Our Favorite Sports Stories from 2010
The close of 2010 means most are using this week to look back and reflect on stories of memory from the last year.
We may be hungover, fat, lazy, unmotivated, and uninterested in the calendar… but we get it, and if we are anything, we’re a team.
I hit up Joe Lucia to help me on this one as we address our favorite sports stories from 2010. He’s come in to balance the plates, adding a bit of clarity to the irresponsible view I take of the world around us. We’ve each got our five favorite headlines from 2010 (along with a few honorable mentions) and we’re anxious to share.
More than anything we want to say “good riddance” to the year that was and we’re hoping this gives us some sense of closure so we can go back to getting drunk without taking apathy with us… that’s no fun. Our livers are tired enough. We’re due for a happy drunk, and so are you.
Let’s see if we can find it together. We’re a team.
Joe’s Honorable Mentions
– Ben Roethlisberger, Serial Rapist.
This is too depressing to even make jokes about. The guy is clearly a sick man, and no charges are filed either time because he’s a famous athlete. Third time is a charm..coming to a college town’s bar near you!
– The Cam Newton scandal.
Another depressing one. If Newton didn’t know what his father was doing, selling his son’s football abilities to schools for cash money, it’s just another example of parents needing to stay the hell out of sports. If he did know, we’re gonna have another vacated Heisman trophy in the next couple of years.
– Canada Wins Hockey Gold.
The US beat Canada early in the Olympic tournament, and the country actually gave a shit about the sport. Until that rat bastard Sidney Crosby (who else?) won the gold for the Canooks in overtime in the final, against the US again. Oh hockey, will anyone relevant ever give a shit about your sport in this country?
Bryan’s Honorable Mentions
(For the record, I love hockey… but I’m not ready to lay claim to title as “relevant”.)
– Welcome to USC, Lane Kiffin!
Tennessee already suffers from an inferiority complex – consistently bent over by the Gators, the Tide, and the teams of actual power from the SEC – and the only man in the world with more bullets on his resume than I drops a Cleveland Steamer right on their chest. He spends one season soaking checks and breaking rules only to leave for USC where his hero Pete Carroll has fled for the home of coffee and suicide… having already killed the Trojans with a list of infractions resulting in BCS suspension of his own. The leaf never falls far from the tree… even if the wind blows that mother fucker east, it comes back.
– Soccer Wife Swapping
I spent more hours reading about, watching, and somewhat caring about soccer in 2010 than I have since juice boxes and minivans. Between the World Cup and stories of infidelity, wife swapping, and general debauchery from the world’s game… tons o’ fun. Add the rise of TMZ Sports, Perez Hilton’s jump into the occasional sports tryst, and the all-too-common hotness of the girls associated with soccer and you have… well… you have a new market for blogs.
– LeBron does it for the kids, “it” being “fucking over Cleveland.”
Pop quiz: Which hurts more?
Doesn’t leave much room for me… he’s a douche. We get it.
TOP TEN SPORTS HEADLINES FROM 2010
Let’s start with Joe…
George Steinbrenner Dies
George Steinbrenner died at the age of 80 on July 13th this year. Fittingly, he died the morning of the All-Star Game so that Major League Baseball could honor him on national television and every baseball fan in the country could get his legacy shoved down our throats just one more time.
After his passing, the Yankees constructed a mammoth plaque in Yankee Stadium’s Monument Park, dedicated to Steinbrenner. The plaque dwarfed every other one in the shrine, despite Steinbrenner never playing an inning for the Yankees and only really being around for less than 40 years of the team’s illustrious history. The Steinbrenner family was attempting to force everyone to forget the legendary Steinbrenner temper, which led to Billy Martin having five different tenures as Yankees skipper, and the now legendary story about Steinbrenner paying people to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield, which led to him being banned from baseball for a number of years.
Despite all this, people championed for him to be elected to the Hall of Fame during this year’s Veterans Committee election.
He fell short. Thank god.
Simmons eliminates Free Darko from paperback version of “The Book of Basketball”.
I’m not sure if this is a headline for you… it was a headline for me and that’s all that matters ’cause I’m on the keyboard, bitch.
His name is Bethlehem Shoals, he’s the hero of a nation of basketball bloggers – for a variety of reasons (primarily for his success, branching contributions to more sites of respect than you can count with an abacus… but also for his wit and stance on behalf of the blogosphere) – and he was given an undeniable vote of respect when he was cited in Bill Simmons’ best-selling “The Book of Basketball”. Serving as another shining example of the power of independent media and the growing influence on culture, Shoals and FreeDarko.com were already working as one of the most respected spots to visit for basketball junkies. Getting a spot in a New York Times best seller, put forth by the pageview wizard of the Worldwide Leader, added another feather to an already gaudy-ass cap.
Then the paperback version hit shelves for the holidays this season… and Shoals wasn’t there.
If you are a fan of sports, if you are fan of legitimate business, if you are a fan of pop culture, if you are a fan of Jesse Ventura, if you are fan of giving a big “Fuck You” to the man… you should be a fan of Shoals and you should be a fan of this story.
Back to Joe…
NCAA Conference Carousel
When all the talk about NCAA realignment began, I was reminded of the scene at the beginning of the movie BASEketball, where the narrator talked about teams not having loyalty and switching cities.
Colorado and Utah made the Pac-10 the Pac-12, despite not being on the ocean. Boise State, Nevada, Hawaii and Fresno State went to the Mountain West, despite not being located in a mountain range. BYU became an independent much like Notre Dame, except that no one outside of the state of Utah is a Mormon and really cares about the move at all. Nebraska went to the Big Ten which…actually made sense, but the Big Ten now has twelve teams, and the Big 12 has ten teams. And just to put the cherry on top, TCU moved to the Big East despite being closer to Los Angeles than New York City.
But then again, conference alignment has never made sense. At least the NCAA had the fortitude to not screw up the history of the ACC!
And back to Bryan…
The Jets are a bunch of slapdicks.
It is pretty damn hard to beat the NBA when it comes to entertainment… at least my view of entertainment. When it comes to action on the field I spend most of my time with the NFL, and while there is no shortage of drama and rumor from the gridiron, no team served up entertainment like the New York Jets.
If you want to start early in the year with the Jets’ push deep into the playoffs, barely making the cut for the postseason only to ride momentum to the AFC Championship, that’s fine… but I couldn’t give a shit less (even with the Jets pushing for the same status this year… I’ll believe it is coincidence until Dirty Sanchez proves otherwise).
I want to talk about Hard Knocks. I want to talk about Rex Ryan, his penchant for profanity, his love of internet porn and off-center sexual fetish, his ability to turn every press conference into must-see TV… I’ll give credit to the Jets because they are fun to watch, but when you get down to brass tax, Sexy Rexy is the star of the show.
Some of you may disagree… see Joe below… but unless we’re getting a NSFW version of Sterger v. Favre, I’ll stick with Rex ’cause Rex isn’t fuckin’ around like a fuckin’ slapdick. He’s in it to fuckin’ win it, not matter what the fuck “it” is. And then we’ll eat a fuckin’ snack.
I respect that. I want more of that. I like snacks. I hope HBO takes it back to Cortland to film more. Do TWO series of Hard Knocks… reward the folks getting the NFL Network with “Rex Ryan and the Slapdicks: The Reprise”.
Again, from Joe…
Tim Tebow goes to Denver.
There were a lot of storylines in the 2010 NFL Draft, but the one I latched on to pretty hard was the story of Tim Tebow and where he’d fall in the draft. Tebow won two national titles at Florida during his college career and was a quintessential role model for kids with his strong morals and values. But there was one problem: the kind of shit he’d pull on the college field wouldn’t work in the NFL, where there isn’t a team that’s as bad as Vanderbilt for him to run train on.
Regardless, Tebow kept talking about being confident he’d be taken early in the draft, because of the attention that a certain team paid to him. That team ended up being the Denver Broncos, who traded three picks to the Baltimore Ravens for the 25th-overall pick in the draft, which they used to select Tebow. Coach Josh McDaniels apparently had a plan for Tebow.
That plan hit a roadblock when the Broncos terribly struggled in 2010, and Tebow was sparingly used for the first 3/4 of the season, coming in mostly to run a QB draw once or twice a game. After McDaniels was fired in December, and starting QB Kyle Orton was injured, Tebow became the starter. While he hasn’t been a superstar, he’s shown flashes of brilliance. But with McDaniels out in Denver, it’s unclear whether the new regime that comes in will look to Tebow as their future QB, or take another route and show the former college superstar the door.
Gilbert Arenas as Desperado
Maybe I’ve gotten lost… if you want to argue that I’m collecting the best CHARACTERS from the sports universe of 2010, that’s fair. I’d argue the characters make the headlines. I’d argue we live in a selfish, self-promotional society and thus the so-called “headlines” will revolve around the individuals that ask for it most. I’d argue that stories are nice but its the people I’d rather remember… the stories are chapters, the people are the books.
Tomato – tom-AT-OO.
That’s the Gilbert Arenas defense. Early in 2010 Arenas argued his decision to bring a bag full of guns to the arena… a few days after a rumored fight with Javaris Crittenton in the locker room, a fight in which Crittenton is alleged to have brandished a pistol of his own… was exactly that: a simple failure to communicate.
See, Arenas was bringing those guns down to turn ’em in. He’s a father, right? And his kids be around all those guns and shit, ya’ heard? So these are going to NBA security ’cause Gilbert can’t be trifflin’ with all this mess.
See? Tomato… tom-AT-OO.
To be fair the initial incident (the bag o’ guns) happened BEFORE the arrival of 2010. However, the story attaching Crittenton to the tale (followed the revelation of gun play during a disagreement in the locker room) broke on January 2nd, 2010, and THAT is what made this story so juicy… so I don’t want to hear that noise about semantic. This is a 2010 story and it didn’t end until the recent trade sending Arenas to the Orlando Magic. The guy was a source of speculation, rumor, fanatic debate, rumor, intrigue, petulance, and awe throughout 2010.
I can think of only three other names that rolled off my head quicker in review of 2010. They’re coming.
But Joe’s up…
Before 2010, I had no idea what a vuvuzela is. I’m never going to forget, though I wish I never learned.
A vuvuzela is a huge plastic horn, and the fans at the World Cup in South Africa really had a ball with them. From the moment they arrived in the stadium, fans would blow these godforsaken horns with all of their lung capacity to create a really irritating sound. I can’t even describe it.
The best thing I can say is “a stadium full of bees”. Eardrums were blown out, and the vuvuzela became the talk of the World Cup. Mobile apps were created, websites were created…here, check out Gunaxin, vuvuzela style!
Thankfully, the trend really didn’t catch on in America. Football stadiums banned them nearly immediately. Baseball stadiums didn’t at first though, and that led to vuvuzela night in (of course) Miami for a Marlins game. Players and coaches said they couldn’t even hear themselves talk because of the god damned horns.
Hopefully, the vuvuzela goes the way of the Tamagotchi, or the pet rock, or the Beanie Baby…and not the thunder sticks. I really don’t want to have to rip one of these out of someone’s hands and beat them across the face with it.
Honors to Bryan…
Delonte throws LeBron’s mom in the mix… and stops for KFC.
I’m not entirely sure if I’m more entranced by the thought of LeBron’s image being tarnished by his mom going down on Hot Sauce in my Bag, the sensational intrigue mixed with giddy humor that wells just thinking about the situation, or the anger I feel in Delonte for reppin’ the Slave Master (Colonial Sanders? Really? You cant’ find a Popeye’s?)… I just love everything about the love triangle that was in Cleveland.
Think how big the story grew… “viral” doesn’t do it justice… and I find it difficult to believe you would suggest this isn’t worth mention in any top-ten list of sports stories from 2010. The Decision? Who the fuck cares? It was a mistake, it will never be corrected, and that event can’t possibly live as long and healthy a life as a story suggesting The Decision became a reality because LeBron, the world’s biggest diva, couldn’t handle looking Delonte West in the eye.
Because he fucked your mom.
There’s only one story I enjoyed more in 2010.
But its Joe’s serve…
Brett Favre took the Vikings through a roller coaster ride this offseason with his “will he or won’t he” bullshit about coming back for a 47th year in the NFL. After weeks of waffling back and forth, Favre finally said he’d be down and reported to the Vikings.
Oh, but he didn’t take part in training camp.
The Vikings lost the season opener in a NFC Championship rematch with the Saints. Then they lost to the Dolphins (at home!). After a win against the Lions and a bye week…schlong-gate broke.
It was reported by Deadspin that Favre sent pics of his wang to former Jets employee and all-around hussy Jenn Sterger. There were also explicit voicemails. Well, for sites like Gunaxin, we had our target for the rest of the season, and you couldn’t go into any NFL article without a joke about Brittfar’s manhood, or lack thereof.
To make matters worse: his consecutive games streak was halted at 297 by Bills rookie Arthur Moats, who slammed Favre to the turf in Minnesota so hard that his shoulder nearly exploded. After taking a week off, Favre came back to start against the Bears at Soldier Field…and was knocked out of the game after Bears rookie Corey Wootton sacked Favre and slammed his head into the frozen grass.
Well done Brett, it was a hell of a season!
And for the last one, back to B…
Ron Artest is the greatest gift modern sports has known. He’s the feel-good story of the decade… the former Best Buy employee, the misfit who couldn’t make it work in Chicago, the baller who got lost in Sactown, the guy who started to become a leader for basketball nation in Indiana before attacking basketball nation in Detroit, the rapper, the Michael Jackson fan, the new face of defensive focus and reprise for the NBA, the man battling Shaq to be Kobe’s best partner ever, a champion selling his championship ring for charity, the voice of dogs mistreated and misunderstood as well as the homeless and the young, sometimes the voice of Luis Scola, the NFL hopeful… it goes on and on and on and on.
And I’ve adored every fuckin’ minute of it. I love Ron Artest and you should love Ron Artest, too.
So there ya’ go… now get your ass on to 2011, ’cause its not waitin’ for ya’.
Thanks for joining us this year and cheers to continued joy together in 2011.