Our loyal reader and ambiguous fan UCLAwarren got me thinking when he took on The King of the NBA, Michael Jordan. Well, really he just said he didn't like him and that he took offense to Jordan's cocky attitude. After briefly defending Jordan, while (of course) slipping in the pleasure I derive from watching Barry Bonds play, it got me to thinking about cocky, supremely talented players in sports.
I love them. I wish there were more of them. Now, before you get all uppity, hear me out.
Who would you rather have on your team in their prime: Barry Bonds or Alex Rodriguez? Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant? Vince Young or Chris Simms? I don't know about you, but I'll take Bonds, Jordan and Vince every day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Why do people care if these guys are pricks to the media? Why do people care if they say crazy things like "We're gangsta." Why do people want someone who acts like Cal Ripken when they can get someone who mashes like Barry Bonds? Please don't give me that role model crap. That's a parent's job, not an athlete's.
The point I want to make, though, is that the athletes I'm advocating win because they know they're the best. Jordan absolutely dominated his opponents, not only with his game, but with his mind. That attitude was as important to his success as any physical talents he was blessed with. Vince Young? I think we can all attest to there being a VY attitude, and I don't think there's one person in Texas who'd trade away that championship for someone a little more, uh, mainstream, for lack of a better word. My favorite anecdote from the season was the 4th and 30 play against Missouri. VY's got a little bit of that championship `tude. There's no mistaking why we won the Rose Bowl. It wasn't our affable coach, boys and girls.
One of my top ten favorite moments in my sports lifetime? Reggie Miller's miraculous, single-handed Knick slaying comeback, followed by the F YOU choke sign to Spike Lee. Of course, Reggie never got his ring because of that MJ fella, but you had to love that attitude. 8 points in 11 seconds.
And Bonds? He may not have a ring, but it's certainly not his fault. He's taken his team to the postseason seven times. In the 2002 postseason, if he didn't draw a walk, he hit a home run. Four in the World Series alone. So spare me the "choke" nonsense. Simply put, Bonds is the best hitter any of us have ever seen, and probably the best hitter to ever live. He strikes so much fear into opponents that he drew 232 walks in 2004. His on-base percentage: .609. Folks, you can go ahead and laser those in to the record books. Never gonna be topped. If OPS is your bag, he's got it covered, too. 1.422.
I'll never forget this SI cover from back in 1993.
He may not say it to the media, but I'll guarantee you that inside his head it's "I'm Vince Young and you're not."
So the media can have their darlings. I'll take the best.
Okay, I'm done. Flame away. Just don't wear a "We're Texas" shirt if you do. That would be arrogant. And we can't have that, now can we?