Let's just sum up this guy's week real quick: negged the President of the United States and the First Lady's lack of comfort with public displays of affection and called David Stern's proposal to have Team USA be made up of players age 23 and under "stupid." Barack, Stern. Ether. He probably told all those kids in the picture above that they would never amount to anything. And he will probably spend the rest of his life making sure of it. So if you're one of the kids in the above picture: I'm sorry. Also?
1. Hope Solo: God Forgives, Hope Don't
The USWNT goalkeeper was warned this week by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for testing positive for something called Canrenone, which I may or may have not had at Olive Garden last night, incidentally. She was basically like, "Cool warning." Rem and I talked about this briefly.
Rem: Am I allowed to nominate Hope Solo for beating her charge? Chris: Not guilty, y'all got to feel her. Rem: Teflon Don. Chris: Hope Solo treated those charges like she treated Briana Scurry back in '07.
1. LeBron James: FEEL THE HEAT
LeBron James! Champion of the NBA! Champion of the late-night talk show circuit! And now — champion of Rankonia! Congratulations, LeBron. I know this means a lot to you. Rankonia Pal Chris Ryan has this week's top nomination:
Here's LeBron James doing the ceremonial David Letterman victory lap that comes with winning a major sports trophy. I love everything about this: Paul Shaffer throwing down some Power Station for the intro music; the genuine, beaming smile on LeBron's face when he walks, like he is genuinely chuffed to be getting a standing ovation; and of course his showing self-restraint by not going HULK SMASH when Letterman opens the interview by asking him if he's going to go back Cleveland. That, LeBron, is what we in the karma business call MARIO CHALMERS'S REVENGE.
Jesus Navas gets the top spot this week, thanks to a nomination from Triangle editor Chris Ryan. Says Ryan:
Really into this goal by Spain winger Jesus Navas against Croatia in Euro 2012. He goes FULL YOLO. Who cares if it's an open net? He absolutely roofs it. As he should! You don't get that many opportunities to play in front of an audience that big. Especially if you're Jesus Navas, who once suffered from anxiety issues that were so severe they prevented him from traveling extensively with the Spanish national team. It's great to see him so confidently smash the daylights out of the ball in front of an international audience. Also? He kind of looks like the kid from Real Genius.
Just look at these bros, says Rembert Browne! Specifically, look at their beards! Writes Rembert:
The Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup this week. After they won, they took off those helmet things and showed the world two things: (1) pure elation, and (2) brownish, gingery beards.
As someone who can only grow a horizontal Afro mustache, looking at these men and their crazy beards is quite emasculating, which is appropriate because hockey players have long made me feel like a little boy. I hope they resist the urge to shave for their trip to the White House and completely emasculate President Obama, causing him to sprout Cornel West face.
1. Mario Balotelli: Role Model
Rankonia Founding Father Chris Ryan is with you, Mario Balotelli, which means you get this week’s top spot.
"This week, Manchester City and Italian striker Mario Balotelli made headlines by declaring, ‘I will not accept racism at all. It's unacceptable. If someone throws a banana at me in the street, I will go to jail, because I will kill them.’
1. Russell Westbrook: The Kingslayer
Because I account for 203 of the more than 200,000 views of this video, I am now starting to fall in love with all these details about it, besides the shot: the steal, Kobe making a mental note to check on Orbitz for flights to Germany and walking up the court, Westbrook's "I won the lottery!" fist pump. I guess the shot is pretty good, too.
1. Sergio Agüero: The Quiet Neighbor
Triangle Blog Brother/Rankonia Writer Emeritus Chris Ryan nominates Agüero, who is this week’s hero:
"Are we underrating Sergio Agüero? He isn't as prone to fireworks or setting off fireworks as Mario Balotelli and he doesn't have a deep, unquenchable love of golf like Carlos Tévez, he just scores goals. Alex Ferguson called Manchester City the noisy neighbors. But the only time there is a noise surrounding the Argentine, nicknamed "Kun" (King), is when he scores. And what a sound he created Sunday.
1. Chris Paul: !!!!!
Chris Paul! Unstoppable! Unforgettable! Probably some other "Un-s", too! Chris Ryan, whom you might remember as your regular Rankonia writer, nominates our hometown hero for this week's top spot:
"I've watched every minute of the Grizzlies-Clippers series. I've seen Tony Allen try to stop Chris Paul. I've seen Mike Conley, Jr. try to stop Chris Paul. I've seen Allen, Rudy Gay, and Marc Gasol try to stop Chris Paul together. I've seen O.J. Mayo try to stop Chris Paul for 90 feet and I've seen Quincy Pondexter try to stop him at the last second. It just doesn't matter. I don't think I ever really knew what it meant for an athlete to be unstoppable until I saw Chris Paul play basketball in the fourth quarter and overtime. Now that I do, I certainly won't forget it."
1. Papiss Cisse: Magpie Magician
It's been 11 goals in 11 Premier League games for Newcastle's striker sensation, and I don't know that we'll see a more outrageous strike this season. (Van Persie's volley was better? I don't know, how can you figure that out?) Here's what I love about Cisse giving Chelsea the blues (wink wink): (a) It was his second in a match that had huge Champions League qualification consequences, (b) Petr Cech's struggle face, (c) Newcastle manager Alan Pardew's I'm happy/I'm nervous/Stop laughing/OK, we're laughing reaction, (c) Cisse's laconic trot over to the Newcastle traveling fans, (d) IT'S THE OUTSIDE OF THE BOOT WHAT IS HE EVEN THINKING?
1. Claude Giroux: All Claude Everything
I am obligated by William Penn blood oath to award any Philly athlete the top spot in Rankonia, but Sarah Larimer really makes a compelling case for the Flyers forward: "Katie Baker is right. It is pretty much impossible to dislike Claude Giroux. Apologies to that Monet bro, but Giroux is now my favorite dude named Claude. Let's all start a Claude Giroux Fan Club. We can get T-shirts that say 'Are you taking this faceoff here?'
"'Before they even dropped the puck, he came over and he told me watch the first shift,' Danny Briere said after the Flyers' 5-1 win. 'When he did, I didn't know what to say to him. He's been our leader all year and once again he took another step in that direction today. It was simply amazing, plain and simple. He was possessed.'
1. Kentucky's Starting Five: DEUCES
It would be easy to be flippant about the starting five on Kentucky's national championship basketball team all declaring for the NBA draft, in unison, on Tuesday. You could mock coach John Calipari for building his program around one-and-done players, you could raise an eyebrow at noted NBA power broker World Wide Wes' presence at the NCAA tournament final as an obvious UK fan. Or you could just see the shared elation on the faces of Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb, and Marquis Teague, and let these guys live a little. I defy you to read this Kidd-Gilchrist quote and begrudge these guys a single thing in life: "I want to spoil my mom. I think I'm going to spoil my mom to death. That's one thing I'm looking forward to." They earned it. All of them.
1. Clinton Portis, The Fund-raiser
I miss Clinton Portis. You miss Clinton Portis. We all miss Clinton Portis, I think, which is why it's exciting that the indispensable D.C. Sports Bog noted on Tuesday that Portis is set to appear at an upcoming fund-raiser for President Obama, hosted by Vice President Biden. Are we one step away from a Biden Pockets Straight shirt hitting the market? I really, really hope so.
2. Fidel Castro, Past-His-Prime Lefty
We expect a tearful apology from Chuck Klosterman any day now. In Spanish. "His relationship to baseball remains eternal. All that is required is his lack of death!"
1. Austin Rivers, Snapbacks Back
David Cho, arguably the second-best-dressed man in the Grantland office, chimes in with this fashion trend watch: "In case you haven't been keeping tabs on the sartorial decisions of Jay-Z, LeBron James, and a handful of other rich friends of Kanye West, there's been a headwear trend that's slowly spent the last year going from being 'sort of a thing' to 'definitely a thing': snapback hats with customized snakeskin bills. Yep, that's right; this is a thing! In fact, it's a $400 thing (each hat retails for $400)! The most recent example of its "definitely a thing"-ness came during this past Sunday's ABC telecast of the Heat and Celtics when Austin Rivers was being interviewed in the stands while wearing a throwback Tampa Bay Buccaneers version of the snapback. These hats are handmade by Don C, Kanye West's manager and best friend, for his 'luxury boutique' (their words, not mine) RSVP Gallery in Chicago. Swing by if you've always wanted to own a piece of clothing that really shows people that you definitely know how to waste money."
1. Ryan Madson, Breadwinner
When you say "YOLO," Andy Greenwald says "Butterscotch Krimpets":
"Pour out a little liquor — or at least a little baking soda — for Reds pitcher Ryan Madson. You know how stats dorks like to measure everything in baseball against replacement players? Ryan Madson is the replacement player. First the Phillies replaced him with Dropkick Murphys Stan Jonathan Papelbon, despite Madson’s agent, the dreaded Scott Boras, insisting that the Phillies had offered his client $44 million first. Then came the devastating disclosure that the closer’s UCL had been torn completely off the bone, requiring the replacement surgery known as Tommy John. But neither bit of news stung as much as the revelation that local hoagie-roll bakery Liscio’s hadn’t even waited for the ink on Papelbon’s contract to dry before replacing former spokesman Madson with hungry Houston transplant Hunter Pence. Stay strong, Mad Dog! May you return next year, stronger than ever and in a LeBron-esque carb cloud of double-zero flour. Like yeast, a good pitcher/bread spokesman can’t stay down for long."