We rank 'em. You react. That's how the Daily List rolls.
2/08/2008 01:57:00 PM
Biggest Liars in Sports
Kevin Hart put a lot of effort into his lie.
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
We don't know the truth just yet, but we do know either Roger Clemens or Brian McNamee is lying. Why? Well, they each have reputations to uphold, one a bit more storied -- perhaps literally -- than the other. Sometimes life makes us say strange, untruthful things, and sports is no exception. Sometimes you get caught, sometimes you don't. Here are my top five busted liars in sports...
1. Michael Vick/Bobby Petrino: Vick insisted he wasn't involved with dog fighting...until it turned out he was. Then, after vowing to help the Atlanta Falcons return to respectability, head coach Bobby Petrino bolted for Arkansas in the middle of the night, causing the Falcons to call him everything from a "coward" to a few words that are unprintable even on the internet.
2. Pete Rose: For nearly 15 years, Rose steadfastly maintained he never bet on baseball. That changed in 2004 when Rose finally 'fessed up...conveniently timed to coincide with the release of a new book.
3. Marion Jones: Years after winning three gold medals at the 2000 Olympics, Jones found herself accused of using steroids. She denied it for years, only to tell the truth last fall when faced with jail time.
4. Kevin Hart: After explaining that he'd researched all his options and put a lot of thought into his decision, high school offensive lineman Kevin Hart recently announced that he'd be accepting a football scholarship from Cal-Berkeley. Only problem was Cal had never recruited him. Or any other school, for that matter.
5. Nick Saban: After bouncing from LSU to the Miami Dolphins, Saban repeatedly claimed he had no interest in moving to the University of Alabama. Until he moved the University of Alabama.
Who's your biggest liar in sports? Let us know below...
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.
Go ahead, admit it. You're going to miss Bobby Knight.
Matthew Stockman/AFP Getty Images
By John Rolfe, SI.com
It's going to be awful quiet now that Bobby Knight has resigned after almost 42 beet-faced, chair-throwing, ref-baiting, player-choking years as a head coach. Love him or hate him, you couldn't ignore him. Even if you deplored his borderline nuthouse intensity, things certainly won't be quite the same without him around. Here are five more certifiable characters who left a void when they left the spotlight:
1. Mike Tyson: Yeah, he still emerges from time to time, but since his formal retirement from the ring in 2005, he's been little more than a small-time carnival sideshow act. In his days as a relevant fighter, he had the big top to himself with his acts or threats of cannibalism, psychotic rants, divorce from Robin Givens, battles with Don King and stretch in the pokey for rape. It wasn't pretty, to be sure, and it earned Tyson ESPN’s title of Most Outrageous Character in modern sports history, but it was hard to look away. Boxing, while better off without him, isn't as compelling.
2. Dennis Rodman: Like Tyson, he's occasionally seen on commercials, in nightclubs, at the scene of a motorcycle spill, and making the odd comeback attempt. But in his heyday as a wedding-dress-wearing, cameraman-kicking nutjob with a different color hairdo every night, he was a headline-grabbing spectacle. Nothing quite like him now in the NBA.
3. Howard Cosell: If you recall the early days of Monday Night Football, you know Cosell was the definition of nasal, opinionated broadcasting bombast that brought out the masochism in viewers who just had to tune in if only to infuriate themselves. In Woody Allen’s classic comedy Sleeper, there's a scene in which Allen wakes up 200 years in the future and is asked by authorities to explain an old clip of Dracula-lookalike Cosell. "We can't figure out what this is," they say. "We think it was a form of horrible punishment for people who committed crimes."
"Yes, that's exactly what it was," Allen replies.
4. Bob Probert: The NHL is always queasy about over-the-top goons, and few have ever been as wild-eyed or feared as the longtime enforcer for the Red Wings and Blackhawks. Probert's brushes with the law for drug possession (he served time) and DUI only added to his menace. According to legend, he told a Chicago cop, "Just arrest me for the usual" after crashing his motorcycle in 1994. Current NHL enforcers look like choirboys by comparison.
5. George Steinbrenner: He mellowed in his later years and has faded from sight, leaving son Hank to do his best Boss impersonation. But no one will ever top George's almost daily firings of managers and coaches, his stream of fines and suspensions, his disastrous feud with Dave Winfield, or his declaration that, "I'll never have a heart attack. I give them." The Bronx isn't quite the same Zoo without him.
That's our five. Who else do you think has been, or will be, missed -- for better or worse?
Robert Horry has been an unlikely hero on a few occasions.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
I read and watched a lot of coverage leading into Superbowl XLII, and to be honest, I didn't hear much about David Tyree. Eli, Brady, Randy, Strahan -- those dudes all had the media on lockdown, doing interviews ad nauseum until I was nauseous. And while all those guys ended up playing important roles, arguably the most important catch of the game came from David Tyree as the Giants marched down the field for what would prove to be the winning touchdown. Tyree joins a long list of guys defined as"unlikely heroes." Here are my top five unlikely heroes.
1. Robert Horry -- Big Shot Bob has done it throughout his career, usually with a long three-pointer at some sort of buzzer, but he's been the hero in other ways, too: his dunk during the 2005 NBA Finals in Detroit; his hip check of Steve Nash during the 2007 Playoffs that drew a suspension for Boris Diaw and Amare Stoudemire.
2. Francisco Cabrera -- I'm a Braves fan, and I'd been watching the Braves for a decade, but when reserve catcher Francisco Cabrera stepped to the plate in the ninth inning of Game Seven in the 1992 NLCS, even I thought the Braves were dunzo. Cabrera thought otherwise, pulling a single to left that scored two runs and sent the Braves to the World Series. I'm still not sure that this actually happened.
3. Buster Douglas -- Back in the late '80s, "Iron" Mike Tyson became something of a folk hero, punching his way to fame and fortune. Then came The Interview with Barbara Walters and The Marriage with Robin Givens, and Tyson was suddenly the enemy. Enter James "Buster" Douglas, a 42-to-1 underdog, who knocked out Tyson in 1990, before eventually fading into Bolivian.
4. Ed Pinckney -- The Bronx-born PF had a fine NBA career, but it was the 1985 NCAA Tournament Final Four playing for Villanova that Pinckney is best remembered for, particularly his 16 points and six boards in a win against overwhelming favorite Georgetown in the final game.
5. Larry Brown -- No, the other Larry Brown. For all the big names on the Dallas Cowboys back in Superbowl XXX (Aikman, Irvin, Emmitt), it was cornerback Larry Brown who walked away with the MVP award after picking Pittsburgh QB Neil O'Donnell. LB became a free agent after the game and signed a huge deal with the Raiders, where he never had much success.
Who is your favorite unlikely hero? Let us know below...
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com