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
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.
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:
Sonny Wool, the psychic sheep, managed some fancy footwork as he picked the All Blacks to win.
SBW looks sheepish after being sent off.
What was the situation: Roger Federer
Tiger Woods What happened: