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All That and a Bag of Mail: Did Erik Spoelstra Outkick His Coverage?

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It’s Mailbag time, and our boy Bill Clinton continues to be my idol.

A few weeks ago I wrote that I was already looking forward to the books that will come out in the next forty years about Clinton’s exploits. Then he shows up in the Louisville locker room at the Big East basketball tournament and mugs with the basketball team. These pictures are outstanding, you have to look at them.

Can you imagine what trouble Clinton and Pitino could get into in Manhattan? Every woman between the ages of 18 and 80 is fair game.

Our beaver pelt trader of the week is Bill Clinton.

Now, on to All That and a Bag of Mail.

I’m writing the mailbag right now as I get ready to head over to the SEC basketball tournament. Today the bubble is set squarely on the SEC tourney with UT, Bama, Ole Miss, and Kentucky all playing. Here’s my take on what each team needs to do to make the tournament. 

If UT, Kentucky, Ole Miss, or Alabama lose today, they’re out of the tournament. Since UT and Alabama are playing, there’s no way all four teams can lose.

UT has to beat Alabama, if that happens the Vols are in.

Kentucky needs to beat Vandy and might need to win another game as well since Vandy doesn’t do much for the Wildcat resume. (Beating Arkansas would have probably gotten the Wildcats into the tournament). For instance, if Ole Miss beats Mizzou and then beats Kentucky, I think Ole Miss would get in over Kentucky. 

Ole Miss needs to beat Mizzou and win on Saturday as well. 

Alabama needs to beat Tennessee and then beat Florida, if that happens the Tide are in.  

FYI, I think MTSU should be in regardless, I really do. No team has ever been left out of the NCAA tourney with 28 wins and a top 30 RPI. I think they’re in.

Now, let’s all look at Bill Clinton mugging for the camera.

Ryan W. writes:

“So next week I am going to Las Vegas with a large group of friends and my girlfriend. While we are out there I am definitely going to need some “man time” to drink with the boys and look at some of the talent. What is the best/nicest way to ditch her so I can go hang out with the fellas? Yes, I am aware of how foolish taking a girlfriend on a trip like this is.”

Your first mistake is in being the only guy bringing a girlfriend to Vegas, but you’ve already acknowledged this as an error.

Here’s what you do: you book her for an all-day spa treatment at one of the nice Vegas hotels. Every woman loves a Vegas spa treatment. Get her the all day treatment and you’re then free to gamble and hang out with your guy friends all day while she’s at the spa. Everybody wins. The other primary option is to let her go shopping while you gamble with the guys during the day. Vegas shopping is extraordinary and if you give her a couple of hundred dollars and tell her to find something sexy to wear out at night, she’ll be happy with this.

If your girlfriend insists on spending every minute with you in Vegas, then you should break up with her. I already have my doubts about how clingy she is since she’s on a guy’s trip to Vegas. My guess is she threw a fit and you decided to bring her along to avoid further fights/moodiness. Life is too short to deal with this.  

Now, here’s the only deal with both of these activities, they only work during the day, so it’s not like you’ll be able to go out at night in Vegas when all the real fun is happening.

She’s going to want to go out at night with you — which is fair — so I think it’s virtually impossible for you to create guy time at night.

That’s your fault for mixing a Vegas guy’s trip with a girlfriend trip at the same time. (And for every girl reading this right now who thinks, “I’m so cool, the guys don’t act any different at all when I’m around. They’ll have just as much fun with me.” You are completely wrong even if you are the coolest girl in the history of the universe. The vibe is completely different once a girl is involved in a guy’s trip.)

Matt M. writes:

“I need a status update on the butt chugger. One of the better stories of all time. I have little kids and they watch a Disney channel show about trains called Chuggington. My wife gets mad at me when I call it Butt Chuggington. The little trains call each other chuggers. It’s too much.”

This is like the Tyson vs. Holyfield of preschool train fights.

The battle royale between Chuggington and Thomas the Tank Engine is brutal. My boys are Thomas fans, but Chuggington is all in trying to knock Thomas off the pedestal. I don’t understand why Disney was so cocky and started their own train instead of just buying Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends. Chuggington is like the Pepsi of trains, he may get 30% of the market, but he’ll never be Thomas’s Coke. So why not buy Thomas, the brand leader and turn him into a primary Disney character? Can you imagine how popular the Disney parks would be if they rebranded their trains with Thomas?

Anyway, based on my in-depth knowledge of the business of children’s trains, I think Disney really whiffed here.

As for the Butt Chugger, we actually reached out to him to see if he’d agree to be interviewed by Outkick. I even had Lori, our Bullpen editor, email him because she’s attractive and I thought that might work better than me trying.

We still failed.

The Butt Chugger definitely needs his own reality show. (I still watch the buttchugger press conference every month or so. It’s still just as funny.)

Here’s a question for you, would you hire the butt chugger at your place of business just so you could tell all your friends that you’d hired the butt chugger? Could butt chugging actually help him get a job when he graduates? I think it might.

Will G. writes:

“I realize that Eric Spoelstra is a millionaire basketball coach who lives in Miami. I realize that he is a handsome fella and has a pretty nice tan. I realize that he can name drop like crazy about his coworkers and their conversations at the water cooler in South Beach. And I realize that he will get to take whoever he wants as a date to LeBron’s wedding. I didn’t realize that he could land a girl like Nikki Sapp, and they would become such an official thing that USA Today would have articles about the two of them dating. Really it probably boils down to the handsome fella and millionaire attributes, but it got me thinking how often do coaches or any team employees outkick their coverage strictly because they are surrounded by stars on a regular basis?”

Spoelstra is dating a 24 year old former Miami Heat dancer, Nikki Reed, who now runs an art gallery in Miami. And by “runs an art gallery in Miami” I really mean, “sells paintings to rich old guys who are trying to sleep with her.”

This may be controversial, but I don’t think Spoelstra outkicked his coverage at all.

In fact, I’m not sure it’s possible for Spoelstra to outkick his coverage. He’s 42, a multi-millionaire NBA championship coach, good looking, with one of the most high profile sports jobs in the country, and he lives in Miami where he’s constantly in the proximity of one of the most famous athletes in the world. I mean, given these circumstances it would be unbelievably shocking for Spoelstra to have an unattractive girlfriend. In fact, you can make a strong argument that Nikki Reed outkicked her coverage here.

How so?

Let me ask you this, what percentage of hot 24 year old women in Miami would go out on a date with Spoelstra if asked? (What percentage of single women reading the mailbag today would go out with Spoelstra. All of you? I think so. Hell, half of the married women reading the mailbag right now would go out on a date with Spoelstra if asked.) 

95% of single girls in Miami would go out on a date with him, right?

Higher?

Yes, he’s dating a hot girlfriend 18 years younger than him, but she’s the one who outkicked her coverage here. Spoelstra could date a different smoking hot 24 year old every night he went out for an entire year and never run out of women. Have you walked around South Beach? This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Chris B. writes:

“This past Saturday night I was watching SNL with my wife and I came to the realization that I have a man crush on Justin Timberlake. I told my wife about this and she is now concerned. Should I be ashamed? I mean he has every attribute a man could ever want. He can sing, dance, act, has athletic abilities, and did I mention a smoking hot wife. Is there any celebrity that tops him? Please tell me my man crush is allowed.”

Justin Timberlake is the most talented entertainer of our generation.

You neglected to mention that he’s also funny as hell. If he wanted to host a talk show, don’t you think he could have the top-rated talk show in the country? For instance, what if he replaced David Letterman when Letterman retired, he’d kill, right?

Triple threat entertainers are rare, Timberlake can do it it all.

Your wife is in the wrong here, I’d be more concerned about you if you didn’t have a man crush on Justin Timberlake.

Let’s pause now to enjoy a Bama doublewide courtesy of @claygifford24 on Twitter:

Zack L. writes:

“I live in the newly annexed area of SEC-country….Houston, Texas. A couple of weeks ago, the NBA All-star game was played here. The event allowed me to test my thesis on NBA players and rappers, which is that NBA players have the dream of being a rapper, and that rappers have a dream of being NBA players. Take LeBron, for instance. If he could do any other profession in the world, he would want to be Jay-Z. And take Jay-Z, his dream would be to be LeBron James. This was on full display when the All-star game warm-up shoot arounds featured half NBA players and half rappers. Is my thesis with merit? And what other sports could you characterize this way. Is there another two celebrity professions where a majority of the employees would all want to switch spots?”

This is a great question and a strong thesis.

There’s no doubt that rappers and NBA players envy each others lifestyles and talents and would like to switch places with one another. Your Jay-Z — LeBron analogy is spot on.

But is there any other profession like this?

My immediate thought is there are a ton of actors who would like to be pro athletes. For instance, would George Clooney give up his acting career to be Steve Nash or Kobe Bryant? I think so. But would the athletes give up their careers to be actors? Certainly, guys like Shaq and Dwight Howard might be willing to do so, but I think that’s the rarity. Most athletes would rather not be actors. 

Here’s an idea, what about golfers and Presidents?

Do you think Barack Obama would switch places with Tiger Woods? And do you think Tiger Woods would switch places with Obama? What about Bill Clinton switching with Phil Mickelson and vice versa? Most politicians love to golf and they’re awful at it. Wouldn’t they love to be the best in the world at golf? Would Tiger and Phil like to be President? I think they would. This might be the only other potential switch.

Aaron writes:

“I was talking with my girlfriend last night about adoption and we both agreed that it was something we were interested in. She then proceeded to say she would want to pick out the cutest baby in the decision process. I told her I would run the kids through tests to find the child that had the most potential to be a pro athlete in the future. I was immediately in the doghouse for the night but it got to me to thinking, how bad would it be to adopt a child with the hopes of grooming them to be a pro athlete? Adoption is a very expensive process, and as a business man, I’m thinking ahead for the future. Thoughts?”

I don’t understand why your girlfriend could get mad at you for wanting the best athlete when she’s picking a baby to adopt based on what he or she looks like.  

Aren’t both of these similar in that you’re picking a kid based on something he or she can’t control?

In fact, I think your plan is much more defensible. Why? Because you’re finding a kid with a talent and allowing that talent to flourish based on the best upbringing you can give him, in the process unlocking a talent that might otherwise go undeveloped. (Doing it so that one day you can be wealthy too, does undercut your moral standing, however). Being a cute baby really isn’t a talent. In fact, lots of cute babies end up ugly adults. At least your kid’s talent is likely to continue for some years to come. The best kid athete might not turn into the best adult athlete, but he’s probably going to be better than most.

After all, the most troubling aspect of “The Blind Side,” wasn’t that a family took in Michael Oher, who just so happened to be an unbelievable athlete that went to their favorite SEC school, and helped him to become a pro football player worth millions of dollars. It’s that absent that family’s actions Oher might well have vanished into the Memphis underworld and never made more than $20,000 a year for the rest of his life. Oher had an unbelievable, unique talent that few in the world could match, and he could have easily never developed that talent.  

How many people are like this, incredibly skilled in a particular field but unable to unlock that talent because of the circumstances that they’re born into?

I think it’s incredibly common because the American playing field is completely uneven. Kids with all the advantages aren’t necessarily more talented than the underclass, but their talents are much more likely to be recognized and developed. And it’s not just athletics, far from it. How many people could be the next William Faulkner or Warren Buffett or Meryl Streep if they had the proper upbringing, the exposure to all walks of life, the chance to develop their talents?

A ton. 

You asked a kind of funny question, but your girlfriend should apologize to you; we need more people recognizing the talents of kids without supportive homes and developing them in all walks of life, not less. Just think of the undeveloped and amazing talent that exists in our country right now. We need to unlock as much of it as we can.   

Chris M. writes:

“I was riding back to Ole Miss this weekend from Nashville with my roommate. We got to talking about how badass it would be if there were a train system connecting all of the SEC schools that ran from lets say Thursday-Monday. A high majority of my friends do not have class on Friday and I’m sure it’s that way at a lot of other SEC schools. There also has to be train tracks running to most SEC campus’s from the times when that was a major transportation method which rules out the cost of laying down new tracks. We also decided that each school would probably be willing to build its own train station somewhere on its campus to draw more people to its campus/town and also add to the “going green” initiative thats going on everywhere in the US. My question is to you could this ever be possible? How much investment do you think would have to go into this? How long would it take to make the investors money back? and how much do you think each ticket would cost?”

I love when I get asked questions like this. You’re asking me to predict how much it would cost to have SEC trains, what tickets would cost, and how popular this would be.

I have no idea. My inclination is that trains are really expensive. And if Amtrak can’t make money constantly running full trains up and down the east coast — at exorbitant prices, mind you — then how could a weekend train make real money? I think you’d have to be running the train all the time.

Plus, lots of these train rides would take too long. For instance, who is getting on a train in Columbia, Missouri and riding it all the way to Gainesville, Florida or Columbia, South Carolina? That’s like a flight to Australia. This would rapidly turn into a trip from hell, the equivalent of hopping on a Greyhound bus and never being able to exit. 

The train would make a lot of sense on shorter trips, Vandy to Ole Miss or UT to Georgia for instance, but those trips aren’t that difficult to begin with. The green initiative makes sense, but I think most fans would rather have their own cars. 

Better question for you, why isn’t there a plane company that flies into small SEC airports on gameday mornings and comes back later that evening?

I think this would be wildly popular. 

How awesome would it be to hop on a flight directly into an SEC town in the morning and then come back that evening on the same plane? Rich people do this all the time on their own private planes, but why hasn’t this trickled down to the upper middle class? In major cities — and the college towns themselves — don’t you think you could fill up a plane for a road game in a heartbeat? Hell, I could fill up a plane by Tweeting it out. Why isn’t there SEC Airlines, that just focuses on getting fans to and from the games on gameday?

They could have buses waiting to take you to and from a special tailgate, you go to the game, and an hour after the game you’re back on the bus headed to the local airfield to take off for home. Every flight would be really short and you’d wake up on Sunday morning in your own bed.

Seriously, Outkick could sell these planes out in a heartbeat. 

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.