Rearview mirror: The coolest, and un-coolest, athletes of the 2000’s

Top: Coolest.  Bottom: Least coolest. (Like I have to tell you) Note Reggie in bottom left holding hands with a referee

Another set of lists as part of our friends at Trumbull Island’s Year/Decade-ending Top 10 list hysteria. Here are the Top 10 coolest athletes of the decade, and the Top 10 least coolest athletes. I’m sure I’m missing some, but I think it’s a pretty good primer. I think you’ll see Nas is generally a good barometer here. Feel free to let me know some other guys I missed.

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Driven to survive: SI’s choice of Jeter all about their bottom line

dj Now don’t get this twisted, I actually very much respect Derek Jeter. He’s an excellent baseball player, keeps his name off Page 6, does a lot of charity work and has a work ethic I admire.

But Jeter as Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year? Either it was a slow year, or that “award” is a sham.

And it wasn’t a slow year.

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One felled swoosh: Perceived perfection led Tiger to flawed existence

Tiger's new public stance

It appears that after all this time, what the world might have really wanted is for Tiger Woods to be flawed, because it brings him down to everyone else’s level.

When someone appears to be too perfect, it makes people uncomfortable. It forces them to face their own deficiencies. And for so long, Tiger was just too damned perfect.

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In teammate, Armstrong finds new way to challenge himself

It’s no secret that Lance Armstrong is an extremely competitive person,  not that that’s a bad thing. That is exactly why it’s hardly a stunner that Armstrong hasn’t been content after all to stand aside and support Astana teammate Alberto Contador during the Tour de France.Black, white and yellow

Does someone like Armstrong, who won seven Tours in a row, re-emerge from "retirement" to be anything other than The Man? Of course not, that’s not how it goes.

When Jordan came back to the Wizards, was he satisfied playing second fiddle to the younger players on the team to help them learn how to lead, maybe even coming off the bench if it was to help the team’s progress? Get real. Though Jordan’s body no longer allowed him to duplicate his former physical splendor, his mentality had not changed, and he conducted himself as such — at the expense of the team.

The difference with Armstrong is that he’s not much weaker than he was before, if at all. He’s still a virtuoso capable of controlling the action; Lance in the Alps is akin to Federer at Centre Court. And he knows it.

But then there’s the matter of Contador. When Lance returned to Astana, he was coming back to a team that featured the Tour winner from just two years ago. Contador was not initially pleased, intending to join another team, but he was contractually obligated to Astana. However, Armstrong said the right things. This is from their first press conference back in December:

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