Professional athletes represent success. To get to where they are required discipline, talent, savvy and ridiculous amounts of perseverance. So it's only natural we consider athletes to be mentors, role models, philosophers, sages. We seek the wisdom of their ways. We listen to their words, contemplate them, consider how they might apply to our own lives.
Problem is, sometimes we just can't figure out what the heck it is these folks are trying to say. Thoughts don't always come out so eloquently. Metaphors get mixed. Similes get scrambled. Tongues tied. Phrases peppered with non-sequiturs.
Thus, valuable advice is lost.
But fear not, dear reader, for I have taken it upon myself to interpret 25 of the most nonsensical quotes ever uttered by beloved sports personalities.
Click on to unlock the wisdom.
The quote: "Yeah, that's like saying the Titanic was a ball smoating accident."
An explanation: The ball in question is likely some type of high-energy orb projected from weaponry not yet known on Earth. Smoat should really be spelled "smote," the past tense of smite, which means "to strike with force"—though in this case it would be "ball smiting."
Clearly, Barkley is referring to some little-known conspiracy theory in which the Titanic disaster was actually the result of the misfiring of a weapon from an alien vessel.
The quote: "I took a whack on my left ankle, but something told me it was my right."
An explanation: The sentence was cut off? The missing words: "...to whack the pillock back good and hard like."
The quote: "Left hand, right hand, it doesn't matter. I'm amphibious."
An explanation: While many people assume Shackleford meant to say ambidextrous, I have a personal theory that no mistake was made; he was, in fact, trying to segue into an announcement that he would be leaving his mediocre career in the NBA and trying out for the Olympic water polo squad.
The quote: "You can't say there were dinosaurs when you never saw them. Someone actually saw Adam and Eve. No one ever saw a Tyrannosaurus rex."
An explanation: The someone is Adam and Eve's good friend Herbert Birnbaum. He has vouched for their existence.
The quote: "You guys line up alphabetically by height."
An explanation: Nonsensical? This makes perfect sense. Alphabetically six feet, three inches comes after six feet, four inches, but before six feet, two inches, and so on and so forth.
The quote: "Take some Vaseline and swallow it, and it will help you."
An explanation: It is, after all, petroleum jelly.
The quote: "...and Schumacher has just completed lap 77 out of 73."
An explanation: Decades of inhaled Ferrari fumes afflicted Walker with severe dyscalculia.
The quote: "He speaks English, Spanish, and he's bilingual, too."
An explanation: Mr. King was being literal—Julio Cesar Chavez (the boxer of whom Mr. King speaks) has two tongues. This would be a distinct advantage in boxing, and something Mr. King would surely tout, as it would allow for double the smack talk. And being that Mr. Chavez speaks both English and Spanish, he could taunt in two languages at the same time.
The quote: "You know a football team grows all the time. They just keep swinging. They just keep getting better. You know, you crack enough eggs and you'll get an omelet."
A translation: Baseball-playing football players can whip up a fine French breakfast with enough practice.
The quote: "But it’s me taking a stand for something that means something. And it’s for the fighters who are up and coming. It’s sort of the same stance Martin Luther King and Malcolm X made, so we could have freedoms, so everybody could tell the world that we’re equal. The only thing I’m saying is that we are equal. So if you’re not on nothing and I’m not on nothing, then let’s go take the test. That’s all I’m saying."
A translation: MLK and Malcolm X didn't juice up. We shouldn't either.
The quote: When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.
A translation: Passing inane facts off as cryptic metaphors is the only way I can think of to keep you meddling journalists off my back.
The quote: "I had pro offers from the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, who were pretty hard up for linemen in those days. If I had gone into professional football the name Jerry Ford might have been a household word today."
An explanation: President who?
The quote: “When you believe in what you believe in no matter what happens or what people believe, the ultimate is the ultimate.”
A translation: Santa Claus is real, and the end of the world is nigh.
The quote: "It's on Game 7, man. This is it. It's all the marbles. I'm sitting in the house, I'm loading up a pump, I'm loading up the Uzi. I got a couple of M-16s, couple knives. I got a couple joints with some silencers on them. Just loading up clips. Couple grenades. Got a missile launcher with a couple of, you know, missiles. I'm ready for war."
A translation: Basketball is a friendly competition that spurs good-natured rivalries among athletes with mutual respect for one another.
The quote: "Well as long as that Miss Squirrely keeps dating, uh, Craig's Mr. Torty I just think we should get 'em a suite because we don't want them to interrupt the game. The problem is that Craig hadn't been playing. I think the squirrel was looking around for Torty because Torty was looking around for Craig. I don't know, that's nonsense."
A translation: Animal pornography has no place in the family-friendly sport of baseball.
The Quote: "When she got in her accident?" (Said in response to this question from a Sports Illustrated interviewer: "When did you start talking to [your girlfriend] all night?") Note that Te'o's soon-to-be-proven-fictional girlfriend was supposedly in a fictional coma after her fictional accident.
A translation: Oops.
The quote: "So until you understand who LeBron James is, LeBron James is in a win-win situation, and will continue to be in a win-win situation."
A translation: Once people get to know me better, I start to lose.
The quote: "Peanut butter and jelly!" (Allegedly barked at a young clubhouse attendant as A-Rod was jogging off the field)
An interpretation: Son, our existence can be both savory and sweet. And although at times we may feel sandwiched between two crusted walls of baked earthen grains, we coexist elsewhere in jars of untapped potential. Carpe diem, young man.
(Am I reading too much into that?)
The quote: "I’m just too sexy for my cat. If I wasn’t as sexy for my cat, I probably wouldn’t have came back. I’m so sexy, I came back."
The quote: "If I take this camera and put it in your face for 20 years, I don't know what you might be. You might be a homosexual if I put that camera on you since you were 13 years old. I've been on that camera since I was 13 years old."
A translation: Time-lapse photography is popular among the gay community.
The quote: "B****, I brought your f***ing cat back from the f***ing dead, and you try to kill her by giving her regular water." (Hear it for yourself at 1:43 in the video.)
A translation: Zombie cats can only drink tonic.