The sports world is iconic and features powerful stories, unforgettable plays, and influential players. But like any entertainment sector, this space is not exempt from controversy. Read about these controversial moments in the history of sports for interesting stories.
Michael Jordan’s Banned Shoes
Would you pay $5,000 for a dress code violation? Michael Jordan did. One interesting fact about the NBA is that the organization banned Jordan’s infamous red and black shoes. The league expressed that the shoe color broke the NBA’s uniform rule. However, Nike capitalized on this situation and created an ad campaign that positioned the shoe as “forbidden fruit.” And we all know that people want what they can’t have. This campaign gained immense popularity! In addition, Nike also paid Jordan’s fines.
Muhammad Ali’s “Phantom Punch”
Another controversial moment in the history of sports is Muhammad Ali’s “phantom punch.” Things were off to an exciting start during a fight with Sonny Liston in 1965. In the first round, Liston threw a left jab that Ali countered with a quick right punch. Liston instantly fell to the ground and struggled to get back up. When he stood up again, the referee, Joe Walcott, stopped the fight. It was a knockout in Ali’s favor.
What people still debate is the severity of the punch. Did it actually have enough force to knock out Sonny Liston? Some say Liston threw the fight, and others say it was a fixed game. No one really knows if this jab packed a punch.
Game 6 2002 Western Conference Finals
Many sports fans theorize that leagues fix games to work in favor of certain teams (though this is an illegal and immoral practice). However, game 6 of the 2002 NBA’s Western Conference Finals may be an example of rigging. The Sacramento Kings were on the cusp of victory against the Los Angeles Lakers, but the fourth quarter had a surprising turn of events.
Seemingly, refs manipulated the game to work in favor of the Lakers. Washington Post writer Mike Wilbon wrote down six incorrect calls against the Kings while the Lakers put up foul shots. With incorrect calls and a Los Angeles team that “can do no wrong,” the Lakers went on to victory. Conspiracy theories still run rampant surrounding this odd game.