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6/08/2007 03:15:00 PM
Drew Gooden's Favorite Things About the '80s
Nintendo is one of the symbols of the '80s..
Photo by Nintendo
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
SAN ANTONIO -- Cleveland Cavaliers forward Drew Gooden was born in 1981, but it took him until 2006 to fully appreciate the '80s as a historical era. "I don't really know why," Gooden says, "but last summer I just got interested in the '80s."
Since then, Gooden has spent his free time away from the Cavs' NBA Finals run studying all things '80s. Here's Drew's five favorite things about the '80s...
1. The Ducktail: This is the hairdo (or hairdon't) Drew currently
sports. "That was a big '80s thing back when I was growing up in the Bay (Area)," Gooden explains.
2. Nintendo: Not Super Nintendo, Gooden stresses, just the "regular" Nintendo? "I got one at a pawn shop when I was in college at Kansas," Gooden says, "and the games were like $2 each, so I got all the games."
4. Skateboarding: "Skateboarding was really big back then," Gooden recalls. Gooden's teammate David Wesley pointed out that skateboarding used to go hand-in-hand with "jam shorts." Gooden agreed.
5. The Calculator Watch: Last summer, Gooden decided he wanted an authentic calculator watch from the '80s, so he turned to eBay. He bid $50 on a watch that eventually sold for over $500. Losing that watch sparked his competitive nature. "The next day I bid $40 on a different watch, one that was still in the package," Gooden says. On the final day of availability, the bidding soared over $300, prompting Gooden to wonder if he was bidding against the owner of the watch. He refused to lose, though, eventually buying the watch for $350.
What are your favorite things about the 1980s? Give 'em to us below...
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.
The happy times for Larry Brown in New York ended right about the time this photo was taken.
Photo by Getty Images
By John Rolfe, SI.com
Flip-flopping is reviled when politicians do it, and coaches don’t get off easy when they develop a sudden case of cold feet after committing themselves to a new gig. Let us recall the New York Post’s testy BELICHICKEN headline after Bill Belichick bailed on the New York Jets one day after being named the team’s head coach in January 2000.
Billy Donovan’s waffling about his new contract with the mired-in-mediocrity Magic is the latest instance, but it actually shows a bit of wisdom at work in the teeth of Orlando’s five-year, $27.5 million siren song to get the Gators head man to leave the University of Florida after two successive NCAA championships. After all, it’s worth asking one’s self if it is smart to give up a great thing and go from the top of the mountain in one place to the bottom of the pile in another. Sure, accomplished coaches love the challenge of proving that they can fix any bad situation, but history shows that discretion is often the better part of valor.
Here are five examples of guys who should have pulled a Belichick and gotten out while the getting out was good and their reputations or nervous systems were intact.
1. Larry Brown: After coaching the Pistons to two successive Eastern Conference crowns and the 2004 NBA title, Brown took his "dream job" in New York only to have it turn into a 23-win nightmare. What a surprise. The questionable, recalcitrant roster was topped by problem child Stephon Marbury, who happened to be a favorite of GM Isiah Thomas and impetuous owner James Dolan. Tuned out by his players and worn out by his hissing match with Marbury, old Larry was done in one, but only after he was left to publicly twist in the wind for weeks while Dolan made the obvious decision about his fate.
2. Dennis Green: Every year, things are going to be different for the Arizona Cardinals. Every year the sad song remains the same. So, new coach Ken Whisenhunt might want to consider the fate of Green -- one of seven men to hold the post since 1986 -- and get out of Phoenix on the next thing going. After posting winning records in nine of his 10 seasons with the Vikings, Green was lured away from ESPN in 2004 by a four-year, $10 million deal to take the helm of a team that has had one winning season since 1984 and a reputation for inept ownership. After a 16-32 record over three seasons that were capped by his memorable eruption after the Cards’ epic el-fold-o against Chicago last October, Green was shown the door.
3. Wayne Gretzky: A managing partner of the Phoenix Coyotes since February 2001, when they were on their way to missing the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, The Great One decided to take the coaching reigns before the 2005-06 season and has since presided over two more losing seasons and golf-filled springs. He’s also taken his share of blame for personnel decisions that were blessed by since-axed GM Mike Barnett, been forced to deal with the insubordination of disgruntled forward Jeremy Roenick, and had his name, and that of his wife, dragged into the mud of a gambling ring scandal that included assistant coach Rick Tocchet, who recently pleaded guilty.
4. Lou Piniella: After winning three Western Division titles, an AL-record 116 games in 2001, and prodding the Mariners into the playoffs four times, Lou signed on with the downtrodden Devil Rays, who reneged on their promise to spend on free agents and continued to wallow in the mire of the A.L. East basement, never topping 69 wins. In 2005, Lou begged out of the final season of his four-year sentence. You’d think that would have learned him his lesson. But after a year of chilling out in retirement, he’s back with the perennially-bewitched Cubs and routinely coming off the spool as the team does what it usually does so well: lose.
5. Billy Martin: How did George W. Bush put it? "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." After leading the Yankees to the 1977 World Series title, Billy got himself booted in mid-season the following year in the midst of a public feud with Reggie Jackson and compulsively-meddling owner George Steinbrenner. But Billy couldn’t stay away. He agreed to come back in 1979...and 1983...and 1985...and 1988...each time fooled into believing that things would be different with sparring partner George.
Okay, now it’s your turn. Who else do you think should have bailed on a situation that ended up going very badly? It can be a coach, player, or front office type in any sport, past or present.
Aside from Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez may be the most reviled athlete of his generation. He is not loved or hated, he is loved or overwhelmingly detested, to the point that there is actual glee when his personal life is suddenly targeted by a New York tabloid.
Why do we love to hate A-Rod? I'm not sure I understand, but as Deion Sanders once sang (slightly off key), Must be the money. A-Rod's astronomical direct-deposit slips have not only pushed him into a higher tax bracket, they've given fans tired of the largesse of pro sports a target.
Me, I feel bad for the guy. No matter what he does, it somehow spins wrong for him. How many players do you think have yelled at an opposing fielder? How many times do you think it's worked? Of course, it only works when A-Rod does it.
So, let's give him a break. I found five reasons for us all to like Alex Rodriguez.
1. Rupert Murdoch has declared war against him: Last week's New York Post cover story declaring that A-Rod appeared to be cheating on his wife was something of a surprise attack. While Hollywood celebrities have long been the targets of the tabloids, athletes have generally escaped their magnifying glass. Until now. And to kick off their campaign, Murdoch's Post went after A-Rod, the biggest fish in the pond. They report, we decide, even if they're not strictly reporting "news." Now A-Rod finds himself at odds with the conservative media's biggest power broker. Surely I'm not the only one who feels a little compassion for anyone in that spot.
2. He's clean cut: Look at that sharp haircut, the clean shave, those model good looks. Even when he was being unknowingly photographed with the Post's surveillance cameras, A-Rod looked like he'd just stepped out of a Chrome Hearts catalog. Sure, it's probably easy to look like a million bucks when you're worth 252 million bucks, but A-Rod never takes his appearance for granted and almost always looks like he's heading for a job interview. I bet old people love him.
3. He plays a little dirty: Perhaps it's because his looks are so magnetic, but it's hard to accept the truth: A-Rod plays a little dirty. From last week's "Ha!" against the Blue Jays to his karate chop of the ball from Bronson Arroyo's glove, A-Rod shown a few times that he'll do whatever it takes to win. In a way he's like baseball's Bill Laimbeer, a guy not afraid to bend the rules in order to get a W on the board. Usually we secretly loves guys like that. Shouldn't A-Rod feel the love, too?
4. He's good: This tends to get overlooked in all the hullabaloo surrounding A-Rod, but he might be the best offensive player in baseball. As of Sunday, A-Rod was 26th in the AL in batting average, led the league in homers and was fourth in RBIs. You might argue that he's not clutch, but I think Jonathan Papelbon would argue that with you. It's not easy to think this way, but salary issues aside, would you want A-Rod on your favorite team? I'd take him in a heartbeat.
5. He's not Derek Jeter: OK, Jeter, now there's a guy we can all hate.
Can anyone else come up with other reasons to like A-Rod? Give 'em to us below.
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.