Previously, I've listed five of my Top 10 most compelling and colorful sports
personalities of 2000. The five below complete this elite list.
|If Tiger Woods wins the 2001 Masters, he'll be the reigning champion of the four majors.|
In 2000, Woods won -- among his 10 victories -- the U.S. Open, the British
Open and the PGA. So if he wins the '01 Masters, he'll be the reigning
champion of the four majors. Many wouldn't agree, but I would give him the
Grand Slam. As Dennis Miller said, Tiger Woods is the one guy in the world
that Michael Jordan is jealous of. But I think he'll end up even bigger than
Jordan. Woods is changing people's perception of his sport. He is changing
the way the game is played and who plays it.
Seven rings as a coach. But he'll never get all the credit he deserves.
Critics say that in Chicago he had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, two of
the greatest players of all time. In Los Angeles, he has Shaquille O'Neal and
Kobe Bryant, two of the best players in the game today. And while Jackson
handles the stars brilliantly, he does his best work with the role players he
brings in. Lots of teams have two superstars. Phil Jackson's genius is in
getting the other guys to come through.
If you're a sanctimonious, overly serious "football guy," you don't like
Dennis Miller in the Monday Night Football booth. But if you have a sense of
humor and simply enjoy the game, you welcome him. The guys at ABC know the
real deal: If the game is good, people watch. If it's a stinker, people don't
watch. Miller wasn't going to change that. By Week 8, the criticism had died
down. Dennis Miller was not ruining MNF. What a relief! I think, though, that
the early rips he took may make Miller think twice about coming back.
He was found not guilty. We may never know what really happened in Atlanta in
the hours following Super Bowl XXXIV. If any good is to come from Lewis'
ordeal, it may be that other athletes realize that those people hanging
around may not all be friends with your best interests in mind. The shame is
that Ray Lewis is one hell of a football player. But most people don't know
his name for that reason.
In the failed drug-test games of Sydney, where modern pharmaceutical
technology was on display, Rulon Gardner was an old-fashioned hero. This
American Greco-Roman wrestler defeated Russian Alexander Karelin in the
biggest upset of the games. He acted with class, unlike a lot of American
Olympians, and was easy to root for. Gardner was such a throwback that his
defeat of Karelin even summoned up those old Cold War feelings.