Athletes can be frustrating. Whether they’re sounding off in press conferences, sulking during the game, or pulling a Robin Ventura by refusing to sign autographs, we fans often lose patience with today’s stars.
That’s why everyone loves sports movies and TV shows. The protagonists are relatable, we sympathize with them even if their conduct would get them fined in the real world and we always hope they will come out on top. For those of you who are tired of listening to real athletes gripe about insert banal complaint here, take a look at our 10 favourite fictional sports heroes we wish were real.
Honourable Mention: Jesus Shuttlesworth, He Got Game (1988): I know, I know. Ray Allen is a real athlete playing a fake one. But this was still infinitely better than any movie Shaq has ever done, ever. Plus, he’s got to have game to beat Denzel.
10) Crash Davis, Bull Durham (1988): This grizzled, smooth-talking baseball player held the minor league record for most home runs. But it wasn’t about that. He played For Love of the Game. Wait, no, that’s a different Kevin Costner movie. Anyway, once he built it, people did come. No, that’s Field of Dreams. You could fit all of Costner’s sports movies in a tin cup and bodyguard it with dancing wolves. Waterworld!
9) Vince LaSalle, Recess (1997-2001): Everyone knew a ‘Vince’ during elementary school. This Recess character was exceptional at every sport he tried, notably kickball, while still having time to partake in shenanigans with T.J. and the rest of the gang.
8) Will Ferrell as Rojo Johnson: Not only does he figure skate, play basketball, and shake-and-bake on the track, but Will Ferrell also appeared in a real-life minor league baseball game as the fictional beer-chugging, heat-throwing relief pitcher Rojo Johnson. This effectively transcended the boundaries of fictional athletics.
7) Gordon Bombay and the Mighty Ducks, The Mighty Ducks (1992): Proof that a group of ragtag misfits could learn to love the game of hockey and excel with Charlie Sheen’s brother as their coach—winning!
6) Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, Major League (1989): Emilio Estevez’s favourite sibling was perfectly cast to play the eccentric, uncontrollable Indians pitcher. “Wild Thing” is the greatest athlete, real or fictional, to ever emerge from the city of Cleveland.
5) Air Bud, Air Bud (1997): He’s a golden retriever who can play sports! I wonder what’s more likely: canines playing pro sports or a new arena at Dalhousie. My money’s on the dogs.
4) Happy Gilmore, Happy Gilmore (1996): This kind-hearted yet crazed golfer makes John McEnroe look like Tony Randall. Yeah, that’s right. Don’t know who Tony Randall is? Google him.
3) Roy Hobbs, The Natural (1984): He knocked the cover off the ball and literally hit the lights out. Legendary.
2) Rocky, Rocky (1976): One of the greatest sports heroes in cinematic history, “The Italian Stallion” always wins, even when he loses. Seriously, his greatest victories (other than when he singlehandedly ended the Cold War in Rocky IV) were in the first and sixth movies when he lost. Just goes to show that da best winners ain’t always da ones who win, y’know?
1) Flash Gordon, Flash Gordon (1980): Quarterback of the New York Jets. Oh, he also saved the universe and taught a generation of kids the difference between right and wrong and that the term “acting” has an extremely broad definition. Death to Ming!