The Sony Ericsson Open begins in Key Biscayne this Wednesday, and that means the tennis world's most notorious one-man circus is coming to town. Forget the athletes; we're following Richard Williams, dad of top-seeded sisters and Palm Beach Gardens residents Serena and Venus. You gotta love the sideline character and antidote to tennis snobbery, whose antics include telling a reporter: "The White Man hated me all my life, and I hate him," and, after a daughter's victory, hopping over an NBC broadcasting booth while yelling, "Straight out of Compton!" He makes '80s-era John McEnroe look as serene as the Queen of England.
And after the tournament, Richard will get hitched to Lakeisha Graham — a woman who, at age 30, is 37 years his junior and two years older than Venus. He's not the first Viagra-age dad to score a much younger woman with the help of his kids' fame, so today Riptide presents a few all-stars from the Pantheon of Cradle-Robbing Celebu-Dads:
Hulk Hogan: There's some gray area here, because unlike Richard Williams, Hulk is a self-made media moron — famous initially not for his kids' accomplishments but for decades-ago atomic leg drops. But the ex-pro wrestler makes the cut because this year he showed up at the Calle Ocho festival with his new platinum-blond 20-something girlfriend, Jennifer McDaniel, to watch daughter Brooke pole-dance onstage. Several churros were reportedly puked up.
Joe Jackson: If we're judging by how his kids turned out, Joe deserves the crown for World's Worst Father. Patriarch to the Jackson Five, Joe had a love child with a young band groupie named Cheryl Terrell, which would be the family's most disgusting scandal if it weren't for Michael's escapades at Neverland Ranch. Janet somehow trumped both Dad and Bro's depravity by marrying Jermaine Dupri.
Johann van Beethoven: He's the 18th-century version of Earl Woods, Tiger's dad: If little Ludwig hadn't redefined his instrument, Johann's domineering tactics — such as making the kid stand at his piano all night — would have been classified as simple abuse. But as it turns out, Johann's parenting did a great service to mankind, because now we have music to play in BMW commercials. Although Johann was a documented mooch — Ludwig had half of his salary paid directly to Dad — there is no record of his using his son's virtuosity to pick up young, frilly-bonneted babes. Riptide is confident this dearth of evidence is owed only to his era's tragic lack of TMZ and Twitter.