Athletes and coaches consistently fill reporters’ notebooks with clichés and figures of speech, politicized and politically correct jargon that means nothing except that he or she respects the fans, the game and the opponent.
There are also players and coaches who consistently run their mouths, firing off arguments and declarations that distract their teammates and make them look like jackasses.
But for every hundred athletes too nervous to show their personal side or too conservative to speak out on controversial subjects or too stupid to shut up once in a while, there are players and coaches who are freaking hilarious and make athletes seem like real people instead of cliché robots and jocks.
Today’s Enquirer included the following quote from UC football player Connor Barwin, who spoke about the “Keg of Nails” trophy that goes to the annual winner between UC and Louisville, which UC hasn’t won since 2002 — before any current UC player was at the school:
"We've never even seen the Keg of Nails," said senior defensive end Connor Barwin. "We've heard about that the whole time we've been here, but we don't even know how heavy it is or anything. I don't even know if it's got anything in it or what it's like. So it's really big for us to try to get that."
Is he serious? Does he want to open up the Keg of Nails trophy and see if there are really nails in it? At lest if UC wins the game the players will be able to pick the trophy up over their heads and see how heavy it is.
“It’s really big for us to get that.” Winning this game means UC would host Pitt next week with the conference title basically on the line.
Certain athletes are known for being loose during interviews, and they’re often sought by reporters to help add something interesting to their really boring sports news stories. Locally we can look to Brandon Phillips, UC head coach Brian Kelly and Chad Ocho Cinco as excellent sources for humorous sports commentary.
But perhaps the best athlete sound bite ever is my man Shaquille O’Neal. Here’s a list of some infamous Shaq quotes from over the years:
"I'm tired of hearing about money, money, money, money, money. I just want to play the game, drink Pepsi, wear Reebok."
"They shot the ball well early. What comes out of the microwave hot doesn't always stay hot. I know, because I eat bagels in the morning."
"Some things you just can't question. Like you can't question why two plus two is four. So don't question it, don't try to look it up. I don't know who made it, all I know is it was put in my head that two plus two is four. So certain things happen. Why does it rain? Why am I so sexy? I don't know."
On whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece: "I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."
“I knew I was dog meat. Luckily, I'm the high-priced dog meat that everybody wants. I'm the good-quality dog meat. I'm the Alpo of the NBA.”
“Our offense is like the pythagorean theorem: There is no answer!”
“I had an awful first quarter but I picked it up. To all you single guys out there, it's not how you start the date, it's how you finish it sir. A lot of people can, you know, start the date with flowers and candy, but if you don't finish the date - you know what I mean?"
“We would love to have Gary down here. He's still tenacious on defense, and I know he still wants [a title]. And I'm the only guy in the world who can get him one.”
“I would like to be referred to as 'The Big Aristotle'”
“When you flop, that's just another message that you don't know how to play me. Stand up and take your medicine like a man.”
“There was a kid that had five brothers and sisters, and the family was missing for like five days. I was watching TV, they [found each other] and now they're in San Antonio. So I bought them a little apartment in San Antonio. But I'm doing stuff like that all over.”
“I put a lot into it, and when I am done playing, I plan on going undercover and then being the sheriff or chief of police somewhere, either Miami or Orlando, I don't know yet.”
“David Stern should get with the mothers of the NBA and let the moms decide what the dress code should be. I asked my mother if I could wear a chain, and she told me yeah. So I do stuff that my parents allow me to do.”
“I'm very excited about my new agreement with the Heat. This contract allows me to address all of my family's long-term financial goals while allowing the Heat the ability to acquire those players that we need to win a championship.”
“I started out as a young Ninja and killed all of the Shoguns. I am a Shogun now and I'm holding my spot. There probably won't be another Shogun after this.”
"Me shooting 40 percent at the foul line is just God's way to say nobody's perfect."
"Someday I might have to put down a basketball and have a regular 9-to-5 like everybody else."