Christopher Bumbaca USA TODAY
Published 8:01 AM EDT Jul 18, 2019
Hot dogs are as American as baseball, and really, all sports.
On July 17, the nation celebrated National Hot Dog Day. Fast-food chains and convenience stores are offering discounts and other deals.
Here at USA TODAY Sports, we celebrated the “holiday” a little differently. Take a look at some of the best hot-doggers in all of sports, aka the athletes and coaches who maybe take things a little too far sometimes.
You know, the showboats. The players who toe the line between “let the kids play” and offending the opposing team.
Most of the names may not shock you. Some might. Let’s dive in.
Yasiel Puig (baseball)
MLB wasn’t going to rename the postseason the Puig-season anytime soon, but the Cincinnati Reds outfielder has always played the game with passion. Sometimes, though, the passion can revert to a nonchalant display that costs him on the field. So much so that Albert Pujols once had to teach him a lesson. But Puig’s fiery attitude makes him among the most polarizing figures in MLB, which is trying to loosen the reigns of the old guard that values tradition and lack of emotion on the field. That’s good news for Puig.
Baker Mayfield (football)
Colin Cowherd approves of this selection. It’s no secret the Browns quarterback plays the game zealously. Most of the time, it’s entertaining and a pleasure to watch. Sometimes, though, he takes it a step too far. At Oklahoma, he grabbed his crotch in the direction of an opposing bench and planted an OU flag on an opposing team’s logo at midfield. Mayfield didn’t do anything too wild during his rookie season, a sign that perhaps his hot-dogging days may be behind him.
Kyrie Irving (basketball)
From his dribble moves to his passes to his layups, Irving is one of the flashiest players in the league. His handles are otherworldly — and he knows it. Need an example? Look no further than the 2013 Rising Stars Challenge.
Russell Westbrook (basketball)
Westbrook’s hot-dogging style is much different than Irving’s, but it still turns heads. While Irving is smooth and methodical, Westbrook is vicious and unforgiving. His rim-rattling dunks. His 20-20-20 triple-double. His rock-the-baby celebration. Westbrook is one of the most entertaining one-man shows in sports.
Conor McGregor (MMA/boxing)
Just watch McGregor’s entrances to the ring or his pre-fight news conferences, and the picture becomes quite clear that the man thinks a lot of himself. And rightfully so. He’s grossed more than $32 million during his fighting career, which includes helping put MMA on the map and even crossing over to boxing for a fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr. For reference, he said this at UFC 189 media day:
“I own this town. I own Rio de Janeiro. So for him to say that he is the king and I am the joker, if this was a different time, I would invade his favela on horseback and would kill anyone who wasn’t fit to work. But we’re in a new time, so I’ll whoop his (expletive) instead.”
Odell Beckham Jr. (football)
OBJ turns heads with his talent — acrobatic catches and blazing speed — but he does the same with his on-field antics as well. He basically had a war against a kicking net on the sideline and isn’t afraid to rip off his helmet and reveal his emotions.
Bryce Harper (baseball)
Look to Tuesday night as one of the prime reasons Harper lands on this list. The lefty slugger ripped a walk-off hit that rolled to the wall, and he had quite a good time celebrating the win. Also, the two-handed bat throw as he walked off last year’s Home Run Derby was quite the spectacle.
Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer)
Ronaldo isn’t afraid to show off his touch and passing skills, making the opposition look bad in the process. And when he finds the back of the net, the entire stadium is treated to a memorable celebration.
Antonio Brown (football)
The Raiders wide receiver has long been known for his spirited touchdown celebrations, and his gyrations helped land him a role on “Dancing with the Stars.” But he’s been fined numerous times for his exuberance in the end zone, where he has twerked and leaped onto the goalpost. Brown is charismatic and doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind, and he’ll use social media posts to taunt as well.
Javy Baez (baseball)
In the same vein as Harper and Puig, Baez’s on-field actions simply aren’t the norm for baseball, although the tide may be turning in that regard. Baez points to his catcher at home plate before applying the tag at second base and is among the most elite bat-flippers in the game. That might result in some chin music, but Baez likely won’t tone it down anytime soon.
John Daly (golf)
You might be momentarily transfixed — or blinded — by some of Daly’s outfit choices for the golf course. The 1991 PGA Championship winner doesn’t fit the usual clean-cut, PGA Tour mold of a golfer, and he doesn’t care. He does things his own way, be that throwing $55,000 off a bridge or visiting Hooters with some regularity.
Megan Rapinoe (soccer)
The USWNT leader was the star of the World Cup, and her celebrations were just as strong as her game. Her bold pose on the field – outstretched arms and a smile on her face — became her trademark move at the Cup.
PK Subban (hockey)
The New Jersey Devils defenseman is not only one of the most talented players in the game, he’s also one of the most charismatic. In a buttoned-up league that’s often criticized for its lack of personality, Subban is anything but. He celebrates goals with exuberance and always has a smile on his face. He’s constantly talking … on the ice, with teammates, with opponents or on his Instagram account, where he is not shy about showing off his personal life.
Bruce Pearl (basketball)
Auburn’s fiery basketball coach is usually the center of attention during games — tearing off his sport coat and dramatically ranting at officials. And he won’t hesitate to pop off on reporters. “I don’t have a very big give-a-hoot factor,” he said at the Final Four. “I just don’t give a hoot.”
Josh McDaniels (football)
Described by some as arrogant and an iron-fisted ruler, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator largely earned this reputation during his short stint as head coach in Denver. After beating the Patriots, he sprinted down the sideline in celebration. He’s never one to hesitate to toot his horn.
Nick Kyrgios (tennis)
Hitting shots with his back to the net or between his legs is almost commonplace in Kyrgios’ arsenal by this point. It’s a product of his laid-back attitude toward the game that those around the sport believe hinders him from taking the next step. He has drawn the ire of some other pros, such as Rafael Nadal.
Mike Leach (football)
Leach, the Washington State football coach, loves to share his “wisdom” with the world. Be it a rambling soliloquy about Halloween during a news conference, contemplating how rollerblading works his abs more than jogging (we can neither confirm nor deny how shredded Leach’s abs must be) or quite literally hating hot dogs, Leach enjoys putting on a show.
Contributing: A.J. Neuharth-Keusch, Scott Gleeson, Mike Jones, Lila Bromberg, Andy Kostka
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