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8/24/2007 02:53:00 PM

Five Athletes Who Need to Loosen Up

Eli Manning.
Eli Manning's collar is loose but the quarterback still appears stiff.
Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

Las Vegas -- I spent most of this week out in Las Vegas covering the Tournament of the Americas, the basketball event featuring the U.S. Men's National Team. Besides learning that LeBron is not quite sure when to hold 'em or when to fold 'em, I learned that Vegas is a unique place with the ability to unlock the inner Pacman Jones in any of us. Here's my list of the top five athletes who could really use a few days in Vegas.

1. Eli Manning: I completely believe Tiki Barber when he says some of Manning's attempts to communicate with his teammates were comical and awkward. Heck, just look at Eli's expressions. Are we sure he even wants to be playing football? We do know he is capable of having fun, though. So let's send him to Sin City and let him cut loose for a minute.

2. Tim Duncan: If you get to know him, you'll find that off the floor, Duncan is a bright, funny, engaging guy with a passion for video games and technology. Which is a polite way of saying that unless you get the chance to know Duncan, you will never know what floats his boat; the man is expressionless. In Vegas, Duncan could be a baller and shot-caller.

3. Tom Glavine: Tommy Boy, the newest member of the 300 club, has always been blow-dried and perfectly coiffed. And remember that time he said something controversial? Oh wait, he doesn't say anything interesting. Well, Glavine's buddy Greg Maddux is from Vegas, so maybe Mad Dog could get Glav to act like a big shot.

4. Roger Federer: Count me among those who recognize Federer's genius on the tennis court, but you can also count me among those who has no clue what Federer's like off the court -- all we see is the carefully packaged star. Vegas could set Federer free. As long as he doesn't wear one of those head wrap things to the club.

5. Tiger Woods: I'm not fully convinced Woods isn't just a robot sent from another planet, here to dominate our golf tournament and move product. C'mon, Tiger. Meet us at Ghostbar and open a tab.

If you could get one athlete to cut loose for a night, who would it be? Give us your nominations below...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
posted by SI.com | View comments |


Posted: August 24, 2007 4:24 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
You definitely need to add Kimi Raikonnen. Off track he's supposed to be a party guy, but in post-race interviews he seems barely sentinent.
Posted: August 24, 2007 9:41 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Posted: August 24, 2007 9:53 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
you call them uptight, but who's to say that's not why they're winners?
Posted: August 24, 2007 10:03 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
I think the Phillies left fielder
Pat Burrell. He rarely shows any kind of positive energy or emotions on the playing field.
Posted: August 24, 2007 10:30 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
John Daly. Dude is way uptight.
Posted: August 25, 2007 1:13 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
From the wayback machine: Steve Carlton.
Okay, it's finally been done: someone found Tim Duncan's weakness.

He doesn't talk enough about himself in public.

Shame, Timmie, shame.
Posted: August 25, 2007 9:06 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
uh, Matt Kenseth!
Posted: August 25, 2007 12:03 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Oh I dunno, maybe BARRY BONDS?
Posted: August 25, 2007 1:48 PM   by Anonymous KSting
Denny Hamlin. I mean, I really like him and he's a great racer, 2nd in the chase, but no one gives him any attention because he's such a wimp! Tony Stewart wrecks him from behind when Denny is in 1st, and instead of saying "I'm gonna kick Tony's ass" in the after-crash interview, he says he thinks Tony hit him but maybe it was his own fault (which it wasn't). Denny really needs to spend a few nights on the town, when they race at Las Vegas.
Posted: August 25, 2007 3:56 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Are u kidding me, Tiger? What about all the infamous strides and arm pumping theres nothing like a tiger celebration after a tournament winning putt. Even though I do agree he can be a bit too expressionless at times. But I would have to say Greg Oden never seen any expression aside from an occasional roar after a block.
Eli Manning
Posted: August 26, 2007 10:36 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How about the world's most santcimonious, yet poorly informed, athlete: Curt Schilling?
Posted: August 26, 2007 11:11 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
5 who need to loosen up 1- Barry Bonds, even if he does cheat

2- Eli

3- He's not an athlete but steinbrenner

4- tiger

5- Corey Hart, he always looks angry
Posted: August 27, 2007 5:54 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Alex Rodriguez
Posted: August 27, 2007 9:55 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Too many athletes (and non-athletes) have already released the "inner Pacman Jones." Don't your read the newspaper or the police reports? We ought to give thanks that professional sports still has guys that are stand-up guys and not in jail come Monday morning. This column only glorifies the Pacmans of the world by making fun of those who live as they should.
Posted: August 27, 2007 10:47 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Annika should throw back a few cold ones every so often...
Posted: August 27, 2007 12:00 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
How about the sweatshirt king, Bill Belichick? The man has one voice and expression for everything: dull.
Posted: August 27, 2007 12:25 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Let's not forget Jeff Kent of the Dodgers and Garrett Anderson of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim via the Santa Ana Freeway, aka I-5.
Posted: August 27, 2007 12:58 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
What a STUPID-ASS list! Some people are just wired to be quiet/uncontroversial/unassuming and wanting them to be more "entertaining" just to suit your tastes shows your narrow-mindedness. What really matters is that they perform well and do their job on the playing field. Not everyone can have your sparkling personality Mr. Lang Whitaker - if you have a sparkling personality that is.
Posted: August 27, 2007 1:17 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Chipper Jones often appears almost comatose...
Also not an athlete, but Bill Parcells, if he comes back from retirement (again). Even when he was winning, he looked like he was suffering from an inoperable colon blockage.
Glavine? Something controversial? OK, how about his dismissal of the All-Star game deciding Series home-field advantage because "the players won't approve it?" This guy is as anti-fan and pro-union as they come. If you meet him you immediately discover he's an arrogant, rude person who has contempt for you just because you can't throw a ball like he can. He is loyal only to himself and cares only about making himself more wealthy. Nobody in Atlanta shed a tear when he left for the Mets. The reason he doesn't seem to say anything interesting is that nobody wants to spend enough time with him to find out whether he'd say anything interesting at any point.
Manny Ramirez. Tell me that wouldn't be fun.
Posted: September 10, 2007 6:45 PM   by Anonymous Anonymous
Federer! The guy is so uptight, he couldn't even laugh about Djokovics impersonations. He's an incredible player and a classy guy though.
Posted: September 15, 2007 8:31 AM   by Anonymous Anonymous
barry sanders has anyone ever seen him celeibrate a touchdown
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