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All-Ego Sports Team isn't lacking for names

November 23, 2008|CHRIS ERSKINE | Erskine writes "The Man of the House" in Saturday's Home section.

What came first, the ego or the egg? Does success make you confident or does confidence make you a success?

In the sports world, you'd be hard-pressed to find a major star without a double scoop of chutzpah. It's a requirement of war.

Even decent guys like Pete Carroll, Joe Torre and Al Michaels all have an inner strength, a sort of sports gravitas.

But the following list isn't about steely self-confidence. It's about bloated ego, about heads too big for the helmet, and mouths too big for the microphone. It's about the real-life Apollo Creeds. Being merely obnoxious doesn't get you on this list. You have to be seven flavors of insufferable.

So, for a moment, put aside your all-pros and your all-stars. Here's the first-ever All-Ego Sports Team. Really, we're just here to help:

First team

Al Davis, team owner. If ego were chocolate, he'd be Hershey, Pa. Once upon a time, his awful behind-the-scenes antics produced nasty but effective teams. Now his awful behind-the-scene antics produce laughably bad teams. Compared with this guy, Attila the Hun was a cupcake.

Barry Bonds, baseball player. He's the most prolific home run hitter of all time and still can't get a gig. Why? Maybe it's because he's clubhouse poison. Maybe because he may be headed for jail. Was Willie Mays really his godfather? What happened there?

Charlie Weis, football coach. Casts about the gridiron like McClernand at Vicksburg. Certainly not the first coach at Notre Dame with a God complex, just the lamest. Call him the Round Mound of Hallowed Ground.

The Duke student section. Listen up, you little punks. Pride in your team is one thing. But you've helped turn college hoops into a rancorous R-rated spectacle, from which mothers shield their young 'uns. I guess sportsmanship wasn't an essay question on the SATs.

Bob Costas, broadcaster. I have friends who really admire Costas. So I'm getting new friends. Not everyone can have the easy charm of a John Madden or a Cris Collinsworth. But Costas just oozes arrogance.

Kobe Bryant, basketball player. Men are from Venus, Kobe's from Mars. His behavior during the Olympics went a long way toward improving his image. But an All-Ego team without Kobe would be like an All-Midget team without . . . well, me.

Alex Rodriguez, baseball player. The way he finagled a new contract in 2007 was churlish and an insult to an organization that treated him well. Now he has left his wife to hang out with strippers and movie stars. A-Rod? More like A-Bomb.

Mark Cuban, team owner. Even among the frat house of fools who run the nation's sports teams, Cuban is a standout -- for his harassment of NBA officials to the recent insider trading allegations. Mark, take your Ritalin. A steady hand like yours is probably just what the Chicago Cubs need.

Tom Lasorda, baseball executive. Casual fans may see Grandpa Dodger as the genial keeper of the game's grand traditions, dripping Dodger blue. Insiders will tell you of a vulgar blowhard whose No. 1 fan is himself.

Jim Rome, talk radio host. Turns almost any topic into World War V. The problem with the knowledgeable Rome is that his hyper-intense, humorless shtick has been adopted by so many other less-talented broadcasters. It's helped turn talk radio into a septic tank of bad crud.

Second team

Bill Belichick, cinematographer. Do he and Weis use the same tailor? Are they brothers?

Bob Knight, humanitarian. Destined to be the first male cast member on "The View."

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, sex relics. If only they'd returned my calls when I was 23.

Shaquille O'Neal, revisionist historian. Was he actually ever with the Lakers?

Lance Armstrong, road hog. Sometimes his tongue seems connected to his hamstring.

The Williams sisters, fashionistas. Could've done for tennis what Tiger did for golf. Chose to go another way.

Isiah Thomas, feminist. Really looking forward to you and Coach Knight teaming up in the broadcast booth.

Bill Parcells, all-around nice guy. Guys like him and Weis give New Jersey a bad name.

Any NFL receiver who wears gloves when it's 80 degrees. Gloves are for real men: interior linemen and sewer workers.

Scott Boras, scalper. Who's really paying for these $30-million contracts? You are.

Dishonorable mentions: Chris Berman, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez, Tony La Russa, Rasheed Wallace, Ray Lewis, Roger Clemens, Deion Sanders, the San Diego Chicken.

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chris.erskine@latimes.com

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