I say, "Well, John, you have to change film."
We never did connect.
All the guys who are perceived as a------s are a------s. Randy Moss, Albert Belle, especially Barry Bonds.
The editors of SI KIDS called up in early 2004 and said, "We've got Willie Mays and Barry Bonds in San Francisco. You wanna photograph them?" I said, "Hell, yes." So I took the giant Polaroid. Bonds was just jacked. I mean, his body was sculpted. The reporter for SI KIDS asked him, "What was your favorite subject in school?"
He said, "Math, just so I could count money." And he was serious.
Partway through, I asked Bonds, "Can I take a portrait of you to include in a book I'm doing?" He said no. At the end, I asked again, and he said no again, so I gave up. Then I heard his p.r. person whisper to him, "Well, we do need some new pictures." So Bonds said, "We'll do some pictures if you send them to us." I said no problem.
So I shot him for the book. He had his hat on backward; they were beautiful shots. Then he looked at me, and the last thing he said to me was, "You can use those pictures. But if you do, I'll sue you."
Brett Favre, on the other hand, was a party waiting to happen, back before he cleaned up his act. When he was young, he and his agent, Bus Cook, sometimes arrived at the shoots with beers in their hands. Brett was one of those guys whose eyes just sparkled. It was as if any minute something was going to bust loose around him. Party? Let's roll.
Everyone goes out on the town in the sports world. My first shoot with the great SI writer Dan Jenkins was also my first golf tournament, the '64 Colonial. I was 20 at the time and sort of nervous, because I had to be at the course at eight in the morning. So the night before, I was at the hotel in bed, and I heard this pounding on the door. I thought, What the hell is this? I opened the door and Jenkins and [SI writer] Bud Shrake and a whole bunch of crazy people were standing there. Dan said, "We're partying in your room tonight."
I said, "I gotta get up tomorrow."