Covid-19 has forced us to replace sports with documentaries about sports. Kills time, but fucks up the betting.
ESPN played “The Last Dance”, Michael Jordan’s ode to himself, and 30 for 30’s series on Lance Armstrong practically back-to-back.
The same arrogant, driven, selfish, obsessed, narcissistic asshole. You know, “champions.”
Both pushed themselves to the limits of physical, emotional and mental endurance. Both pushed teammates, managers and owners to the point of breaking (and beyond). Both never got over the obsession of a typical 3-year-old to win at everything all the time.
I kept wondering when they would grow the fuck up. Didn’t happen.
Michael is a hero — the GOAT (greatest of all time). Lance is a lair and a cheat.
Made me wonder — do they test for steroids, testosterone, and EPO in the NBA? Google says — maybe.
The NBA has a testing program, but it’s weak, came late to the scene and catches very few players.
Usually for marijuana and cocaine (not exactly performance enhancing). There was very little testing or catching of cheaters in the Jordan era. Which to me, translates to Michael was probably using EPO and other enhancers that nobody was testing for…
Look at all the work he did to get better. Are we going to assume he wouldn’t do everything he could to win? Are we going to assume the player and the team wouldn’t want to make millions more for winning?
- All those long games when he played almost every minute and rarely seemed to break down in exhaustion. Looks like EPO to me.
- Putting on 15-pounds of muscle after age 25 in one summer to beat the Pistons. Looks like human growth hormone.
- Punching little Steve Kerr in the face in practice. ‘Roid Rage.
The topic never seems to come up. Remember “The Last Dance” was co-produced by Jordan’s company. Puff piece anyone?
Even if it was done by more independent journalists, no one is going to start probing into drug use questions about 1990’s basketball? No one wants to read that shit.
What difference would it make?
Journalists really didn’t want to ask Lance about drugs either. It was forced on them by all the other cycling doping scandals. So they asked and he denied.
Lots of people say there shouldn’t be these big penalties for Lance. Everybody was doping — he just did what they did to win.
“Doping” is ambiguous at best. Soda pop and coffee make you faster — is that doping?
Plenty of other people doped and are still heroes. True in baseball and football too. There’s no justice in who gets punished and who gets rewarded. It’s personality, circumstance and random results of drug tests that lead us to label dopers: heroes or villains.
It’s the “Scarlet D” that we assign to only a certain few to make the rest of us feel better about “clean” competition.
But Lance is a special case. He bribed other riders to take a dive so he could collect bigger prize money. He ruined people’s careers and businesses for even hinting Lance may have been doping (Greg LeMond).
Like Harvey Weinstein, once he had wealth, he used an army of lawyers (mostly paid for by his sponsors) and sued everyone and their wives into financial ruin.
He called them liars, drunks, drug addicts, and whores. When that didn’t work he called them crazy (and tried to drive them crazy at the same time). Even when he knew they were telling the truth and he was not.
He still calls Floyd Landis a “piece of shit” because Landis told the truth. That’s some fucked up logic right there. That’s the same rationale mobsters use for killing a “rat.”
In the same circumstances, would Michael Jordan have used the same kinds of tactics to make sure he stayed on top? Without a doubt. They are basically the same person.
People used to love Lance and Michael. Follow them every where. Pay to hear them speak. Stop to shake their hand or touch them — just to be near greatness.
People have gotten over Lance, but they still want to be like Mike.
But after a few hours of a “documentary”, I came away with a completely different conclusion.
I would have hated to be on their team. Who wants to deal with an angry, obsessed asshole that has to win at every little thing — from pitching pennies to the nightly card game.
As leaders they created hostile work environments. Ever get punched in the face by your boss because you filed expense reports too slowly?
I doubt they have any close friends. I’m sure there is a circle of sycophants. But why would you want to spend time with someone who only takes and never gives. Someone who is obsessed with their own accomplishments and drags the team along, just because it’s a team sport.
I’ve always been a sports fan, but after watching these two shows and thinking about Michael and Lance, it makes me wonder if we are focused on all the wrong things. We pick heroes because they “win.”
Maybe we should pick role models differently. Maybe we should not judge them based on their won-lost record, but judge them based on the content of their character…
For both Michael and Lance, this was my last dance. Neither one would be my top pick.