Greg Cote: Who wins at 'Chutes and Ladders,' LeBron James or Chad Johnson?

I feel like we have just witnessed a real-life game of “Chutes and Ladders” played by two of Miami’s biggest sports stars.

“Chutes and Ladders,” of course, is the classic “up and down” board game many of us played as kids. Hasbro’s description calls it a game of rewards and consequences. Players’ good deeds allow them to climb ladders, but players are sent down chutes as punishment for misbehaving.

Our contestants: LeBron James and Chad Johnson.


The Heat star wins an Olympic gold medal to pair quite nicely with his NBA championship and season and Finals MVP awards. Syracuse (and Olympic assistant) coach Jim Boeheim said James might be better than Michael Jordan. And LeBron’s teammate Dwyane Wade says, “I think we will see a better LeBron now, scary to say. The monkey is off his back. He doesn’t have to worry about what he hasn’t done.”


As LeBron was being gilded in gold, the Dolphins’ former Ochocinco was being arrested for allegedly head-butting his newlywed wife in a domestic incident. In an ensuing flurry the Dolphins cut him (his firing, supposedly in private, splayed across Hard Knocks), his planned reality-TV show was canceled, a sponsor dropped him and his wife filed for divorced. And how was your week!?

Chutes and Ladders.

One star climbing. High.

Another star falling. Hard.

• Heat star Wade’s annual four-day fantasy basketball camp for men 35 and older ends Sunday at Loews Miami Beach. For a mere $12,500, you, too, could have heard Dwyane pretend he is amazed by your mad court skills.

• Upscale leather-goods company Ghurka is a coming out with a new men’s handbag inspired by James. It will be big enough to carry an NBA trophy, a gold medal and the adulation of millions.

• Answer:

Kobe Bryant’s

wife told New York magazine, “I certainly would not want to be married to somebody that can’t win championships.” Question: Why do people seem to not like

Vanessa Bryant


• The Patriots signed Olympic silver-medal sprinter and former Gators star

Jeff Demps


Bill Belichick


Tom Brady

getting better is like

Donald Trump

winning a lottery.

• Super Bowl champion Giants coach

Tom Coughlin

has a new book out called,

Earn the Right to Win: How Success in Any Field Starts With Superior Preparation.

Because all the even duller book titles already were taken.

• NFL announced

Mariah Carey

will perform before the Cowboys-Giants kickoff weekend game. Which would have been exciting news if this was, like, 1992.

• The NFL’s lockout of game officials continues in a labor dispute. I feel bad for

Ed “Guns” Hochuli

, but only because he’s the only official whose name I can think of.

• Seattle signed

Terrell Owens

. Seahawks coaches had been concerned the team lacked distractions.

• Isn’t it about time for

Rex Ryan’s

annual laughable, ill-fated Jets Super Bowl guarantee?

• The NFL will now require any fan ejected from its games to complete a four-hour online course designed by a psychotherapist to re-enter a stadium. That, or just get a buddy to buy the ticket in his name.

• An upcoming biography of

Joe Paterno

indicates Paterno was confused by much of the grand jury report on

Jerry Sandusky

, at one point asking his son what “sodomy” meant. Apparently, ignorance is not bliss in all cases.

• Southern Cal’s

Lane Kiffin

told reporters he would not vote his team No. 1 in the preseason coaches poll but then did. It is believed to be the first time a coach has ever been caught in a lie (!).

• The Honduran national team beat Boca Juniors 2-0 in a friendly soccer match at Dolphins stadium. Probably would have been a better game had Boca brought some of its Seniors.

• The U.S. men’s soccer team won 1-0 in Mexico, its first victory there in 25 tries. Clearly,

Hope Solo

must have been in goal.


Rory McIlroy

won the PGA Championship, aided by

Tiger Woods’

weekend collapse. I’d say that fans rooting for

Jack Nicklaus

to keep his majors record are high-fiving and fist-bumping, except most of those fans are really old and don’t high-five or fist-bump.

• And another LPGA event was won by a South Korean woman. Or, did that go without saying?

• As NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup nears, things are looking up for a contending

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

No, seriously.

• The season-threatening labor impasse continues between the NHL and its players. Great. The Panthers finally are coming off their first playoff season since the Ice Age and somebody steals the puck.

• Answer: Silver, 10-foot statues of

David Beckham

wearing only underwear are coming to the United States in an ad campaign. Question: Why am I sad?

• Seattle’s

Felix Hernandez

pitched the season’s third perfect game and sixth no-hitter. Misery loves company. At least the Marlins aren’t the only team shrinking in the batter’s box.

• The baseball Giants’

Melky Cabrera

, an NL MVP candidate, was suspended 50 games for a failed drug test. Not sure which is more galling: That players still cheat. Or that they’re dumb enough to think they’ll get away with it.


Parting thought: Rafael Nadal

withdrew from the upcoming U.S. Open with a bad knee. Is it me, or was this guy doing much better back when he was rocking the sleeveless shirts and Capri pants?

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