RAHEEL RAMZANALI

Hypothetical: What animal your favorite athlete fought as a child

Can you beat this guy? J.J. Watt can. Hypothetically. Getty Images

One of the most underrated things from the UFC 229 brawl and fight was Khabib Nurmagomedov’s childhood video of him wrestling a bear. Soon as that hit Twitter, it explained so much about Khabib as a fighter, man, and competitor. In fact, I think I saw more, “Wow, this makes so much sense now.” tweets than, “I’ll never watch the UFC again after this brawl! I’m so offended.” tweets.

So keeping in the spirit of that conversation, here are five hypotheticals of what animal some of our favorite Houston athletes fought as a kid:

  1. James Harden vs a Lion: OK, I’m going to start this whole thing off with a lazy joke, ready? “Have you ever seen a lion play defense?” Think about it, lions are the craziest hunters when they’re in attack mode, but do they ever play defense? NOPE! And neither does James. OK, I’m sorry. Look, James has improved on his defense and I constantly argue with people that he’s a really good post defender, but this joke and stigma will never get old for a lazy blurb on my SportsMap article. In fact, the last time a lion had to play some defense was when Mufasa had to fight his brother Scar and because he didn’t know how to, he ended up dying. Now, the true comparisons of James being a killer on the court when he wants to is real and that’s why him fighting a lion as a child makes sense. Also, is there anything more fashion forward in the animal kingdom than a lion’s mane? There isn’t! James picked up his killer offensive instinct, fashion forward style, and blase attitude from this childhood fight with a lion. Seriously, lions literally nap the entire day. Here’s a little behind the scenes, after I wrote this blurb I ran it by my editors Jordan Smith and Del Olaleye (we’ll hear from him again in this post) and they said James vs a Bull makes more sense. Here’s why: the obvious ole jokes, the bull’s nose ring is even more fashion forward than a lion’s mane, and Harden can be a bull in a china shop at times when he’s driving to the hoop and flailing his arms everywhere.  

  2. Justin Verlander vs a Golden Retriever: OK, this wasn’t a fight as much as a stern talking to because Justin Verlander is such a sweet person and dad that he was more disappointed in the dog. Verlander just expected more out of the dog and that moment as a child instilled a dedication of always giving his best and exceeding expectations as a professional. This was the most boring of the fights, but probably makes the most sense.

  3. Alex Bregman vs a Chupacabra: Some people (aka the fake news media) believe Bregman learned spanish so he could help his teammates adjust to the clubhouse and become friends with all of his teammates, but as one conservative radio personality, Del Olaleye, put it, Bregman really learned Spanish so he could tame the legendary Chupacabra. Bregman’s attitude of never backing down was instilled from a young age because his entire life was dedicated to fighting a mythical creature so powerful that Animal Planet has dedicated 18 episodes of Lost Tapes on it. How did this fight start? Because of an intense staring contest. I’ll see myself out.

  4. Deshaun Watson vs a Goat: There an old saying in sports that goes something like this, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man - WOOOO!!” and that is exactly what Watson did as a child. To be the goat, you have to beat a goat. Deshaun is still the greatest QB ever and is going to lead the Texans to new heights under Bill O’Brien - like maybe win more than 9 games - so it’s only right that beat an actual goat so he could be called THE GOAT.

  5. JJ Watt vs a Badger: Look, few things in life are more relentless than a badger. They never stop coming at you and will always grind it out. This explains why JJ Watt is so relentless. When he was a young lad, his fight with a badger put him on a path of greatness where he would never stop working hard and chasing greatness. Even though JJ lost that fight, he really won it because it gave him a goal to become the new badger.

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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