I have to be honest since hearing the news on Friday that one of my childhood heroes passed away in a car crash in Florida, basketball has not been on my brain much at all. Randy "Macho Man" Savage was my hero as a kid. He was cool. He had a unique charisma that was something like I had never seen. While many will think of Bruins or Celtics games when they think of the old Boston Garden. I will remember it as the place that Randy Savage beat Tito Santana to win the Intercontinental Championship. He cheated to do it by popping him in the face with a piece of steel he had hidden in his trunks. That was only the beginning of one of the greatest wrestling careers in history.
Many people look at wrestling and wrestlers as some lesser form of athletes. But Savage prior to setting foot in a wrestling ring was a baseball player of some note. He played in the minors for the Cardinals, Reds and a couple other organizations. He was a high flyer and did moves in the ring that back in the 80's no one else did. He was as amazing as many of the best dunkers you would see in the NBA. Randy was truly a world class athlete. While many wrestlers as they age become shadows of what they once were. Savage was a guy that still did all the moves that made him famous. He also unlike many wrestlers backed away from the business when he got older.
You may say if you are still even reading this...why the hell are we talking about a wrestler in a basketball blog? It is a fair point. But I guess the reason why is Savage has had a big influence on me. You may have even seen me bust out my Randy Savage impression when we were trying to put together an event with St Louis Wings that we had titled RaptorMania. But Basketball and wrestling have had there moments of coming together. Dennis Rodman going in the hall of fame this year once fought Savage. Randy took the former basketball star and stuck him in a porta potty and dumped it over with Rodman in it. Randy admits in an interview that was not in "the script". Rodman fought many times in the ring including in a match facing Karl Malone in which Malone was teamed with Diamond Dallas Page and Rodman with his buddy Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Rodman has been on many reality shows and actually was on one in which celebrities trained to be wrestlers run by the Hulkster and he won the show. Beating the likes of Screech from Saved by the Bell and other B list celebrities. None of this likely will be mentioned in Rodman's Hall of Fame Speech. Nor will the fact that during the NBA Playoffs while Rodman was with the Bulls on an off-day in a series, I am sure Phil Jackson was thrilled to learn Rodman was on Monday Nitro with Hogan. Ron Artest is easy to deal with in comparison to Rodman.
I have mentioned this one before as well. Jerome William AKA JYD (Of the NBA) once refereed a match in Toronto at a local house show. He was one of many on those Raptors teams back then that was a wrestling junkie. Vince Carter while being a Raptor was know to be in attendance when WWE hit town in Toronto as well. He was once pointed out by the WWE when he was in attendance at a taping on Monday Night Raw.
Even the Miami Heat were dubbed early on the MWO and were featured in this hit video on You Tube.
Lebron and D-Wade were recently two of the many celebrities that wished The Rock Happy Birthday on a recent episode of Raw. Oh and no Chris Bosh was not. Guess The Rock doesn't give a damn about Chris Bosh's Roody Poo Candy Ass. But the Heat are getting a great performance from Bosh in the conference finals vs the Bulls. Bosh has been a huge part of why Miami has a 2-1 series lead. It seems hard to believe that the Bulls can win 3 out of 4 games vs the Heat. After all the hype and B.S it appears the Heat will be exactly where they were expected to be. In the NBA's Version of a World Title Match better know as the NBA Finals.
As unlikely as it is for the Bulls to win 3 out 4 vs Miami. It seems even more unlikely that the Thunder can win 3 straight vs the Dallas Mavericks. The Thunder blew a lead late in Game 4 and were almost home and cooled out tying the series back up at 2. But then that evil German Guy Baron Von Dirk decided to go nuts and the Thunder were in trouble. Maybe if they had Kendrick Perkins hit Dirk with a steel chair that might help their chances.
But if the Thunder or Bulls want some inspiration they can watch Randy Savage in Wrestlemania 4 as he had to win 4 matches to become the World Champion for the first time. It would take a scripted out come for the Thunder or Bulls to come back at this point. I can't imagine the Heat choking and it is becoming more and more clear the Mavs days of choking might be behind them.
As entertaining as the NBA Playoffs have been and likely will be, it is not nearly as entertaining as the Macho Man Randy Savage. Be it wrestling in a ring or talking on a microphone. Randy Savage was the best at both. In basketball we always tend to look for next this guy or that guy. Who is the next Jordan? The next Shaq? There will never be a next Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Here is one of my favorite Savage interviews of all time. It was on the Arsenio Hall. For those not old enough to remember that show, it was once the hottest late night show on T.V for a brief time in the late 80's and early 90's. Savage was about to defend his title vs Hulk Hogan at Wrestlemania 5. The Mega Powers explode is how it was billed. The tag team that was Hogan and Savage. This was classic Randy Savage at his very best.
I will miss Randy Savage he was a huge part of my childhood. I have laughed and had my eyes fill with tears all weekend long watching memories of the Macho Man. He was a one of a kind original and had an impact that extended far outside of professional wrestling. It has been a very sad weekend for me. Charles Barkley said that athletes should not be role models. I guess that would mean wrestlers who are tremendous athletes should not be as well. However here is the thing we don't just choose who are role models are as kids. They just are who they are. For me that was a guy who was not exactly a role model in his behaviour. Savage be it as a bad guy or good guy would always bend or break the rules. But there was something cool about Randy Savage and he was bigger than life in a lot of ways. From his flashy robes to his over the top personality. Shaq might be the closet thing we have in basketball to this type of personality. He is also a huge wrestling junkie as well. Ali the famous boxing champion said that a lot of his smack talk was based on his love of wrestling.
Some of you may hate that I use wrestling lines in this blog probably far to often for most people's liking. It was Randy Savage that made me into a wrestling fan. He was the reason that I got drawn into it back in the mid 80's along with many in my generation. But in the NBA there have become good guys and bad guys and a lot of shades of grey. You may all hate the Miami Heat but part of what has made this season one of the more compelling in many years has been because you hate them. In wrestling they call that ironically "getting heat" and in Miami they have had more then their fair share. But unlike in wrestling the good guy doesn't always win the big one. Sometimes in real life the bad guys win.
The Macho Man along with Oh Yeah!!! Would also say from time to time. "It is what it is" and the Miami Heat are what they are. Macho Madness will live on forever and if the Heat can do what they set out to do they may live on forever as well. Sometimes cheering for the "Bad Guys" can be fun. Randy Savage taught me that many many years ago. But the difference is that while Savage could be vicious in the ring and break ever rule in the book. There was a humour to him and a likeability to him as well. I am not sure if you can say the same for Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
But whatever happens let it happen. The time is now...Oh Yeah Dig It!!!
Macho Madness will live in my heart forever it is as much a part of me as my love of basketball. While some may cry foul for Reggie Miller not being in the basketball hall of fame. It is a bigger crime that Randy Savage was not in WWE Hall of Fame while he was alive. Randy Savage was a legend in his sport and champion. Reggie Miller was a guy that made a lot of 3's and torched the Knicks. He also is one of the worst announcers in the history of basketball. Savage was a better announcer in his sport too. But it in Macho Man terms... Reggie Miller is a grain of sand in the Sahara Desert and Macho Man is the whole desert.
I have lost many people in my life it is part of the deal with getting older. It is part of the harsh reality of life. In sports all of the guys that I followed in basketball have long since retired. Dr.J, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and many many others. Hopefully the folks running this league and the players come to realize that life is short. We can not afford to miss a season of basketball. We all only have so many in our lifetimes. Lockouts and money don't mean a heck of a lot in comparison to life itself.
Life is fragile and tomorrow is never guaranteed for anyone. Randy Savage left a mark on the world that is far larger than anyone could possibly imagine. But we all leave our mark on this world and make sure it is a good one because you never know when your time is up...for today mine is...God willing will talk with you all tomorrow and for many years to come.
RIP Macho Man - Randy Savage