7 Amazing Sports Stories That Would Make Awesome Movies

Alexander SmithCorrespondent INovember 13, 2012

7 Amazing Sports Stories That Would Make Awesome Movies

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    While great sports movies do not come along regularly, every so often one appears that absolutely takes your breath away.  Cinema has the ability to take what we all love about sports: the spectacular moments, the drama, the grit, the teamwork and the determination, bringing it all together on the big screen.    

    Characters from Rudy to Rocky have us cheering on the edge of our seat come game time, yet it is not the games we remember most about sports flicks but the interactions between the characters themselves.

    Who doesn't love that moment when the coach gets onto the chair with his team's back against the wall and inspires them to victory? Who doesn't love the look in the protagonist's eyes when he suddenly "turns it" on to mount a comeback?

    It is these personable moments, which bridge the gap between the characters and the audience, that lead us to cheer so heartily for our favorite characters to succeed.   

    Here is a look at seven amazing sports stories with the potential to become the next wave of unbelievable sports movies.  

Honorable Mention

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    While these stories might not have made the cut they are definitely worth checking out: 

    George Mason's Run to the Final Four in 2006

    Bobby Thompson's Shot Heard 'Round the World

    Don Larsen's Perfect Game in the 1956 World Series

    New York Giants Defeat the Undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

    2004 Boston Red Sox Come From 3-0 Down to Win the ALCS  

7. Stony Brook Earns a Trip to the College World Series

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    The Story:

    In a sport dominated by teams playing in warm weather climates, Stony Brook, the New York state school located on Long Island, stunned the college baseball community in 2012 as they advanced all the way to the sport’s biggest stage, the College World Series in Omaha. 

    The northeastern school with a roster consisting of about half players from New York state proved that the weather obstacle could be overcome as they became the first team from the America East conference to ever reach Omaha.    

    After escaping a four-team Regional filled with traditional powers like University of Miami and Central Florida, Stony Brook advanced to the Super Regional where they faced a loaded Louisiana State team.  Coming into LSU’s multi-million dollar stadium, Stony Brook lost the first game of the series to the Tigers in extra innings before coming back to stun the LSU fans with back-to-back wins to earn a trip to Omaha.  

    Although the Seawolves' unbelievable run came to an abrupt halt at the CWS, their success will serve as an inspiration for all northern teams in the future as they became the feel-good story of the year in all of NCAA sports.   

    Character You’ll Love

    Travis Jankowski—the future first round draft selection of the San Diego Padres was the heart and soul of Stony Brook’s lethal lineup.  After the season the Pennsylvania native was awarded with first team All-American honors, according to Baseball America, and was the ABCA/Rawlings National Co-Player of the Year.

6. 2004 Greece Soccer Team

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    The Story

    While soccer is undeniably the most popular sport in Greece, the country’s national team came into the 2004 EuroCup with 100-1 odds of being the victors.  The odds makers had good reason for pinpointing the Greeks as gigantic underdogs as the country had never even won a match at a major tournament before.

    However, this Greek team led by captain Theodoros Zagorakis opened the tournament in stunning fashion defeating the host Portugal 2-1.  

    The gritty Greeks did not stop there as they narrowly escaped pool play and then advanced all the way to the final, setting up another meeting with the heavily favored Portuguese. 

    In a game largely dominated by Portugal, the Greeks stunned the 50,000 fans in attendance with a 1-0 win to cap off arguably the most unbelievably underdog story in soccer history.  

    Character You’ll Love:

    Theodoros Zagorakis—The veteran of the Greek national team saw all his hard work pay off in 2004 as the captain of this magical team.  At tournament’s end Zagorakis would be named Player of the Tournament, the largest honor he would receive in his entire playing career.    

5. 2003-04 St. Anthony's Basketball Team

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    The Story

    St. Anthony’s is a small Catholic high school located in the middle of a rough Jersey City neighborhood, just struggling to survive.  The school, which primarily consists of inner city students, barely has enough funding to stay open. But, under the leadership of legendary Coach Bob Hurley, has maintained one of the best basketball programs in the nation.

    Each year Hurley takes the raw talent brought in by the school’s reputation and molds them into incredible winners both on and off the court. This is the basketball version of Friday Night Lights as each player’s hopes and dreams are on the line every time they step on the hardwood.  

    Luckily for any potential screenwriters, the story has already been chronicled by Adrian Wojnarowski in his bestselling novel The Miracle of St. Anthony, where he follows the team throughout the 2003-2004 season, exposing the inner workings of one of the most incredible stories in all of sports. 

    Character You’ll Love:

    Bob Hurley—The former probation officer holds lofty expectations for all his players and uses Bobby Knight-like tactics to influence each of his player’s lives for the better. The ruthless coach is the reason for St. Anthony’s continued success and the reason players travel from long distances to come play for the Friars.   

4. Buster Douglas Knocks out Mike Tyson

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    The Story

    With the success of boxing movies such as The Fighter and Ali, it is odd that this fight, being maybe the greatest upset in sports history, has not yet made its way to the big screen. 

    In 1990 Mike Tyson was the scariest man walking the earth.  His brutal ferocious fighting style combined with his bad-boy personality had him feared by all as he continued pummeling opponents with early round KOs.  Nothing could touch him, as Tyson, who had been the heavyweight champion since 1986, was undefeated and “unbeatable,” according to many.

    Enter Buster Douglas, a veteran boxer who in a long career had compromised his immense talent with an inconsistent work ethic

    While many, including Tyson himself, thought Douglas would be mere chicken fodder and the match would end quickly, Douglas inspired by the recent death of his mother, rededicated himself to the sport with the sole intent of taking down Tyson.  

    In a back and forth bout that saw Douglas almost get knocked out in the eighth round, the impossible happened as Tyson was defeated in the tenth by this improbable underdog in one of the greatest sporting events ever witnessed. 

    Character You’ll Love:

    Buster Douglas—An experienced fighter who had already gone through the ups and downs of the sport, Douglas prepared for the Tyson fight with a rejuvenating sense of determination.  Given this last chance to prove himself against the best, Douglas finally realizes his potential, defeating Tyson and earning himself legendary status in boxing lore.     

3. 1992 Lithuanian Basketball Team

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    The Story

    Often overshadowed by the U.S. Dream Team that took the international basketball world by storm at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the 1992 Lithuanian team might actually be a better story.

    After years of being forced to play for the Soviet Union, the Lithuanians finally formed their own team after the country won its independence in 1990.  Although the team did feature four future NBA players, due to financial difficulties it was uncertain whether the talented squad would ever set foot in Barcelona.        

    Fortunately the Lithuanians, with the help of unlikely benefactors like the Grateful Dead, was able to turn this dream into a reality. (To show their appreciation the Lithuanian team sported tie-dye warm ups throughout the event.)

    Once in Barcelona the Lithuanians made their presence felt.  Relying on the outstanding play of future Portland Trail Blazer Arvydas Sabonis the team edged out their rival Russia 82-78 in an extremely heated bronze medal matchup.      

    While this story has already been made into a documentary titled The Other Dream Team by Marius A. Markevicius this year, it would make for an even more entertaining Hollywood film.   

    Character You’ll Love

    Arvydas Sabonis—Even though he had established himself as one of the best players on the Soviet National team, authorities kept Sabonis from realizing his dream of playing in the NBA after he was drafted in 1986.  This, along with his pride in his recently independent country, could not have made the bronze medal victory in 1992 any sweeter.   

2. Sri Lanka-Pakistan Cricket Rivalry

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    The Story

    Many consider European football hooligans the craziest fans in sports, but cricket fanatics have certainly made their case over the years.  This obsessive fandom was never more apparent than when the Sri Lankan national team was viciously attacked in Pakistan in 2009.   

    While the attack was linked to terrorist organizations and may have had certain political undertones, there was no doubt it was sparked by the fierce cricket rivalry between the two war-torn countries. 

    Suffering from the atrocities of war, citizens of these countries cling strongly to their cricket stars as an escape from the harsh realities of life.  Each game has consequences that stretch far beyond the playing pitch and the pressure on each player is colossal.    

    Not only were the Sri Lankans devastated by the attack but they also lost to the Pakistanis in the final of the 2009 ICC Twenty20 World Cup only a few months later. 

    Fast forward to 2012 and the two rivals met once again at the pinnacle of the sport’s biggest stage in the semi-final of this year’s ICC Twenty20 World Cup hosted by Sri Lanka. 

    This time the Sri Lankans were finally victorious over their bitter rival as they defeated the Pakistani’s by 16 runs.  

    Character You’ll Love:

    Mahela Jayawardene—The cricket megastar who shares the same nickname as the greatest basketball player of all time, MJ, is as loved by his country as much as any athlete in the world.  To go along with his prowess on the pitch, Jayawardene also coordinated with the President of Sri Lanka the team’s escape from Pakistan amidst the 2009 assault.  

1. Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

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    The Story

    Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the looming political turmoil in Europe, Jesse Owens entered the 1936 Berlin Olympics as German Chancellor Adolph Hitler’s greatest nightmare.  

    Hitler, who advocated for the superiority of the Aryan race, expected to see his local olympians achieve great success at this Olympics, yet was disappointed when Jesse Owens became the center of attention at his own country's games.   

    In one of the most memorable performances of all time Owens broke three world records and came home with four gold medals in the 100 meter, 200 meter, 4x100 relay and the long jump.    

    Despite his great success and ability to win over the German crowd, Hitler never acknowledged Owens throughout the Games, constantly coming up with excuses not to be present in his box whenever Owens won.  

    It is perplexing that this patriotic story about one of the greatest American athletes ever to represent our country has never made it to film beyond a 1984 TV movie.     

    Character You’ll Love:

    Jesse Owens—The Ohio native and youngest of 10 children became an international superstar at the 1936 Olympics.  His vibrant personality and dominating efforts led to his adoration by millions of fans worldwide and his place amongst the best athletes ever to compete at the Olympics.