Ryan Leaf. JaMarcus Russell. Darko Milicic. Adam Morrison. Waterworld. Paris Hilton's music career. Deion Sanders' Hall of Fame bust.
What do the above things have in common? Well, they are all busts of course. But only with Sanders' bust is the the term used both literally and figuratively.
Now then, let's switch to plain English so we can properly discuss what the heck we're talking about here.
If you happened to miss this past weekend's Pro Football Hall of Fame inductions, then you might have no clue what I'm talking about when I say "Deion Sanders' bust." To solve that particular mystery, you need only to direct your eyes to the adjacent image.
On the right is Prime Time himself, Deion Sanders. Arguably the greatest cornerback in NFL history, Sanders made eight Pro Bowls, won two Super Bowls and was named the Defensive Player of the Year during his NFL career. He also notched 53 career interceptions and scored a grand total of 22 touchdowns, in five different ways no less. There were few things he couldn't do on a football field (or any field for that matter), and he definitely belongs in Canton.
The thing on the left is supposed to be his likeness. But it's not. It's someone else. Most will tell you that it actually looks a lot like former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman, an ex-teammate of Deion's. But personally, I think it looks like somebody cross-bred Sanders and Rodney Dangerfield and then told the resulting spawn to smile for the cameras.
I won't be offended if you don't see it. Either way, the point is that you don't see Deion when you look at that bust. And that, I think, is what’s truly offensive here.
There is a question that is begging to be asked here, and this is the best way I can phrase it: How in the name of all the benevolent football gods did they mess that up? Of all the visages that could have been defiled, why Deion's?
Alas, I do not have an answer for you. All I can say is that it's a damn good question.
Heck, let's consider the man we're talking about, for crying out loud. It would be understandable if the artist behind this bust mistook Deion for Aikman or some movie star creature if he had spent the entirety of his career well under the radar. But let's not kid ourselves. Deion did nothing under the radar. He made a spectacle of everything, and he was a spectacle in his own right. He still is.
And we’re not talking about just football either. No sir, Deion's essential awesomeness transcended the mere gridiron. We're talking about a man who was a pretty successful baseball player, one of the most marketable athletes in recent memory, an unparalleled TV camera magnet and regrettably, a rapper as well. Many people grew sick of Deion's antics over time, but you always had to admire his enthusiasm.
If you were to just take a look at Deion's bust, you would know none of this. Sure, there's going to be a nice textual guide that would fill you in on Deion's life and career if need be, but the "Prime Time" aspect of his legacy would not be properly spelled out. Some things can only be captured visually, and that's one of them.
This is why Deion's bust is such a bust. It takes a man that is one of the best football players and one of the best entertainers the sports world has ever known, and it rearranges him into a man that looks decidedly ordinary. Maybe even a little less than ordinary.
Long story short, it just doesn't do Deion justice.
Maybe that's why he put the 'do rag on it. Thank goodness for that.
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