I truly enjoyed 2004. I had my second daughter. I bought a house in New Hampshire, in a Rockwellian village with mountain views. I managed to get paid all year for a job I no longer go to. I even won a trip to Houston for the All Star Game. I had a great year.
These guys didn't:
Kobe Bryant...His heavily-favored team took a 5 game stomping by the Detroit Pistons. He lost millions of dollars worth of endorsements. Everyone on the team he played for thinks of him as a jerk, at best. The guy who battered his bread for 3 titles was forced out of town. The Zen coach who guided him to his apex ended up writing a book saying he was uncoachable. He had to buy his wife a $4 million ring.
Oh yeah...he also had the nationally watched rape trial. Next to Osama and Scott Peterson, he may have been the most notorious man alive.
They always tell me, when I'm depressed..."Hey....there's someone out there who has it worse than you." Only a million dollar lawyer kept them from saying "Cheer up....you could be Kobe."
Denny Neagle- Normally, being a married man who gets pulled over while getting a hummer from a prostitute who looked a lot like that beast that crawled out of the TV at the end of The Ring would secure you the top of this list, but Kobe has the upper hand here. There is no truth to the rumor that a drunken Neagle handed the girl $40 and said "Hook up Johnny Law, too."
Barry Bonds....There's a long drop from breaking Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron's home run record to replacing Robert Downey Jr. as the Most Drugged Up Celebrity. What's worse, he has to die at 42, or kids will think that Drugs Make You A Better Athlete.
Dream Team IV......Maybe these guys should have hired Barry Bonds' trainer. They got spanked so badly that USA Basketball is considering sending the Globetrotters to the next Olympics.
The Miami Dolphins.....They had a solid D at the beginning of the preseason, and a powerhouse running back. Then Ricky Williams decided that he'd rather smoke a little ganja. But before they could go 2-14 or so, they had to get hit by like 10 consecutive hurricanes. They also sent a perfectly good draft pick to get AJ Feeley...when Denny Neagle proved that one could get a BJ for $40.
Calvin Murphy....As long as none of my children grow up to charge me with raping them, I can die happy. He was found innocent, though.
Jason Giambi....If this dude had a wayback machine, he would have gone back a few years and had himself cryogenically preserved. Then, the stomach parasite, the World Series loss, the 4 HRs and the BALCO grand jury would just be a bad dream.
Roy Jones.....This guy got dissed like a roach not once but TWICE. Previously known as the best boxer of his generation, he is known to a whole generation of kids as "the guy who got knocked out." At least Tyson tore up his knee.
Nomar Garciaparra...This guy spends his whole career playing for a Cursed franchise. Then he gets traded...to the OTHER cursed franchise, just as his old team wins a World Series that probably made Saddam Hussein cheer. The fact that he bailed out of the Andrea Dorea only to be rescued by the Lusitania is only half the problem. I wonder if the Cubs will dump him....he's the Monkey's Paw of baseball.
Ron Artest.....First, he gets suspended for 2 games after he asks for a month off to promote his Rap album. Then, he gets shoved in the face by Ben Wallace. He uses all his self-control not to be lured into a fight....and at that exact moment, someone throws a beer on him. He then went into the stands and pounded on random white people. To top it off, he gets suspended for the rest of the year, costing him miggity-millions. At least he won most of the fights, and got a sort of free beer.
Chris Mullin...His name is on the contracts that pay Adonal Foyle and Derek Fisher $75 million through 2010 or so. He's a Raef LaFrenz away from an all-white frontcourt. His team stinks like Denny Neagle's lap, and they look awful for the next 5 years or so.
Gary Bettman.....This guy locked out the NHL. He's the most hated man in Canada. Savoir Faire is more popular in the Big Chilly. He kicked the last leg out from under an already wobbly table. He even lost his sport's status as the main place to go to see a professional athlete attack the audience.
Latrell Sprewell...Despite his desperate plea to the media, his family will indeed starve on the $7 million or so he'll make next season. He also got suspended for telling off a heckler. At least he didn't strangle anyone....but the year ain't over yet.
Terrell Owens....Does a horrible December offset a great 2004? He was brought in to help win the Super Bowl. He was on the highlight reels all year, doing situps, shaking pompoms, ripping down banners, and pretending to sodomize the goalpost(OK...I made that last one up). He was a touchdown machine right up until he zigged when he should have zagged, breaking his ankle and dooming Philly to another early playoff exit.
Jeff Garcia.....Looks like a rat, walks like a rat.... No matter how many models he bangs, he's always gonna be the Rat Boy. Then, he got traded to a team that went down the tube quicker than a surfer. In the process, he moved from California to Cleveland.
Marion Jones....she won medals by the boatload until they started testing her....then she suffered a loss of ooompf that Viagra wouldn't cure. Even Chinese Women Swimmers were laughing at her. I hear that Andy Reid wants to race her.
Manute Bol.....This guy, who gave all his money away to help out his people in Sudan, simply got into the wrong taxi one night, and got his neck broken for it. He did win his Celebrity Boxing fight against Fridge Perry, though.
William Perry....Lost a boxing match to Manute Bol.