Saturday, August 24, 2013

How Few F---s Do These Athletes Give?

In his awesome recent series about the "BestCoolest" baseball players of the last quarter-century,* Grantland's Jonah Keri says that Barry Bonds gave zero f---s. I agree. Bonds didn't care what anyone thought of him, unlike fellow PED users like A-Rod, Mark McGwire, and Ryan Braun.

*Click here for the BestCoolest pitchers and here for the BestCoolest hitters. If you've been a baseball fan at any point during the past 25 years, you'll love these articles.

Keri's take on Bonds: "Barry Bonds was the greatest player baseball had seen in more than half a century. He gave absolutely zero Fs. Some of us just like rooting for the bad guy." This statement got me thinking about some active athletes that give zero f---s. If you missed these the first time, here is my take on giving f---s and here is Kavanaugh's take.

The player that gives the fewest f---s in each major sports league:

MLB--Bryce Harper

Harper made waves in the minor leagues when he blew a kiss at a pitcher after hitting a homer. From his faux hawk to continuing to preen after going deep to talking about clown questions, Harper gives teammates reasons to love him and opponents grounds to loathe him. Me? I love him.

Honorable Mention: Yasiel Puig, Robinson Cano, Tim Lincecum

NBA--Metta World Peace

The Artest Formerly Known as Ron started the Malice in the Palace, the worst public relations disaster in NBA history. Stephen Jackson recently told told Dan Le Batard a hilarious story about Artest when the players went back to locker room after that brawl in Detroit. Jackson said that Artest asked his teammates, "Do you think we're gonna get in trouble?" As if Artest even cared.

Despite Artest/World Peace's role in giving the league such a black eye, many people now see him as a goofball who's always good for a silly quote. I'm expecting a step back from the Knicks this season, but at least New York basketball fans will have the duo of Metta World Peace and J.R. Smith to provide constant entertainment.

Honorable Mention: Kobe Bryant, Joakim Noah, J.R. Smith

NHL--Ilya Bryzgalov
Bryzgalov played last season for the Flyers, but he is currently without an NHL team. Still, the eccentric goalie makes the list based solely on his interviews during HBO's 24/7 mini-series.

Honorable Mention: Ilya Kovalchuk, Alex Ovechkin, Brandon Prust

NFL--Rob Gronkowski

GRONK! I hate the Patriots, but I can't possibly hate their crazy, fun-loving star. Some of Gronk's shenanigans: huddling and screaming with his meathead brothers at the draft, taking photos with porn stars wearing his jersey, and going clubbing with an injured ankle the night the Pats lost the Super Bowl.

If teammate Aaron Hernandez were still in the league, he might take this spot from Gronk. Hernandez doesn't really seem too concerned with how others perceive him, what with the multiple homicide charges against him. But the Pats released Hernandez, so Gronk probably gives fewer f---s than anyone else in the NFL.

Honorable Mention: Jared Allen, Cam Newton, Antonio Cromartie, many others

Boxing--Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Some people have pointed out that I didn't include pro boxing in my poll for the best athletes in a pro sports league. The reason is simple: Boxing lacks a unified league, and there seem to be roughly 783 title belts floating around at any given time. There's no league, so I didn't include the sport in the poll.

Still, in writing about athletes that give zero f---s, I couldn't leave the man nicknamed "Money" off the list. Look at Mayweather's quote from this spring's Sports Illustrated Fortunate 50 issue, which outlines the wealthiest athletes in the world:

"Everybody is always here to judge Mike Tyson, right? Nobody can say how Mike Tyson feels. Nobody can say what they would've done if they was in Mike Tyson's shoes. You know, he did it his way, and I'm going to do it my way. Like I said before, I've got a lot of money, but money is made to be spent. You know what I'm saying? What's the use of making hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars but you can't enjoy it, you know?"

That sounds like a man that marches to the beat of his own drummer, doesn't it? I hate Floyd Mayweather, but I'm sure he couldn't give fewer f---s about that.

+++Reminder: Don't forget to vote for the sports league that features the best athletes. The poll is on the How Blank homepage. My friends and I look forward to the poll settling a long-running argument.

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