Long before Jayson Williams’ life devolved into the violent, mentally ill horror show it appears to be today, and long before he pulled the trigger on the shotgun that killed limo driver Gus Christofi in 2002, the ex-NBA forward has had a long and complicated relationship with violence and weapons. Despite a pre-shooting reputation as a gregarious character who raised millions for charity, the dark side of Jayson Williams popped out throughout his college and NBA career - bar fights, gun mishaps, assault charges, etc.
Most of them could be shrugged off at the time as the immature revelry of a careless pro athlete; plenty of his coworkers had been down that road before. But yesterday, when former NBA player Dwayne Schintzius joined sports radio station WDAE 620 in Tampa, he told a horrific story about his former teammate that suggests it’s almost a miracle Christofi has been the only person to die at Williams’ hand.
So we’ve been watching SportsCenter more and more these days, so long as Scott Van Pelt is hosting. The show is getting back to the understated wisecracking that made it a staple for us.
What killed the show for so many years was blindered buffoons like Chris Berman and Stuart Scott shouting down the viewers with schtick. The subtle, well-reasoned approach is what wins out, which is also why no one watches SNL anymore.
If you eyeballed ‘Center last night, you probably saw Van Pelt forced into an uncomfortable-looking promotional segment with an insufferably wooden Will Ferrell. During the five minute exchange, SVP came off as, oh, we don’t know, 1000 TIMES FUNNIER. The best line came when the two were looking at video of ill-advised athlete haircuts through the years. When Dwayne Schintzius’ massive mullet was unfurled, Van Pelt coined it the “Kentucky Waterfall.”
Clutch comedy like that has us coming back for now, but we wonder how much better the show could be without the absurd PC parameters obviously dropped on the anchors by Bristol suits. Take for instance, this absurd on-air apology by Van Pelt last night (video after the jump). Read more…