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7/27/2007 12:47:00 PM

The Simpsons' best sports star guest appearances

The Simpsons
Springfield has been a regular stop for sports' biggest stars.
Photo by Fox
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

We live in an era when sports and celebrity are inextricably intertwined, where it doesn't matter how skilled you are as an athlete so long as you remain in the "now." Well, nobody's more "now" than The Simpsons, even 20 years after their debut. This weekend sees the long-awaited debut of The Simpsons Movie. In honor of the release, here are my top five sports star guest appearances on The Simpsons ...

1. Darryl Strawberry: Appeared in the epic "Homer At The Bat" episode as a ringer for Mr. Burns' softball team. What made it funnier was that of all the guys slated to play for Mr. Burns (from Wade Boggs to Steve Sax), Strawberry alone actually showed up for the game turned out to be a team-first guy.

2. Ronaldo: When Homer found time to ref Lisa's soccer game, Brazilian striker Ronaldo showed up to teach Homer how to tell when players are flopping.

3. Sal Bando: The former A's and Brewers third baseman might not have been a household name (he hit .252 for his career), but he can always tell people he somehow once appeared on The Simpsons. (Same goes for Gene Tenace.)

4. Tom Brady: The Patriots heartthrob appeared in the special Simpsons episode that aired following Super Bowl XXXIX. Brady hired Homer to teach him how to celebrate following touchdowns, and was soon seen initiating a routine that included a sign reading "Everyone Sucks But Me!"

5. Magic Johnson: The first athlete to ever appear on The Simpsons. Magic appeared on the terrific episode "Homer Defined," which gave us the memorable phrase "to pull a Homer."

Who was your favorite athlete to guest on The Simpsons? Let us know below...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
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7/25/2007 11:54:00 AM

Five most ridiculous WWF gimmicks

By Jimmy Traina, SI.com

Ultimate Warrior
There wasn't much to the Ultimate Warrior's gimmick.
Photo by WWE
Wrestling has come under massive scrutiny since last month's Chris Benoit tragedy. But there was a time in the '80s and early 90s when the WWF (as it was then known) was about fun, simplistic -- and quite frankly -- dopey characters. Here's my list for the five most ridiculous WWF/WWE gimmicks. I'm not saying they weren't enjoyable. I'm just saying they were ridiculous.

1. Red Rooster: Poor Terry Taylor. He wore red tights, had a red mohawk and moved around the ring like a rooster.

2. Hillbilly Jim: Put overalls on a guy who has long hair and a beard, give him theme music with the lyrics, "Don't go messin' with a country boy," and tada, you have a character.

3. Ultimate Warrior: He wore face paint, armbands and shook the ropes. That was his whole gimmick.

4. Koko B. Ware: He came to the ring with his bird Frankie and flapped his arms.

5. Doink the Clown: Self-explanatory. He was a clown who wrestled.

Those are my five most ridiculous WWF/WWE characters/gimmicks. What are yours?
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7/23/2007 02:59:00 PM

Five Worst Soccer Hairdos

Abel Xavier
How long do you think it takes Abel Xavier to do his hair in the morning?
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/WireImage.com
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

You may have watched bits and pieces of David Beckham's wildly hyped MLS debut over the weekend, during which Becks jogged around for about 15 minutes, played one short corner and most important caused more media credential requests than MLS had likely seen in its combined history. But if you watched the entire game, you surely saw the highlight(s) of the night: The hair on LA Galaxy defender Abel Xavier. Don't blame Xavier -- he's merely upholding the long tradition of soccer players sporting miserable hairdos.

Here's my top five worst soccer hairdos of all-timeā€¦

1. Carlos Valderrama: The Colombian midfield maestro was a sublime passer in his prime, but his hair was nothing but performance. With his straw-colored afro, Valderrama set the soccer hair tone for years to come.

2. Abel Xavier: The Galaxy defender managed to steal some of Becks' camera time with his blatantly bleached tresses. He earns extra points for taking the time to bleach his facial hair.

3. Ronaldinho: The Brazilian fútbol genius has a hairdo that's more of a hair-don't. With hair that is long, wavy and often appearing to be soaking wet, Ronaldinho's appearance is at the very least jarring. Unlike most of these guys, however, his game makes up for it.

4. Djibril Cisse: Like Xavier, Cisse is known for his chemically frightened locks, also taking the time to match his facial hair. Then again, anyone who gets married in a red tuxedo must know something about style.

5. Taribo West: This Nigerian defender stole headlines at various international competitions with his braided, multi-colored ponytails.

Who did we leave out? Which soccer player has had the worst hair? Let us know below...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.
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