Athletes work hard to build their reputations, their names. Throughout his career, Pacman Jones has done nothing but destroy his. As such, it's no surprise that, with a change of scenery, Pacman is trying to rebrand himself as a new man. That man is Adam Jones (Mr. Jones to you youngsters who, for your sake, better not be looking up to him).
Adam Jones is a talented man on the fast-track to success. To his teammates, he is a humble kid that hasn't let the hype get to him. Of course, this description doesn't fit Pacman (except when his people are trying to show he is a good guy, a victim of circumstances). But, it does fit Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who is in the unfortunate position of sharing names with a should-be felon (and having a really bad picture).
Considering the number of professional athletes, there's bound to be a few that have the same name. Some may be mistaken for a criminal. Others find it hard the escape the shadow of the name. But which athletes or sports figures are in the most undesirable positions?
Howard Webb (engineer) vs. Howard Webb (soccer referee who upset a nation)
I'm not an expert on soccer. This is what I gather of the situation. The referee called a late-game penalty against Poland. The penalty allowed Austria to tie the score at 1-1. The tie basically eliminated Poland from Euro 2008 contention. As you can imagine, the Polish people were angry. Both Webbs received death threats. Yeah, that wouldn't be good.
Ervin Johnson vs. Earvin "Magic" Johnson
I remember Ervin "Not Magic" Johnson as the Bucks backup center in NBA Live. I moved him to point guard, thinking he was the NBA great. I was disappointed (as was, I'm sure, Ervin when he was mistaken for Earvin).
Steven Jackson vs. Stephen Jackson
Steven Jackson, when healthy, is an elite NFL running back. Stephen Jackson -- between cold-cocks, gun fights, and general lawlessness -- is an exceptional offensive and defensive wing. It would be interesting to see what the average sports fan thinks when he hears the name Stephen Jackson: thug or fantasy football savior (when healthy)?
Just a quick side note: Stephen Jackson might not be that bad after all!
Evan Longoria vs. Notable Basketball Wife
Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria is one of baseball's bright young stars. Still, whenever I hear his name, I think of a certain housewife. I can't be the only one.
Jason "Jay" Williams vs. Jayson Williams vs. Jason Williams
In 2002, Jayson Williams, a former NBA player, was accused of killing his limo driver while he "played" with his shotgun. He then (allegedly) attempted to orchestrate a cover up. While these stories were in the headlines, Duke guard Jason Williams was working on making the jump from All-American to NBA superstar. He felt he needed to change his name to eliminate any connection to the other's crime. Jay Williams was born, never to be confused with Jayson or that White Chocolate guy (and I don't know which one is worse). How did that turn out?
Baseball Adam Jones vs. Adam Jones
When I google my name, I wouldn't want this stuff coming up.
Eddie Johnson vs. "Fast Eddie" Johnson
In August of 2006, "Fast Eddie" Johnson, a two-time NBA All-Star in the 1980s, was arrested for raping an 8-year-old girl. Of course, the Associated Press printed the picture of Good Eddie Johnson, the former NBA player turned Phoenix Suns commentator, with the article. Good Eddie said the mistake led to the worst day of his life. His friends, family, and colleagues thought he was a child rapist, and in my expert opinion, that would suck. Though the AP eventually fixed their mistake, Good Eddie believes the damage is irreparable.