News flash: pro athletes have it pretty sweet. If regular working stiffs get arrested, act like lazy assholes, or use hate speech, we lose our jobs and aren't likely to find another one soon. But in the world of sports, it turns out that doing a little yay, a little time in the pen, or cussing out your boss will not only get you another job, but a better one!
This week came the news that running back Larry Johnson had signed with the 7-2, AFC Central-leading Cincinnati Bengals after being released by the 2-7, AFC West cellar-dwelling Kansas City Chiefs, who, despite their woeful performance this year, cashiered the former Pro Bowler for (among other things) Chris Brownin' broads in the club, dissing Chiefs head coach Todd Haley on Twitter, and using gay slurs to address the media. It turns out though that LJ isn't the first to make a similar worst to first upgrade based on his own fuckery, as you'll see with our History of Upward Failing Athletes...
TEAMS: From 1995 San Francisco Giants to 1996 New York Yankees
UPWARD FAIL: How do you get back at the league for suspending you for sniffing a little coke? How about joining the biggest American sports franchise right as they're on the brink of a dynasty. The Giants went on to finish in last place both in '95 and '96, while Darryl scooped up three rings with the Yankees in '96, '98 and '99. Damn, revenge is a hell of a drug, too.
TEAMS: 1995 Cleveland Browns to 1996 Green Bay Packers
UPWARD FAIL: Rison had the worst season of his career in '95, just as the Browns were in the process of relocating to Baltimore. The fans weren't too happy and let Rison know at the home games. His response? "We didn't make the fucking move. So, for all the booers, fuck you too! I'll be glad when we get to Baltimore, if that's the case." Rison never made it to Baltimore because after a brief stint with the Jaguars in '96, he went to the Packers that same season to help Brett Favre and the boys win Super Bowl XXXI.
TEAMS: 2000 Atlanta Hawks to 2000-01 Los Angeles Lakers
UPWARD FAIL: Arrests, mandatory drug counseling by the NBA, and showing up late to games got J.R. released by the Hawks after the lockout-shortened 2000 season. Rider landed on his feet though, signing to the Lakers where he played off the bench the majority of the season and won a ring despite being left off the playoff roster. See kids, fuckery can lead to success. Well, at least temporarily.
TEAMS: 2003 San Francisco 49ers to 2004 Philadelphia Eagles
UPWARD FAIL:After the '03 season a contract dispute occurred when T.O.'s now former agent, David Joseph, forgot to void the remaining years of his contract with the 49ers, resulting in the team retaining rights to Owens. After much whinging by Owens, S.F. traded him to the Eagles for a draft pick and defensive end Brandon Whiting. T.O. went on to play in his first Super Bowl that season with Donovan McNabb, before bitching his way out of Philly as well.
TEAMS: 2004 New Orleans Hornets to 2004-05 Phoenix Suns
UPWARD FAIL: The Hornets were in the rebuilding process and acquired Jackson to help bring along younger players on the team. J.J. didn't go in for that mentoring shit, and never even showed up in Nola. The Hornets then traded him to the Suns where Jackson made it to the Conference Finals in consecutive seasons, which was just a little better than the Hornets, who had a combined record of 56-108 over those campaigns.
TEAMS: 2006 Oakland Raiders to 2007 New England Patriots
UPWARD FAIL: Moss wrapped up his feelings about playing for 2-14 Oakland pretty succinctly in an '06 interview: "Maybe because I'm unhappy and I'm not too much excited about what's going on, so, my concentration and focus level tend to go down sometimes when I'm in a bad mood." Such sentiments got Randy shipped to the Patriots in '07 (for a fourth-round draft choice) where he set records with his new BFF Tom Brady and participated in the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history. The Raiders? Well, they doubled their win total from '06 and finished 4-12. Yeah if we went from worst to near perfect we'd have that same Kool-Aid smile Moss is sportin' in the pic above too.
TEAMS: 2009 New York Knicks to 2009 Boston Celtics
UPWARD FAIL:You would figure hooking up with an intern in the back of your truck, threatening your coach with blackmail, going MIA for a few days, and just refusing to play would get you out of your contract quickly. It actually took Marbury a few years but it was worth the wait when he joined the defending champ Boston Celtics last season, who went to the playoffs while the Knicks went fishin'. Too bad Starbury was one season late for the Celts world championship, and a bit too crazy to stay on the roster for this season.
TEAMS: 2009 Charlotte Bobcats to 2009 Los Angeles Lakers
UPWARD FAIL: The worst teams get the top draft picks in order to maintain competition in the league, but A-Mo, the third overall pick in the '06 draft, wasn't doing much for the failing Bobcats, so they shipped him to L.A., where he was there riding the pine when the Lakers picked up their 15th NBA title. Although our favorite tennis hottie slaying bench boy will probably see more playing time than him this season.
TEAMS: 2009 Texas Rangers to 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers
UPWARD FAIL: 2009 didn't start off so hot for Vicente: he caught swine flu and was released from the Rangers (despite Texas being in playoff contention themselves) for being a "disruptive presence in the clubhouse." But he got picked up by the L.A., where he went 4-0 down the stretch, and won the clinchin Game 3 of the NLDS, all while the Rangers were at home carving pumpkins.
TEAMS: 2009, Kansas City Chiefs to Cincinnati Bengals
UPWARD FAIL: Larry Johnson is the most recent addition to this lucky group. Makes us think some of the Lions should his strategy of picking up felony assault charges and going in on the head coach via Twitter to get out of the endless cycle of losing. Although don't take it too far and end up like this guy.