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SPORTING EQUIVALENCY: STEPHEN COLBERT

8/5/2008
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Tuesdays at this site mean many things, one of which is Sporting Equivalency. We take a member of "popular culture" (usually one celebrating a birthday) and liken them to athletic figures. We've tackled two kings of Hollywood , and now it's time for a king of satire. Or maybe a prince, if Jon Stewart is king. It depends on your tastes, honestly, but for now: Stephen Colbert's Sporting Equivalency.

Stephen Colbert's MLB Equivalent: David Wright

We were gonna go Mike Piazza because of this , since Colbert is known for his Catholicism (he teaches Sunday school). However, Piazza isn't active, so we went with another Met, D-Wright. Why? First, it's gotta be a Met; Colbert even let Mr. Met on his writing staff for an episode. Second, D-Wright is a superstar, but a generally down-to-earth, family-centric guy (with a lot of brothers). Colbert is the youngest of 11 children, has three of his own, speaks often of family (Wright told the New York Post once he couldn't get married before 40 because it's "all family then baseball till then") and yet is still good enough at his day job to be named 2007's Associated Press Celebrity of the Year.

Stephen Colbert's NBA Equivalent: Tim Duncan

Again, the notion of the quiet, humble, always-gets-it-done superstar drives this selection. Here's another point: what's the most famous story about Duncan? That he almost didn't play basketball! Colbert wanted to be a marine biologist (Duncan wanted to be a swimmer!) When he started acting, he wanted to be a dramatic actor. Life throws you some weird turns; in one case you end up with 4 NBA titles in 9 years, and in the other, you host the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner.

Stephen Colbert's NFL Equivalent: Carson Palmer

This one's a little harder, but bear with us. First off, for the utter train wreck that Cincinnati appears to be from afar, Palmer has a remarkable sense of humor when interviewed. It's subtle and nuanced, similar in some respects to Colbert's. Secondly, lest we forget, the three seasons prior to Palmer's Heisman senior season were "average" at best. While Colbert's work on The Daily Show was fairly iconic, his projects before that—Exit 57, Strangers with Candy—were, well, average at best. He got his own show in October of 2005, and within a year, he was on The Time 100. Whether Pete Carroll or Jon Stewart aided your development, sometimes you blow up quickly.

Stephen Colbert's NHL Equivalent: Jarome Iginla

Watch an interview with Iginla: he's funny, self-effacing and personable. Colbert! He's also superb—a finalist for the Hart Trophy this year—but his accomplishments do occasionally seem overshadowed by bigger names ala Hart finalist Ovechkin and Mr. Crosby. Colbert, for all his accomplishments (he's never been to Game 7 of the Cup Finals, but he has thrown out the first pitch at a minor league game ), is still seen by many as "behind Jon Stewart." We can't blame playing in Calgary for it, sadly; if Colbert could get an Oscars hosting gig, that might help.