10 Athletes Who Fell Victim to Crazy Practical Jokes
Receiver Mohamed Sanu was the victim of a practical joke on Thursday night when someone called him pretending to be from the Cincinnati Bengals intending to draft him with the 27th pick. The Bengals wound up taking the Rutgers product in the third round and there were no hard feelings toward the kid who had pranked Sanu.
But Sanu isn’t the first athlete to be the target of a hoax.
Here’s a look back at 10 other athletes who fell victim:
He’s known as a bit of a jokester, so Shaq got a served some of his own medicine in 2009 following a practice. Suns’ forward Lou Amundson filled Shaq’s car with pink packing peanuts. It was done as revenge for Shaq supposedly stealing Amundson’s bicycle from its spot over the course of the season.
Ashton Kutcher’s MTV show ‘Punk’d’ took on the Mavericks’ forward in 2005 by sending an adoring young fan into the restaurant seeking an autograph. And then having him return to interrupt Dirk’s dinner again with some more paraphernalia for him to sign. Nowitzki had a heart and the patience to deal with the kid for quite a while before he cut him off to the dismay of the kid and his waiting mother. After some pressure, Dirk agreed to continue the signature fest. “You might be the nicest guy in the NBA,” a member of his dinner party says.
In 1988, the Dodgers’ slugger had issues with a practical joke perpetrated by his new teammates who put eye-black inside of his hat that left a black mark on Gibson’s forehead. He took exception to the prank, and left the clubhouse in protest before the team’s exhibition game against the Chunichi Dragons. Years later, Gibson, now manager of the Diamondbacks, was in better spirits when his team all wore ties for a flight that featured pictures of Gibson. “I’ll pick a good opportunity,” Gibson said about reliever J.J. Putz, who orchestrated the whole thing. “I’ll get him. If he keeps getting guys out, he can prank me all he wants.”
Babe Ruth was notorious as a lovable prankster, and he pulled off one of his best stunts in 1929 on his new teammate, Ed Wells. Ruth invited Wells to go on a double date with him, but when they arrived to pick up the ladies, someone else greeted them, accusing Ruth of committing adultery with his wife. He then shot a blank from his gun at Ruth, who pretended to be hit. Wells took of running, and the Yankees all carried on the ruse for days that Ruth was on his deathbed. Even after Wells was filled in — after passing out — he reportedly never had a sense of humor about the encounter.
Moe Drabowsky might not be a household name, but the former journeyman pitcher was one of the best practical jokers in MLB history. In one of his most memorable stunts, he called the Kansas City bullpen during a game to get his teammate Krausse up and loose, pretending that Krausse was going to be coming into the game. Then, minutes later, Drabowsky informed the bullpen to have Krausse sit back down, and he wasn’t entering the game. Earlier in his career, Drabowsky used a wheelchair to get to first base after he was hit by a pitch.
It’s one of the league’s worst moments in recent years, and it all started as a practical joke. Wizards’ star Gilbert Arenas pulled a gun on teammate Javaris Crittenton in 2010 after a locker room dispute escalated. “I know Gilbert is a good guy,” Pacers guard T.J. Ford said. “I don’t think, like he said in his statement, that he was trying to hurt anybody.” Most people didn’t have a sense of humor about the incident, and the Wizards parted ways with Arenas later that year via trade.
Soccer player Michael Harrington was the victim of an innocent April Fools’ Day prank orchestrated by his Kansas City Wizards’ teammates in 2010. They told Harrington that Maxim magazine was doing a photo shoot that required him to dress up like a cat. Cameramen shot Harrington from all angles, purring and pawing around the field, and his teammates watched the footage later on.
The British sprinter had a revolutary idea last year: He asked eBay to fund his Olympic quest. But when the auction ended, the winner didn’t come forward, and it appears that it was all for naught. “For me personally, I wouldn’t be missing about with someone’s career but there are certain people out there who like to mess things up.” In the meantime, Ellington forged on, preparing for the Summer Olympic Games. He said he has other backers lined up, and he’s not seeing the auction’s disappointing end distract him.
Ellington isn’t the only Olympian to fall victim to a prank leading up to an Olympics. Back in 2008, New Zealand relay swimmer Orinoco Faamausili-Banse-Prince fell for a practical joke of teammate Matt Herring: “He texted me and said: ‘I’ve got some bad news.’ I was preparing myself for the worst, then he texted back and said ‘just kidding.'” With so much on the line leading up to the world’s biggest games, even a small prank can have damaging effects. But Faamausili-Banse-Prince shook it off.
Beware of the perils of social media. Matt Cochran’s college football recruitment included YouTube videos and some interaction via social networking. After Cochran’s teammate Aziz Shittu signed onto Cochran’s Facebook account and posted that he had committed to Auburn this winter, all hell broke loose. “I found out two hours after he did it,” said Cochran. “It was kind of funny. But it was a mess for a little while.” Especially after Cochran really committed to play with the California Golden Bears. Good joke? You decide.