There used to be a time when a player’s signing for a new team was reported with a couple of lines in the newspaper, or a cheesy photo of them shaking the manager’s hand. While draft picks often have a generic unveiling, big-money free agents and other sports stars have become the subject of more memorable signing announcements. Here are some recent signing announcements that really stood out.
LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers, Basketball)
King James’ latest move was announced by a short understated paragraph from his agent. The two moves before that? Not so much. When James left Cleveland to join Miami he recorded a 75-minute TV special called “The Decision.” And his move back to Cleveland was marked by a lengthy “I’m coming home” essay in Sports Illustrated.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United, Soccer)
Long Beach Poly student Jack Johns announced his signing for USC with a two-minute video being interviewed by Snoop Dogg. French soccer star Pogba’s 2016 unveiling had a similar flavour, although he went further by actually starring in a music video, with British Grime rapper Stormzy. The result was one of the most loved and most derided unveilings in soccer history.
— adidas Football (@adidasfootball) August 8, 2016
John Tavares (Toronto Maple Leafs, Hockey)
Tavares chose a cute way to announce he was joining the Leafs by posting a picture on social media of him literally wrapped in his team’s colours. He wrote “Not everyday you can live a childhood dream.” Plus he was a cute kid, way to win over the fans Jonny T!
Not everyday you can live a childhood dream pic.twitter.com/YUTKdfMALl
— John Tavares (@91Tavares) July 1, 2018
Deontay Anderson (University of Mississippi, Football)
On National Signing Day, Anderson channelled his inner action hero and tried to win over the fans by fearlessly throwing himself out of a plane, passing by logos of potential schools before landing on earth and tearing open his shirt to reveal an Ole Miss T-shirt.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 3, 2016
Christiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, Soccer)
Soccer doesn’t have the draft system, so when they go big, they go really big. Carols Tevez, Kaka, Diego Maradona, James Rodriguez – all have attracted tens of thousands of fans just to see them sign a contract or wave to the crowd, before even playing in a game. Christiano Ronaldo’s unveiling takes the cake, with 80,000 fans screaming his name when he was announced as Real Madrid’s marquee signing.
Kjell Scherpen (Ajax of Amsterdam, Soccer)
Ajax and Feyenoord are fierce rivals, with riots breaking out before games in the past. So when goalkeeper Scherpen, who had previously trashed Ajax on social media in favour of Feyenoord, was signed by the Amsterdam club, fans asked how he could be shown the error of his ways. In this tongue-in-cheek video, Ajax and Dutch legends Edwin van der Sar and Marc Overmars sternly face the 19-year-old as he writes “Ajax is the most beautiful club in the Netherlands” 1,000 times.
'Ajax is de mooiste club van Nederland' 🗒🖊 pic.twitter.com/UusaaWT8mG
— AFC Ajax (@AFCAjax) April 24, 2019
Tahj Rice (Duke University, Football)
Rice gamely played a superhero fighting off other schools while trying to save a damsel in distress in this announcement video. The acting possibly isn’t any worse than some popular superhero films, but Rice probably shouldn’t give up his day job. Quote of the clip as he falls in love with his school? “Oh T Nasty I knew you’d be the one.” We watched it so you don’t have to.
Frank de Boer (Crystal Palace, Soccer)
Perhaps the most surreal unveiling belongs to a coach and not a player. When the ill-fated Dutchman joined English Premier League team Crystal Palace, the South Londoners tapped into their fan base’s rich Caribbean heritage and announced the signing via smoke signals from a local jerk chicken shop, in a parody of the Vatican’s College of Cardinals electing the Pope. Unfortunately the union wasn’t blessed with de Boer lasting just five games before being fired.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) June 26, 2017
Dre Kirkpatrick (University of Alabama, Football)
There are many reasons not to sign for a team: you don’t think you’ll fit in, you don’t like the coach, the money’s not right. Well, what if you don’t like the hat? In a clip that involved bag after bag and a bright red box, Cornerback Kirkpatrick chooses Alabama after dismissing Texas as their hat “don’t have enough swagger.”
Chaz Ah You (Brigham Young University, Football)
Not to be outdone, utility player Chaz Ah You flew a helicopter to his chosen school in a video called The Commitment. The flight teased viewers which college he would land at before setting it down in the centre of the BYU field. Talk about making an entrance.