Hello, friends, and welcome to our grand retrospective of the year 2011, and the sports happenings to which we bore witness. As we did last year, we are taking a look back through the lens of the humble animated GIF.What is an animated GIF? Well, here’s an example of a GIF I sent my associate Spencer Hall last year, and his reaction over instant message.
Spencer: oh god
Spencer: I’m dying
Spencer: my stomach hurts
Like him, I laughed uncontrollably. Why? I don’t know! It just hits this mystical forbidden note of funny. That is what GIFs tend to do. Others document ridiculous moments, and still others are downright heartwarming. They are the silent tellers of stories, of which the world of sports has no shortage.
Here, then, I’ve listed the 50 greatest sports-centric animated GIFs of the year 2011. I’ve broken them up into a series of pages — sorry to make you click through them, but GIFs are rather technologically inefficient, and placing too many on a single page is capable of making one’s browser explode.
A note before we proceed: almost none of these GIFs were made by me. Many come by way of @bubbaprog, @jose3030, @cjzero, @LookoutLanding, and @mccoveychron. If you like sports, and you like GIFs, you should probably follow them.
15. Jarius Wright’s nutso catch
If this football were an email, Darius Wright would have starred it, marked it as important, caught a dozen Facebook footballs notifying him that he was tagged seven times in his friend’s “Good Times at the Pumkin [sic] Farm!!!” photo album, and finally answered it a week later when his quarterback sent him a follow-up email titled, “Re: ception” because whenever you have a chance to make a great email-jargon joke like that, you have to take it.
Check out all 50 at SBNation >
14. Derrick Rose on the court with Michael Jordan
This is taken from the awesome “opening day” promo aired by TNT prior to the games on Christmas Day. Honestly, someone could GIF any given three seconds of that video and I would love it, but this … man. Michael Jordan on the court with Derrick Rose. It is impossible not to love this. God, what would that have been like?
Photo: NBA on TNT
MICHAEL JORDAN. wooooo slamn dunk
DERRICK ROSE. Hey, thanks man. It really is great to be able to go back in time to the 1990s and run the court with you.
JORDAN. hey do you want to play pogs
JORDAN. pogs are great, do you want to play w/them w/me
ROSE. I … don’t know what pogs are.
JORDAN. milk caps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
JORDAN. you stack em up and take a slammer an hit em w/ it and powwww
ROSE. Oh, uh, all right.
JORDAN. its 1995 and pogs HAS TOOKEN THE WORLD BY STORM
JORDAN. do you want to see my pog collection
ROSE. Maybe … later? I went back in time to play basketball, you know?
JORDAN. wellllll i got one pog that says “the bomb” its a hologram. got another thats a yingyang. its worth a buttload of money. oh and this other one is custom cut, its a 8-ball. those are the best pogs, the yingyang, the holograms, the
ROSE. Listen, they sound great, but I don’t —
JORDAN. but remember you can’t play pogs w/o a slammer. there’s ALL KINDS OF SLAMMERS one of em is called Bigfoot, you scratch it an it smells like bubble gum. you can use the stupid plastic slammers that come w/ a pack of pogs but those are for beavises. my friend josh has a uncle who has a slammer that’s MADE OF GOLD and
ROSE. OK. ALL RIGHT. SHUT UP! I DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOUR POGS
JORDAN. oh um. k
JORDAN. do you want to play with pogs/a pog
JORDAN. i have a question
ROSE. Yes. What?
JORDAN. do you want to play with p–
13. DO SOMETHING, GARY BETTMAN
OK, OK, first of all. From last year’s animated GIF list:
And now, in 2011:
12. DOUBLE KILL
There is no way that the guy who got hit in the face with the football is a high school kid who got lost on his way to the bus stop. Stop it. Stop that right now, Jon. There are plenty of reasons why someone would wear a backpack on the sideline. Maybe he’s carrying filming equipment for that cameraman or something. Maybe an extra football, or just general football miscellanea! I mean, there has to be one guy who has extra kicking tees or end zone cones or something on hand, right, just in case?
Yes, yes, I know, it looks like a school uniform. Knock it off! Plenty of grown men wear khakis and a white button-down shirt, OK? I mean, listen. Do you really think–
Aw, f*** it. Yeah, OK, this is a 16-year-old who never made it to school on Monday because he just wandered aimlessly through New Jersey and found himself in the Meadowlands and then he got hit in the dome by a football and it is hilarious. That is totally what happened. You happy, Jon? Listen, you can make one snide remark. One. And then we’re done, because we have a lot of other GIFs to get to. Make it good!
Well, this guy may not have found the bus stop, but HE STILL GOT TAKEN TO SCHOOL! WOOOOOO
Yes, OK, good. Moving on.
11. The dancing referee
I know this might look like a simple out-of-bounds or travel situation, and that there’s no conceivable reason for the referee to be doing … whatever it is he’s doing. What you don’t understand is that whenever a game gets dull, referees have the seldom-exercised right to declare Super Xtreme Basketball Fun Time, which you see him doing here.
Super Xtreme Basketball Fun Time differs from standard basketball in several ways.
- The shot clock is replaced with the surviving lineup of Bachman Turner Overdrive performing the chorus to “Takin’ Care of Business.”
- Fourteen extra live basketballs are introduced.
- The backboards are replaced with chimpanzees.
- The area of play is shared with the game show Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? While the basketball game is in progress, a child will run around and place beacons on the appropriate countries on the map that is painted over the court. Players are encouraged to help!
- Anyone who was a cast member in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is allowed to wander on the court and act with complete impunity.
Unfortunately, this GIF does not last long enough to show you the ensuing spectacle after the referee declared Super Xtreme Basketball Fun Time. Bummer. Animated GIFs are beautiful things, but they have their technological limitations.
10. Duke attempts to play football
Blacksmith Scene, a 29-second film produced in 1893, is the first known example of a film that actually featured actors playing roles. I’ll sum it up for you: three blacksmiths bang away at an anvil. Then they stop and take a drink out of a bottle of beer. Then they start banging the anvil again. That is the entire thing.
The film itself, of course, is profoundly meaningless and maladroit, but it was an important first step in understanding and demonstrating what film was and how it could be used. I bring this up because this right here is the damn Blacksmith Scene of football.
9. 19th-inning July baseball
There is nothing I could possibly say to you that this gentleman is not already saying.
8. The falsest start ever
Here, Wolfpack wideout Bryan Underwood is playing football as a turn-based RPG.
“Player LOUISVILLE! NC STATE has attacked you with an OUT ROUTE! What are your orders?”
c) Use DOUBLE COVERAGE (-75 mp)
7. ‘Worst day ever.’
This beautiful moment came on the heels of a loss to the Chiefs, which was forced to overtime to begin with because Philip Rivers managed to fumble away the ball one play removed from a chip-shot game-winning field goal attempt. As a Chiefs fan, this was the happiest I found myself all year.
But I don’t think I’ve ever seen such honest, G-rated candidness from an athlete in the wake of defeat. It was such a “d’awww bonkers” to all the angels and demons out there, and all of a sudden, I didn’t dislike Philip Rivers anymore.
6. Delonte West posterizes himself
DOINK. Check out that camera flash halfway through the GIF. Someone caught him mid-flight! That’s gonna make an awesome poster, although some modest edits will probably be necessary.
5. Marshawn Lynch’s world-famous beastmode
This is perhaps the most well-known GIF of the year. We’ve all seen Marshawn Lynch’s 67-yard, world-destroying touchdown by now, but it would be tough to see it too many times — specifically, the moment above in which he administers a ruinous stiff-arm to the Saints’ Tracy Porter, and Porter just pops off him like an ember popping off a log up into the chimney. For the 300th time: DAMN.
4. Aaron Dobson’s catch
This is a no-look, one-handed, backhanded catch made while wrapped up with a defender. This, in terms of degree of difficulty, is the catch of the year across any and every sport.
Not only that, it may be the greatest catch of all time in any sport.
In fact, it just might be the only catch that has ever happened, and I think it’s appropriate to ask whether it’s the only thing that has ever happened.
That catch and this paragraph about that catch are the only two things that have ever happened in the history of the universe.
Wait. Sorry, got carried away. I meant that first thing though.
3. ‘That’s a travel.’
When Jerome Simpson executed this perfect (yeah, come on, let’s just go ahead and call it perfect, who cares) three-point landing a couple weekends ago, the Internet reached a universal consensus: “that was awesome.” But it was Christmas weekend, and if you were watching the game with your crotchety, biased disapproving relative, you heard the other side of it.
“That’s … see, that’s not a touchdown. He’s gotta touch the plane. Or cross the plane.”
It looks like he did that, Crotchety Biased Disapproving Relative.
“No, you can see right there.”
See what? Right where?
“See, the NFL’s just become this big freak show. Everyone wants to showboat. Where’s the flag, ref? I mean, seriously.”
He wouldn’t have made it into the end zone if he hadn’t done that.
“I’ve been seeing the Bengals in the news every day. Bengals? Yeah, they’re birds all right. Jailbirds!”
Bengals aren’t birds.
“OK, I’m just gonna say it.” [takes swig of courage from coffee mug full of Franzia] ” Sorry if this isn’t exactly politically correct, but I don’t know why all the black fellas have to showboat all the time.”
“Uh, your aunt says it’s time for us to go. Bye, kiddo. Let me know if you build any neat stuff with those Lincoln Logs!”
I AM 25
A cautionary lesson to clubhouse managers: make sure you stock enough baseballs. Because if you don’t, suddenly it’s the ninth inning and you’re out of baseballs, and the game has to be played with one of those bouncing dots that appear above lyrics in sing-alongs.
Unfortunately for the Yankees’ infield, the bouncing sing-along dot was borrowed from this song:
1. The runaway golf cart
One moment, the guy in the blue shirt and khakis was mingling. The next, he was reclined over the front seat of a utility cart. “Pfffft y’all trippin’, I gotta bounce. AUTOCART GO!” Nobody was seriously injured here, which makes this the most ballin’ exit of all time.
Photo: Via River Avenue Blues
Or at least, it would have been. As field staffers raced to his aid, his mind raced desperately to come up with the ballin-est accompanying rap jam he could think of. Something to really complete the moment. Unfortunately, this was the only rap he knew.
The greatest opportunities are wasted on the unprepared. Pity.
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