Athletes inspire, and one of the great products of their inspiration is music.
Hundreds of ballads, raps, folk songs, country songs and swinging golden oldies pay tribute to or poke fun at beloved athletes.
Unfortunately, not all those inspired musicians compose with a talent on par with the athletes that they write about.
Simply put, some of the songs suck.
Click on to hear some of the best and worst athlete-inspired songs from throughout the ages.
(1) No jingles (sorry, rules out I Wanna Be Like Mike)
(2) Song has to be about a single athlete, not a team
(3) Song is about the athlete not by the athlete (sorry no Shaq raps here)
(4) One best and one worst from a handful of major sports (with a few runners-up)
(5) Amateur as well as professional songs are fair game
(6) The character/quality/talent of the athlete is not a factor
Warning: Prepare yourself for some swinging oldies.
King Richard by Dean Greer
Tribute to: Richard Petty
It's twangy, it's rhyme-y, but it sure is catchy, ain't it?
Also part of its allure is the song's enigmatic nature. No information seems to be available on the artist Dean Greer or the record label Deville (no apparent connection to the more modern label of the same name).
Exactly Like Mario by the Lucky Duckies
Tribute to: Mario Andretti
We want to like this song, we really do. Lucky Ducky lead singer Marco Antonio almost wins us over with his unabashed hip swiveling and his 1950s hairdo...
Almost, but not quite.
Just too much corniness going on here.
It's like an Elvis Presley subplot in A Clockwork Orange.
I Love Mickey by Teresa Brewer
Tribute to: Mickey Mantle
Okay, this song may be loved by thousands, but come on folks, it was a product of its time. People loved that Mantle said the "Mickey who?" line. The lyrics were easy to memorize, sure.
But holy discordance, batman!
If Teresa Brewer's screechy voice doesn't give you a splitting headache ten bars in, have your hearing checked.
Don't Cry Maradona by Ulker Guliyeva
Tribute to Diego Maradona
Ugh! Here's the laundry list:
1) Does Maradona really need our sympathy?
2) The title—an obvious play off Evita. Please.
3) Oh the politics stitched in! Singer is taking herself and Maradona far too seriously.
4) Take away the lyrics, turn this down a notch and you've got yourself some decent music.
Brett Favre Song by Unknown
Tribute to: Brett Favre
OK, so this little ditty might have been pretty funny and uplifting for Vikings fans back in '09 when Favre came out of retirement.
But after the the 2010 sexting investigation (based on an alleged 2008 incident) the lyrics "You know you want me" are pretty scandalous.
Hey Hey... It's Andy Roddick by Binge
Tribute to: Andy Roddick
If you work at a cubicle and don't want the chorus of this song to play through your head for the next seven hours, DO NOT CLICK PLAY on the video. Yeah, it's as catchy as a rhinovirus.
And I mean that as a compliment.
This group Binge proves to be pretty versatile. They also sing a decent tune about Anna Kournikova that has four different versions: rock, acoustic, Euro Dance and Sports Instrumental.
The Andre Agassi Song by Unknown
Tribute (???) to: Andre Agassi
I had a nightmare that the dude who came up with this freakishness was jogging around my living room, singing his Agassi song and juggling flaming tennis raquets.
Donald The Dub by Frank Crumit
Ballad of a fictional player
So, it is a far cry from Lil Wayne or Kanye West, but this song written in 1927 has some pretty stellar lyrics.
How can you dislike any song with the lines: "Oh! The dirty little pill went rolling down the hill/And rolled right into a bunker/From there to the green I took thirteen/And there by gosh I sunk ‘er."
Note that the song writer Frank Crumit also penned the Buckeye Battle Cry.
We Are Lebron by Unknown
Plea to Lebron James
It's one thing to be a fan, another to be a sycophant.
Also, is it really in good taste to parody a song that was written to raise money for starving children?
Wouldn't the connotation then be that keeping Lebron in Cleveland is as serious as famine in Africa?
Hurricane by Bob Dylan and Jacques Levy
The song is about the legendary Rubin "Hurricane" Carter and the injustices of his incarceration.
In a Rolling Stone article, Eric Boehlert describes the song as follows: "Part protest song, part historical document, Dylan's runaway, eight-minute epic reads like a legal brief, as the singer punches holes in the prosecutor's Lafayette killings case, spitting out the lyrics with passion and contempt."
The song became a huge hit and brought lots of attention to Carter's case. Some even credit the tune with helping to free the maligned fighter.
The Greatest Love of All by George Benson
This one bends the rules in that it is not directly about Ali, but it was the title song of his biopic The Greatest.
No, this is not a diss on Whitney—the opposite in fact.
The George Benson version just sounds anemic and dreary compared to the Houston version.
The Shane Warne Song by Kevin Bloody Wilson
Tribute (???) to: Shane Warne
This comedic tribute is flat while the background talent is far less so.
ESPY Award Serenade by Will Ferrell
Serenade to: Lance Armstrong
Ballsiest line: "You beat the very best/Let's not forget the urine test."
Think about it.
Lance Rap by Unknown
What's with all the random historical references? Is this supposed to be Lance Armstrong as Forrest Gump, the unwitting changer of events?
Yeah boys, keep your day job.
Gordie Howe Is the Greatest of Them All by Big Bob and the Dollars
Tribute to: Gordie Howe
C'mon, admit that you were tapping your foot under the desk as you listened to this.