In 1991 against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Tim Hardaway shot the ball 17 times and didn't make one of them. It was an incredible feat of failure most people can't match in their first 17 shots ever. Mathematically speaking, if you startle 17 pigeons, at least one of them is guaranteed to go through a basketball hoop. Of course if you do that, the next person to dunk gets cholera. My point is, Shaquille O'Neal hasn't even missed 17 free throws in a row and he shoots foul shots like a timid third grader raising his hand to ask if it's okay to have a seizure.
Hardaway's 0 for 17 record will stand forever because the first rule of basketball is that when a player has missed 16 shots in a row, you stop giving him the ball and suggest to his parents that there are openings on the ballet team. Not passing the ball to Hardaway would have probably been Plan A that night if he wasn't the guy in charge of passing the ball. And it's not hard to imagine why he kept shooting it. I'm not an offensive coordinator, but when you've missed all your field goal attempts for a half hour, the most wide open guy on your team is going to be you every single play.
* Similar to how Barry Bonds was technically a catoblepas*** when he broke the home run record, this sports achievement needs an asterisk -- during this game, Hardaway also had 13 assists and his team won in overtime.**
** During that overtime an angry Barry Bonds was in the parking lot, rage fucking the axle off the Golden State Warriors' bus.
Nearest Second Place:
There are eight NBA players who were two baskets away from the record (0 for 15), but the only one who's done it in the last 40 years was Sacramento's Rodney McCray in 1988. The Miami Heat's Chris Bosh was one basket away from the record earlier this year when he went 1 for 18 in a game. Better luck next time, deadeye.
Bill Bergen is the worst batter in baseball history. He hit .170 over his career. In 1909 he set two batting records that have stood for more than a century: Lowest Season Batting Average (.139) and Longest Hitless Batting Streak (46). Forty-six at bats without a hit ... I bet when Bill Bergen finally broke the pinata at his sixth birthday party, he took off his blindfold to see divorce papers from his third wife.
This very year, baseball fans looked on in morbid fascination when they realized Craig Counsell of the Brewers might actually beat Bergen's timeless failure. He struggled to the plate 45 straight times without a hit. No one has tried so hard for such an extended period of time with zero results since the TSA.
Craig's big at bat came on August 5th when, with a 6 run lead in the 9th inning, his coach thought it'd be funny to let him tie the dubious record as a pinch hitter. Ha ha, try to figure that shit out, future historians! Unfortunately, Craig failed to fail and hit a single. Sorry to let you down, future historians.
Nearest Second Place:
Crap, we might have a tie. The Society for American Baseball Research has gone through its records and realized that a misread numeral might have had it wrong for the last century. They claim Bill Bergen only went 45 at bats without a hit. To lovers of vintage tragedy, this is a lot like finding out that Hitler had the proper number of testicles. So technically this record has been equaled, but someone had to go in with White Out and literally rewrite history to do it.
I guess we can break the tie with Cubs pitcher Bob Buhl. He didn't have a hit for the entire 1962 season and then some to go 0 for 88. But screw that. Counting a pitcher in your batting statistics is like counting your priest in your sexual conquests.
Not Rasheed Wallace
Rasheed Wallace retired with 304 technical fouls. He once had 41 of them in a single season, meaning that for an entire year he averaged one illegal temper tantrum every two games. The NBA actually instituted a rule in 2006 that players would be fined and suspended for a game after their 16th technical foul. When this did little to stop Rasheed Wallace's theatrical disbelief at every call against him, the league instituted a zero-tolerance policy regarding "demonstrative displays." Both of these rules were commonly referred to by the same name: "The Rasheed Wallace Rule."
Please don't confuse those with with the "Rasheed Wallace Rule" PizzaPapalis added when Rasheed was traded to Detroit that states "four pounds of marijuana is not a valid topping choice even if the customer brings it in his or herself."
Rasheed's behavior was so bad that the National Basketball Association had to constantly invent new ways to deal with him and even then, he still managed to get kicked out of a game for looking at a ref. Every time he was called for a foul, Rasheed Wallace behaved like an actor auditioning for the part of Fisherman Surprised By Sharktopus, yet after all those years and all those fouls, he was still 109 technicals behind Jerry Sloan. As a player and coach, that crazy bastard accumulated 413 of them. That means he's responsible for giving more opposing teams free points than even ...
... Rasheed Wallace.
Nearest Second Place:
To chase the record, Rasheed would have to find a job as a head coach in the NBA, which is about as likely as him finding a calm drug sniffing dog in his house.
For more of this sports bullshit, also see 7 Athletes Who Had More Crazy Than Talent, The 6 Most Unsportsmanlike Moments in MMA, and The 8 Worst Types of Pedestrians Explained with NBA Metaphors.