A few days ago I had the pleasure of visiting Roma’s storied coliseum, the birthplace of mass spectator sporting as we know it and the home to so many gruesomely epic feats and gallons of bloodshed. While sport has cleaned up its act in recent years (thanks a lot, “human rights”), some athletes find other ways to gladiate in their sport of choice. So who were the Euroleague’s meanest, gutsiest, scariest and most ferocious performers of the season? And yeah, you’re damn right ‘gladiate’ is a verb.
1. Ratko Varda, Asseco Prokom – You know why Ratko could never defeat Russell Crowe in a death match? Because Crowe isn’t even worthy of Ratko’s blade. You know why Russell Crowe doesn’t know the color of Ratko’s eyes? Because he’s afraid to meet his gaze. You know how Joaquin Phoenix broke his knife? Because he snapped it on Ratko’s thick-skinned back. You know why the Coliseum is empty these days? Because Ratko gave the entire crowd a thumbs down. You know why Ratko Varda is the f***ing man? Because Ratko Varda f***ing said so. Come get your whoopin’, Crowe.
2. Romain Sato, Montepaschi Siena – Lyrics from the smash single, Freaknick’s Week 3 RAP-Up:
Please. Let me take this opportunity to retract my statements. Romain Sato is the muncher, not the munchee. He does the chewing, the swallowing, and the spitting out on top of that. If he feels like swimming, he’ll swim. Only then, and on his own accord. And Romain Sato does not miss boats; boats miss Romain Sato. Romain goes harder than you do. Always. Now you know.
3. Giorgios Printezis, Unicaja Malaga – Just watch the video. I’ll wait…OK. Scary stuff. And he rushed back from this injury for what? A chance to play with the league’s most dysfunctional team? Heart. Miles and miles of heart.
4. Omar Cook, Unicaja Malaga – This year’s Unicaja team was about as consistent as equatorial snowfall. Taquan Dean, Shammond Williams, Pooh Jeter, Juan Dixon and Zabian Dowdell all played the part or American guard #2 at some point during the season. But true gladiators come in every shape and size, and Omar happens to be a bulldog of a man with a big forehead and a bigger chip on his muscled shoulder. He goes harder than DJ Khaled and Kanye and skips all the loudmouthery. “He da best!”
5. Jared Homan, Maroussi – Some warriors have spent a lifetime mastering the nuances of their craft. Every plunge of their blade, precise; each toe tap or sidestep, calculated. Indigo Montoya, Jared Homan is not…
The Ho-Man prefers to just beat up the boards with shots aplenty whenever he gets that itchy trigger finger. Double team, triple team, outside of his range, o the bench, in the stands, Jared never saw a shot he didn’t want to make a massacre of. So keep your fancy sword and your cute footwork. Just give Jared a pile of rocks and piss him off. Because after all, if you swap the ‘NT’ in quantity for an ‘L’ you’re left with quality, and the Ho-Man will NoT Lose.