Embarrassment is an essential element of sports. Sports needs embarrassment. If our sports heroes weren't out here Buttfumbling and getting sent to The Crossroads by LeBron James, how could we identify with them? We as fans need the untimely slips, dropped passes, and alley-oop baptisms if only to be able to see some of ourselves in this group of freakishly-gifted millionaires.

In the NBA, embarrassment comes in many forms. There's losing, of course (shoutout to the Sixers), but the game's inherent individualism allows room for players to be embarrassed for any number of reasons that don't involve the final score. The most popular way to shame yourself on an NBA floor—getting dunked on—is an old stand-by that we all love and appreciate. Timofey Mozgov getting eaten by Blake Griffin? Shawn Kemp squat-pointing at Alton Lister after dunking on his entire family lineage? Vince Carter hurdling over that French guy in the 2000 Olympics? Dude's current Wikipedia page still has a section dedicated to getting disrespected on that play.

Yet, although dunking remains the most popular means of embarrassing an opponent, our personal favorite these days is the ankle-breaker. Nearly every NBA-caliber athlete can catch a drop-off pass and dunk on a defender slow to rotate on defense; not every player can get their man off-balance and make him Nae Nae backwards while they splash a jumper in his face. These plays offer more complexity and variation than dunks. Dunks are like a can of domestic beer. Ankle-breakers are more like a carefully-aged bottle of wine. 

Which is why we had to make a list of the year's best, from Boogie Cousins' big-man crossover to Steph Curry the Gawd making Chris Paul play hardwood Twister. It's been a fun year. These are The Most Embarrassing Ankle-Breakers of 2015.



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