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10/19/2007 01:00:00 PM

Favorite 'Unconventional' Announcer Moments

Jimmy Kimmel
Jimmy Kimmel won't see the 'Monday Night Football' booth anytime soon.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

This week on Monday Night Football, Jimmy Kimmel managed to accomplish something Monday Night Football hasn't seen in a while: Humor. Kimmel was eventually "banned" from Monday Night Football for his efforts, probably because it was intentional. But if Kimmel had accidentally dropped a curse word or said something inappropriate, he'd be celebrated and would live on the internet forever. Here are some of our favorite sports announcer moments...

1. Steve Levy: The normally unflappable ESPN anchor once described a player with a back problem as having a "bulging d---." OK, but what does that have to do with his back? His Wikipedia page blames this on a teleprompter typo. Thing that Wikipedia page was edited by someone in Bristol?

2. Suzyn Waldman: When the Yanks were knocked from the postseason a few weeks ago, Waldman couldn't contain her emotions and started shedding tears during the postgame show while discussing the future of Joe Torre. She's probably in mourning today.

3. Brian Collins: The "Boom Goes The Dynamite" guy has to make any list of announcing miscues.

4. Brian Kinchen: The former LSU wideout was calling a Northen Illinois/Iowa blockbuster on ESPNU when he decided to break down the mechanics of catching a football pass. After using words like "hard," "stiff" and "caress," he muttered, "that's kinda gay." Listen for the terrific pause from the play-by-play guy immediately afterwards.

5. I couldn't find out this guy's name, but this is a terrific clip. Love his initial reaction of complete disbelief.

What are some of your favorite announcing disasters? Let us know below...

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
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10/17/2007 01:23:00 PM

Best Duo Rivalries of All Time

Tom Brady
Tom Brady and Peyton Manning will meet again in Week 9.
Jerry Cooke/SI
By John Rolfe, SI.com

With Tom Brady and Peyton Manning playing fairly well, we appear to be in one of those special eras where two rival athletes tower above their sport. Brady, who has three mini-diamond mines affixed to his digits while Manning has one, is now 6-3 overall against his Colts counterpart -- including 2-1 in postseason play -- since becoming the Patriots' starter in 2001. One suspects they'll have to go through each other again this season to get to the jewelry store, and Brady is now eyeing Manning's single-season TD record (49). With any luck, the fun and games will continue through the decade, placing the two QBs firmly among the greatest duo rivalries of all-time.

Here are my top five:

1. Wilt Chamberlain vs. Bill Russell: The two giants met on the hardwood 142 times in 10 years, including six Eastern Conference Championships (1960, '62, '65. '66, '67, '68) and two NBA Finals ('64, '69). Wilt won the battle of stats, out-rebounding Russell 29-24 per game and scoring 50 or more points against him seven times, including 62 on Jan, 14, 1962, but the final score of that one - Celtics 145, Warriors 136 -- said it all about the rivalry's bottom line: Russell won nine championships to Chamberlain's one.

2. Chris Evert vs. Martina Navratilova: They started out as friends and grew to loathe each other over the course of what tennis scribe/commentator Bud Collins called "The Rivalry of the Century" -- 80 matches from 1973-88, with the fiery Navratilova topping the steely Evert, 43-37, but each coming away with 18 Grand Slam singles titles.

3. Richard Petty vs. David Pearson: How's this for metronomic dominance: NASCAR's top two all-time leaders in wins (Petty 200, Pearson 105) finished 1-2 in 63 races between August '63 and June '77. (Pearson won 33.) In all, The King and The Silver Fox faced each other 550 times, with Petty finishing ahead, 289-261, and winning seven championships to Pearson's three.

4. Alydar vs. Affirmed: While we're on the subject of racing, most folks only remember the 1978 Triple Crown won by Affirmed with the dogged Alydar finishing second in all three races (he briefly poked his head in front during the Belmont stretch run). But the two great colts met 10 times between June '77 and August '88. Affirmed won seven, with Alydar taking the Great American, the Champagne, and the Travers (when Affirmed was disqualified for interfering with his rival).

5. Mario Lemieux vs. Wayne Gretzky: The Great One ruled the '80s with his four-time Stanley Cup champion Oilers, but Super Mario ended Gretzky's run of seven straight scoring titles and eight consecutive MVP awards during the 1987-88 season. From then on, either superstar would win the scoring crown each season through '93-'94, but Lemieux took possession of the big silverware, coppng the Cup in '91 and '92. Gretzky's Kings reached the Cup final in '93.

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10/15/2007 03:03:00 PM

Best Songs About A Specific Athlete

Paul Simon.
Paul Simon performed 'Mrs. Robinson' at Yankee Stadium in 1999 during a tribute to Joe DiMaggio.
Jerry Cooke/SI
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

So I was stuck on a cross-country flight the other night, my iPod on shuffle, when back-to-back came Public Enemy's Reggie Jax and Kanye West's Barry Bonds, two songs name for athletes (even if they aren't both specifically about athletes). This, hoever, got me thinking: What are the top five songs about specific athletes?

1. Hurricane by Bob Dylan: This song telling the story wrongfully imprisoned boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter not only exposed Carter's plight, but it helped raised money to get Carter a new trial.

2. Barry Bonds by Kanye West with Li'l Wayne: They compare their ability to crank out hits with that of Barry Bonds, although they don't seem to understand that Bonds isn't as consistent as he is powerful. Maybe they should've done a song called "Todd Helton."

3. Mrs. Robinson by Simon & Garfunkel: Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? The song is about more than DiMaggio, but Joe D's role as a cultural touchstone has never been greater than it is here.

4. Dooley's Junkyard Dogs by James Brown: OK, so it's more about a coach (Vince Dooley) than a player, but when was the last time you saw James Brown perform at halftime of a college football game?

5. K.O.B.E. by Kobe Bryant with Tyra Banks: Kobe recorded a song about himself, but should we expect anything less?

What's the best song about an athlete? Let us know below…

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