Since we already have a Friday Fryer for the biggest idiots in sports, I figured we could use a recap of some of the smokin' hottest people in sports. They can be on a hot streak, a big-game winner, being lusted after by other teams, whatever. They just gotta be SMOKIN' HOT!
Rafael Nadal, Tennis
Anyone who ever makes fun of his pants again will hereby be subject to being punched in the face by Nadal, poked in the eye with his banana, and ordered to make him a sandwich. The only known Kryptonite to Roger Federer's Superman, is facing the Spaniard on clay. He has faced one of the best players ever in four consecutive finals at Roland Garros, and he's won every single match, tying Bjorn Borg for the most consecutive French Open titles. On Sunday, he beat Federer in straight sets. Rafa has never lost at the French Open. Ever. Ay, dios mio...
Paul Pierce, Forward, Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce is no Willis Reed. All I know is that the NBA Finals nearly went up in smoke for Celtics fans everywhere, and Pierce's comeback and scintillating third quarter were perfectly heroic. I have had a similar injury multiple times--an excruciating pop followed by searing pain--and have had surgery on both knees for it. I felt his pain, then celebrated with my lucky teddy bear after Pierce drained back-to-back threes after galloping back onto the court. Was the wheelchair too much? Maybe. All I know is he is the most important player on the Celtics in these Finals on so many levels.
Michael Johnson, Sprinter
Johnson said he will return the gold medal he won with the 1,600m relay team in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Why? Because one of his teammates, Antonio Pettigrew, admitted to doping on May 22. "As difficult as it is, I will be returning it to the International Olympic Committee because I don't want it. I feel cheated, betrayed and let down," Johnson said. At a time when his sport is surrounded by doping allegations, and former teammates of Marion Jones are suing the IOC because they feel they deserve to keep their medals, Johnson's action stands out as a professional, classy statement of opposition to doping, and a testament that greatness can be achieved without it.
For the first time in my life, hockey had me glued to the TV. The triple-overtime classic between the Pens and Red Wings had me at the end of regulation, after Max Talbot tied the game, I thought I could be watching something special. Over the next hour or so, Marc Andre-Fleury was impenetrable. The Wings dominated possession and Fleury stopped them every time, 58 times, to be exact. And although Petr Sykora called his shot at the beginning of the third OT, I fell asleep. And Game 6 in Pittsburgh was just as exciting, with Marian Hossa's shot flirting dangerously close to the red line, but the red line said, I'm just not that into you. Congrats to the loyal fans in Hockeytown, and congrats to NHL fans and players... your sport is in an awesome place, and has an awesome future.
AS FOR LAST WEEK'S SMOKIN' ONES...
Jay Bruce: Has cooled off a bit, but he certainly has a bright, smokin' future.
Kobe Bryant: 9-26 shooting in Game 1. Still smoldering, but he needs to catch fire.
Cristiano Ronaldo: Played well in Portugal's opening 2-0 win against Turkey in Euro 2008. Publicly admitted he wants to play for Real Madrid. I can't blame the guy, as much as I want him to stay in Manchester. Media and fans calling him a greedy, disloyal little bitch. Still the hottest of the bunch.
Scott Kazmir: The first Rays pitcher ever to win 6 straight starts. Well done, Sweater Boy.