The Most Perfectly Timed Sports Photos You Probably Didn’t Catch Live
Fantastic images are one of the best byproducts of sports. Yes, we all watch for the highlight-reel catch or hit. But what we don’t often see during the games are the great images captured by the photographers who dot the arena, patiently waiting for the perfect shot. Thanks to some advanced camera technology and a bit of luck, us fans are now able to see some of the coolest, funniest, and most well-timed images in the history of sports. Let’s have a look at some of the most impeccably-timed sports images in recent memory.
On the Ball
Keep your eye on the ball. That’s one of the first rules any baseball coach will teach their youngsters. In the big leagues, the rule still applies, and here this Diamondbacks player took it too literally. All eyes, no glove. Instead of catching the ball with his glove, he caught it with his nose. Talk about a face full of leather.
Hopefully he’s okay, because if he isn’t, we’d feel really bad for laughing. Realistically, the player got some glove on the ball before it struck him in the face, slowing it down enough. But let this be a lesson to all of you future baseball stars: catching with the glove is much easier and more forgiving than using your noggin.
Wheels on water
Not quite walking on water, but dirt biking on water is a pretty close second. And no, this isn’t photoshopped whatsoever. It’s legendary rider and stuntman Robbie Maddison using a specialized dirt bike to that churns water beneath his wheels instead of dirt. With a custom ski, similar to that of a water ski, mounted on each side of the bike and a paddle tire on the back of the bike, the dirt bike was able to stay afloat and actually ride the wives in to shore like a surfer.
A paddle tire, for reference, is a specialized dirt bike or ATV tire. Fitted with large paddles (think about those boats with the large wheels that churn water) designed to scoop sand and mud, the paddle tires are perfect for extreme conditions but are pretty much useless elsewhere.
You cannot teach the Mamba Mentality. You can’t learn it. You can’t acquire it, either. One either has it or doesn’t. Obviously Kobe Bryant, founding father of the mamba mentality, has it, and it was on full display here in this picture.
Matt Barnes of the Orlando Magic was attempting to inbound the pass while an immovable object stood in his way: Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. In one of the more memorable non-basketball basketball plays, Barnes pump-faked the ball directly at Kobe’s face. Kobe didn’t budge. Not one inch. Barnes recollected the ball and threw it elsewhere, realizing intimidating Bryant was an exercise in futility.
To conclude, don’t test Kobe Bryant. Ever.
Body kicks can do some serious damage. They are not as exciting as a well-timed punch or kick to the head/face, but they can be equally effective. An effective body kick can break ribs, dole out pain, or knock the wind out of one’s opponent. Either way, a roundhouse kick to the midsection can end a fight in a matter of seconds, and, as a result, it’s best to avoid them.
Here, the fighter in white left places a perfectly-timed kick to the ribs of the opponent in black. The kick sent a ripple effect through the body and made the skull tattoo look like an actual head getting indented. As a result of the kick, his ribs were probably very sore.
Not an alien. Not some pour soul caught in an awful shrink wrap prank. It’s someone bathing in clear gel. Just kidding, it’s actually Tyler Clary of the United States Swim Team. Taken milliseconds before he broke the surface of the water, Clary looks like a foreign object blazing through a gelatinous substance.
At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Clary captured his first and only Olympic gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke event.
Clary, a California native, retired in 2016 after he failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Since retiring from competitive swimming, Clary has taken up coaching, but this impressive image will live on forever.
Pick of the Day
Having an embarrassing moment broadcasted live for the world to see is a less than perfect scenario. But if you’re an NBA superstar, it’s almost inevitable. Over the course of one’s career, it’s more likely than not that the constantly rolling cameras will capture something slightly regrettable.
In the case of NBA legend LeBron James, his embarrassing moment came in the form of a solid nose pick. Maybe he had to clear his airways, or maybe there was a nose goblin he just couldn’t resist picking. Whatever the reason, ‘Bron had his index finger firmly lodged in deep his left nostril.
Talk about a solid pick and roll.
Fans that run onto the field are flat-out obnoxious. There’s no place in sports for streakers or anyone else that runs onto the field in a desperate attempt to gain attention or social media followers. Not only does this act pose a risk for players, it disrupts the game and makes security even tighter for the rest of us. NO FUN. So, fans, please stay in the seats. There is, for us fans, one major benefit field invaders provide: comedic value. When you run on the field, anything goes. Body slams, tackles, and clotheslines. Whatever it takes to bring the fan to the ground, because nothing is more important than player safety. Except revenue, of course.
Sometimes it’s a player (best case scenario) and other times it’s security (average excitement). Either way, it’s very entertaining watching an inebriated fan attempt to dodge tackles.
In the end, it always ends poorly for the fan. In this case, an Ohio State Buckeye assistant coach caught and slammed this young buck. Look at that form. This guy definitely wrestled and played football and hasn’t forgotten his technique.
The real question is whether or not the fan will be able to remove the grass stains from his shorts.
Bull fighting is a highly controversial sport that primarily takes place in Spain and Latin America. The premise is simple. Bring a ferocious and furious bull into the arena to square off against a human (called the matador) armed with a cape and sword.
The match has multiple rounds in which the matador entertains the crowd while royally upsetting the bull. In the final round, the matador uses his sword to kill the bull in front of thousands of passionate fans.
Considered an art form and a culturally important spectacle in parts of Europe, bullfighting’s popularity has waned in recent decades. Critics of the event claim its outdated as well as cruel and torturous.
The hurdle, spin move, stiff-arm, juke, and lowering of the shoulder are all considered acceptable football moves the ball carrier can use to avoid the defender. Hurdling and kicking your opponent in the facemask is not. Antonio Brown, star receiver of the Pittsburgh Steelers, apparently did not get the memo.
He did get the hefty fine after the game. On a punt return, Brown broke through everyone on the Brown’s defense except for the punter. In a curious move, Brown attempted to hurdle the Brown’s punter but couldn’t get enough air. On the way down, Brown braced for impact by sticking his foot in the punter’s face in one of the more comical plays of the season.
A Stuck Puck
Another classic case of keeping your eye on the ball and taking it a bit too literally. The clear visor, affixed to the majority of helmets in the NHL, is supposed to shield and protect the player from sticks and pucks. For New York Rangers’ Dan Giardi, his visor did the exact opposite.
An errant puck, flipped up off the ice, became lodged between Giardi’s face and the visor, giving Girardi a most-unusual eye patch. Play was halted and Giardi casually removed the puck from his face.
Maybe Giardi should transition to the full-face cage rather than risking this from happening again.
Baby and the Ball
Talk about living your life on the edge. Here this Cubs fan risks two very valuable things. First, the dad risks the safety of his child who appears to be slipping through his grasp. The baby, just hanging on by a thread, miraculously didn’t plummet to the ground and the dad, somehow, managed to snatch the ball. Besides risking his kid, which his wife presumably gave him an earful for after the game, the dad blatantly interfered with the Dodgers first baseman. This guy is probably the worst fan/father combination in baseball history.
Fan interference is an all-too common element in baseball, and if its called, the fan can be ejected and the team that was interfered with awarded an out.
Moral of the story: let the baseball players play ball and please, for the love of god, value your kid over a souvenir baseball.
Bend it like Beckham? No, bend it like McGwire. While playing for the Oakland Athletics, the famed power hitter won his first and only World Series. Pictured above is McGwire making solid contact with the ball that bends the bat into an almost unnatural curve.
Now, we’re not physicists over here at TieBreaker, but we do know that wood is a flexible material that can bend. Wood bats are also considered safer than metal because the speed of the ball coming off the bat, thanks to its flexibility, is less than that of metal.
The big criticism of wooden bats is their ability to break and splinter off, potentially hitting players and fans.
The Frenzied French
The Tour de France is the most prestigious bicycle race in the world, bar none. Simply put, it’s the Super Bowl of bicycling, except bigger. Ever heard of Lance Armstrong? Yes, that guy. The steroid-taking cyclist who won an unprecedented seven consecutive Tour de France titles. He put that race on the map for the casual American sports fan. But what’s even cooler than fast bikes, jaw-dropping views, and crazy crashes is the intimacy of the race. The course winds through the French countryside directly through small towns, and that means the fans can get exceptionally close to the racers.
The problem is, there are a few bad apples in every bunch, and by that we mean some fans take their excitement a little too far.
Often, fans will chase, harass, and distract riders. Sometimes, the fans get too close and can actually interfere with the rider’s progress or, even worse, cause an accident. Pictured above is one fan sprinting after a cyclist while a second fan attempts to trip the rapid fan before he can interfere with the race.
Hugs and Kisses
Hug it out boys. Despite what you think, this encounter between Tristan Thompson and David West was not cordial, whatsoever. The two stars squared off in back-to-back NBA Finals, with Golden State taking both and sweeping the 2018 series. To make matters worse for Thompson and the Cavs, West rejected Thompson’s sneaky smooch attempt.
Moments after the two appeared to share a hug and a kiss, tempers flared and the peace was gone. What replaced it was shoving and screaming, resulting in the two players needing to be separated.
In the end, there would be no love lost between the two big men. Furthermore, the Cavs would end up losing the series, again.
Bat Out of Hell
Batter up, fan down. Okay, we realize this is actually not funny and is one of the scariest things that can happen at a baseball game. Anytime a hard, wooden object goes hurtling through the air at unsuspecting fans, bad, potentially lethal, things can happen. Despite tickets saying the fan takes full responsibility for what happens in a game, not many people prepare for a flying bat released from the hands of a hard-swinging slugger.
Just look at this picture. People looking like the most horrifying foreign object just landed on earth. Petrified and too shocked to do anything but resort to their primal instincts.
Thankfully most times this happens, the fans are ok. But baseball needs to either install more netting or make sure fans are more glued to the game rather than their phones. Above all, fans really need to understand the risks of attending a live sporting event.
Use Your Head
Objectively speaking, women’s soccer is less popular than men’s. It’s the less-watched counterpart, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. One of the game’s most exciting plays, the header, is also one of the most dangerous. Concussions, broken bones, and, of course, electrifying goals are all byproducts of headers. Pictured above are two players, both with their eyes shut, attempting to gain control of the ball. Interestingly enough, the ball looks like it has its own hair style. Perhaps a mohawk?
The result of this game remains unknown to us, but one thing that we do know is just how cool the ball looks. Seriously, it looks like a pop singer with a highly-stylized haircut. It also looks like a smiling emoji with the black making up both the smile and the eyes.
They say you need to get your head in the game, but for this United States Olympic shot put athlete, he decided to get his face in the game. Shot put is an ancient sport used to demonstrate raw power. Participants throw a heavy ball (the shot) that can weigh up to 16 pounds as far as possible. Whoever throws the shot furthest wins.
There are two primary techniques used to launch the shot. The oldest, and less popular, is the glide, while the newer, more popular technique is referred to as the spin.
Today, the men’s world record is 23.12 meters and the men’s Olympic record is 22.52 meters and the women’s world and Olympic records are 22.63 and 22.41 meters, respectively.
An Unnatural Elbow
Chris Sale is one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He throws hard and he throws accurate. Due to his dominance, he’s also one of the highest paid players in the game. Pitching, from a distance, looks like a fairly routine throwing motion. But in reality, it’s anything but. It’s actually an incredibly taxing and damaging, almost unnatural, motion, and it’s one of the reasons pitchers are some of the most injured players in baseball.
Take a look at Sale’s arm here. It’s nearly parallel to the ground and is about to whip forward, generating extreme torque.
And it’s this extreme motion that results in pitchers frequently needing a somewhat baseball-specific surgery called Tommy John. When someone needs Tommy John surgery, it means their UCL, a ligament in the elbow, is torn and needs to be replaced- usually with a tendon from a different part of their body.
Hanging on by a Dread
A hairy situation. No, tackling someone by their hair is not illegal. It’s not a horse collar tackle, and it’s not frowned upon. The hair, according to the NFL rulebook, is an extension of the uniform, so long as it extends outside of the helmet. Although the tackle may look bad, it hardly ever results in injury, but it does remove a chunk of hair.
Jadeveon Clowney (not pictured above), a defensive end on the Texans who dragged an opponent to the ground by their dreads, told NBC Sports, “I got dreads. I know that hurts. He said, ‘Come on, man, why you do that?’ I said, ‘Come on, man why you try to run from me?’ It’s part of the uniform. If I had to reach for him again, I would.”
Seems like both players were okay with the outcome, in contrast to the faces displayed. Dreads look cool and are a completely acceptable part of the uniform to tackle by.
The slam dunk is one of the most exciting plays in basketball, but it can also be one of the most dangerous. Players can get undercut while in the air, fall from bigger heights, or worse, the backboard can shatter into a million little pieces.
Shaq is one of the more notable players who had an affinity towards shattering basketballs. Pictured here is high schooler Nubian Spann rising up and bringing down the house and hoop.
When the backboard shatters, play is stopped and the glass is cleaned up from the floor. Hopefully, the school had a spare hoop on hand or else the teams would have been forced to play half court.
Facing Your Fears
Olympic diving is a lot more intense than canon balling from the diving board at grandma’s pool. The high dive, for instance, is from a 10 meter-high platform. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the metric system, that’s about 10 yards or 30 feet.
That’s a hefty height to begin with, now add in elaborate, technically challenging flips, twists, and turns, and the event becomes even more intense.
Divers, despite this photo not being too flattering, are some of the most athletic people on the planet. Generally they are small, don’t weigh too much, and are incredibly flexible, not to mention they have nerves of steel.
Getting it Twisted
From the looks of it, Panthers’ Ted Ginn Jr. is asking New Orleans Saints’ punter Thomas Morstead, “Why you gotta do me like that?” The facemask is one of the most dangerous plays in the NFL and is 15-yard penalty in addition to an automatic first down.
There is an incidental facemask which is only a five-yard penalty, although it’s less common than the 15-yard version.
Although the play is incredibly dangerous and always frowned upon, it can sometimes save the game or a touchdown. Here, it’s likely Morstead was the last line of defense, and had he not gotten a hold of Ginn’s facemask, the Panthers would have scored.
The Sweetest Shower
The best shower in the world. Not the champagne shower and not the hot shower after a long day. Nope, the best shower in the world is the Gatorade shower. Tradition has it that the Gatorade shower, also known as a Gatorade bath, was first introduced to sports back in the 1984 NFL season.
After the New York Giants defeated the Washington Redskins in a regular season matchup, multiple players showered head coach Bill Parcells with Gatorade, and the tradition continued throughout the season, although Parcells wasn’t happy about this.
Today, it’s common place in nearly every sport, .
Pictured here is Duke head coach David Cutcliffe receiving a Gatorade shower after his Blue Devils defeated Northern Illinois in the 2017 Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit.
Do they wear cups in soccer? Hopefully, but probably not. For No. 9 on the blue team, he’s just out on the field trying to make a difference. Collect the ball of his chest and make a play. Enter No. 28 on the white team. A classic, from behind sneak attack executed to perfection.
Rather than trying to step in front of the No. 9, 28 simply sticks his cleat in between 9’s unsuspecting legs.
Assuming 28 used some technique and had some follow through on his kick, 9 probably went down to the ground withering in pain. And in this case, the pain and reaction was warranted, unlike most soccer “injuries.”
So for our male readers, wear a cup, and, to conclude, always be ready for the unexpected.
Bawh god it’s a ghost. Check out the floating head suspended in mid-air between the quarterback and the line. If you look closely enough, you can see a helmetless No. 62 blocking big No. 97. When a player loses their helmet mid-play, the whistle is blown and the play ends. The player who lost their helmet, per NCAA rules, must sit out the next play.
Despite the gripes of fans, this rule is pragmatic. Hits to the head are scary and potentially dangerous. Thankfully, the NCAA and NFL are taking more precautions than ever to reduce head injuries.
Fortunately, with new helmet technology, the frequency of this play has been decreased, but, consequently, players are forced to sit on the sidelines for a play.
You’re not seeing double. You’re seeing a perfect reflection created by this hardcore wake boarder. What he’s doing, besides holding an impressive angle, is checking out his stylish looks on the water inches below. These extreme athletes shred on lakes, rivers, and oceans, busting out crazy acrobatic tricks.
The motor boat, which pulls the rider along at high speeds, creates some impressive waves which double as the rider’s jumps. As a result, wake boarders can catch some serious air.
The wake boarder, attached to the boat by tow rope, is bounded to board in a similar setup that snowboarders use: boots and bindings.
Some riders prefer to wear helmets due to violent crashes that are far too common in the sport.
You can’t keep your eye on the ball when you’ve got this much hair blocking your vision. For tennis players with long hair, the kiss of death can be the sometimes unavoidable hair to the eyes. When it happens, your world goes dark. Your primary sense taken. At this point, there’s nothing left to do except pray. Pray for a light at the end of the tunnel, the tunnel which you cannot see.
In reality, her hair probably moved back behind her head and the match carried on as normal. But for that split second, all hope was lost. The match could have been out of her control, thanks to an unruly, uncooperative ponytail.
It kinds of looks like a massive bikini top made of sand. It kind of looks like a swarm of bees. What actually happened is much less interesting. It’s simply a long jumper getting acquainted with the sand pit after a jump. One of the oldest track and field and Olympic sports, long jumping, also called broad jumping, is very straightforward.
Run as fast as you can for a certain distance and then jump as far forward as possible. Whoever has the longest jump wins.
In 1968, Bob Beamon set men’s record, which still stands today. In 1988, Jackei Joyner set the women’s record. Look for these records to be broken in the near future due to better training regiments and technology.
Focus. Focus. Focus. Then strike. Crouching tiger, hidden dragon type stuff. Except on the ping pong table. Most of you have probably played ping pong in a recreational setting. Maybe a dorm room or in a friend’s basement. Maybe your basement. But ping pong is actually a highly competitive sport that has even made it to the Olympics.
Yes, ping pong. Officially called table tennis, the sport first saw action in the 1988 Olympics. Since then, Asian countries, specifically China, have dominated the sport.
The sport’s origins can be traced back to Victorian Era England, but this picture is about as modern as it gets. Wrist watch, hi-tech looking glasses and a dri-fit Polo shirt.
Armed and Ready
Seems like your worst nightmare, but, at the same time, having four arms would be amazing in some sports. Think baseball or basketball. Rock climbing or kayaking. How about football. A four-armed receiver would be unstoppable. In soccer, fairly useless, because you can’t use your arms in the sport unless you’re complaining or flopping to the ground and need to clutch your supposedly injured leg.
Lucky for this guy in the yellow, the four arms are just an illusion. What is not an illusion is the visible frustration on the man’s face. Look at the frustration on his face. Look at his arms held in a position of disgust.
Despite the call not going team Yellow’s way, it did make for a great photo of two players simultaneously complaining and holding their arms out in hilarious fashion.