The Hunger Games Meets Pro Sports: How LeBron, Tom Brady and Others Would Fare

Sam Quinn@@Samquinn23Contributor IIIMarch 28, 2012

The Hunger Games Meets Pro Sports: How LeBron, Tom Brady and Others Would Fare

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    If you haven't fantasized about sticking 24 of the world's best athletes into an arena and watching them savagely kill each other until only one remains, then you're either not a true sports fan or you haven't seen The Hunger Games. Since I'd imagine most of our patrons here at Bleacher Report don't fall into either of those categories, we're going to make your fantasy a reality.

    Welcome to the Hunger Games: Sports Edition.

The Rules

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    For those of you who have seen The Hunger Games, most of this will seem familiar, but with a few wrinkles. For those of you who haven't, here's how the games are played:

    - We are splitting the country into 12 districts made up of a few states each. 

    - Each district sends two tributes to the games. To be eligible to represent a district, an athlete has to have grown up there, not played there. 

    - Sorry ladies, these hunger games are just for men. 

    - All participants have to either be active athletes, or have played recently enough for it to be feasible that they could compete. 

    - The tributes aren't necessarily the best athletes from their district. They're the combination of athletes that I believe would make for the best and most interesting event. 

    - Each district has a mentor to help their tributes before the games begin. Unlike in the film however, these mentors aren't former winners. They're coaches.

    - The Arena (as in the film) is basically a forest. There is a station in the middle of the arena known as the cornucopia, where weapons and supplies can be found, and there are small lakes, trees, caves and cliffs that serve as the environment. 

    - Fans (known as sponsors) can buy essentials such as food, water, or medicine to give to their favorite tributes. 

    - 24 men enter, one man leaves. It's that simple. 

The Non-Athletes

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    Before we get into the actual participants, we have a few loose ends to tie up. Here are the non-athletes who will play a part in the games: 

    Commissioner: David Stern.

    We need someone vindictive, someone willing to eliminate players over petty things just to assert his own power. Can you think of anyone better than David Stern to do that?

    Play-by-play announcer: Gus Johnson.

    I've often thought of hiring Gus Johnson to narrate my everyday life. That man could make me eating my lunch sound exciting. Imagine how awesome it would be to hear him announcing 24 men brutally killing each other. 

District 1: New England

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    The States: Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut.

    Tribute 1: Marcus Camby.

    First of all, I want to point out that this a much worse area for athletic talent then I originally thought, hence Marcus Camby being a representative. Camby is smart and strong, but his age and relative lack of athleticism should make him an early out. 

    Tribute 2: Jeremy Roenick.

    Any opportunity to see hockey players fight is a bonus for me. You'd have to figure he could hold his own against most of the competitors here in a hand to hand fight, but his injury history and age will be a big drawback for him.

    Mentor: John Tortorella.

    Hockey coaches would be great mentors for these games. You'd have to figure he's sending his guys to fight whenever possible. He may not have great athletes, but you know guys from this region are coming out swinging. 

District 2: The North West

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    States: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming.

    Tribute 1: Ndamukong Suh.

    Dirty players would make better killers, and few players are dirtier than Suh. He might be the strongest tribute, and his overall athleticism will help him too, but his big drawback also happens to be one of his biggest strengths: his size. He needs more food and water to survive than the others because he's so big, and he's also a very big target. He'll probably make a few kills, but I have a hard time seeing him going the distance.

    Tribute 2: Jacoby Ellsbury.

    Basically the opposite in every way. He's not gonna play the same style as Suh. Ellsbury's gonna try to win the war of attrition. He's gonna try to stay alive and with his speed, catching him is gonna be difficult for the other tributes. 

    Mentor: Phil Jackson. 

    I'd pay good money to see Phil Jackson interact with Suh because I have no idea how that would work out. Jackson's teachings would probably rub off more on Ellsbury; the Zen Master will help him make it far in these games. 

District 3: The Pacific

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    The States: California, Nevada.

    Tribute 1: Chuck Liddell.

    We need an MMA fighter. Liddell could kill any of these guys with his bare hands, making him one of the early favorites. You have to wonder how his personality will hurt him though. I doubt he'd be able to join an alliance and sponsors might not be too keen on helping him. 

    Tribute 2: Tom Brady.

    The golden boy. The fans love him, unfortunately I doubt he has the survival skills necessary to win the whole thing. He's going to have to rely on others and form alliances to get anywhere, but given his intelligence and likability, I think he should be able to stay alive for a while.

    The mentor: Andy Reid. 

    You'd think there'd be a better living coach from California, but by my research there wasn't one, so a big time region is left with a crappy mentor. Luckily, Brady and Liddell are smart enough to figure these games out on their own. 

District 4: The Four Corners

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    The states: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah. 

    Tribute 1: Chauncey Billups.

    This is another surprisingly barren area for talent. Billups makes others look better, and as such he will likely be valued by the stronger athletes as someone to align with. Considering his diminished athleticism, that's going to be Chauncey's best chance at survival. He's a leader who will have to decide when it's time to lead and when it's time to help himself. 

    Tribute 2: Jimmer Fredette. 

    This is a selfish choice. I'm really just curious to see how far a Mormon could go in a competition like this. If anyone could, it'd be Jimmer, but admittedly I don't think the odds are really in his favor. 

    The mentor: Brian Schottenheimer. 

    I literally could not find anyone else. That is the only reason I chose him for this. If these tributes are smart, they'll do the exact opposite of what he says. 

    *Note: It was brought to my attention the Jimmer isn't actually from Utah, but due to a scarcity of talent in the area and the fact that I really want him in it I have decided to grant him an exception to represent Utah. 

District 5: The Deep South

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    The States: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana.

    Tribute 1: Brett Favre. 

    The guy has a super human ability to withstand pain and he lives on a ranch! Anyone who lives on a ranch has at least some basic survival skills. We also needed a surly veteran. Think of him like Haymitch in the actual movie, only he's competing instead of mentoring. 

    Tribute 2: Ray Lewis

    With Lewis' high-energy play and powerful frame, he definitely belongs in the games.

    The only tribute other than Liddell who may actually enjoy this. That's gonna take him far.

    The mentor: Tony La Russa.

    I'm really excited for the interactions between Favre and La Russa, and if you're not, you really aren't interested in sports. 

District 6: The Not so Deep South

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    The states: Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina.

    Tribute 1: Chris Paul. 

    Probably the best combination of intelligence, athleticism and likability in the whole field. He'll be able to align himself with anyone he chooses, but when the time comes to betray them and win, he'll be ready. He'll go far. 

    Tribute 2: Randy Moss.

    He'll either win the whole thing or die in the first five minutes. Absolutely no in between. 

    The mentor: Roy Williams. 

    Williams will have a much easier time connecting with Paul than Moss. Paul plays his sport and is level headed; the two of them will likely be able to cook up some nice strategies. I don't see Moss looking for help from a mentor. He's gonna go in thinking he can win the whole thing on his own. 

District 7: The Northeast

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    The states: New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C.

    Tribute 1: Kobe Bryant.

    Probably the craftiest tribute in the field, he's not quite the athlete he used to be, but is still more than capable of holding his own here. His ability to withstand injury is second only to Favre's. He'll do fine on his own, but his downfall may come from his inability to work well with others.

    Tribute 2: Michael Phelps.

    I was surprised that nobody in The Hunger Games really took advantage of the water as a hiding place and an offensive position. Phelps would be able to do that. 

    The mentor: Bill Belichick.

    The best coach has two really solid tributes to work with. Belichick will take these guys as far as they can go. 

District 8: Big Ten Country (East)

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    The States: Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana.

    Tribute 1: LeBron James.

    Probably the best pure athlete in the field, and he definitely knows how to stab people in the back. He'll rack up kills and go far in this tournament, especially considering who he'll be able to align himself with.

    Tribute 2: Dwyane Wade.

    Yup, LeBron and Wade are together again. You know these two will be able to work together to go far. Wade is smarter; LeBron is stronger. Should be really interesting. 

    The mentor: Coach K.

    AND they get their former coach. They'll have some nice strategies cooked up; really the perfect situation for all three of them. 

District 9: Big 10 Country (West)

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    The States: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri.

    Tribute 1: Joe Mauer.

    Mauer is definitely versatile, he's a star baseball player who could have played quarterback in the NFL. How that will help him in a fight to the death is impossible to tell, but at the very least he's an athlete. 

    Tribute 2: Zach Parise.

    The more hockey players involved in this, the better. 

    The mentor: Bud Grant.

    It's been awhile since he coached anything, but Bud Grant is one of the best football coaches ever. If he can create a group known as "The Purple People Eaters," he'll be able to get his guys ready to kill people. 

District 10: The Southwest

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    The States: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas.

    Tribute 1: Andrew Luck. 

    Probably the smartest in the field (he went to Stanford; most of these guys didn't even graduate), while he's also a very fine athlete. He would likely align himself with Tom Brady and a few other NFL guys. I don't think he could win, but I don't see him losing quickly. 

    Tribute 2: Adrian Peterson. 

    We're just stacking the field with pure athletes here. He's gonna get some kills, but his aggressive nature might be his downfall. 

    The mentor: Jimmy Johnson.

    Any excuse to get Jimmy Johnson back into coaching. It's a nice match considering he'll have two football guys and Jimmy's creative enough to come up with some good advice for them. 

District 11: Midwest

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    The States: Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota.

    Tribute 1: Jordy Nelson.

    This is by far the least talented region, hence Jordy's selection. He'll be a quick out. 

    Tribute 2: Mike Miller.

    Miller actually has a chance to go somewhere, not because of himself, but because he may be able to align himself with LeBron and Wade. Still, Miller isn't winning this thing. 

    The mentor: Tom Osbourne.

    Jesus (you know, if he were into the whole killing thing) could be coaching these guys and they wouldn't win, not much Osbourne can do here. 

District 12: Non Continental United States

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    The territories: Alaska, Hawaii, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Puerto Rico. 

    Tribute 1: Tim Duncan. 

    Facts are a writer's worst enemy. I really wanted to put Troy Polamalu in here because of his Samoan heritage, but technically he grew up in California so he's ineligible. Damn, and I was gonna have him win the whole thing. 

    Oh well, we're going to Tim Duncan here then. Duncan in his prime could have done some damage, but he's just so old at this point; he might be able to survive for awhile based on veteran know-how, but I can't see him winning. 

    Tribute 2: Carlos Boozer.

    Does anyone actually like Boozer? He's gonna be the first one to go. 

    The mentor: Ron Darling.

    To be honest, I couldn't find a single coach of merit to fill this spot, so I took a retired player and forced him into the role. Let's just move on. 

Death No. 1

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    Carlos Boozer.

    His killer: Chuck Liddell. 

    For those of you who didn't see the film, the opening gun is when most of the people die. A good number of the competitors will rush to the center to try to grab weapons and supplies, and when they do, they start killing each other. Since most of these athletes aren't smart enough to run away, I'm going to assume the same happens here. 

    Chuck Liddell isn't gonna go for weapons though, as his weapons are his own two hands. He runs up behind Boozer and kills him before he even knows what happened. 

Death No. 2

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    Jordy Nelson.

    His killer: Ndamukong Suh. 

    Poetic justice here as a Lion kills a Packer, but really this is how it would go. Poor Jordy, he's just so outclassed by all of these guys. Think of him like the short, curly haired kid in the film—he never really had a chance. 

Death No. 3

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    Marcus Camby.

    His killer: Ray Lewis

    Like the two who died before him, Camby is just too slow. By the time he reaches the supplies, the better athletes will already be armed. Considering his lack of speed and the fact that he's such a big target, Ray Lewis wouldn't have any trouble taking him out. 

Death No. 4

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    Jimmer Fredette.

    His Killer: Ray Lewis 

    Since we've seen him jack up 35-foot three-pointers, I think it's safe to say Jimmer is fearless enough to rush to the center and go for a weapon. That will be his downfall. Though he's fast enough to grab something, he doesn't have nearly the strength to go toe-to-toe with Lewis.

    Jimmer is quickly dispatched (which is really disappointing because I had about 30 Jimmer range jokes ready to go if he could just have grabbed a bow and arrow and run). 

Death No. 5

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    Joe Mauer.

    His killer: Randy Moss.

    Moss is just too fast for Mauer and unfortunately for him, is his closest victim. Moss reaches the center quickly and is able to arm himself before Mauer even has a chance to defend himself. 

Death No. 6

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    Randy Moss.

    His killer: Dwyane Wade.

    This is really a stroke of luck for Wade, as he isn't quite athletic enough to handle Moss on his own. Luckily for him, Moss' lack of awareness after taking out Mauer is his undoing. Wade sees an opening and takes it, knocking out someone who could have been one of his fiercest competitors. 

Death No. 7

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    Jeremy Roenick.

    His killer: LeBron James.

    We're all thinking it, so I'll say it. James takes Roenick out with a well-placed knife in the back. I don't care if I've made that joke more than once, deal with it. 

Death No. 8

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    Brett Favre.

    His killer: Chuck Liddell.

    Originally, I thought Favre would make it far just by being gutsy and doing Brett Favre things. Then I remembered he's Brett Favre and he would definitely rush to the center and try to make big plays (you know, by stabbing people and stuff). 

    Unfortunately for him, not even Brett Favre can withstand a beating by Chuck Liddell. Favre is taken out quickly, a real shame since he could have made some noise.

    On the bright side, Favre's death means we'll only have to hear rumors of a comeback for the next two or three years. 

Death No. 9

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    Adrian Peterson.

    His killer: Ndamukong Suh.

    Suh is on a roll here. After taking out one of his rivals, he throws a spear through the heart of another, killing Adrian Peterson. Why a spear? Because for those of you who don't know, his name means "house of spears." With Peterson and Nelson gone, the Lions are now the prohibitive favorites in the NFC North. 

Death No. 10

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    Chuck Liddell.

    His killers: LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

    Surprised? You should be, but this game is just as much about attrition as it is skill. Liddell would have expended a decent amount of energy by this point on Favre and Boozer, meaning the tag team of Wade and LeBron is just enough to take down the early favorite.

    This marks the end of the cornucopia killings and now the strategy really kicks in. 

Death No. 11

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    Chauncey Billups.

    His killer: LeBron James

    The LeBron/Wade alliance has formed, joined by their Heat teammate Mike Miller and fellow NBA star Chris Paul. Chauncey is smart enough not to join the fray at the beginning, but he is soon hunted down and taken out by the alliance. 

Death No. 12

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    Zach Parise.

    His killer: Michael Phelps.

    As I've said, the water could be used as a big offensive advantage. That's what dooms Parise. The instant he comes to the lake for a drink, he is pulled in and subdued by the world's greatest swimmer. 

Death No. 13

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    Michael Phelps.

    His killer: Kobe Bryant. 

    Kobe isn't falling for the old water trick. He's too smart. Once he surveys the area and realizes Phelps is there, he waits him out. Phelps has to leave for food at some point and that's when the mamba strikes. On dry land, Phelps doesn't stand a chance. 

Death No. 14

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    Tom Brady.

    His killer: The NBA alliance.

    Brady knows he isn't winning this on his own, so he aligns himself with Andrew Luck. Unfortunately for the two quarterbacks, they don't stand a chance against their NBA counterparts, and in a 4-on-2 battle, both are beaten. 

Death No. 15

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    Andrew Luck.

    See previous slide. 

Death No. 16

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    Jacoby Ellsbury.

    His killer: Ray Lewis. 

    Ellsbury survives this long by scavenging; he hasn't gotten any kills, but he's stayed alive. Unfortunately for him, he runs into Lewis. He never stood a chance. 

Death No. 17

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    Mike Miller.

    His killer: The NBA alliance.

    As the field starts to whittle down to a few, the NBA alliance sees no further need for Miller. Why feed an extra mouth when he really isn't necessary anymore? The alliance takes him out in cold blood. 

Death No. 18

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    Tim Duncan. 

    His killer: Ndamukong Suh.

    Duncan lasts a lot longer than he should because of his brain. He never goes on the offensive, he just stays alive. Unfortunately, that style can only get you so far, as he is beaten by the far more offensively minded Suh. 

Death No. 19

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    Ndamukong Suh.

    His killer: Natural causes.

    At this point, food is running scarce. Any wounds not mended will get infected. Suh can take on any competitor in the game, but he can't beat nature. His recent scrap with Duncan took a lot out of him; combine that with the conditions of playing in this game for so long, and Suh becomes the first competitor to die of natural causes. 

Death No. 20

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    Chris Paul.

    His killer: Kobe Bryant.

    After the killing of Mike Miller, Paul senses that he will be next on the alliance's list. He sneaks away in the middle of the night to start planning on how to win on his own. Unfortunately for him, he runs into Kobe Bryant. In a fierce struggle, Bryant takes Paul down. We have reached the final four. 

Death No. 21

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    Dwyane Wade.

    His killer: LeBron James.

    Sensing that, if he allows Wade to stick around until the end he'd be putting himself in a dangerous one-on-one situation, LeBron betrays Wade so that he won't have to worry about him later. 

Death No. 22

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    Kobe Bryant.

    His killer: Ray Lewis. 

    At this point in the movie, the dogs have been released. The finale is coming. Both Lewis and Bryant race to the cornucopia for shelter. Lewis arrives a split second earlier, so as both climb to the top to avoid the dogs, he kicks Bryant down to the ground and to his death. LeBron awaits him to decide the victor. 

Death No. 23

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    LeBron James.

    His killer: Ray Lewis.

    This one is simple. It comes down to a one-on-one confrontation between LeBron and Lewis. It's a fierce battle, but in the end Lewis wins and is declared the victor. 

The Winner

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    Ray Lewis is the winner. Happy hunger games! And may the odds be ever in your favor.