The greatest chokes in sports history

Sometimes when the spotlight's brightest, sports stars don't shine, they trip and fall off the stage. On Tuesday night, the San Antonio Spurs held an NBA title in their hands, and then fumbled it away. History suggests they'll have trouble recovering from their Game 6 implosion, but if nothing else, they'll have company. Get ready to cringe as you read of the greatest chokes in sports history. – Jay Busbee

San Antonio Spurs, NBA Finals, 2013: Up five points with 28 seconds to play, the Spurs fell victim to a range of woes: missed free throws, poor substitution strategy, botched defensive assignments. And so instead of hoisting a fifth NBA championship trophy, the Spurs had to collect themselves for a Game 7 challenge.
The greatest chokes in sports history
San Antonio Spurs, NBA Finals, 2013: Up five points with 28 seconds to play, the Spurs fell victim to a range of woes: missed free throws, poor substitution strategy, botched defensive assignments. And so instead of hoisting a fifth NBA championship trophy, the Spurs had to collect themselves for a Game 7 challenge.
Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, 2013: Losses don't get more painful than this. Leading 4-2 with under two minutes remaining in Game 7, the Leafs somehow let the Boston Bruins score two straight goals plus an overtime clincher. Boston would advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Toronto would wonder how it all went so wrong so fast.
The greatest chokes in sports history
Toronto Maple Leafs, NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, 2013: Losses don't get more painful than this. Leading 4-2 with under two minutes remaining in Game 7, the Leafs somehow let the Boston Bruins score two straight goals plus an overtime clincher. Boston would advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Toronto would wonder how it all went so wrong so fast.
MAMARONECK, NY - JUNE 18: Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt during the final round of the 2006 US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club on June 18, 2006 in Mamaroneck, New York. Geoff Ogilvy won the US Open with a one stroke victory. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
MAMARONECK, NY - JUNE 18: Phil Mickelson reacts to a missed putt during the final round of the 2006 US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club on June 18, 2006 in Mamaroneck, New York. Geoff Ogilvy won the US Open with a one stroke victory. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
¡CHICAGO - OCTOBER 01: One of the Chicago Cubs' most famous fans Ronnie Woo-Woo Wickers (C) celebrates the team making it into the playoffs with other fans at a lunch-time rally downtown October 1, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. This is the first time the Cubs have been in the playoffs since 2003. They haven't been in the World Series since 1945 and haven't won a Series since 1908. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
¡CHICAGO - OCTOBER 01: One of the Chicago Cubs' most famous fans Ronnie Woo-Woo Wickers (C) celebrates the team making it into the playoffs with other fans at a lunch-time rally downtown October 1, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois. This is the first time the Cubs have been in the playoffs since 2003. They haven't been in the World Series since 1945 and haven't won a Series since 1908. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 27: Gerald Laird #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after David Freese #23 hits a walk off solo home run in the 11th inning to win Game Six of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals won 10-9. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
TST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 27: Gerald Laird #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates after David Freese #23 hits a walk off solo home run in the 11th inning to win Game Six of the MLB World Series against the Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium on October 27, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals won 10-9. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The greatest chokes in sports history
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aLOS ANGELES - JUNE 4: Glen Rice #41 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against Arvydas Sabonis #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2000 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on June 4, 2000 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Blazers 89-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2000 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
aLOS ANGELES - JUNE 4: Glen Rice #41 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against Arvydas Sabonis #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2000 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on June 4, 2000 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Blazers 89-84. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2000 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
.BOSTON - MAY 14: Arron Asham #45 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates a win against the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 14, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
.BOSTON - MAY 14: Arron Asham #45 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates a win against the Boston Bruins in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 14, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
aAuburn head coach Gene Chizik, left, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban shake hands following the Auburn's 28-21 win in the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Friday, November 26, 2010. Auburn rallied from a 24-0 deficit to remain unbeaten on the season. (Photo by Robin Trimarchi/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/MCT via Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
aAuburn head coach Gene Chizik, left, and Alabama head coach Nick Saban shake hands following the Auburn's 28-21 win in the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Friday, November 26, 2010. Auburn rallied from a 24-0 deficit to remain unbeaten on the season. (Photo by Robin Trimarchi/Columbus Ledger-Enquirer/MCT via Getty Images)
Billy Casper came from way behind on the final day of the 1966 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club to catch Arnold Palmer, winning an 18-hole playoff the next day.
Billy Casper wins the 1966 U.S. Open.
Billy Casper came from way behind on the final day of the 1966 U.S. Open at The Olympic Club to catch Arnold Palmer, winning an 18-hole playoff the next day.
Nick Anderson
@NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 25: Bill Buckner of the Boston Red Sox made an error at the bottom of the 10 inning, in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium on October 25, 1986 in New York City. The error resulted in a 6-5 10th inning win for the Mets. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
@NEW YORK CITY - OCTOBER 25: Bill Buckner of the Boston Red Sox made an error at the bottom of the 10 inning, in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series at Shea Stadium on October 25, 1986 in New York City. The error resulted in a 6-5 10th inning win for the Mets. (Photo by Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
 INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 29: J.R. Hildebrand, driver of the #4 National Guard Panther Racing, finishes second after crashing during the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
INDIANAPOLIS - MAY 29: J.R. Hildebrand, driver of the #4 National Guard Panther Racing, finishes second after crashing during the IZOD IndyCar Series Indianapolis 500 Mile Race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 29, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
The greatest chokes in sports history
The greatest chokes in sports history
The greatest chokes in sports history
The greatest chokes in sports history
14 Apr 1996: Greg Norman of Australia sinks to his knees in frustration after narrowly missing the hole with his chip shot on the 15th during the final round of the 1996 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday/Allsport
The greatest chokes in sports history
14 Apr 1996: Greg Norman of Australia sinks to his knees in frustration after narrowly missing the hole with his chip shot on the 15th during the final round of the 1996 Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Munday/Allsport
JBOSTON - OCTOBER 17: Dave Roberts #31 of the Boston Red Sox steals second base while shortstop Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees applies the tag in the ninth inning during game four of the American League Championship Series on October 17, 2004 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
The greatest chokes in sports history
JBOSTON - OCTOBER 17: Dave Roberts #31 of the Boston Red Sox steals second base while shortstop Derek Jeter #2 of the New York Yankees applies the tag in the ninth inning during game four of the American League Championship Series on October 17, 2004 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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