Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Kudos to ESPN, John, Patrick, and Andre

ESPN gets a lot of heat (much of it deserved) for being into marketing more than it is into sports, but - and I think I've mentioned this before - they deserve major kudos for their coverage of the Grand Slam tennis events. For the U.S. Open they've added John McEnroe to the team, and partnered him with brother Patrick, and the two of them are doing a predictably great job covering the men's matches.

A couple of nights ago, Andre Agassi joined them in the booth for about an hour, after having been honored earlier in the evening for being an athlete who has given back to the community. Looking terrific in a sharp-looking suit, Andre was also great, projecting the aura of a man who is completely and entirely at peace with himself. I respect Agassi a great deal for being one of the few athletes who within the course of their careers has completely changed their public image. At one point, Agassi was no better than Terrell Owens, and was well on his way to leaving a legacy as someone who squandered more talent than anyone else playing tennis in the last 25 years. By the time he retired, there was no one who worked harder - no one who fought like he did for every single point. While he remained supremely confident, he gained a maturity that had seemed impossible just a few short years before.

There's nothing he can do about it now, but I'm sure every now and then he kicks himself for essentially farting away 4-5 years, during what should have been in his prime. What ended up being 8 Grand Slam wins very well could have been in the Federer/Sampras range: 14-15.

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