Last Saturday, the #3 ranked Tennessee Volunteers picked up a solid conference win on the road over the Florida Gators. But as time expired something far more important and entertaining transpired on the floor of the O’Dome. Grant Williams instantly led his teammates in a gator chomp taunting the hostile Florida fans. This moment solidly places this Vols team in the pantheon of top basketball taunts.
Other Taunting Hall of Fame moments include Reggie Miller giving the choke sign to Spike Lee after burying the Knicks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden. This was impressive given the timing of the play and the importance of the series. Additional points are awarded for taunting a celebrity super-fan sitting courtside.
Kobe Bryant helping Dallas Mavericks fans count the number of rings he had earned throughout his career also makes the list. It was a subtle flex that is good enough to end any debate unless you’re talking to Jordan or Russell. The downside of this taunt was Kobe was in street clothes during a tanking Lakers season.
Lastly, Kevin Durant has infamously barked at Rihanna, Drake and others during games. This trash talk seemed to be in good nature as all the parties involved were laughing. But all of these trolls are professional players who aimed their taunts at specific fans. It’s a different story when you’re a college player and don’t have the protection or platform of professionals.
That’s why former Ole Miss player Marshall Henderson sits atop the throne of heels. He individually chomped at Florida fans and gave Auburn students the business within the same season. This young man clearly had a gift for taunting rowdy fans and stood out among his peers for his bravado.
But again, that was an individual. It’s different when your team launches into a coordinated attack with seemingly no preparation or strategy involved. Plus you defeated a traditional basketball school on the road to exercise any remaining demons your team had in that arena.
After the game when asked what prompted the gator chomp, Admiral Schofield declined to give specifics other than the Florida fans were saying things that were “disrespectful” and “inhumane”. He also went on to clarify that it was some of the older fans, not the student section.
I’m no Vols fan, but ever since Mark Wohlers was heckled at Engel Stadium (story for another day) I have always hated when average Joes talk trash to athletes. Whenever student-athletes are allegedly subjected to unsportsmanlike remarks from fans AND are able to keep their composure to solidify the road win, I say chomp on young men! Chomp on!
Pat Benson is a fixture at local high school sporting events. He has been a sideline reporter, P.A. announcer, and radio personality. Tweet him @Pat_Benson_Jr.