The Top 10 Athletes in Sports Movie History

April 28, 2010

Despite a relative lack of steroid abuse and very few Bob Barker-related fights, the cinematic world has done a great job producing some memorable athletes over the past few decades. Here's a look at 10 of the best ones to dominate weaker opponents on the silver screen.

Photo: Happy Madison


10. Ernie McCracken, Kingpin

Photo: Rysher Entertainment

The 1979 Odor Eaters Bowling Invitational champion is widely regarded as one of the greatest athletes ever to set up a charitable foundation as a means to seduce single mothers with low self-esteem and unlimited access to prescription painkillers.

Perhaps most famous for coining the term "getting Munsoned," McCracken also beat out the shoe clerk at Cleveland’s Pin-o-Rama for the cover boy spot on this year’s "12 Months in the Gutter" erotic calendar. (If only Carson Daly had McCracken’s panache, he wouldn’t have to spend his nights showing the employees at Burger King pictures of Tara Reid saying "Before I turned 57, I totally used to hit that.")

9. Scott Howard/Teen Wolf, Teen Wolf

Photo: Buena Vista Pictures

Not many NBA prospects have the luxury of listing “able to turn into a werewolf” on the skills section of their trading card, but Scott Howard is a celebrated exception. Despite playing on a team filled with pale fat kids who will likely spend their adult lives paying for sex and a 5-foot-8 power forward who refers to himself as “Styles,” Howard was able to lead his high school basketball team to a championship and steal the girlfriend of an opposing player. Had he impregnated her and then used his Twitter account to deny the affair, NBA scouts might have labeled him the most NBA-ready player to emerge from the prep scene since LeBron James–who was highly criticized at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s for being unable to turn himself into a werewolf.)

8. Shooter McGavin, Happy Gilmore

Photo: Happy Madison

The Tiger Woods of cinematic fairways has enjoyed a storybook career filled with fame, beautiful women, and various other benefits that real golfers rarely experience. A precision player in the Jack Nicklaus mold, McGavin’s delightful arrogance and strict diet of feces for breakfast make him a somewhat controversial figure in a sport currently famous for Phil Mickelson’s bountiful bosom and interracial adultery.

7. Willie Beamen, Any Given Sunday

Photo: Warner Bros.

Second only to Kobe Bryant in the “star athletes who humiliated themselves with a failed rap career” rankings, Beamen is an iconic athlete in the Miami community thanks to his brash style and refusal to respect Dennis Quaid.

Beamen entered the league as a third-string quarterback after a monetary violation forced him to leave college early, but thanks to some fortuitous injuries Beamen earned a starting position and cemented himself as one of the premiere quarterbacks of a team that appears to have a serious problem with drugs and LL Cool J’s attitude. (On a side note, the single playoff win the fictitious Miami Sharks post, is actually the most successful postseason run Terrell Owens – who plays a wide receiver that the producers trusted with three lines of dialogue – has ever enjoyed.)

6. Bobby Boucher/ The Waterboy

Photo: Happy Madison

Sure, he filled out his Wonderlic test with a purple crayon and isn’t technically able to spell the word "blitz," but that doesn’t mean that the raw athleticism of South Central Louisiana State’s top linebacking prospect can’t become an NFL superstar. Averaging 17.5 sacks per game, Bobby Boucher is able to penetrate defenses with a spastic rage that makes him the centerpoint of the best Mud Dog defense head coach “The Fonz” has ever seen.

His third grade reading level and inability to execute basic defensive assignments also make him a prime candidate for a Florida State transfer over the offseason. (Something to keep an eye on.)


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5. Bobby Rayburn, The Fan

Photo: Mandalay Entertainment

Despite being involved in a small mix-up that resulted in the violent murder of his teammate, Bobby Rayburn remains one of the most popular players in the San Francisco Giants locker room largely due to the fact that he’s not Barry Bonds.

Rayburn’s decision to leave the Atlanta Braves and pursue a championship in San Francisco may have been controversial, but since joining the organization Rayburn has put up MVP-caliber numbers and been cooperative with authorities in both murders he's been involved with. That’s twice as many murders as Ray Lewis and Ryan Seacrest combined!

(Interesting note: The plot synopsis for this film begins with the phrase “a struggling knife salesman who fervently follows his favorite baseball team...” How on earth did more people not see this movie?)

4. Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez, The Sandlot

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox

Blessed with superhuman speed and a Keith Hernandez-style moustache, the wunderkind of playground baseball was a cornerstone of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ clubhouse for 13 seasons and even stole home in a pivotal game against the San Francisco Giants towards the end of his career. His good buddy and Los Angeles Dodgers announcer Scotty Smalls claims that Rodriguez honed his skills early in life while running away from an oversized St. Bernard named Hercules in an effort to retrieve a Babe Ruth autographed baseball from their neighbor (who made his money doing voiceover work for Star Wars and CNN promos).

Sadly, his status as a professional athlete did not allow him to win the heart of local lifeguard and uber-hottie Wendy Peffercorn. As in most great stories, his nerdy, slightly retarded friend knocked up Peffercorn nine times.

3. Steve Nebraska, The Scout

Photo: 20th Century Fox

A rare talent out of the Mexican Minor League Baseball system, Steve Nebraska was not only a powerful home run hitter, but also a pitcher who began his Major League career with a nonchalant no-hitter in the World Series (a game in which he also drove in the winning run).

Plagued by mental problems that nearly forced him into an early retirement, Nebraska became a hero to psychiatric patients and Milton Bradley thanks to his therapeutic means of using his issues to please George Steinbrenner.

(Interesting stat: Earning just a shade over 10 million fictitious dollars per year, Nebraska would rank as one of the Yankees’ lowest paid starters if he remained with the franchise through 2010 instead of opting out of his deal to go film a George of the Jungle prequel.)

2. Jesus Shuttlesworth, He Got Game

Photo: Universal Studios

After dying for all shooting guard’s sins on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1999, Jesus Shuttlesworth left the iconic halls of Lincoln High School in order to play collegiate basketball at Big State University. While some wonder why he elected to spurn Tech U head coach Jonathan Turturro and 31-year-old sophomore power forward Rick Fox, insiders claim that Shuttlesworth had a secret deal with the governor that let his incarcerated father out of jail in exchange for his commitment to the powerhouse program.

1. Neon Boudeaux, Blue Chips

Photo: Paramount Pictures

A relatively raw athlete with a promising genie career, Boudeaux burst onto the scene as a freshman for the Western University Dolphins. Alongside star recruits Butch McRae and Ricky Roe, Boudeaux helped lead the Dolphins to one of the most successful seasons in school history before eventually becoming a first round draft pick in the NBA.

(Interesting note: Boudeaux may or may not think Kobe Bryant is nothing more than an accused rapist who demanded a trade two years ago and now pretends like none of it ever happened.)


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