Another obstacle for Agassi

A report has surfaced that Andre Agassi will admit in his upcoming autobiography to using crystal meth in 1997 and to lying to the ATP to avoid suspension.

Though Agassi had many ups and downs on the court, his popularity was always supreme. Just imagine if this bombshell had been released 12 years ago, when he allegedly tested positive.

So why is he coming clean…I mean…telling the truth now? You can bet he’ll say it’s for cathartic reasons, that he wants to rid himself of this burden he’s been holding inside.

The cynics will say he’s looking for another mega-payday. But here’s the thing with Agassi, no athlete has been more generous with his money. This book will make millions and that means millions will go to underprivileged kids.

What made Agassi’s career so fascinating was that he literally grew up before America’s eyes. He burst onto the scene as an arrogant, disrespectful teenager and transformed into an iconic figure and family man who seemed remarkably in touch and at ease with his place in sports and culture.

His game was never as big as Sampras’ yet his fame blew Sampras’ away. Few athletes of such status are so universally respected. While Agassi will undoubtedly lose some fans with this admission, my guess is that most will still support him. He’s never claimed to be any moral authority.

And even more importantly, a huge part of what made Agassi so endearing was that, despite his enormous fame, he never seemed like he took it for granted and therefore was always able to rebound from controversy.

It took him forever to win a major, and then he finally broke through and won eight grand slams. His first marriage with Brooke Shields failed, and then he found Steffi Graf and became a doting father.

Perhaps most brilliantly, he managed to frequently play the underdog role even though he had more talent than his opponent. It was masterful.

This is just the latest challenge for him to conquer. And when it comes to handling the public, no one is better.

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