I hung out with rapper Yelawolf at the X-Games and he told me this hilarious story about the moment he KNEW he made it as a musician.
In my 30ish years on earth, I had never been exposed to action sports. So, I went on assignment for AskMen to the 2016 X Games in Austin, Texas and interviewed 16 different athletes and executives and asked them all the same question – why do people care?
The story is told in images and direct quotes via this link. Below, are some cool images I shot.
This offseason, two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte signed a three-year $12-million-dollar free agent contract with the New York Jets. Bears fans were, and still are, upset about it.
And why wouldn’t they be?
After eight years in Chicago, Forte ranks second, behind only Hall of Famer Walter Payton, on the Bears’ all-time lists for rushing yards, yards from scrimmage (12,718), receptions (487) and 100-yard games (24). He’s also third in total touchdowns and sixth in receiving yards (4,116).
This offseason, the Bears front office didn’t even attempt to re-sign the second most productive player in the history of the franchise.
Didn’t even attempt.
Since when did running a sub 4.4 40-yard dash guarantee NFL success? It never has and until game outcomes are decided by a straight-line footrace, it never will. The NFL became enamored with speed at the wide receiver position thanks to “Bullet” Bob Hayes.
But for every successful Hayes, an Olympic sprinter turned receiver, there are several draft busts whose perceived talents were overblown thanks to a single, largely meaningless metric. Players like Johnny “Lam” Jones. Troy Williamson. Darius Heyward-Bey.
Why is such a premium placed on speed when it has no direct correlation to production? 40-yard dash time isn’t the catch-all of draft metrics for a wide receiver. So, why do people act like it is?
Projected first round NFL Draft pick Laquon Treadwell doesn’t know, either.
Two-and-a-half years ago, Ezekiel Elliott arrived on the campus of Ohio State. And no one knew who he was.
And why would they?
Starting running back Carlos Hyde was coming off a junior season that saw him rush for 17 touchdowns and garner second-team All-Big 10 honors. Quarterback Braxton Miller finished 5th in the Heisman Trophy voting. Linebacker Ryan Shazier led the conference in tackles for loss and was second in total tackles.
The Buckeyes finished the 2012 season with an undefeated 12-0 record, but only ranked third in the AP Poll because of no playoff system.
“Coming in as a freshman and competing against all those future NFL guys, very good players like Ryan Shazier (Pittsburgh Steelers) and Carlos Hyde (San Francisco 49ers), it definitely pulls the best out of you,” said Elliott about his first year at Ohio State.
Elliott wasn’t the only freshman trying to figure out his place on the team. Defensive end Joey Bosa and linebacker Darron Lee were in the same exact spot.
“As freshmen, myself, Joey and Darron, we were roommates – we literally lived together, spent every day together. From when we arrived on campus not even two-and-a-half years ago, to see how we’ve all evolved as people in those couple years…how it all came together is really special, honestly. It’s giving me chills thinking about it right now. The hair on my arms is standing up.” Read more →
Before Jim Calhoun ever coached a college basketball game he had worked as a grave digger, a granite cutter, a headstone engraver, a scrap yard worker, and a factory worker.
His father died when he was 15 and as the eldest boy, the responsibility to provide for the family – a total of seven people including himself, his mother and five siblings – fell to him.
Calhoun earned a basketball scholarship to Lowell State, only to have to leave three months after school started to support his family. It was over the next two years that he worked the aforementioned jobs.
“Those years I worked, I was upset that I wasn’t in college.” said Coach Calhoun when I asked him to reflect on that time in his life. “When I wasn’t around that environment I thought, ‘Maybe there is another plan for me.’ And part of the plan was that I built confidence in myself, in what I could do. And learning how to work for something that you really, really think is meaningful. That you really care about.”
In the past eight weeks I’ve interviewed 10 people at the top of their game: Rapper/actor Ludacris, baseball MVP Mike Trout, retired NFL great Terrell Owens, celebrity chef Curtis Stone, race car driver/TV host Andrew Comrie-Picard, Clueless/Scrubs actor Donald Faison, Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Samantha Hoopes, anti-consumer artist Hal Hefner, NASCAR analyst Kyle Petty, and former NBA all-star and current NBA TV/CBS Sports analyst Steve Smith.
There was one question I asked each person: “What was the key to your success?”
More home runs than Babe Ruth. More stolen bases than Willie Mays. More runs scored than Ty Cobb.
Through four full seasons and part of a fifth, Anaheim Angels’ outfielder Mike Trout is on pace to be the greatest player in the history of Major League Baseball. And he’s just 24-years-old.
The statistics are eye-popping. But what’s really astounding and largely unparalleled is his versatility.
He led the American League in runs three times. In separate seasons, he led the AL in stolen bases, walks, RBI, slugging percentage and OPS.
He’s the reigning back-to-back All-Star Game MVP, collecting the award in 2014 and 2015. He won the American League MVP in 2014 and finished second in AL MVP balloting in each of his other three full seasons.
I spoke to Mike and asked him why he’s so good, the most creative smack talk he’s ever heard, about still getting nervous before games, and how he uses Body Armor to stay in shape.
The only time an NFL offensive lineman gets noticed is during a mistake. I asked Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari and Corey Linsley to describe the feeling of being public enemy #1 after a holding penalty negates a big play for the Packers.
PE – The offense just made a 40 yard gain that gets called back because you got flagged for holding. Describe that feeling in the ensuing 10-15 seconds when the crowd groans, and the camera is directly at YOU.
David: I’ll take this one, Corey (in jest). I’ve gotten a fair amount of holding penalties. At times I would definitely tend to disagree. But at the end of the day, I don’t want to make the ref any angrier than he needs to be. It sucks. You definitely don’t want to be a hindrance to your team, but at the end of the day the number one thing is, we want to keep our quarterback clean. So we’re going to do that by any means possible. Because protecting him is our number one priority. Read more →
Sometimes, a person’s name says all you need to know about them. Steve Smith accomplished everything a basketball player could and was so smooth doing it that he never needed a nickname.
After growing up in Detroit, the 6-8 point guard attended college at Michigan State. He was named an All-American as a junior and senior, and hit a game-winning shot in the 1991 NCAA Tournament.
A couple months later, Smith was selected by the Miami Heat with the fifth overall pick in the NBA Draft. His NBA career spanned 14 seasons. He was named an All-Star in 1998, won an Olympic gold medal in the 2000 Sydney games, and won an NBA championship in 2003 with the San Antonio Spurs.
In this video, I spoke to the current NBA TV and CBS NCAA Tournament analyst about his partnership with Harley Davidson and the Live Your Legend campaign, the experience of being an oversized point guard at Magic Johnson’s alma mater, running into the buzzsaw of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the late ’90s, and where he keeps his NBA championship ring.