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Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley Blamed for Tiger's Excesses

Mar 31, 2010 – 10:11 AM
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Tom Ziller

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Did you know Earl Monroe sparked the Crimean War, and that fluctuations in the price of crude oil are directly proportional to the number of times Dwight Howard pump-fakes? It's true! Also, former NBA stars Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley taught Tiger Woods how to have sex with lots of women.

I have no citations for those first two excuses, but John Merchant, longtime adviser of the disgraced golfer, will back me up on the latter. The next issue of Vanity Fair has a tell-all interview with Merchant; David K. Li of the New York Post reports that in the interview, Merchant claims to have warned Woods not to hang with MJ, a notorious party-boy. Woods apparently didn't listen, and then apparently had no choice but to bed numerous ladies.

It's all quite silly, and Merchant hasn't even been involved with Woods since 1996, quite early in Tiger's golf career. Perhaps the best M.J. anecdote from Li's synopsis of the VF spread doesn't even come from Merchant: it comes from one of Tiger's matchmakers, who sent a girl to meet Woods at a casino. One problem: Jordan nearly intercepted the lady, whom he decided he wanted for himself. The girl managed to escape M.J.'s charms and make it to Tiger's arms, but it's a funny situation to think about: Tiger essentially hires a prostitute, but his more famous and just-as-rich friend wants her for himself. It's like a bad episode of Entourage.

If nothing else, this whole hubbub serves to highlight the real reason Woods has been so destroyed by this disintegration of the Tiger facade. Jordan and Barkley, after all, are no more puritanical than Woods. But Jordan has never presented himself in an image of true wholesomeness (he's even kind-of a jerk in Space Jam), and Barkley has basically embraced his vices, becoming a caricature of the persona that Woods so desperately hid. The great difference between Tiger and his NBA avatars is that Tiger tried to cover it all up, proving again that honesty is the best policy.
Filed under: Sports