"Who's Bored?"

August 03, 2007 | Comments (0) | by Rich Funk

In case you've been living in a cave lately*, you've probably had your life interrupted a few times by ESPN's segment "Who's Now?" It's one of the most jarring things that can ever happen. I mean, here I am, sitting there watching my 10:00 Sportscenter, expecting some Cubs highlights or a replay of the Brewers fighting in the dugout (copycats), and instead I'm treated to a shot of a creepy guy walking through a tunnel that looks straight out of TRON looking directly at me and pointing his finger in my face.

I know that it's easy to accuse ESPN of selling out the last few years, but this segment clinches it. It would be one thing if the fans clamored for this "competition"...but they haven't. There's no reason for this segment to exist. Maye if they would have kept it to an online vote entirely and not put it on TV at all, it would have been ok. But then they wouldn't have had the chance to use all their cool special effects and special "Who's Now?" rap song.

But just for a minute, let's give ESPN the benefit of the doubt. Let's say that having a fake competition to see what athlete is the greatest superstar right now was something people were interested in. The problem I still have is the fact that, while some of the athletes deserve to be on this list, the majority of them are either 3-4 years past being considered "Now" or aren't famous enough to warrant being in the conversation in the first place. But I guess that's what happens when you need 32 athletes to fill out the brackets. I mean, can you honestly name 32 athletes that are true international superstars? Hell, I can't even name 32 states.

Let's break it down:

"The Wolverine Group" (The best at what they do, and truly deserving to be "Next")

Matt Leinart
Dwyane Wade
Shawn White
LaDainian Tomlinson
David Beckham
Peyton Manning
LeBron James
Sidney Crosby
Reggie Bush
Vince Young
Roger Federer

These are the athletes in the competition that I think deserve to be "Now". Although they're not all the absolute best at their sports yet (Leinart), they do all have the potential to not just be superstars on the playing field, but off it as well. These are the ones that can all be international superstars one day.

"The 'Bob from Fight Club' Group" ("You're too old fat man. And your tits are too big. Get the fuck off my porch")

Tiger Woods
Serena Williams
Alex Rodriguez
Terrell Owens
Kobe Bryant
Jeff Gordon
Barry Bonds
Derek Jeter
Tom Brady
Shaquille O'Neal

These are the guys that would have had a very strong chance of being considered "Now"...if it was 3-4 years ago. I know there are a lot of athletes in this group that may be the best at their respective sports (Tiger, Brady), but I feel like everyone on this list hit their famous-peak a few years ago. They're athletes that have hit the ceiling. Take a look at the list above again...do you really think any of them will ever be more famous than they are now?

"The 'Filler' Group"

Steve Nash
Amanda Beard
Dale Earnhardt Jr
Kelly Slater
Danica Patrick
David Ortiz
Maria Sharapova
Tony Parker
Michael Phelps

1. Would you recognize this person in public?
2. Do people overseas know this person?
3. Let's say that you have General Admission tickets to see your favorite band. You haven't ever seen them in concert before. You're the first in line when the gates open. You see this person walking by signing autographs. Would you get out of line to meet them and get an autograph?

If you answered "No" to any of the above questions in regards to an athlete, they belong in this group. Big Papi was close, but I just don't see him being an international superstar along the lines of LeBron, Crosby, etc.

And don't even get me started on how the actual segment on Sportscenter SUCKS. The commentary is awful! Wilbon is the only one who knows what he's talking about! Here's what it usually sounds like:

Stu Scott: "Who's Now? LeBron or Tiger Woods?"
Random Guy: "You know I love LeBron. But I gotta go with Tiger. True, LeBron is LeBron, but he's no Tiger Woods."
Keyshawn Johnson: "I agree. LeBron may be Tiger one day, and he's a gifted athlete...but come on. It's TIGER we're talking about! Tiger could be LeBron, but LeBron is no Tiger."

First of all, what the hell is Keyshawn Johnson doing there? Was Fernando Vina busy? Hell, one time they had Adam Sandler and Kevin James on. Neither of them knew what they were talking about, and Sandler just looked pissed off the whole time.

See, if ESPN wanted to do something interesting, they should have put together a "Who's Not?" list. They could break it down into the following 4 brackets:

The Neifi Perez Bracket (Guys who just plain suck)
The Michael Vick Bracket (Trouble with the law)
The Kevin Costner Bracket (Celebrities that act in sports movies)
The Stephen A. Smith Bracket (People who yell at you for no reason at all times)


*When did "Unless you've been living in a cave..." become popular? Do people living in caves have access to the internet or television?