Last night was a bittersweet time for sports fans in America. The final two parts of ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary were released, which was probably the one thing keeping this country afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you don’t know what “The Last Dance” is about, first of all, how dare you ignore a great piece of cinema, but I’ll explain.
The documentary follows the 1998 Chicago Bulls, AKA the team of my childhood, while also looking back at other Chicago Bulls teams throughout Michael Jordan’s career.
In one of last night’s episodes, it was revealed that Dennis Rodman (a man made famous in a past ‘Tuesday’s with Andy’ column) skipped practice during the NBA Finals to go be a part of a professional wrestling event.
Rodman flew from Chicago to Michigan to participate in an event put on by World Championship Wrestling. While all his goodie-two-shoes teammates were sharpening up for the big game ahead, Rodman was chilling with Hulk Hogan and bashing people with folding chairs. Rock star stuff.
Not only did Rodman bail on the team for pro wrestling, but he did so to join the bad guys. Rodman was a member of the “New World Order,” which was a 90s wrestling faction that used to do all sorts of cool villain stuff like ripping up people’s signs, spraypainting people, mugging people in the parking lot, all the classics.
It made me think of how cool professional wrestling bad guys are, and villains in general. Nobody likes to play the bad guy anymore, and that’s what is missing in professional sports, and life in general.
One of the most hated bad guys in pro wrestling history was “Classy” Freddie Blassie, who wrestled from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. He was this smug cheater who basically everyone hated, and it was way worse back then because it was less known that pro wrestling was scripted.
Freddie Blassie was so good at trolling the crowd that sometimes he would even be attacked by fans. The crowd used to throw batteries, rocks and hard-boiled eggs at him. They vandalized his vehicles and he was reportedly stabbed several times. Baller.
The worst kind of athlete is the one who can’t accept that they’re the bad guy. LeBron James and Sydney Crosby stick out the most. They do some of the classic bad guy stuff (flop, cry, constantly complain to the refs) without going all the way and just becoming the villain.
I would respect Lebron so much more if he showed up to Madison Square Garden in a “New York sucks” T-shirt, and just started talking about how Jay Z is a terrible rapper and the Empire State Building is overrated. Instead he still tries to say all the right things and get people in New York to like him. Forget that.
The one true villain move that still plays is bat flipping after a home run. Yasiel Puig is a pretty good villain in the sport of baseball. He might not trash people to the media, but he flips that bat like nobody’s business after going yard.
A proper bat flip should, though, be followed by an exaggeratedly slow strut around the bases, especially if it is a road game.
You know what would really drive the bad guy look home, is if you pulled out your cellphone and started taking selfies on your way to home plate.
The one true villain in pro football has to be Bill Belichick. He might not be a downright jerk, but he’s at least super grumpy all the time and videotapes his opponents. When you get the time, look up the video of him walking past the middle school Lions fans and not giving them hi-fives. Just left those kids hanging like chumps.
Today I give thanks to all the bad guys in sports. I mean, not like Latrell Sprewell who choked out his coach or O.J. Simpson who possibly may have done some bad stuff once, but maybe not, but maybe he could have, I couldn’t really say. Those guys took it too far. Allegedly. The other ones though, the bad guys who didn’t take it to a criminal level. Many thanks. You’re the REAL heroes.