Playing the Field: The Real American sports stars and teams

* This column originally ran July 3 and July 4 of 2012

 

While we all pretend to analyse the endless stomach capacity of American hero and Vallejo, Calif. –bred hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut Thursday (1 p.m., ESPN) at the Nathan’s Famous contest, let’s keep in mind what it means to be a Real American sports hero.

And let us always keep in mind that we all need to fight for the rights of every man and when it comes crashing down and it hurts inside, you’ve got to take a stand. It does not help to hide.

In honor of the Fourth of July holiday, here’s a look at the Real American sports stars and teams in this country. Some may shock you, others are less surprising. But make no mistake, at their core, these guys, gals and teams all bleed red! You can take your white and blue blood and move to Moscow for all we care!

LeBron James
Flag points:
3 stars, 6 stripes (9)
Leaving your native land in search for a better way of life is uniquely American. Therefore, still being mad at LeBron for leaving Cleveland qualifies you as a staunch Communist.

Erin Andrews
Flag points:
2 stars, 4 stripes
Seriously, does it get any more American than FOX TV?
That’s where Andrews is after eight years at ESPN and following a very public peep hole scandal.

For years, sports TV viewers were fed real information from real journalists (Will McDonough’s work on the old NFL on NBC comes to mind).

At some point we just wanted hot women over facts. Again, uniquely American.

Dwight Howard
Flag points:
4 stars, 4 stripes
The Magic center says he was “blackmailed” by Orlando. During the alleged blackmail attempts, he made $80 million. Sounds just like the plotline to an episode of TLC’s My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (the most American show on TV).

Adam “Pacman” Jones
Flag points:
5 stars, 5 stripes
America loves a reclamation project (see James, LeBron above). Well this past weekend we got the biggest bad boy in the history of NFL bad boys, Adam “Pacman” Jones telling NFL rookies that spending $1 million at a strip club in one weekend is not a good idea on paper or otherwise.

Hope Solo
Flag points:
4 stars, 5 stripes
As far as women’s sports go, Hope Solo appeals to the widest possible audience. Little girls love her. Parents love her. Creepy old men love her. She’s truly a jack of all patriotic trades.

Dallas Cowboys
Flag points:
4 stars, 3 stripes
The innovators of the “America’s Team” gimmick, the Cowboys quickly became “America’s Most Hated Team” in the 1970s and 1990s due to their brash talk and insufferable fan base.

But the hatred was rooted in jealousy. The Cowboys talked and back it up with Super Bowl rings, like it or not. America loves a villain.

Oklahoma City Thunder
Flag points:
4 stars, 2 stripes
Located in America’s heartland, OKC gives off the vibe of the “little engine that could” due to the fact that, well, they play in Oklahoma City.

But they are ruthlessly American.

They bolted that hippie-haven in Seattle for the prairies and they didn’t apologize when they took the best young mercenary in the NBA along with them (Kevin Durant).

They also traded a player that they knew had a heart condition (Jeff Green) in exchange for a starting center (Kendrick Perkins). That’s cold, man. And uniquely American.

New York Yankees
Flag points:
5 stars, 5 stripes
We all know the NYY deal by now. Highest payroll. Stars galore. The most recognizable franchise in what once was America’s favorite game.

But what puts the Yankees over the top is the fact that they shoved a new stadium down their fans throats and could have cared less when the diehards complained about the dozens of empty luxury boxes night-in and night-out and the fact that it lacks all the mojo of the old Yankee Stadium in every possible way.

LA Kings
Flag points:
3 stars, 3 stripes
What’s more American than jumping on a bandwagon for a couple of months and then totally forgetting what happened a couple of weeks later?

The Kings popularity in LA coincided with Carly Rae Jepsen’s smash hit “Call me Maybe” and is dying a death nearly parallel to that song.

We’re sure both the Kings and Jepsen franchise will take a “Living La Vida Loca” –like downward spiral in the next few weeks, if it hasn’t happened already.

Remember when the Ducks won the Cup in 2007, LA? Nope, neither do we.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS


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