Max Kellerman is a Dipshit

Driving into work, there was always one parking space that I would put my old beat-up Dodge Neon. It was as far away from the building, due east from my location of work and somehow, although I was 2 hours away from New York City, I was able to get radio reception of ESPN in New York. Every day while working, I would take my packed lunch out to the car and listen to the last 10 minutes of the Max Kellerman Show. I liked his banter, I liked how aggressive and opinionated he was and I thoroughly enjoyed his impressive knowledge of boxing. Kellerman knew/knows more about the sweet science than potentially any other sports analyst on the planet. He is pointed and well-spoken. I always felt that Kellerman was the Gary Vaynerchuk of the sports world. Loud and well-spoken, fast to spit his opinion and to a point, polarizing. That’s what makes him such a unique individual and fun (at times) to listen to. This past week, however, he said one of the dumbest things I have heard him say. 


“It’s only a sport by a very broad definition,” Kellerman argued. “It only tests your fast twitches, right? Like, how fast can you go from Point A to Point B? How fast can you do that? Well, that’s an athletic ability but it’s only one specific kind. We don’t know his manual dexterity, we don’t know his ability to think on the fly etc, which is why track & field stars are usually failed football and basketball players. The best athletes — because that’s where the money is — go to basketball and football and the others fall down to track & field.”


Let’s actually analyze his argument. To be completely fair, he is speaking specifically to sprinters and whether or not they can be lumped into the discussion of who is the most “electric” athlete in history. What the definition of “electric” athlete is, is beyond me. I assume it has to do with movement, ability to dominate a sport and an ability to draw a massive crowd to watch their dominance and ultimately entertainment quality. 


It certainly is difficult to compare someone like Usain Bolt to an athlete like Barry Sanders or Emmitt Smith. To the untrained eye, Bolt seems to simply be running. To the untrained eye, Sanders and Smith could juke, they could shimmy, they could shed monstrous dudes trying to kill them and score sweet touchdowns. These are two different sports, one typically is seen as “flashier” or more “electric” than the other.

 

Where Kellerman is wrong is when he states that sprinting is just “one specific kind” of athletic ability. This would be similar to me claiming that good boxers only punch hard. Kellerman knows that boxers certainly need punching power but more importantly, they need head movement, they need coordination, they need...TECHNIQUE. This is the exact same as someone like Usain Bolt. Bolt was extremely tall for a sprinter but his speed was incredible because his technical movement was impressive, to say the least. His drive phase was slow in comparison to other athletes BUT relative to his size, his drive phase was solid. His torso stability was incredible and because of that, his levers (arms and legs) moved more effectively than anyone else in the history of the sport. Sure, Bolt was loaded with fast-twitch muscle fibers but he also needed….TECHNIQUE. Bolt also needed to know how many strides into a race that he would get out of each phase and into the next phase, essentially, Bolt had to know when to turn on his jet packs. Perhaps Kellerman needs to educate himself on the 6 Keys to Every Strength Program to understand how the body works!

Where Kellerman really shows his ignorance is around the argument that all track and field stars were basically rejected from basketball and football. There are plenty of former track stars that are in the NFL, that MIGHT have been able to be elite tracksters if they stayed in the sport. Take someone like Joe Thomas. Joe Thomas was an incredible shot putter and one of the best linemen in the history of the game. Had Thomas continued to the professional ranks of shot putting, he likely would have been an elite thrower. His coordination was solid, the technique was decent and he clearly was explosive. However, we could use Saquon Barkley as a great example. Saquon could be the next “generational” player in the NFL. Would Barkley have succeeded as a track star on the international level? Highly unlikely. His technique is decent but nowhere near as effective as world-class sprinters. He loses energy side to side and at times and his times on the track were BALLS SLOW (10.90 was the fastest I could find) in comparison to elite high school sprinters, let alone world-class sprinters. 


Now, let’s really dive into Kellerman’s failed argument. The part about track athletes being football and basketball rejects. He specifically mentions Usain Bolt, then forgets that Bolt is from Jamaica. A country that does not have American football and a place where most kids only ever play pickup basketball games. Let’s use Wayde Van Niekerk, the world record holder in the 400 meters. He has sprinted a full lap on the track in 43.03 seconds! Van Niekerk hails from South Africa, a place where Rugby is king and basketball and football are distant afterthoughts for most children. Van Niekerk was raised on the track and around rugby. 


Thinking that world-class sprinters are rejects from two sports that are predominantly American, is absurd and again, ignorant. I would have argued that Kellerman would have a much greater understanding of athletics. He is incredibly analytic of the fight game, he sees the technical aspect behind combat sports, he comprehends movement and coordination but apparently only within boxing and the mainstream American sports of football and basketball. Technique and movement control are key to running fast over short periods, technique is key to running fast over long periods, just as technique and movement control are key in Kellerman’s favorite sport, boxing. 


Many of you may be wondering why I haven’t argued for the more technical events within track and field, such as the decathlon, the discus throw, javelin throw, hammer throw, shot put, pole vault, high jump, triple jump, etc...the throws are my wheelhouse and I would love for Kellerman to see Sam Mattis move through a discus throw in person. Click here to read about Sam's National Champion! Sam is 260lbs and moves like a ballerina. Want speed, technique, and power? Train like Sam! The reason I avoided the more technical events is that Kellerman was referring specifically to Usain Bolt. 


Kellerman is a bright dude. He knows sporting movement but he clearly spoke out of his asshole regarding this topic. He lumped all of track and field as a sport into essentially one event, the 100-meter dash. He then continued to ignore the fact that sprinting certainly has technical components, it has serious mental components and carries a serious weight regarding physical prowess. Kellerman then forgot that track and field have athletes that compete from around the world with contestants from countries that barely play basketball and likely have never been exposed to American football.

Finally, let’s discuss the “electric” athlete. Usain Bolt packed stadiums throughout his career on every single continent except for Antarctica. People flocked to see him sprint, they wanted to see him dominate, they wanted to see his post-race flex off and they always wanted to hear his post-race interviews. Was he the most “electric” athlete of all time? I don’t know and I truly don’t care. That discussion is an absurd subjective argument reserved for the talking heads on TV. What about the money? I believe Puma and Usain Bolt could add that track and field treated him well financially, as one of the wealthiest athletes in the western hemisphere.

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