Agassi got both.
He talked about both of them as well, pointing out that he hoped his critics would understand that he turned to drugs at a nadir of his life in 1997. Agassi had lived most of that life in the spotlight, the prince of tennis, the game's heartthrob, the image of style and daring and beauty.
He had the world -- wealth, recognition and talent. Oh, did Andre Agassi have talent. He had worn the title of No. 1, which he fit him like an Ermenegildo Zegna sports coat. He could have modeled the garment himself and would have looked at home in it.
Wealth and fame doesn't come with a guarantee of happiness, and Agassi, 39, said he was unhappy playing a sport he never loved. It didn't matter to him that he was great at it -- better than almost anybody else of his era. What did matter was that he couldn't push himself to play it at a level he needed to play it, and he couldn't do that because he simply didn't love it. He never obsessed over his tennis the way his father, a domineering force in his life, wanted him to.
So Agassi, an eight-time Grand Slam winner, was left to find comfort in places where so many people go for it. He turned to illegal drugs.
His abuse of crystal meth didn't turn into tragedy, a sobering saga that we had seen before in the lives of men like Len Bias. Agassi would eventually settle into his fame and into his place in sports history.
I should have appreciated that history instead of condemning a man's public honesty. I should have thanked Agassi for showing the human side of a great athlete, a side that's becoming increasingly more difficult for journalists to see.
Image, as he once boasted in a TV ad, might be everything, but it isn't the only thing in an athlete's life. He has to live with all the good, the bad and the ugly
that comes from living in the public's eye -- or in that part of living he allows the public to see.
I can't rightly criticism him for that. I should salute him for reminding me -- and everyone else -- that even a golden boy doesn't necessarily live a perfect life. Agassi deserved the compassion from me that he asked from his peers in professional tennis.