Fat Biker

Last Dance for Lance

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.

Me and most of the pendejos and fucked-up tennis players at the Third World Racquet Club agreed — Lance and Michael Jordan are basically the same person.

The same arrogant, driven, selfish, obsessed, narcissistic asshole.  You know, “champions.”

lance and michael

Stole the image from here.  I don’t read Spanish, but I’m not alone in this opinion.

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?

Lance Apologists

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.

Hero Worship

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.

24 replies »

  1. Good character does not sell tickets, attract sponsors or any other spoils of a corrupt industry; professional sports.

    Having “raced” with Lance and others on The Program it is easy to understand why they did and still do.
    In a race of near equals blood doping and all the other cocktails used to mask pain make you super human. If you’re curious what it would feel like without injecting yourself, go rent a high-end electric assist road bike then go on one of the “big” local rides. If you don’t get shoved off the road by some over T’d Roid-Raging asshole You’ll likely end up “winning” the ride.
    Unfortunately in this world nice, honest people usually finish last or second (first loser) because they are not willing to cheat or compromise their health or value systems.

    “Lines are in Sachem”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Not according to the Last Dance documentary. He was well on his way to being in the majors and it was a miracle for a 30-year-old to hit .200 in Double A ball… it said.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How much would the quality of sports suffer if PED’s were eliminated? Would the level decline so much that people would stop watching?

    On the other hand. I had red a report a few years ago that the only professional sport in the US that did not give a two week notice before testing was women’s tennis. The story included US Tennis doctors going to Serina Williams home to administer a random test and she refused to let them into her home.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Celebrity culture at its worst. I keep hoping that without live sports to watch Americans will actually develop some better wastes of time than watching “heroes.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have never understood why people care so much and “worship” others just because they can throw a ball or run fast or serve 140 mph. I like watching sports that I play (or have played), but I don’t need to see “greatness”, just a competitive match! And I have never swooned over any sports figure (or any celebrity for that matter). It’s a warped sense of who deserves our attention.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Just wrote a post on my blog about Tom Brady, seven months after this post. And my point is take what qualities or admiration you want and forget the rest.

    I should chime in that I drank the Lance Kool-Aid, living in Austin and watching the Tour religiously (can an atheist reclaim that word, ironically?). I guess my takeaway from him is similar: he still rode all those miles, but he was an extra asshole for the way he targeted people. And he’s still not really contrite about it.

    Any celebrity or person you worship is going to let you down eventually. So just don’t worship at the altar of the cult of personality (also the title of a great 90’s song).

    Liked by 1 person

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