Tonight the Orlando Magic face off against the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semi-final match-up. The Magic will be eliminated with a loss, and they won't have just the Celts to battle tonight.
After a Game 5 loss to Boston on Tuesday, Orlando's star center Dwight Howard criticized Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, saying (of himself), "If you've got a dominant player, let him be dominant," and "I have to get the ball." This isn't even close to the first time a player has come out of pocket on his coach, so we decided to detail five recent occurrences and declare winners in When Players Throw Their Coach Under the Bus...
MIKE VANDERJAGT VS. TONY DUNGY
After Indianapolis lost to the New York Jets 41-0 in the 2002 NFL Playoffs, Vanderjagt, the Colts' placekicker, called out his coach Tony Dungy, saying "He's just a mild-mannered guy. He doesn't get too excited, he doesn't get too down and I don't think that works either... I think you need a motivator, I think you need a guy that is going to get in somebody's face when they're not performing well enough." Dungy brushed off the criticism, and Vanderjagt went on to have a couple more good seasons with the Colts. However he missed a potential game-tying field goal in a playoff loss to Pittsburgh in 2005, and Indianapolis decided not to re-sign him after that year. In their first year post-Vanderjagt, Indy won the Super Bowl; meanwhile Vandy was cut halfway through the '06 season by his new team, the Dallas Cowboys.
TIKI BARBER VS. TOM COUGHLIN
After the Giants lost 23-0 to the Carolina Panthers in the 2005 playoffs, New York running back Barber told reporters that his team had been outcoached. Barber would play one more season before retiring, and prior to the 2007 season he wrote in his memoir that he might have continued to play had Coughlin been fired. The Coughlin-led Giants won the Super Bowl in their first year without Barber; Tiki pitched Cadillacs.
STEPHON MARBURY VS. ISIAH THOMAS
Steph not only criticized Thomas' coaching decisions on numerous occasions, he more or less blackmailed Zeke when he benched him early in the 2007 season. Of course, neither is with the Knicks anymore, Starbury having landed with the playoff-bound Celtics and Isiah with Florida International University.
HOPE SOLO VS. GREG RYAN
After Ryan benched U.S. goalkeeper Solo in favor of veteran Brianna Scurry for the final of the 2007 Women's World Cup (a game the U.S. would lose 4-0 after Solo had been in net for two consecutive shutouts), she ripped the coach, saying, "It was the wrong decision, and I think anybody that knows anything about the game knows that. There's no doubt in my mind I would have made those saves..." Ryan subsequently kicked Solo off the team, but while the coach's contract was not renewed at the end of 2007, Solo returned to the national team and led the U.S. to an Olympic gold medal in 2008.
ADELLE GENIELLA VS. CARLIE BECK
Earlier this year Adelle Geniella, a student at Casa Roble High School in Sacramento, got kicked off her cheerleading team for having too many absences from school. Her revenge? Wet snitching on the cheerleading coach, who'd posed nude (totally NSFW) as one of Playboy's "Cyber Girls of the Week." Not sure if this really falls into the realm of athlete criticizing coach, we just wanted to post the above picture of Beck.