1. Clint Barmes, broken collarbone: The then-rookie shortstop first said it was a trip down the stairs that caused his trip to the emergency room. But a few weeks later, he fessed up to the (not-so) scandalous truth: He was carrying deer meat that teammate Todd Helton had given him, not the original bag of groceries he blamed, when he took the tumble. His excuse for lying? "I just didn't think it was right to bring Todd Helton into something like this," he told the Denver Post back in 2005.
2. Sammy Sosa, sneeze-induced back spasms: Achoo! During a controversy-ridden year with the Cubs, Sosa blamed a hitting slump back on spasms caused by a strong sneeze. But Sammy wasn't the only one tripped up by a tickle in the nose -- the Rangers' Gary Matthews Jr started the 2006 season on the DL after he said he strained a rib muscle trying to suppress a sneeze.
3. Gus Frerotte, sprained neck: Apparently Chad Johnson isn't the only one who has to watch his antics around the goal post. Frerotte missed the second half of the Redskins' overtime tie against the New York Giants in November of 1997 after head-butting a padded wall in the end-zone during a celebration after scoring on a 1-yard run. According to the Washington Post, after scoring the TD, "Frerotte kept running toward the corner of the stadium. First he spiked the football against the wall, then he stopped momentarily and continued celebrating his team's first score by butting the top of his helmeted head into a padded wall. He clearly recoiled after the impact."
4. Joel Zumaya, strained forearm: More reasons to drop the Wii and read a book. In 2006, Zumaya missed some time because of a sore forearm caused by what doctors said was too much time playing video games. A year later, Zumaya said Guitar Hero wasn't the culprit, telling The Detroit News, "A lot of people have criticized me and told me, 'Joel, put it away.' But I'm still going to play it. Just not as often." Ten months after that statement, Zumaya had another freak accident, when a box fell on him as he tried to take down another box. While his Guitar Hero career may not be over, his moving career certainly was: the right-hander had to have surgery to repair his shoulder after that accident.
5. Kerry Wood, sore arm: The oft-injured pitcher opened last season's spring training unable to throw after slipping out of his "hot spa." The sheepish Wood told the Chicago Tribune, "It's about that time of year, isn't it? I was getting out of the hot tub at the house and took a little spill. Didn't think anything of it, and it hurt a little more than I thought. Nothing's wrong."
6. Jimmie Johnson, broken wrist: While playing in a celebrity golf tournament in 2006, Johnson proved why drivers should try to stay inside the vehicle. While riding on top of the golf cart, Johnson slipped off, breaking his left wrist and keeping him out of the Champions Nation Cup the next week. "I wasn't holding on tight enough, landed awkwardly on the ground and heard a little pop," he said in a press release on the incident.
Vince Carter's display at the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest was one for the ages.
by Lang Whitaker, SI.com
NEW ORLEANS -- Slam dunking a basketball has gone from being a novelty to being an art form. Formerly outlawed from the game (well, the college game), now the dunk is de riguer, and the NBA's annual Slam Dunk Contest has become the Louvre of the dunk, where the most artistic and creative examples are displayed. Here are my top five NBA Dunk Contest performances of all-time...
1. Michael Jordan/Dominique Wilkins: They went back and forth in the 1988 Dunk Contest in Chicago, each one-upping the other, over and over. Jordan ended up winning, but Dominique was the better dunker that night.
2. Vince Carter: After two years without a Dunk Contest, Vince Carter brought it back with a bang in Y2K, doing all sorts of spinning, through-the-legs dunks.
3. Dwight Howard: This year in N'awlins, Dwight managed to get people to overlook the fact that he's a seven-footer by using creativity and moxie, and, above all else, having fun and making the crowd have fun. That Superman dunk didn't hurt, either.
4. Dee Brown: He wasn't the shortest or the tallest contestant, but he was memorably creative back in Charlotte in 1991, pumping up his Reebok Pumps hightops before each dunk.
5. Spud Webb: Back in 1986 in Dallas, hometown kid Anthony "Spud" Webb shocked the world. Listed at 5-7, most people weren't sure Webb could even dunk, but he ended up stealing the show.
What was your favorite dunk contest performance? Let us know below.
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.