In light of the Seahawks recent march towards the NFC title game and Marshawn Lynch’s incredible fine-avoiding interviews, I thought we’d look back at some of the greatest interviews I’ve been privy to witness in my short life. So often we’re left with the bland, generic interview. Whether it was Derek Jeter’s “rah-rah we’ll get ‘eim next time” shenanigans or the Falcons’ ex-coach Mike Smith uttering something about the “process,” coach speak and PR responses evoke all the feelings of a Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready. Like, it’s something, but really you’d rather have anything else. The same people that clamor for less coach speak and more honest athletes are the same ones that get pissed when Yasiel Puig and Bryce Harper act like normal exuberant human beings and to those fine individuals I would suggest that one cannot have his cake and eat it, too. I, for one, revel in the brilliance of the insane athlete interview, and as such, we shall celebrate the five that I continue to go to when I need to inject a bit of joy into an otherwise drab, Belichick-ian day of press conferences.
5. Munenori Kawasaki – COLD ENGLISH
Kawasaki-san has a book. And a teacher. They are teaching him English. And Spanish. He has a son. He speaks English. Maybe. Two days ago he was in Buffalo, where it was very cold, but not as cold as Minnesota, which is just plain unbelievable. The idea of Joey Bats teaching Mune English is horrifying to me. Mostly because what happens if he starts teaching him how to tweet? What if the earnestness and exuberance of a thousand men that permeates Kawasaki’s soul is released upon the world, Joey Bats style? What if it’s nothing but emoji’s?
4. Ilya Bryzgalov – THE UNIVERSE
The solar system is SO Hu-MAN-gus BIG you know? Bryz’s universe interview is just next level. The existential angst of living in such a miniscule, finite space in a sea of nothingness is so overwhelming, Bryz looks like he may be brought to tears. This is the interview I expect out of Floyd/Hendrix/any 60’s/70’s band. One would think with the vastness of the universe on his mind, the idea of keeping the puck out of a 6′ x 4′ net would seem trivial in comparison. Given his pedestrian save percentage in Philadelphia though, perhaps he thought himself as small in net as he is in the universe – a mere speck around which both time and pucks fly by, unaware of his presence.
3. Richard Sherman – THE BEST CORNER IN THE GAME
When has Richard Sherman not given a perfect interview. Does Erin Andrews’ face sum it up? He’s the best corner in the game and, no, you shouldn’t try him with a sorry receiver like Crabtree. This may not be in the top spot, but for my money, I want my athletes to go big or go home. Sherman goes scorched earth here on the corpse of Michael Crabtree, which if I’m not mistaken, is buried somewhere in CenturyLink Field. He caught a lot of flak for this, but this is exactly the kind of interview I yearn for. Ditch the niceties. Call it like you see it. And never be afraid to proclaim that you are the best of the best. Honorary video of Sherman tearing apart Skip Bayless on national television because Skip Bayless ain’t better than Richard Sherman:
2. Allen Iverson – PRACTICE
Oh, man, the one that started it all. Allen Iverson talkin’ bout practice was my first introduction to the world of the insane athlete interview, and man did I love it in all of its standard definition glory. Number of times he says “not a game?” Dozens. Number of times he says “practice?” OVER 9000! A.I. eviscerated that room of reporters the same way he tore apart so many NBA guards over the years with his vicious handle and explosive first step. This press conference gave us so much. “Practice.” “Not a game.” And my all-time favorite go to when I’m forced into any kind of training or team building exercise, “HOW THE HELL CAN I MAKE MY TEAM MATES BETTER BY PRACTICE.” It also gave us this, a most perfect tune starring A.I. and featuring such luminaries as Denny Green, Jim Mora Sr., T.O., and certain 40 year-old man:
1. Nail Yakupov – MORE SHOOTS, MORE GOALS
Yak’s win. Doesn’t matter, 80,000 interviews but, doesn’t matter how much, how many shoots, A.I. talks about practice but we win. You can give me, like, a hundred question but Yak’s interview win. We win, Yak’s better than Iverson. See you next time. We have 30, 40 guys from Siberia and they put on YouTube and then, “COME ON RUSSIA.” We not surprised. Nail ready 100% percent. Nail interview win. Thanks guys!