Where everybody knows your name
- ESPN.com IllustrationThere are a lot of great names in the history of sports. But in Heaven's Sports Bar, even some Hall of Famers have to take a back seat.
Here at the only sports bar in Heaven, it's always Happy Hour and the tab never comes. The beer is colder than a DMV clerk's smile, the Cheetos bowl refills itself, and all the waitresses make Marisa Miller look like the "before" half of the ad.
The problem is, you can't get in.
It's reserved for the greatest names in sports history and even most of them can't get by Jack Dempsey, Our bouncer. If your personal beer mug isn't hanging on the wall, you are staying thirsty, My friends.
Problem is, there's only room for one Johnny mug, one Jim mug, one Jenny mug. One mug per name. Period.
So who gets the Joe mug: Montana or DiMaggio? Who gets Bobby: Orr or Jones? If your name is Kobe or Mia, don't worry, your stool is waiting. But if you're a Mike, you've got some nasty competition.
Here's the list. If you're on it, your mug is chilling. If not, there's an T.G.I. Friday's three clouds down. Any arguing and We send more locusts.
Alex: Ovechkin over Rodriguez, English and Ferguson.
Andre: The Giant over Dawson and Agassi. This was not really our choice. You try throwing him out.
Art: Rooney over Shell, Donovan and Monk. The irony is the monks make all our beer.
Babe: Didrikson over Ruth, who's off the sauce and running the local nine hole.
Barry: Sanders over Switzer and Bonds.
Ben: Hogan over Roethlisberger.
The Big: Dipper over Baby, Dog, E, Nasty, Unit, Easy, Smooth, Shaqtus, Aristotle, Ticket, Cat and Brown.
Bill: Russell over Mazeroski, Walton, Tilden, Parcells, Belichick and Walsh. Very tough name, but Russell has more rings than our bar top.
Billie: Jean King over White Shoes Johnson, Kidd, Kilmer and Beane. And, no, We don't care about the spelling.
Bob: Gibson over Griese, Richards, Feller, Hayes, Lemon, Cousy, Pettitte, Lanier, McAdoo and Costas. We sit in here and play Guess Which Bob Is Moping Outside the Window Tonight?
Bobby: Jones over Orr, Hull, Bowden, Knight, Lane, Clarke and Cox.
Brett: Favre over Hull, but We could change our mind.
Carl: Lewis over Yastrzemski, Eller and Furillo. Don't start with us. The man has nine gold medals.
Charlie: Hustle over Conerly, Joiner, Gehringer, and Finley. Had to have Pete Rose in here. Somebody's got to run all Our pools.
Coach: Wooden. Great to have him, but he kills business. Everybody switches to milk when he walks in.
Dan: Gable over Marino, Issel and Fouts. He was 181-1!
Dale: Earnhardt over Murphy. Gets his own parking spot, too.
Dave: Bing over Cowens.
David: Ortiz over Thompson, Robinson and Beckham. Besides, Our flat screens don't get soccer. This is Heaven, after all.
Dick: Butkus over Weber, "Night Train" Lane, Williams and Lebeau.
Doc/Doctor: J over Gooden, Rivers, Ellis, Middlecoff and Jobe.
Don: Drysdale over Sutton, Budge, Zimmer, Coryell and Hutson.
Earl: Campbell over Anthony, Monroe and Weaver. Tell The Tyler Rose not to worry -- you get a whole new body when you get up Here.
Eric: Heiden over Dickerson and Lindros. Besides, We might need a doctor up here in case anybody chokes on pretzels.
Eddie: Robinson over Mathews, Murray, Merckx, Arcaro, Aikau, The Eagle, Sutton and George.
Ernie: Banks over Harwell, Nevers and Els.
Frank: Robinson over Howard, Thomas and Gifford. Nearly had a brawl over that one.
George: Halas over Mikan, Brett, Gervin, McGinnis, Foreman and Blanda -- mostly because Halas sponsors the bar softball team.
Greg: Louganis over Norman and Luzinski. Can you think of three Greg's with less in common?
Hank: Aaron over Bauer, Greenberg and Iba. Not even close.
Howard: All we could think of is Cosell but nobody's seen him around.
Jack: Nicklaus over Morris, Johnson, Kramer, Lambert, Ham, Tatum and Kemp. Since we're closed Sundays, We figure he can wear a different green jacket every night of the week.
James: Naismith, without whom you'd never have heard of Worthy.
Jason: Kidd over Williams, Taylor, Giambi and Heyward (so far.)
Jeff: Gordon over Kent, Bagwell and Hostetler. We figure he won't sit anywhere near Dale.
Jenny: Finch over Thompson and Capriati.
Jerry: Rice over West, Quarry and Lucas. Even Our jukebox doesn't hold as many records as Rice.
Jim: Brown over Thorpe, Plunkett, Ryun, Rice, Kelly, Bunning, Palmer, Taylor, Ryun and Nantz. We almost had to call The Big Guy in on that one.
Jimmie: Johnson (racin') over Foxx, Taylor, the other Johnson (football), Piersall and Connors, who will definitely not take this well.
Joe: Montana over DiMaggio, Frazier, Namath, Morgan, Cronin, Greene, Louis, Sakic, Paterno, Theismann, Gibbs and Torre. We decided to let The Original Joe settle this one -- Joseph.John: Elway over McEnroe, McGraw, Stockton, Stallworth, Havlicek, Cappelletti and Henry. (The big horse didn't like taking neigh for an answer. He likes a Guinness now and again in his mash.)[+] EnlargeIcon SMIJohn Wooden won 10 NCAA titles in 12 years while at UCLA, but never opened one bottle of champagne.
Johnny: Unitas over Bench, Lujack, Rogers, Miller and Rutherford. Unitas' hand works again, too.
Junior: Griffey over Johnson, Earnhardt, Bridgeman and Seau.
Kevin: McHale over Harvick, Youkilis and Garnett. Hey, Garnett, no head-bumping the Pearly Gates when you come through.
King, The: Palmer over James. And there's no crying in Heaven.
Lefty: O'Doul over Gomez and Grove. O'Doul starred as a pitcher, then a hitter (.398 one year), then a manager, then as the man who brought baseball to Japan. How he's not in the Hall of Fame is beyond even Us.
Lenny: Wilkins over Dykstra and Moore.
Lou: Gehrig over Holtz, Boudreau and Brock.
Mark: Spitz over McGwire, Messier, Martin and Sanchez. Too bad, too. Mess makes a bar.
Mario: Lemieux over Andretti. Not easy.
Mary: Lou Retton over Decker, Pierce, T. Meagher.
Michael: Jordan over Johnson, Schumacher, Phelps and Owen. Easy.
Michelle: Kwan over Smith, Akers and Wie. Wait 'til you get here, Ms. Kwan. It's way better than a gold medal.
Mickey: Mantle over Wright and his namesake, Cochrane. Good thing Mantle's dad didn't know Cochrane's real first name: Gordon.
Mike: Schmidt over Maddux, Modano, Webster, Eruzione, Krzyzewski, Piazza and, yes, Tyson. Would you really give the mug to a guy who's last meaningful win was at age 23?
Mr.: Clutch over Big Shot, X, October and 59.
Mookie: Wilson over Blaylock. Who knew there'd be more than one?
Nancy: Lieberman over Lopez and Kerrigan.
Oscar: Robertson over De La Hoya, Bonavena and Pistorius.
Pat: Summitt not Riley. Sorry.
Patrick: Roy (three Stanley Cups) over Kane (one) and Ewing (zero rings).
Paul: "Bear" Bryant over Molitor, Brown, Coffey, Hornung, Waner, Warfield and Pierce. Don't ask Us. Paul is what he likes to be called now.
Pete: Maravich has the stool until Sampras gets here.
Phil: Jackson over Rizzuto, Niekro, Knight, Esposito, Mickelson and Mahre. Guess the ol' Zen Master will be pretty surprised to find out We really exist, huh?
Ray: Robinson over Leonard, Bourque, Knight, Lewis, Nitschke and Allen. Pound for pound, the best wings eater We have.
Red: Grange over Ruffing, Schoendienst, Smith, Sanders, Kerr and Auerbach. The guy saved pro football.
Reggie: Jackson over Miller, White and Sanders. We've got a bunch of straws saved up, too.
Rick: Barry over Mears and Pitino. (Surprisingly weak field here.)
Rod: Laver over Carew and Woodson in a walkover. The man won two Grand Slams, one as an amateur.
Rocky: Marciano over Graziano, Bleier and Balboa. And even though this is Heaven, I'd recommend you not bringing up his middle name -- Francis.
Roger: Federer over Maris, Bannister, Staubach and Clemens. Maris is still pretty happy, though. He got all his hair back.
Sam: Snead over Baugh, Huff and Jones.
Steve: Carlton in a doozy over Yzerman, McNair, Van Buren, Young, Smith, Cauthen, Prefontaine, Mahre and Nash. Carlton has four Cy Youngs. We only have one, but he's great at karaoke.
Stan: Musial over Smith and Mikita.
Shaun: White over Johnson, Alexander and Green. Name Us somebody else that won world championships in two different sports.
Terrell: Davis not Owens. As if.
Tim: Duncan over every Tim you ever heard of.
Toe: Blake not Groza.
Tom: Brady over Seaver, Watson, Lasorda, Heinsohn, Landry, Morris (Young), Morris (Old), Glavine and Osborne. Hate to shut Tom Terrific out, but We have to think about Date Night.
Tony: Hawk over Perez, Stewart, Gwynn, Esposito, Lazzeri and La Russa. We figure it's better than Hawk hanging around out front, wrecking Our curbs.
Vince: Lombardi over Scully, but we're hoping Vin agrees to MC the banquet.
Willie: Mays over Stargell, McCovey, Keeler, Pep, Gault, Parker, Galimore, Randolph, and Shoemaker.
Walter/Wally: Payton over Hagen, Szczerbiak, Joyner, Dallenbach, Alston and Johnson. They don't call him Sweetness for nothing. You should see how many sugars he puts in his iced teas.
Anyway, that's it.
The good news is: You mug winners are gonna love Our nightly specials.
The bad news is: Some of you will find out what they are very soon.
Love the column, hate the column, got a better idea? Go here.
Rick Reilly is the 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year. He contributes essays and commentary to "SportsCenter" and ESPN/ABC golf and tennis coverage. He's also the host of "Homecoming," ESPN's unique, one-hour interview show set in the hometowns of legendary athletes. For more Rick, check out the archive.
Feel like taking a detour from sane sports? Try Rick's new book, "Sports from Hell."
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LIFE OF REILLY
RICK REILLY, 52, has been voted National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times. His latest book is called "Sports From Hell: My Two-year Search for the World's Dumbest Competition." A finalist for the 2011 Thurber Prize for Humor, it's the account of his search for the dumbest sport in the world.
Not to give anything away, but a good bet would be either Ferret Legging or Chess Boxing. It also includes embarrassing attempts by Reilly to try Nude Bicycle Racing, Zorbing, Extreme Ironing, the World Rock Paper Scissors Championships and an unfortunate week on a women's pro football team.