The video of the meeting between famed competitive eating champion Takeru Kobayashi and Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah is as funny as you think it will be, with a stern looking Kobayashi posing for pictures with a closed fist as if he was promoting a heavyweight bout as Noah hung loose, and with Bull Brian Scalabrine acting all "Brian Scalabrine" in the background. Take a look:
It's this column on Kobi, which admittedly has nothing to do with the NBA outside of the fact that he met up with several Bulls following their loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, that is the real hoot. The quotes, from Philly.com's Pattison Ave.'s Ryan Petzar, are golden, not unlike the fried chicken wings Kobi will be attempting to down by the hundreds in Friday's Wing Bowl XX. I'm so sorry for that last line. I haven't had my 300 wings for breakfast, as Kobi enjoyed the other day, yet.
There's this warning, from five-time Wing Bowl champion Bill "El Wingador" Simmons, a name that couldn't be funnier even if it was the other Bill Simmons competing in a Mexican wrestling max in his spare time:
"This is a bone-in contest. I think he'll have problems with the bones. And jaw strength has been a factor for him in the past," El Wingador told me in a separate interview. Wingador's personal goal? To eclipse the 300-wing mark for the first time and set a new Wing Bowl record.
When prompted for a response, Kobayashi gave a very diplomatic answer. "I understand that [Wingador] has more experience in this contest. I'm sure his technique and his jaw strength is much better than mine. I know that," he admitted. So, if Wingador has the technique and the strength, how exactly does Kobayashi plan to win?
"I'm very good at swallowing food whole, so I'm going to use the technique I'm good at. I'm very good at saving the energy in my jaw. I envision myself winning by swallowing," he said.
Good thing, to try to shoot for the win in a competitive eating contest by swallowing. Better than petering out at 20 wings after a few minutes and then starting to chuck the leftovers at your competitors, which is what I'd do. And we'd like to thank "El Wingador" for bringing up the idea that "jaw strength has been a factor for [Kobayashi] in the past." Move over Rob Gronkowski, tell Luol Deng the news.
This will be Kobi's first Wing Bowl as a participant. He did show up to last year's spectacle to down a Philly Cheesesteak in a world record 24 seconds. Again, I'd take a different approach and eat the hoagie pretty slowly. Mainly because, well, have you ever had one of those things? They're delicious! I decided that life was fair and that I wanted to propose to my wife after eating one.
We won't enjoy Friday's Wing Bowl XX as much as we enjoyed Super Bowl XX, which saw the Chicago Bears down the New England Patriots by a 46-10 score. But we can suggest that Wing Bowl XX will be much, much more competitive.
(HT: Don Povia at the HHR Media Group.)