Athletes in Need of a Hot Tub Time Machine

Barry Rothbard

Phil Mickelson vs. Tiger Woods is officially the best sports rivalry, perhaps of all time. And Hot Tub Time Machine is officially the best comedy of this year, and perhaps, dare I say, of all time? While that may be a bit of a stretch, this film is a must-see. It makes fun of the 80s, Enrique Iglesias and Ashton Kutcher. It’s one of those movies where 50+ year-old people were laughing out loud in the theater. It’s one of those movies that holds absolutely nothing back. And it’s one of those movies that makes you say “Bro, imagine if I could travel in time – in a hot tub…” After deep thought and reflection, I came to the realization that this time travel device would be best suited for the world of sports. While I would use this device to improve my GPA, change my freshmen year roommates (holler), and turn the Jug into a nightclub fit for Ibiza, the device would be of more use to all of the athletes that started toking reefer or tore an ACL before their promising careers ever took off. If only they could have uttered the soon-to-be-famous words: “It must be some kinda…hot tub time machine…”

The following list of athletes wishes they could go back in time to either relive their glory days or change his future:

Ed O’Bannon: Flash back to 1995, when O’Bannon led UCLA to their last national championship behind 17 rebounds. The Nets then made O’Bannon the ninth pick in that draft. Within three years, O’Bannon was out of the NBA. Now, O’Bannon is a car salesman in Nevada, and has been quoted saying, “If you don’t sell, you don’t eat.” O’Bannon has made the news recently, as he has been at the forefront of the movement asking the NCAA for money because of their use of former players for commercial use. O’Bannon could go back in time, relive his glory days and then invent the Prius and make bank.

Shane Spencer: Remember when Spencer hit 10 home runs and three grand slams in 67 at-bats in September 1998 for the New York Yankees, with whom he would win three World Series rings? Spencer, coined the real-life “Roy Hobbs” after The Natural, never really did much else on the field. He was however, along with Karim Garcia, accused of assaulting a pizza-delivery boy in 2004. He also picked up a DUI while on a rehab assignment in Florida, nearly hitting triple-digits on the speedometer. Now? Spencer is the hitting coach for the Padres’ single-A team. Spencer wouldn’t mind taking off all his clothes and entering the HTTM to relive his glory days. Or he could just invent Four Loco (malt liquor mixed with an energy drink).

Ryan Leaf: Leaf was the second-overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, right behind Peyton Manning. Most recently, he made the news for burglary and substance abuse charges. A year before that, he was fired as West Texas A&M’s quarterbacks coach after asking a player for a painkiller. Leaf should go back in time, check into rehab, and get a really good psychologist. Or just invent the Snuggie.

Harold Miner: This is going way back to the early 90s. Miner, out of USC, was the twelfth pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, taken by the Miami Heat. By 1996, he was out of the NBA. Miner was, however, for these three seasons on South Beach, one of the most exciting players in the NBA, earning the tag “Baby Jordan” because of his penchant for the high flying dunk – he was Next, supposedly. Now, Miner is a real estate investor near Las Vegas and does not show his face in public.

Peter Warrick: Warrick is the best college wide receiver I have ever seen. You thought Ricky Bobby invented the Shake ‘N’ Bake? Please. That was all Peter. He was a walking juke machine–watching Warrick was like watching Barry Sanders. Now? Warrick is a wide receiver for the Bloomington Extreme in the Indoor Football League. While Warrick, the fourth pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, had a few decent seasons, he never lived up to his legendary collegiate career. Warrick, reportedly considering a comeback attempt to the NFL, could use the warmth provided by the HTTM, and invest his signing bonus heavily in Lougle. I mean Google.

Jason “Jay” Williams: Williams was the second overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Now? Well, who would have thought that the Jason Williams with the longer playing career would be the one whose nickname is “White Chocolate”? After watching Duke’s Jason Williams put up a career-high 38 points and single-handedly take down Kentucky at the Meadowlands in 2001, I realized I had just witnessed something spectacular. Easily one of the best performances I’ve ever witnessed in person. Williams was and is one of the greatest college point guards of all time. He is now a mediocre college basketball analyst for ESPN and a motivational speaker. I’m sure the Bulls and Williams wish they had a HTTM for him to hop into, flash back to June 19, 2003, and burn his motorcycle. Or Jay could just bet heavily on George Mason in the 2006 NCAA Tournament.

Lawrence Phillips: One of the best college running backs of our generation, the former Nebraska Cornhusker was the sixth pick in the 1996 NFL Draft, going to the St. Louis Rams. He last played in 2003 for the Calgary Stampeders. Since then, Phillips’ career reads like a rap sheet. He is currently serving a 31-year jail sentence for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and driving his car into three teenagers. He was also charged with seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon in 2006. Yeah, I think LP could use a nice dip in the HTTM and use his former celebrity status and expertise with weaponry to join Young Money and ride the wave that is Lil’ Wayne.

Yes, most athletes could certainly benefit from the HTTM. But these former rising stars of the 90s and early part of this century need the HTTM. I would have let them be my heroes.

Contact Barry Rothbard at [email protected].