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Top 10 Press Conferences in Sports History

VO: Rebecca Brayton

Script written by Spencer Sher

These interviews heavily impacted the world of sports. From A-rod's steroid confession, to Tiger Woods' infidelity scandal, to Muhammad Ali's post-match boasting, these athletes got lots of attention while behind the microphone. WatchMojo counts down the top most important press conferences in the history of sports.

Special thanks to our user derekallen for suggesting this idea! Check out the voting page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest/Top+10+Press+Conferences+In+Sports+History


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Script written by Spencer Sher

Top 10 Press Conferences in Sports History

Sports drama doesn’t stop once the game is over. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Press Conferences in Sports History.

For this list, we’ll be looking at sports press conferences that were unique, strange or even iconic. Press conferences such as Tiger Woods’ apology for adultery will not be considered because its content was not sports-related.

#10: Steroids

Alex Rodriguez (2009)
In 2009, it was revealed that MLB superstar Alex Rodriguez had tested positive for a banned substance during the 2003 season. In response, the New York Yankee held a press conference to explain his side of the story. During the presser, Rodriguez read off of a piece of paper, occasionally looking up to make eye contact with the sea of reporters in front of him. The entire event felt rehearsed, with Rodriguez pausing at key moments to examine the room, with his apparent lack of sincerity making this presser feel unnatural. Rodriguez’s reputation would take a major hit during the incident, and this infamous press conference definitely didn’t help.

#9: “I’m a Special One”

José Mourinho (2004)
When Portuguese football manager José Mourinho joined the Chelsea football club in the summer of 2004, a press conference was called to introduce him to the media. From the moment the presser started, Mourinho was dripping in arrogance – which he was quick to point out numerous times. He went on to state that his arrogance was justified because he’d won the UEFA Champions League with FC Porto one month earlier. But it was Mourinho’s nonchalant behavior and indifferent responses to reporters’ questions that made this press conference one to remember. The event culminated with the manager stating that he is “a special one,” but perhaps he was right, as Chelsea did end up winning the Premier League title under Mourinho’s management in 2005.

#8: Apology

Michael Vick (2007)
When it was revealed that NFL quarterback Michael Vick was involved in an illegal dog-fighting ring in 2007, the world was appalled. Vick had been the toast of the league – appearing on magazine and video game covers off the field, while racking up impressive statistics on it. However, this all came crashing down in the spring of 2007. Found guilty that summer, Vick held a press conference to tell his side of the story and to apologize for his actions. The widely-covered press conference was the first time Vick had spoken publicly on the issue. Moral of the story: if you’re a football player making millions of dollars, maybe just stick to that.

#7: Transgressions

Tiger Woods (2009)

Throughout the aughts, Tiger Woods was without question the face of golf, breaking record after record and winning 14 major championships. However, his public image would go into free-fall in late 2009 after Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant at nearly 2:30 a.m. near his home in Florida, after which it was revealed that Tiger had been involved in a number of extramarital affairs. He would then hold a press conference in early 2010 apologizing for his “transgressions” to his wife, children and supporters. Many argued his speech sounded insincere, but regardless, it's hard to deny that his golfing career has been a shadow of what it once was since the infamous press conference.

#6: Retirement

Magic Johnson (1991)
Magic Johnson was a five-time NBA champion, three-time Finals MVP, three-time NBA MVP and a 12-time All-Star. He was a major figure in the game of basketball throughout the 1980s. As such, it came as an enormous shock when he announced to the world that he would be retiring from basketball after contracting the HIV virus. During the press conference in which he revealed his reason for leaving the game, Johnson attempted to keep things light, throwing in a joke when possible. The legacy of this presser has lived on, and was cemented in history when it was named one of the most memorable moments in 25 years of sports by ESPN in 2004.

#5: “We’ve Lost Dale Earnhardt”

Mike Helton (2001)
When it comes to the world of NASCAR, one figure stands above the rest. Dale Earnhardt – winner of 76 races, seven Winston Cup Championships, and a legend of the sport – died in a crash in the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. That same day, NASCAR president Mike Helton held a press conference to confirm Earnhardt’s death. As he attempts to tell media members about the tragedy, Helton is clearly shaken. While the presser itself is unassuming, the aftermath of that moment remains significant to this day. NASCAR would review their safety regulations in response to Earnhardt’s death, eventually adopting a number of new safety policies.

#4: The Rumble in the Jungle

Muhammad Ali (1974)
In the fall of 1974, Muhammad Ali fought George Foreman in the former republic of Zaire. Before the fight, very few people in the boxing world believed Ali had a chance at victory. However, you don’t earn a nickname like “The Greatest” without an upset or two on your résumé. Ali defeated Foreman with a knockout punch in the eighth round. He was then immediately rushed into a locker room for a post-fight presser. In typical Ali fashion, he completely owned the room. What makes this press conference so memorable is his supreme confidence. The magnitude of this moment in the history of sports cannot be understated. Ali’s victory, coupled with some brash post-fight comments, will never be forgotten.

#3: Hugging Jim Irsay

Peyton Manning (2012)
After spending 14 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning was released by owner Jim Irsay in the winter of 2012. Btw, being “released” from a professional sports team is a nice way of saying you’re fired... But anyway, when Irsay held a press conference to announce the decision, he made sure to highlight everything Manning had accomplished with the team, in an effort to soften the blow. This culminated in an awkward embrace with his former QB before he finally let Manning take the stage. Peyton clearly goes for the handshake and appears a little taken aback when his former boss forces a hug on him. It was a moment that not even Manning’s retirement speech could quite top.

#2: The Trade

Wayne Gretzky (1988)
In 1988, there was no bigger player in hockey than Wayne Gretzky. Having led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup victories throughout the ‘80s, The Great One held a press conference to tell the hockey world he had been traded to the Los Angeles Kings. The magnitude of the trade was staggering: Gretzky and two other Oilers were traded in exchange for $15 million, two players and three first round picks. What makes the press conference so memorable is Gretzky’s sincere display of emotion; making it painfully clear he was disappointed to leave his adopted hometown of Edmonton. It marked the end of an era for the NHL, and Gretzky would never again win a Stanley Cup.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

- Post-Super Bowl Loss

Cam Newton (2016)

- Sarcasm

Gregg Popovich (2013)

- Getting Riled Up

Jon Jones & Daniel Cormier (2016)

#1: The Decision

LeBron James (2010)
In the summer of 2010, there was no bigger fish in the sea of NBA free agency than LeBron James. Courted by a number of teams, James held a live ESPN special titled “The Decision,” to announce who he’d be playing for in the upcoming season. While “King James” would eventually declare his intention to sign with the Miami Heat, the reaction he received from fans, critics and players was largely negative. The backlash stemmed from what many people saw as an unnecessary and unprofessional promotional event. However, the fact that LeBron won two championships with his new team – not to mention the $6 million raised for charities by his ESPN special – can’t be ignored.

Do you agree with our list? What is your all-time favorite sports press conference? For more entertaining Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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