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Utah Jazz: D-Will, Floyd Landis go head-to-head

Published: Saturday, Aug. 8 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams talks with Jazz owner Greg Miller prior to competing against cyclist Floyd Landis at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele Friday. The two athletes engaged in some friendly rivalry to promote the Tour of Utah.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

TOOELE — Floyd Landis seems comfortable in a Utah Jazz uniform, and Deron Williams doesn't seem to mind Spandex bike-racing garb.

But when it comes to comparing the two athletes' athletic abilities, it's almost like comparing apples to oranges — or bikes to basketballs, in this case.

Williams and Landis got together Friday at the Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele to try their hands at each other's sports while promoting the 2009 Tour of Utah.

To get the competition going, both men mounted bicycles for a 2.2-mile trip around the racetrack with one small handicap: the NBA superstar got a one-minute head start over the world-class bicyclist.

Williams looked to be in fine form, as he put plenty of distance between the two — that is, until Landis took off from the starting line.

Trying to make up for the handicap, Landis coolly pumped his legs around the track in pursuit of the Utah Jazz's starting point guard, while Williams seemed to lose more and more steam with every turn of his pedals.

With the urging of a PA announcer around the final turn, Williams stood on his pedals on the straightaway sprint to the finish line — narrowly edging Landis by less than 10 yards.

"I told him don't start too fast," Landis said after the race. "I thought maybe I was going to catch him."

"I came out of the last turn," Williams said. "And I saw him about 100 yards back and I tried to stand up."

After crossing the finish line, though, a worn-out Williams laid his bike down on the pavement and collapsed beside it, staring skyward with a smile on his face.

"You never had to lie down before afterward?" Williams asked Landis. "You never had a cramp before? My legs are Jell-O. I'm about to fall over and my legs are about to give out."

"That was quite a sprint you had there at the end," Landis answered.

Round One of the evening's competition may have been over, with Landis clearly the superior biker, but Landis had yet to step onto the basketball court with Williams.

"My shooting is not going to be pretty," Landis said. "Even Shaq, I don't think I could beat."

Williams gave Landis some pointers on properly wearing the Utah Jazz tank top and shorts, then the two made their way to a basketball court for Round Two of the competition.

After securing a ball from a random onlooker, Williams missed his first warm-up attempt, while Landis drained a 17-footer cleanly. That might have been a good time for Landis to call it a night.

"Sort of went downhill from there," Landis admitted afterward.

The two tried free-throw shooting and Williams made 5-of-10 — shooting three attempts left-handed. Landis finished 2-for-10 with two freebies to start and a handful of extra shots at the end. He did draw iron on his final miss, though, perhaps his best shot of the night.

Then, while Landis shot 3-pointers, Williams nearly hit a couple of shots from midcourt. Both came up empty, but Landis again had two freebies.

To cap the evening, Williams proposed a layup contest, and that's where the competition ended. Landis made a couple of free throws with Williams tossing down a couple of easy dunks.

"See how many times you can jump up and touch the net in five seconds," Williams finally suggested to Landis.

The next thing the crowd and Landis knew, Williams flew over him for an authoritative dunk, from the likes of which posters are made.

"We've got to get that one on YouTube or Twitter," Williams said.

e-mail: jdavis@desnews.com

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