Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Where Are They Now? 2025 Edition

Sports Illustrated recently published an issue visiting with athletes of yesteryear, stars who once basked in the limelight but have since disappeared from our collective consciousness. Cute idea, Sports Illustrated, but c’mon -- anybody can track down Mario Mendoza in the dumpster behind 7-11 and bang out a quick interview. What we’d really like to know is where today’s beloved superstars will be in the future.

Being the helpful rascals that we are, we hopped into our time machine -- it runs on stale beer, crushed dreams and an abundance of dick jokes -- and whipped ahead to the year 2025 to revisit with some of the most famous and notorious athletes of the past. Present. Whatever.

Some stories will make you smile. Some stories will make you cry. All of them will make you remember what sports are all about.


Former NFL bad boys bring inner-city youth hope with the Fifth Down Foundation

Adam Jones and Ricky Williams were always better known for their off-field exploits than on, but these days that isnt necessarily a bad thing.

Williams had frequent troubles because of his marijuana use, and Jones -- who dropped the nickname "Pacman" -- was involved in the "strip club" incident.

Today, things are different. The pair met at a court-ordered rehab meeting 10 years ago and bonded. In 2016 they started the Fifth Down Foundation, an organization that helps inner-city youth avoid the same pitfalls Jones and Williams faced.

In football you only get four downs, says Jones, who remains so fit he looks like hes only a uniform away from suiting up today. But our foundation is all about getting another chance -- in life.

Williams shows signs of maturity he lacked during his playing career, though its not so much his grey-flecked beard as his words of wisdom.

I was high every day, laments the former Pro Bowler. It got out of hand. I remember this one time I was at this party, and these two midgets dressed like clowns are performing oral sex on me, and Manny Ramirez was naked and riding around the house on a pony… I just thought Whoa, what am I doing with my life?

Thats when I got the idea for the Fifth Down Foundation.

The foundation has thrived ever since; although Jones and Williams admit they still face temptations, their friendship gives them the strength they need. And heck, Pacman still makes it rain every now and then, but instead of dumping garbage bags full of dollar bills, he spreads open arms full of hope.

Spotlight still shines brightly on this former “Zero”

Its more where arent they now than where are they now for former NBA star Gilbert Arenas, current host of I Can Do That Blindfolded, ABCs mega-hit primetime game show. Contestants attempt amazing feats, such as kicking field goals or cooking gourmet meals, wearing blindfolds.

Its all about finding that sixth sense to guide you past adversity, Arenas says. Ive seen people win hands of poker blindfolded; Ive seen people catch giant catfish blindfolded. Former Zeros like myself are becoming heroes on the spot. Life has never been so inspiring.

Another comeback

Be careful what you wish for. It just might come true. The New York Knicks finally got their wish last week when His Royal Airness, Michael Jordan, came out of retirement to don their jersey. Jordan managed nine points in his debut despite eight turnovers.

Anything to keep Jason Williams on the bench, says Knicks GM Isiah Thomas of his signing. And let me tell you something Michael is as dynamic as ever. The scoresheet says nine points on four of 17 shooting, but it doesn’t tell the story. If you were at Madison Square Garden, saw the intensity of those nine points, youd have the same word I have in my head right now: championship.


Small hockey player hid big secret

In the early 2000s, smallish superstar Sidney Crosby showed the NHL size didnt matter. As it turned out, gender didnt matter either. When perusing Crosby’s personal records to prepare his pension plan after the NHL folded, a league official discovered a major spelling error in Crosby’s first name. It was no typo; Cindy Crosby fooled the NHL into thinking she was a man throughout her stellar career.

I guess my thunder thighs fooled the boys, jokes Crosby. And who knew I could go so long with a sausage stuffed in my pants and not get caught?

Crosby didn’t fool everyone, though; she and mentor Mario Lemieux united souls in a hotel room during a 2010 road trip and the two now share twin girls Chrissy and Barbette.

“It worked for Celine and Renee, so why not us?” Crosby says.

Usually, I worked with Cindy to help her get better at putting the puck in the net , Lemieux says. But I guess I blasted a couple pucks of my own in Cindy’s net. By pucks I mean sperm, and by net I mean her cervix, uterus, and general baby creating areas.

Home cookin’

During his days manning the hot corner for the New York Mets, David Wright felt out of place.

Even home games felt like road trips, he says. I missed moms tuna casserole. I missed fishing with my dad on Sunday mornings. I had to go home.

Wright quit baseball and returned to the nest in 2010 after winning the NL MVP award. He now runs a hardware store with his dad.

Its a lot easier to enjoy moms cooking when Im living in the basement at home, Wright says.

The First Family of Football

Peyton Manning, Hall-of-Fame NFL quarterback-turned-Saturn automobile spokesperson, continued his father Archies trend and turned football into a family affair.

His eldest son, Cole, will start for Texas this fall and is expected to declare for next years NFL draft. Sons Porter and Eli (named for his late brother, who took his own life in 2014) are ranked first and third on the American high school top prospect charts. Daughter Sky caught 19 TD passes en route to a boys Tennessee state pee-wee championship.

What can I say? Mannings breed football, Peyton says. Why have em watching cartoons when they can punch the clock in my game film theatre?


Making peace after a failed league

His significant weight gain is obvious, but its the large bags under his eyes that are most telling, making you wonder how many years of Gary Bettmans life have been chipped away.

The former NHL commissioner -- fired in 2016 -- has stayed retired, spending most of his afternoons in the garden and trying not to think about his last few days in hockey. Bettman sealed his own fate after failed expansions into Kansas City, Jacksonville, Memphis, Fort Worth, El-Paso and Trinidad.

The league was losing money quickly, and threats on Bettmans life nearly became a reality when a deranged Canadian hockey fan dressed as Dave Hanson smashed the commissioner in the back of the head with a frozen puck at the 2015 entry draft. He still suffers headaches today but insists hes fine; he also swears he doesnt dwell on the fact that most blamed him for the leagues failure after it folded in 18.

Ultimately, I dont feel responsible, says Bettman. It was a business and we made business decisions. Sometimes they dont work out.

They were my shots to call and if somebody has a problem with that, so be it.

But the effects of the leagues demise linger. Dozens of hockey fans are left without a league, and Bettmans own wife left him a few years ago after he lost money building houses in Gary, Indiana; Flint, Michigan; Melfort, Saskatchewan; and New Jersey.

I do miss Shelli, he says, staring into the bottom of his empty brandy glass. But as they said in Montreal, cest la vie.

Age is just a number

Back pain and grey hair came far too early for Albert Pujols, who retired abruptly in 2009 when he was revealed to be 17 years older than his listed age.

Keeping track of age is so…American, Pujols says. If Im young in my soul, what does it matter? Guess how old I am now? Not on the outside -- inside! Im eight years old. I enjoy stuffed animals. I play House. I like a game of Sega Gamecube now and then. Whats wrong with that?

He now owns a Miami nightclub, El Baseball, and spends his free time with his five grandchildren.

Miami is chillin, Pujols says. But I wish I made the big leagues earlier, so my body couldve held out and I couldve broken records. I only had a taste.

Former golf star goes from fat pig to fat walrus

Walk any golf course on the planet and you wont find Phil Mickelson, former two-time Masters champion. After blowing eight consecutive final-day tournament leads in 2008, Mickelson disappeared, leaving his family behind.

Mickelson finally surfaced well, washed up on the shores of the Arctic Ocean, where he now resides with a family of walruses. At 402 pounds, Mickelson relies on his thick, heavy skin for warmth.

He made no official comment to SOJP, but his expression as he flopped about on an iceberg suggested he recognized our reporters face as human.


Cins past

Everyone remembers the 2007 Cincinnati Bengals’ sad tale; who could forget? The franchise appeared to have reached its nadir after 10 Bengals were arrested in roughly a year, but the 2007 season brought more bad news than anyone could have imagined. Receiver Chad Johnson was the first to let on that things had truly gone wrong in The Jungle when he demanded a trade early in the season. He kept his reasoning secret as long as he could, but eventually admitted several of his teammates had been shaving points, something he wanted no part of.

Ocho Cinco doesnt play like that, says Johnson, who now tours the country with Shaquille ONeal as part of the popular travelling stuntman act they started a few years ago. But that wasnt even the worst to come.

Ocho Cinco was right. Later that season most of the Bengals were arrested for their involvement in a drug dealing ring which focused primarily on Ohio elementary school students. The team was immediately disbanded (the NFL says it currently has no plans to bring a team back to Cin City) and the players and those responsible for the crimes paid their respective prices. Former quarterback Carson Palmer, the syndicates ring leader, was shipped off to prison. He was killed three days later in a scuffle over who he belonged to. Receiver Chris Henry hasnt faired much better; he lives behind a crack house and his NFL pension is spread thinly among his seven children.

Ex Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who now manages the fourth-most profitable Burger King in Dover, Delaware, wishes he had done more to keep the Bengals on the straight and narrow.

Some people have the courage to stand up for whats right, says Lewis. For whatever reason, I just wasnt able to do that. I just hope people can learn from our mistakes."

A football legend comes to terms with his alcohol abuse and loose tongue

First came the drinking. Then came the Suzy Kolber incident. Then came the Al Michaels incident. During a 2011 Sunday night broadcast, an inebriated Joe Namath licked Michaels ear, telling Michaels on air, I want to treat your body like an amusement park. Namath was arrested, but Michaels pressed no charges, claiming he only wanted Namath to seek help.

Namath did. He shares a bunk bed with John Daly at the Gary Busey Retirement Lodge for Troubled Elders.

In the Busey Lodge, I found salvation, Namath said. Plus Jell-O and Valium are a respectable alternative to Jack Daniels.

After getting tossed from life a nearly 10 years ago, this volatile Major League manager might be back

During a 2016 Grapefuit League game, then-Florida Marlins manager Lou Pinella collapsed and allegedly died of a heart attack. His funeral was closed to family, but rumours persisted that no body was inside his casket. In the years since his passing, over a dozen Florida residents have reported Pinella sightings, claiming a man bearing a stunning resemblance to Pinella accosted them.

The reports were all similar. Each witness reported an obese, white-haired man wearing a faded Cincinatti Reds cap stumbling towards them, yelling Umpire! Umpire! and throwing egg salad sandwiches at them.

Pinellas official status remains unknown today, though the state of Florida still proclaims him deceased.


Cory said...

The year is 2025, Williams and Jones met 5 years ago which would be 2020. How the hell did they start a foundation 4 years before meeting? Come on SOJP. You're better than that.

Mark P said...

Congrats Cory, you've found a plot hole in the STORY ABOUT TIME TRAVEL

malcolm said...

Ahahaha! I love it. Vintage Hurk and Larkin.

Isn't Sidney already a girl's name, though?

Anonymous said...

Its the year 2025, it says they met 10 years ago(2015), which would make it possible for them to start a foundation in 2016.

Hayesism said...

this is the funniest thing you guys have posted on this site yet. i very nearly launched steaming hot coffee through my nose more than once. keep up the great work and keep writing more of these "fake features" (easily the funniest shit there is).

on a related note, i'll take my tongue out of your guys' collective assholes....now.

Anonymous said...

Good article...some funny stuff...but if the NHL folded in 2018 how is Crosby just retiring 2 months ago in 2025...keep up the good work...I love reading your page

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Good fact checking, fellas. We originally had all the math working correctly, but we made a couple last minute changes that threw everything off (we bumped the year from 2020 to 2025 so Manning could have a kid entering college).

Thank for pointing that out though, boys.

-- Larkin

Anonymous said...

This article is crap, you have Pacman and Williams turing their lives around to help kids, which did make me laugh, but Sidney Crosby turning out to be a woman. Please tell me you are joking.

Crash said...

The Gary Bettman story was the one that made me laugh! Sadly, it is probably the one that will turn out to be right on the money.

Kevin said...

Oh man, I can just see that part about Eli actually coming true. Living in the LARGE, looming shadow of his father, and now brother the pressure will be too much... He can rest easy though, knowing he isn't the obscure, fat Manning.

Anonymous said...

WTF is a Sega Gamecube?