When Freddy Adu signed with MLS as a 14-year old kid, no one took more delight in needling him in print than Tony Kornheiser. The joy evidently continues to this day for Kornheiser, who on Wednesday wished Adu a happy 21st birthday on PTI like so:
"Happy 21st birthday Freddy Adu. Once upon a time, Freddy Adu was the great new hope of United States soccer, signed to a huge MLS contract at age 14. Now his career is in ruins. He's Freddy A-done. He wasn't good enough to make the United States World Cup team, and new American star Jozy Altidore is actually younger than Adu."
Funny, and Kornheiser always struck me as the very embodiment of compassion and good humor. Anyhow, Adu -- who's in Maryland during his offseason -- now has an easier outlet to respond than he did as a 14-year old, so he took to Twitter.
didnt watch pti but i heard tony was being his usual self. Lol im brushing my shoulders off right now. wink wink
Wink wink? Oh, right. Wink wink. Let's go back to 2003, one of the first of many times Kornheiser would mention Adu in print. The columnist was writing about how Patrick Ramsey was guaranteed to start an upcoming Skins game.
(Okay, if he doesn't start, I'll look like a dope, and you'll be able to cut this out and send it to me, and tell me to eat it. But if I thought Ramsey wouldn't play, why would I write this column? I'd write about Freddy Adu and how he's going to make us all fall in love with soccer -- and how I know he's only 14, wink-wink, but I was pretty sure he once voted for George McGovern. So stay with me. Please. I get paid by the word.)
So unless I'm crazy, Adu just served Tony by referencing a passage from a seven-year old column. Adu wasn't done:
I wonder if tony kornheiser has seen any of my games the last 6 months. hmmm!!!!!!
He wrote, although he apparently later deleted that entry. Not sure why, since it was a whole lot nicer than some of the stuff Tony once wrote about Adu. Like:
Enjoy Freddy Adu now, in case the next bone scan comes through and we find out that he drove in the 1989 Indianapolis 500. Do you think Freddy Adu will eventually marry a Spice Girl, like David Beckham did? That would be so cool. But the Spice Girls are almost 40 now. So which one would he marry, Old Spice? Bada-boom.
We have 14-year-old superstar Freddy Adu coming to our rescue. He's driving that 1991 Cadillac Eldorado he bought new, when he was, um, 2 years old.
By the way I fear for Freddy Adu's safety during the cicada invasion. Adu may be just young enough and small enough that he could be carried off. Then where would MLS be?
So, more wink-wink, please, young Mr. Adu. And happy birthday.
(By the way, Michael Wilbon didn't let Kornheiser's gloating go unnoticed.
"Is that the sound of gloating, Tony, over a good kid not making it as big as some thought?" Wilbon asked.
"I like the kid," Kornheiser replied. "He's really smart. But he's not playing well.")