Posted by: Jon Pyle | May 21, 2007

Holy Sidekick List, Batman!

Robin

For some reason, I’ve always been intrigued by the sidekick (hero) or “right hand man”-type (villain) characters more than their top-billed counterparts. I liked Robin way more than Batman, preferred Rick to Magnum PI and always thought the Sandman was more intriguing than Mike Tyson. I think the greatest acting gig would be as the muscle for the criminal mastermind in a Bond movie. Even in the realm of dating, I’d usually end up being less attracted to the “it girl” and more interested in her best friend (my wife is the exception, by the way). So today, let’s honor 6 notable sidekicks from the world of sports:

Scottie Pippen

Certainly one of the most successful sidekicks in history. The perfect compliment to Michael Jordan in the Bulls dynasty. Cemented sidekick status when he failed in his attempt to lead the Bulls after Jordan’s “retirement” to play baseball.

Lorenzo Neal

The current sidekick to LT in San Diego. He’s blocked for 1,000 yard rushers every year since his rookie year when he blocked for Red Grange. Essentially, the perfect fullback.

John Taylor

The debate about John Taylor (similar to many other sidekicks) is always this: did he just benefit from lining up across from Jerry Rice or was he a legitimate talent in his own right? I believe Taylor was beyond legit, a key member of the 49ers dynasty.

Mark Messier

Just answer one question: how many titles did Gretzky win without Messier?

David Robinson

While the Admiral was a good #1 in his own right, his best contributions were alongside Tim Duncan as a sidekick, which led to 2 titles. Despite his great athletic ability, he seemed to lack the killer instinct to be “the guy” and carry his team. So, his partnership with Duncan was a perfect fit and should be the archetype for the aging star athlete: lead your team to the best of your ability, pass the torch and mentor your replacement, accept a diminished role and retire after you win a title. C’mon, KG, doesn’t that sound good?

Andy Pettite

It’s pretty difficult to consider any starting pitcher a sidekick, but Pettite fits the bill. The “package deal” in Houston and NY means that he and Clemens will be forever linked. A very good pitcher in his own right but any time you’re partnered with Clemens, you’re playing second fiddle.

I’m sure I missed a few great candidates. Feel free to add to the list in the comments.

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Responses

  1. Great List. I was so happy when you put my boy Scottie first! I think the NBA in the late 80’s and early 90’s produced some great duos – Worthy/Magic (surprised you missed that LA homie), Dumars/Isiah, McHale/Bird, and Ehlo/Ainge (j/k). So I won’t go there but instead, go to a coach duo. To push the boundaries, I would give my vote for Norman Chow to Pete Carroll. How is that for objective voting? By the way, I am sure your girl appreciates knowing that she is not an “it” girl. Great way to put yourself on the couch. Santori time!

  2. Good eye, Felix.

  3. Glavine. He’s good, but not as good as the guys around him.

    Glavine: Hey guys, I’m about to get my 300th win!
    Maddux: Yawn. Been there, did that.
    Smoltz: Yeah. Loser.
    Glavine: Wait a minute Smoltzy, you don’t have 300 wins!
    Smoltz: Yeah, but where are your 100 saves?
    Maddux: Oh…burn!
    Smoltz: Screw you guys! I’m going to New York where I can finally be top dog!!
    Martinez: Hey, it’s me, Pedro Martinez…
    Glavine: AW FUCK!


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