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March to the Sea: Did He Just Say That?

By Alex M. Sherman, Crimson Staff Writer

A recent Page 2 feature on ESPN.com listed the Top 10 “worst cases of foot-in-mouth” in sports history. The following are some of the “dumb” quotes it missed from the last 30 years.

10. “I guess I’m gonna fade into Bolivian,” said Mike Tyson, after losing to Lennox Lewis in June of 2002. Though there are many great Tyson quotes to choose from calling an official’s decision at the end of a fight “ludacrisp” to “I normally don’t do interviews with women unless I fornicate with them. So you shouldn’t talk anymore—unless you want to, you know,” his ‘Bolivian’ comment makes the list. In 1987, Tyson was idolized by youths across America after Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out came out for Nintendo. If you beat Tyson in Punch-Out, he’d compliment you. Now if you beat Tyson, he’d either fade into Bolivian, chew your ear off or possibly “rip out your stomach and eat [your] children.”

9. “Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein,” said Joe Theismann while playing quarterback for the Washington Redskins. The fact that the Sporting News chose Theismann as the NFL’s best analyst in November of 2001 just shows you the intelligence of some of the other NFL color commentators in the business. Everybody knows Norman Einstein only has average intelligence.

8. “I’ve won at every level, except college and pro,” said Shaquille O’Neal. This one’s a little dated now that Shaq has three NBA Championships under his belt, but the quote was uttered when the big man still played for the Magic. In response to critics who questioned whether or not Shaq was a winner, the self-proclaimed Big Aristotle defended himself by implying that his sixth grade teams frequently won championships. This quote beats out two other great ones from Shaq, including “I can’t really remember the names of the clubs that we went to,” when asked about visiting the Parthenon during his visit to Greece, and “My game is like the Pythagorean theorem: There is no answer.”

7. “It’s almost like we have ESPN,” said Magic Johnson, on his chemistry with former Lakers teammate James Worthy. Obviously, Johnson was gunning for “ESP” here, since Magic and Worthy certainly did have ESPN.

6. “[Expletive] man, I’m trying to find my car,” said Seattle Supersonics guard Kenny Anderson to a young fan asking for an autograph during the 1998-1999 NBA Lockout. Anderson was walking out of the meeting when a cameraman caught him brushing off a young fan asking for an autograph. Though Anderson later claimed that he was actually talking to a heckler off-camera, the former Celtics point guard also joked that if the NBA Lockout continued, he’d be very upset because he “might have to sell one of [his] eight cars.”

5. “They shouldn’t throw at me, I’m the father of five or six kids,” said former San Francisco second baseman Tito Fuentes, after being hit by a pitch. Not sure if Fuentes ever figured out if it was five or six.

4. “He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings,” said University of Houston receiver Torrin Polk on his coach John Jenkins. Finally, a coach that treats his players with the respect they deserve.

3. “We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees,” said Jason Kidd after being drafted by the Dallas Mavericks. Interestingly enough, Kidd’s Nets may end up playing the Mavericks in the NBA Finals this year. If so, Kidd’s career will have come full circle—which, according to Kidd must be 720 degrees.

2. “I want all the kids to do what I do, to look up to me. I want all the kids to copulate me,” said baseball MVP Andre Dawson on being a role model. Silly Andre, it’s copulate with me.

1. “The day you take complete responsibility for yourself, the day you stop making any excuses, that’s the day you start to the top,” O.J. Simpson said while still playing in the NFL. Little did he know that this well-meaning quote about owning up to your mistakes would end up being so, well, unfortunate. Of course, perhaps O.J. is innocent. Until the real murderer is found, however, O.J. is content to fade away into Bolivan.

—Staff writer Alex M. Sherman can be reached at sherman@fas.harvard.edu.

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