Professional sports are not matters of life and death, of course, but this does not mean that tournaments and competitions are not taken seriously by those who are involved. Professional athletes who are involved in the National Football League, Major League Baseball, the Premier League and other top-tier competitions are paid millions of dollars for their services. The lives of athletes will go on relatively unchanged even if they fail to win championships and personal awards. Some, admittedly, would rather play for massive paychecks than worry about taking home trophies and titles. That's fine, of course, because sports are jobs to those athletes.
For every athlete who treats his craft like it is nothing more than a 9-to-5 occupation for him, there have been numerous examples of athletes who have become emotional over events that have taken place during games. Some were overcome by their emotions after winning a big game or because of something that had recently occurred in their personal lives. Others, meanwhile, were left heartbroken due to suffering a harsh defeat. Sports give and sports take away, and nobody should be surprised that these superior athletes cried on camera when they did.
Granted, there have been times when it has been humorous to watch athletes break down and cry “like babies” while the cameras are rolling. That could have to do with the fact that the athlete doing the crying was not all that popular among the majority of fans. We are, of course, referencing a former NFL wide receiver who had a public meltdown during a post-game press conference. Everybody who witnessed that moment will remember who was his quarterback on that fateful day. We miss you, T.O., and we can confirm that the sports world is just not the same without your antics.
15 Roger Federer
We start the list with somewhat of a funny mention of an athlete who has cried while on camera. Roger Federer, undeniably one of the greatest tennis in players and an absolute joy to watch for fans of the sport, has been brought to tears many times. Federer has cried after winning. He has cried after losing. It is nice that Federer has cared so much about his performances over the years, but we can't imagine what he will be like when he officially announces that he is going to retire. Federer may mimic Ric Flair with the tears on that day. Speaking of the Flair...
14 Ric Flair
The joke with this one is that it is a monumental moment when "The Nature Boy” Ric Flair isn't crying on camera. Flair, maybe the greatest overall professional wrestling talent in history, has cried after winning championships. He cried throughout his World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Fame speech. Flair cried after his retirement and he has been brought to tears over the accomplishments that his daughter Charlotte has achieved in NXT and the WWE. You will never have to wonder if Flair is passionate about the business. We just hope that Flair doesn't lose it when the day comes that Charlotte has to drop the WWE Women's Championship.
13 Brett Favre
There is not a single part of us that at all feels bad for having a chuckle over Brett Favre crying during his first retirement speech. It had been made perfectly clear to those following the situation that Favre still wanted to play for the Green Bay Packers, and Favre left no doubt about that when he returned to the NFL and then joined the New York Jets. Favre later signed for the Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay's divisional rivals, just so that he could continue playing until his body finally quit on him. "The Gunslinger” was an all-time great, but this retirement speech is basically a joke now.
12 Thomas Hill
There are several images that remain vivid in our memories as it pertains to the famous shot that Duke superstar Christian Laettner buried against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA tournament game. We remember the perfect pass. We can envision Laettner catching the ball and then spinning toward the basket. You probably remember seeing Laettner run down the court while celebrating after making the bucket to win the game. Last but not least is the vision of Thomas Hill, who had no part in the play, breaking down on the Duke sideline. We understand, Mr. Hill. We were also emotional, for one reason or another, about that moment.
11 Adam Morrison
The moment is largely known for Gus Johnson, who was a commentator for CBS at the time, screaming at the top of his lungs after UCLA completed a comeback against Gonzaga. As Johnson's vocal chords were probably sending up the white flag, Adam Morrison of Gonzaga fell to the ground near midcourt while UCLA players celebrated. Morrison was brought to tears by the harsh defeat and the CBS cameras zoomed-in on the distraught athlete. We have a request for TV crews: Can we maybe take it easy on the focusing on crying college athletes? They're still kids, after all.
10 Glen Davis
Here's the harsh truth about the matter: You can't have the nickname “Big Baby,” cry on the bench after a veteran yells at you, and then not get made fun of by fans and analysts. Poor Glen Davis learned this the hard way after Kevin Garnett gave Davis a stern talking-to during a home Boston Celtics game. Davis, obviously upset about whatever it was that occurred, had what could be called a breakdown while sitting on the bench. A memo to young athletes everywhere: You've got to be able to handle a respected veteran giving you the business every now and again.
9 Tim Tebow
Nobody will truthfully be able to claim that quarterback Tim Tebow has ever been shy about his emotions. Tebow was brought to tears during his college days after Florida lost the 2009 SEC Championship Game to Alabama, and cameras were on the superstar as he lost it on the field. Alabama fans and also those who are not fond of Tebow and/or of Florida took great joy in seeing the tears flow down Tebow's face. Tebow had the last laugh, though, as he does have a NFL Playoff victory on his resume. Nobody can take that away from you, Tim.
8 Nancy Kerrigan
We will come out and admit that this one might be a little mean. Nancy Kerrigan was, after all, literally attacked not too long before the cameras caught her crying and yelling in pain. Odds are that we also would have been in tears had we been on the receiving end of a harsh blow to one of our knees. That footage and the story that followed it became one of the biggest events of 1994, and the tale was again revisited by outlets such as ESPN in 2014. For whatever reasons, we seemingly cannot get enough of the saga involving Kerrigan and rival Tonya Harding.
7 Tiger Woods
One had to feel for Tiger Woods as he completed his journey of winning the 2006 edition of the British Open. Woods' father had passed away and reality had hit the all-time great golfer that his dad would never again be there to celebrate a championship with him. While Tiger did well to keep it together on the green, he was unable to hold back the tears after he sunk the putt that clinched him the championship. Woods is now physically and maybe even emotionally a shell of his former self, and one has to wonder if we will ever again see him win a major.
6 Chris Bosh
There have been multiple times when cameras have caught NBA star Chris Bosh crying. Perhaps the most famous incident occurred after the Miami Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals. Bosh was nearly incapable of walking because he was so emotional after he made his way off of the court for the final time of that season. No worries, of course, as Bosh and his Miami teammates were back at it the following spring, and the Heat won two championships before LeBron James jetted back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. That's not a bad run for any team.
5 Wayne Gretzky
It has been referred to, in some sports circles, as the biggest trade in the history of professional sports. Wayne Gretzky, the greatest player in the history of the National Hockey League and probably the finest hockey player to ever live, had been traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. While Gretzky was reportedly involved in the negotiations before the deal, the entire matter was not easy on him. Gretzky, when speaking to reporters about the trade, became emotional and he had to wipe tears away and compose himself. It was not easy to watch, particularly for Edmonton fans who knew what they were losing.
4 Mark McGwire
The former home run slugger became emotional during “the hardest day” of his life when he admitted to the world that he had, in fact, used performance-enhancing drugs during his baseball career. This was understandably a funny moment for some viewers because of the fact that just about everybody had assumed that Mark McGwire was probably guilty of injecting something somewhere into his body at some point of his life. We get that McGwire may have shed a tear or two upon coming clean. That's fine. It shouldn't have been that difficult, though, as McGwire was basically telling us that grass was green.
3 Andres Iniesta
OK, so maybe the Barcelona star was not technically crying “like a baby” after the Spanish giants lost to Atletico Madrid in April 2016. Cameras did, however, seem to catch Andres Iniesta wiping tears away from both eyes when Iniesta was spotted on the team bus following the Barcelona defeat. Chin up, Andres. You still play for one of the greatest clubs in the world. While we don't know what will be to come for Barcelona during the rest of the spring, odds are that you will be back at it sooner rather than later. Maybe the problem is that Iniesta cared too much.
2 Michael Jordan
It is the moment that sparked one of the greatest Internet memes of our lifetimes. While giving his Hall of Fame enshrinement speech, basketball legend Michael Jordan was moved to tears. What resulted from that was the “Crying Jordan” meme that pops up almost anytime that a celebrity goes through a tough time. Nobody, from Tom Brady to Donald Trump to Hulk Hogan to the Home Run Apple that is found at the home of the New York Mets, has been safe from being Crying Jordan-ized. Who knows? You could one day find that you are the next victim of a Crying Jordan.
1 Terrell Owens
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo has been on the receiving end of criticism throughout his career. Some of the hate that has been piled on Romo over the years has been unfair. Terrell Owens, a teammate of Romo's for a time, once took the negativity being directed toward Romo personally while speaking to reporters following a game. “That's my teammate,” Owens said as he nearly sobbed on camera. “That's my quarterback.” Maybe, had that event happened several years later, we would all be laughing at a “Crying Terrell” meme rather than a “Crying Jordan” meme.