Kris Shan­non’s World of Sport Bon voy­age: My five worst takes

Signs off with some amus­ing mus­ings on his col­umns pub­lished on this page over the past two years

Weekend Herald - - KRIS SHANNON'S WORLD OF SPORT - 1. Adams could be­come the GOAT What was the sit­u­a­tion: What I wrote: What hap­pened: 2. Woods win would be fairy tale What was the sit­u­a­tion: What I wrote: 3. Fed and Floyd will bow out in con­trast­ing fash­ion What I wrote:“What hap­pened: 4. SBW is our best

n two years and more than 100 edi­tions of this page, I’ve writ­ten some pretty stupid stuff. So in my last col­umn be­fore head­ing over­seas to see more of the world of sport, let’s re­view my five worst takes and, in the words of fel­low loser Hil­lary Clin­ton, work out what hap­pened.

The Ok­la­homa City Thun­der were lead­ing the Golden State War­riors 3- 1 in the 2016 western con­fer­ence finals, one vic­tory away from knock­ing out a team who had just set the NBA’s all­time reg­u­lar- sea­son wins record. Steven Adams, mean­while, had been a big fac­tor in the Thun­der’s suc­cess, earn­ing in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion and seem­ing set to claim his first NBA ti­tle.

“A key com­po­nent for a team boast­ing the ideal blend of youth and ex­pe­ri­ence, he will be play­ing for a ti­tle con­tender for the fore­see­able fu­ture . . . By the end of his ca­reer, Adams will be our rich­est ath­lete and he could even­tu­ally be re­garded as our most suc­cess­ful . . . The Thun­der will be one of the three of four ti­tle favourites for the next three or four sea­sons, with Adams not only along for the ride but a real rea­son why that trip may end in glory.”

Welp. Adams not only lost that se­ries, as the War­riors com­pleted an im­prob­a­ble come­back, but he soon lost his most im­por­tant team­mate as Kevin Du­rant de­camped to Golden State. Now, Adams is as far from a ring as any point in his ca­reer; Ok­la­homa City last sea­son lost in the first round of the play­offs. Good thing I didn’t com­pare his hy­po­thet­i­cal achieve­ments to those of Peter Snell. Oh, wait. I did.

Tiger Woods played his first tour­na­ment in 466 days. Tiger Woods led the Hero World Chal­lenge field with 24 birdies. Some pun­dits be­came a lit­tle too ex­cited about Tiger Woods.

“Next year, Tiger Woods will win his 15th ma­jor cham­pi­onship and at long last re­turn to the top of the golf­ing world . . . Those four rounds in the Ba­hamas of­fered a tan­ta­lis­ing glimpse of the Tiger of old and saw the date April 6 fu­ri­ously cir­cled on sporting cal­en­dars — the open­ing day of the 2017 Masters.” Re­mem­ber what Woods was do­ing on April 6? Nei­ther does he, given he had prob­a­bly in­gested enough painkillers to med­i­cate the en­tire PGA Tour. Aside from miss­ing the Masters, Woods has made as many cuts this sea­son as he has ex­pe­ri­enced stints in re­hab. It’s re­ally not funny for him; the abuse of pre­scrip­tion drugs is a scourge in the United States. But it’s wryly amus­ing for any writ­ers who tipped a dra­matic come­back.

Roger Fed­erer and Floyd May­weather ap­peared to be creeping close to re­tire­ment, leav­ing sport near the top of their re­spec­tive fields but with vary­ing lega­cies due to their per­son­al­i­ties and pur­suits away from com­pe­ti­tion. So far, so good . . .

Two leg­endary ath­letes ap­proach­ing the end of their il­lus­tri­ous ca­reers could stand in the win­ner’s cir­cle for the fi­nal time this weekend — but that’s where the sim­i­lar­i­ties end for Roger Fed­erer and Floyd May­weather.”

Noth­ing wrong with that, right. Well, check the date. That in­tro­duc­tion be­gan one of my ear­li­est col­umns and yet, more than two years later, it could have easily been writ­ten last month. Fed­erer has just lost the US Open to fin­ish the year with a mere two more grand slam ti­tles, while May­weather last month earned a bazil­lion dol­lars and his 50th ca­reer vic­tory. Whoops. At least Fed­erer has yet to fea­ture in any Woods- like scan­dal to com­pletely ren­der void the orig­i­nal the­sis.

The Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons were in town and Sonny Bill Wil­liams had re­turned to test rugby after a long in­jury lay­off, help­ing the All Blacks to an open­ing vic­tory. Feel­ing he re­mained un­der­ap­pre­ci­ated by a huge por­tion of the Kiwi sporting pub­lic, the time seemed right for a pas­sion­ate de­fence.

It’s still con­tentious to say Wil­liams is un­der­rated. And it’s still con­tro­ver­sial to sug­gest he’s the most tal­ented ath­lete this coun­try has pro­duced in re­cent mem­ory . . . His work ethic has clearly in­spired those around him, with team­mate Is­rael Dagg describing Wil­liams as ‘ the ul­ti­mate pro­fes­sional’, and it goes some way to ex­plain­ing how he’s flour­ished in mul­ti­ple codes.”

Ap­prox­i­mately 15 hours after that edi­tion of the Weekend Her­ald hit the stands, Wil­liams be­came the third player in All Blacks his­tory to re­ceive a red card, cost­ing his team the chance of vic­tory in the sec­ond test and even­tu­ally doom­ing them to a drawn se­ries. The ul­ti­mate pro­fes­sional, in­deed. While I stand by ev­ery­thing writ­ten in that love let­ter, the tim­ing of SBW’s shoul­der charge was rather un­for­tu­nate and rather funny.

And, to fin­ish, please al­low the in­dul­gence of re­vis­it­ing one of the first sto­ries I had pub­lished. Still at jour­nal­ism school and writ­ing for the op­po­si­tion, this in­tern was dis­patched to a kinder­garten some­where north of Welling­ton, while Rugby World Cup fever was sweep­ing the na­tion.

No Carter, no McCaw — no prob­lem, ac­cord­ing to psy­chic sheep Sonny Wool, who has picked the All Blacks to beat Ja­pan in tonight’s Rugby World Cup pool match . . . While con­sid­er­ing the two con­tain­ers of hay to choose from, Sonny showed some of the fancy foot­work as­so­ci­ated with his name­sake, be­fore head­ing for the con­tainer marked with a New Zealand flag . . . Cheer­ing kids, who showed their al­le­giance to the All Blacks with face paint and bal­loons, might have added pres­sure to Sonny’s de­ci­sion.”

Sonny Wool was right: the All Blacks won. And, not for the first time, I lost.

Pic­ture / AP ( 16/ 09/ 11)

Kiwi bas­ket­ball star Steven Adams is up there with Peter Snell. Okay, maybe not, yet . . . What I wrote:“ What hap­pened: 5. Sonny Wool the psy­chic sheep What was the sit­u­a­tion:

Pic­ture / An­drew Bon­al­lack

Sonny Wool, the psy­chic sheep, man­aged some fancy foot­work as he picked the All Blacks to win.

Pic­ture / Photosport

SBW looks sheep­ish after be­ing sent off.

What was the sit­u­a­tion: Roger Fed­erer

Tiger Woods What hap­pened:

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