The Art Of The Choke: A Further Look At Some Shining Stars Of The Choke Artist Game

As is tradition, Alex Ovechkin will be drowning his sorrows in a bottle of Ruskova while his so-called rival Sidney Crosby plays in the conference finals for the 5th time since they’ve both been in the league.  At the same time, Chris Paul will have to take his banana boat ride solo while his buddy Lebron competes for what seems like the billionth time in the 3rd round of the NBA playoffs, a land more foreign than the lost city of Atlantis to dirty little CP3.  The fact that Vegas keeps giving these teams top 3-4 championship odds year after year is truly laughable.  Do they not have some kind of variable that takes the choking dog factor into account in those damn algorithms that constantly seem to take my money?  If I could parlay the Clippers and Caps not winning a championship every single year for the rest of time I would max bet that shit to the moon.

While Alexander Mikhailovich Ovechkin & Christopher Emmanuel Paul are truly this generation’s Pablo Picasso & Vincent Van Gogh’s of choke artistry, there have been plenty other notable chokers throughout the years that we’ve been given the pleasure to watch put together masterpieces in the art of the collapse.  I’ve decided to further discuss 6 other veterans of the choke-artist game that I think are worth diving into:

Mike D’Antoni

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Mike D’Antoni should be a spokesperson for the phrase “defense wins championships” the same way people with aids should be advocates for protected sex. The NBA’s Italian Stallion adamantly refuses to believe defense is something that exists and should be played in basketball.

This, mixed with his obvious fear of Gregg Popovich on the big stage, has created one of the better recipes for a good old fashion choke salad.  D’Antoni’s most recent playoff series loss to Coach Pop, with the Rockets this time, might be his funniest one yet.  With Kawhi out with an ankle sprain, D’Antoni’s MVP-candidate-led Rockets got their doors blown off at home to the tune of a 39-point loss to a Spurs roster that played as many all-star game minutes as you and I did this year.

Now if you’re a more recent NBA fan, or as I like to call it a “Warriors fan”, you might not know that this was far from the first time Greggy Big-Time ended 7-second-or-less Mikey’s season prematurely.  In fact, of the 7 seasons D’Antoni’s teams have made the playoffs, they’ve been eliminated by Popovich & the Spurs FIVE times across THREE different franchises.  For the advanced stats guys out there, that means 71.4% of the time a D’Antoni team is good enough to make the playoffs it pisses its pants the minute it lands in San Antonio.

Much like when Ovechkin faces Crosby on the big stage, coach Mike seems to save his best works of choke-artistry for one special person in Popovich.  These are the type of guys I like to call monogamous chokers.

“Big Game” James Shields

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Fucking Big Game James. Has anyone ever done less to deserve their nickname? I mean look at his career playoff stats:

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If James Shields can get away with calling himself “Big Game James” with that putrid track record I should be allowed to start calling myself “Victoria Secret Model Fucker” Frank.  There are few things I’m truly passionate about in life, exposing Big Game James for the hypocritical fraud that he is most definitely one of them.  And make no mistake, James Shields is a bonafide choker.

Just look back at the 2014 World Series.  Game 1 he gives up a cool 5 runs in 3 innings of work allowing the Giants hitters to hit a pretty decent .467 (!!!) off of him on route to a 7-1 loss.  Did the old Big Gamer redeem himself in a pivotal game 5 with a win? You guessed it… Nope!  For those keeping score out there, that means James Shields accounted for 50% of the Royals World Series losses that year.  What makes this even funnier is the following year the Royals made it back to the World Series this time without the help of Choke-Master Jim and were able to close the deal with a W.

Therefore, while coach D’Antoni belonged to the monogamous chokers, Jimmy Ball Game is the official representative of the closet choke-artist for hiding behind his fraudulent nickname.

Marvin Lewis & His Ginger Quarterbacks

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Now I’ll admit that as a Steelers fan this is naturally a personal favorite of mine.  The way Marvin Lewis and his red-headed signal callers simply refuse to win football games once the calendar flips to January and the playoffs begin is so tenacious and consistent that it gets to a point where it actually becomes quite impressive.

Coach Lewis holds a spectacularly appalling record of 7 Losses and as many wins as I have in the NFL playoffs (that would be zero for those pondering my accomplishments in the NFL), including 5 first round exits in a row from 2012 to 2016 with super-choker Andrew Gregory Dalton under center.

Now it’s hard to say if the bulk of the credit for this beautiful sculpture of choke-istry belongs to Marvin Lewis or the fire crotch tandem of Carson Palmer & Andy Dalton.  When you consider Palmer’s continued playoff collapses with the Arizona Cardinals in addition to his history with the Cincinnati Shit-Cats, there’s definitely some empirical evidence relating carrot-pigmented hair with the recessive anti-Clutch gene.

I guess in 2017 Lewis & the Bengals finally got tired of losing in the playoffs and decided to skip the ordeal entirely.  Can’t say I blame them for choosing to go with that strategy, it saves them any disappointment when they just have no expectations instead of building up their naïve fan base’s hopes then squatting down to take a huge shit all over them.

Anyways, with the exception of their 2016 late game penalty-fueled masterpiece of a collapse, the Bengals generally prefer to accomplish their choking right from the moment of kickoff. In those 6 other playoff games, they’ve lost by an AVERAGE of 14 points.  Those aren’t just convincing losses, they’re complete blowouts.  For this reason, I’m crowning them the kings of the Insta-Choke tribe.  The Bungles don’t like to tease their fans with hope, they just give you the choke dry with no foreplay.

Hillary Clinton

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I’d like to preface this by saying I’m not a big politics guy, especially not when it comes to countries I don’t live in.  So just know that this take is coming from the perspective of a person (me) some might call “ignorant” or “stupidly misinformed” when it comes to politics (and probably most other things as well).

With that being said, this robot-lady does nothing but lose elections she’s favored to win.  First, she lost the Democratic Party’s Presidential Primary to Barrack Obama.  And in case you’re wondering if that loss counts as a choke, it sure does. On December 31st 2007, Clinton held a 42% to 23% lead over Barrack Obama in the national polls.  What did she do with that lead? She went on to completely squander it and eventually lost 2272.5-1978 to old Barry-O.

But Hillary was not done blowing big leads there, oh no no no not even close.  This past year she goes ahead and loses to a crazy sexist racist reality television star despite being a 1/7 (!!!) odds on favorite heading into election day.  Whether she’s going up against the racists or trying to get their votes, this lady just can’t close the deal.  While she may not be an athlete, her significant contributions to choke culture simply could not go unmentioned.

Matt Ryan

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This fucking guy.  Matt Ryan epitomizes what it means to be a tried and true choke artist.  Much like Big Game James, Matty Ice has a completely undeserved nickname.  Now while I’m aware that he earned the nickname for drinking a bunch of Natty Lights in college, the fact that the media for years acted like he got the nickname for being cool under pressure is preposterous to say the least.

But it doesn’t end there for Mister Ryan, his choking ability has multiple layers.  For years, he was the supposedly elite QB that simply couldn’t win a playoff game.  In his first 8 seasons, Matty Ice had a stellar 1-4 record in the playoffs, including a 0-3 start to his postseason career.

While all of this is a more than worthy resumé to be included on this list and have a first ballot spot in the choker’s hall of fame, Matty Choke-Job saved his Mona Lisa of choke-artistry for this year’s Super Bowl.  In case you’ve been living under a meme-less rock for the last 4 months, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 third quarter lead in the god damn Super Bowl.  That is truly the epitome of blowing it under pressure on the big stage and can never be topped.  For this reason, I am crowning Matt Ryan the Chairman, President and Sovereign King of the Choke Culture Society.

Clayton Kershaw

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While I know cream-cheese Clayton definitely belongs on this list, I’m actually a big fan of Kershaw’s so instead of breaking down his playoff shortcomings I’m just going to give you a bunch of links to him throwing ridiculous curveballs to brighten up the end of this beautiful list of postseason futility:


  1. Good post on choke artists in sports and 1 political figure. While I have to agree on most of what you said, I have to disagree a little bit on Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl. I don’t think he was the one who choked in that game. He was not the one calling the plays or he was also not playing defense. Heck, if Shanahan calls 3 or 4 more run plays in the 4th quarter, they run out enough clock to beat the Patriots. I do see where you think he choked, but that was a TOTAL team collapse, not just one player in this one case.

    Liked by 1 person

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