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Recently I published a list of the top five sports superstars who legacies you’ll have a hard time explaining to your kids. The post received a lot of feedback and many of you mentioned names that I may have missed. I am still sticking to my guns but here is a list of athletes who were close to making the cut.
5. Reggie Bush
Where to begin? Bush was one of the biggest superstars in college football history. He drew comparisons to Barry Sanders the way he juked his way around defenders. The USC product seemed to be on the fast track to be one of the NFL’s best. But Reggie couldn’t handle the bright lights of Hollywood. Apparently accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts is frowned upon by those snitches at the NCAA. They made him give back his Heisman but oddly none of the money he received. Bush would go on to have an NFL career highlighted by playing well below expectations. Actually, his biggest claim to fame since college has been piping down Kim Kardashian in that window post-Ray J but also before it was cool. SAD!
4. Michael Vick
The most prolific quarterback of my childhood, by far. Mike Vick invented the 21st century dual-threat quarterback. He could scramble like Brett Favre but Vick was actually a legitimate athlete so he was a zillion times better. At the peak of his game, he got arrested for training dogs to murder each other. From the Vick case we learned that there are a lot of really horrible things you can do, but NEVER hurt a dog. Dude got an indefinite suspension from the NFL. Do you know how hard that is? Ray Rice KO’d his wife on camera to the tune of two games. His reputation was trashed but he came out of prison “changed.” Goodell dropped the suspension (pussy) and the Eagles picked him up. He had the best season of his career for one season. He just retired and turns out his dad is a drug lord. Makes sense.
3. Barry Bonds
This is an easy one. Just show your kid a side by side picture of young Barry and old Barry. Then explain that the two pictures were taken about a day apart and that’s how we knew something was up. Also explain that people got all pissy that he was going to be the new home run king because he may or may not have been shooting a needle in his ass three times a day. Bonds will never get in the baseball Hall of fame, even though most of his cheating counterparts have and it’s because he is such a braggadocios asshole.
2. Pete Rose
Pete Rose didn’t make the original list because most of his transgressions are from before my lifetime. I best know him as the washed up old man who was selling autographs in Las Vegas. He was arguably the greatest baseball player of his era only to be disgraced by a gambling scandal. As manager of the Cincinnati Reds from 1984-1989, Rose definitely bet on some baseball games, which is frowned upon. He still to this day claims he never bet on his own team, but let’s be real. It’s like when those Wall Street guys commit insider trading. Did it happen? Probably. But who is gonna prove it? Now he is an analyst on Fox Sports and his job is to say senile shit and try to piss off A-Rod, who has decided he’s a professional.
In 2004 he finally admitted that he did it. My parents tried to explain it to me then and I think the talk we had after I crashed the family computer searching for boobs in 6th grade went smoother.
1. Aaron Hernandez
This is one that I really struggled to keep off my original list but I deemed that he was not enough of a superstar to warrant selection. Aaron Hernandez was a really good football player. To sum the guy up, basically every time he got impatient he would just shoot someone. It turns out he had been doing this shit since college but nobody ever said anything because Urban Meyer was winning a lot of games and football is more important. He was arrested for murder like three seconds after signing a new contract for millions of dollars.
Now this is where it gets weird. He was convicted for murdering his friend and was supposed to serve life in prison. He goes on trial a few years later for some other murders that he probably definitely did, but is somehow acquitted of those charges. So how does he celebrate? Dude kills himself five days later in his prison cell. Due to some technicality, in the eyes of the state of Massachusetts he never actually murdered anyone. How wild is that shit?
I got a lot of heat for not acknowledging this one initially, but hear me out. Like Pete Rose, Bruce was an athlete of our parents’ generation. Unlike Pete Rose (or OJ), nobody in our generation gives Jenner much credit as a superstar athlete (or murderer). I’m not sure how to roll with the pronouns from here so just bear with me. He was arguably the most famous Olympian before Michael Phelps, winning the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics. Then he started dating this lady who was separated from one of the guys who was helping OJ get away with murder. He inherited these step kids who were supposed to be just normal, bratty rich kids but they became famous as fuck because one of them fucked a rapper on camera. It was one of the first viral sex tapes and now Kim is one of the most famous people in the world. Their family is the G.O.A.T. of reality TV shows even though they have never done anything notable.
Their reality saga took the greatest plot twist ever when Bruce announced he wanted to be a woman named Caitlyn. He got the whole nine yards, tits and all. That bombshell announcement had everyone confused as fuck and now you can use whatever bathroom is open at the bar without offending anyone..
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