removed his shoes to prove a point, it was one argument none of us had probably seen before.

    I'll give Tsamis props for the creativity in his explanation, but since the call didn't get reversed and he was left with dirty stirrups, it just has to go down as a fail.

Stephen Curry

9 of 17

    There aren't too many people who would argue with the notion that Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is the best shooter in the NBA right now—except for maybe Ray Allen.

    But as good as Curry is at stroking it, fans shouldn't need to be reminded about his stats from last year...on his shoes!

    Yet Under Armour—who Steph has a deal with—figured having some multicolored kicks with his 2013 stats on them would be a good call.

    Even worse, though, Under Armour had Curry ball in some all-gold shoes to celebrate the Grammy Awards this season as well.

    I want to know who's making these calls at their headquarters, because they are terrible.

John Daly

10 of 17

    You've got to love pro golfer John Daly, don't you?

    While other guys on tour struggle with finding the right shoes and perfect spike length, Daly just goes out on the links without worrying about a damn thing—like the right shoes, perfect spike length and yes, even what shirt to wear.

    Puffing a cigarette with just pants on and stroking it, Daly showed he is pretty talented—and pretty disgusting.

Nik Stauskas

11 of 17

    Much like the aforementioned Aaron White of Iowa who tossed his shoe towards his coach, Michigan Wolverines player Nik Stauskas had had it with a lost shoe, refusing to slip it back on by just tossing it in the stands during a game at Duke earlier this year.

    When under pressure to tie a shoe, it can be actually be pretty frustrating, crossing the laces and making sure it's snug enough.

    For that reason, I applaud Stauskas' decision.

    Plus, he did it towards the Cameron Crazies, which was a small form of payback for all the wild stuff they've done over the years.

Kevin Durant

12 of 17

    Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

    I know very well why Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant wore these floral-patterned, pink shoes for a game earlier this year—to fulfill a promise to his late aunt Pearl. Still, one can't say with a straight face that they aren't ugly.

    Trust me, from the bottom of my heart, a great idea by KD, but couldn't he have toned it down just a little bit more?

    I clearly have nothing but great things to say about the thought, though, as it shows that Durant has the best interests of others in mind.

Shayla Cooper

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    When playing a game of basketball, one thing to never try to duplicate is this rare feat by Georgetown women's baller Shayla Cooper, who thought tossing her shoe in the air to try and swat a shot would be a good move.

    Proving that she was no naturally-born Dikembe Mutombo, I guess her shoe was the next best thing—I just wonder if she'd wag her big toe to replace the finger Mutombo used to?

O.J. Mayo

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    No joke, this actually happened.

    I get that sometimes a shoe problem might occur for a player during a basketball game, but if it happens while on defense, that guy should never bend down to fix it.

    It's too bad Milwaukee Bucks guard O.J. Mayo didn't think about that first, as he turned his back to a play against the Denver Nuggets earlier this season to tie his shoe, basically giving the Nugs a free two points.

    Talk about poor team defense.

Marc Gasol

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    Like a few others on this list, Memphis Grizzlies All-Star Marc Gasol figured he'd just use his lost shoe as help to play defense last year.

    Rather than struggle with trying to put the thing back on, Gasol thought it'd be best to go for a steal on Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors—with the shoe in hand.

    Not exactly a flagrant foul, but I'm sure the Spaniard didn't do it without intent.

Manu Ginobili

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    Has anyone ever seriously seen anything like this before?

    While there have been a number of athletes who have lost their shoes for a variety of reasons, when the San Antonio Spurs' Manu Ginobili sliced his shoe wide open last week against the Detroit Pistons, it looked as if he had a mini bomb go off in there.

    I'm not sure what type of kicks Manu typically wears, but it might be time to explore other options with this type of stuff happening.

J.R. Smith

17 of 17

    It hasn't been a great season for J.R. Smith, has it?

    After winning the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award last season, he's been frustrated all year, seeing his numbers drop, getting in heated battles with his head coach and untying opposing players' shoes during free-throw attempts.

    Smith's most recent stunt was snapping Vince Carter's headband, but it has been his sniper-like shoelace untying that has seen him get in major trouble with the league.

    That's quite some coin for doing something so childish, wouldn't you say?

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