The Top 10 Athletes in Television Sitcom History

Giancarlo Ferrari-King@@GiancarloKingFeatured ColumnistMarch 27, 2013

The Top 10 Athletes in Television Sitcom History

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    Look, sports and entertainment go together like cheap beer and college parties. Sure, at times we want to separate them, but come on! Is there anything better then mixing the two together once in a while?

    When it comes to the magnificent world of sitcoms,sports have always played a major role in their progression. From Will Smith's illustrious high school basketball career on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to Sam Malone's days with the Red Sox on Cheers, some of our favorite sitcom moments have taken place within the realm of sports.

    With that being said, start the slideshow below and find out who the ten best athletes in sitcom history really are, then join the debate and tell us who was deserving and who got snubbed!

Cliff Huxtable: The Cosby Show

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    When you think about The Cosby Show, sports usually isn't the first thought that comes to mind. But if you dig deep enough into the crates, you can find a little nugget of sports glory during the early days of the show.

    Check out the clip above and watch as a young Theo Huxtable plays his pops, Dr. Cliff Huxtable, in a friendly game of one-on-one.

    While Theo might have had the gift of athleticism and youth on his side, it's the older Cliff who steals the show. His combination of mental toughness and a silky-smooth post game are enough to frustrate any capable defender.

    At one point, Cliff even channels his inner Gilbert Arenas when shooting a pair of well-deserved free throws. I wonder if Agent Zero picked up his infamous routine from Dr.Huxtable.

    Anyway, Cliff earns the 10th spot on our list of the ten best athletes in TV sitcom history.

    Dr.Huxtable is a true old-school baller out there doing what he does best—just ballin'.

    *It should be noted that just like in every other sitcom on TV, the basketball hoop they are playing on seems to be a little less than 10 feet. But since we can't prove it, we have to give Cliff full credit for being one of the most dominant players we've seen grace the courts in years.

Jerry Seinfeld: Seinfeld

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    If you play tennis then you know nothing is better than getting some genuine advice from the local tennis pro. You just feel better about your game—like you have a step up on the competition after talking to them.

    So when Jerry Seinfeld went down to his local tennis club to check out some new gear, it's not surprising that he was pressured into buying a new racket from an eastern European tennis pro named Milos.

    But things took a turn for the worse when Jerry discovered that Milos actually was a horrendous tennis player.

    With all of his credibility now out the window, Jerry threatened to expose Milos for the terrible player he truly was to the rest of the club and even his wife.

    When Milos panics and begs Jerry not to expose him as a fraud, the two men reach a series of agreements. The last of which is that Jerry allows Milos to beat him in a match so that the tennis pro can once again impress his wife.

    After tanking the opening set and enduring a slew of harsh insults, Jerry backs out of the deal and shows the world just how good of a player he really is. Enjoy the clip above and watch as Jerry takes Milos to school in front the entire tennis club—and his wife.

    ANOTHER GAME FOR MILOSSSS! - Milos the Tennis Pro

George Costanza: Seinfeld

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    Throughout history, we've witnessed some huge summers in the world of sports.

    From the Dream Team's domination in Barcelona to the legendary U.S. Open final between John McEnroe and Bjorn Borg, summertime sports have always had a certain mystique to them.

    But perhaps the greatest summer in all of sports history was the "Summer of George" back in the late 90s.

    George Costanza, a close personal friend of Jerry Seinfeld was given a generous severance package by his former employer, the New York Yankees, after three years of "hard" work. Deciding that this would be his last chance for some real time off, Constanza decides to live his life to the fullest and declares it to be the "Summer of George."

    With all bets off, George takes this well-deserved time off and attempts to do as many activities as he possibly can (which never happened). One of those activities happened to be indulging in the glorious sport they call frolf.

    For those of you who still don't know, frolf, or as commoners call it "frisbee-golf," is a hybrid game developed to challenge some of the world's greatest athletes.

    A test of wit and skill, the game of frolf is a delicate mash-up of two of the world's most gut-wrenching sports.

    While we never witnessed George actually play a round of frolf, he did abandon Jerry so that he could play a quick back nine in the park with a group of frolf enthusiasts.

    And for that dedication alone, we award George Costanza with a spot on this incredibly important list.

Zack Morris: Saved by the Bell

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    Look, if you grew up watching Saved by the Bell like I did, then you understand that A.C. Slater was the star athlete of the show.

    But don't get it twisted, Zack Morris was also blessed with some serious athletic skill.

    Morris was not only the star player of the Bayside High basketball team, but he also was an absolute savage on the cool California sands.

    When it came to the spectacular sport of beach volleyball, Zack Morris should have been called the bronzed bomber.

    One summer, when the Bayside gang all got jobs working at the classy Malibu Sands Beach Club, Zack was forced to throw down on the v-ball court to protect his lady's honor.

    I mean, really? A blonde dude who gets into mischief, always gets the girl and is a closet superstar athlete. Wow. Can you say perfection?

Al Bundy: Married with Children

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    Let me tell you something. I served my country—I played high school football.- Al Bundy

    Is there anything else left to say?

    Al Bundy the former Polk High School All-City Football star was known throughout the town he lived in for scoring four touchdowns in one game. Yes, four touchdowns in one game.

    Whenever he got the chance, Al always reminded us just how great of an athlete he was back in the day.

    But if that wasn't enough to enshrine Bundy into the Athletic Television Hall of Fame (not a real thing), then perhaps having legendary Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Terry Bradshaw announce that the legendary Polk High School football field was going to be renamed Al Bundy Field would do the trick.

    Either way, Al Bundy, the great American hero has earned his spot. Because, well, he scored four touchdowns in one game!

Steve Urkel: Family Matters

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    In desperate times, true greatness can come from the most unlikely of places.

    Thanks to a boatload of injuries and foul trouble, the Vanderbilt Muskrats had to find another player to take the court and help lead their team to victory.

    Who would have thought a nerdy, suspenders-wearing equipment manager named Steve Urkel would be the answer they were looking for.

    That fateful night, Urkel came storming onto the court like a bat out of hell—unleashing one of the most stunning performances in sitcom history.

    With the crowd in a frenzy, Steve morphed into the high school version of Magic Johnson—helping lead his Muskrats to a major comeback win.

    From his no-look, behind-the-back passes, to his flawless layups, Steve Urkel was en fuego all night long.

    Watching Steve get carried off the court after sinking a slow-motion, game-winning buzzer beater is still one of the most satisfying moments in Family Matters history—that, and anything involving the mysterious Waldo Faldo.

Sam Malone: Cheers

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    Sam "Mayday" Malone is one of two athletes on this list who have actually played sports at the professional level.

    A former Boston Red Sox reliever, Mayday Malone fell head over heels in love with the bottle—which ultimately ruined his baseball career.

    Leaving the Sox behind in search for greener pastures, Sam gave up the booze and opened the iconic bar known to the world as Cheers in the Boston area to the general public.

    While his bar tending and people skills became his true calling, Malone will always have those Red Sox glory days to look back on.

    And thanks to his time spent toeing the rubber, Sam Malone has earned a spot on this once in a lifetime list.

A.C. Slater: Saved by the Bell

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    Earlier in this slideshow, I made it clear that A.C. Slater, aka Albert Clifford Slater, was the best athlete to ever play sports at Bayside High.

    A dominant wrestler and outstanding football captain, Slater was king of the jocks. But here's a little unknown fact to most sitcom watchers. Did you know Slater was also arguably the greatest dancer on planet Earth at one point?

    I'm not kidding. Watch the video above and tell me that I'm wrong.

    The nimble Slater unleashes what has now been trademarked "The Slater Dance" in the Max, blowing the minds of everyone in attendance.

    For the lethal combination of his athletic ability and brilliant dance moves, A.C. Slater has locked down the number three spot on this all-important list.

Mark Cooper: Hangin' with Mr.Cooper

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    Although he was once part of the infamous Don Nelson-coached Golden State Warriors, Mark Cooper was never on the level of say a Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond or Chris Mullin.

    Forced to make ends meet, Mr. Cooper decided to pursue a teaching career in hopes that he could finally pay his bills and put some decent food on the table.

    Fear not though, because Mark Cooper did get a chance to live out his childhood dream when he played two games for his hometown Golden State Warriors before being cut.

    But hey, even though he was cut after just two games, how many people can say they hit a game winning shot while being guarded by Sir Charles Barkley? For that alone, Mark Cooper nabs the number two spot on this list.

Will Smith: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

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    When Will Smith, born and raised in West Philadelphia, was shipped out to beautiful Bel-Air in California to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle, the former Philly native came to town with a burning passion for women, trouble and hoops.

    During his high school days, Smith became the star player of the prestigious Bel-Air Academy basketball team (Okay, the team was terrible, but Will was nice with it).

    Watch as Will destroys the California competition with his Harlem Globe Trotters-like style of play and his Florida Gulf Coast University dunks extravaganza.

    I guess in California the courts they play on are a lot smaller than what most of us are used to, because as you can see, Smith runs up and down that gorgeous mini-court with just a couple of long strides.

    From his Ray Allen-like jump shot to boom-shaka-lacka style jams, The Fresh Prince became the modern day Lew Alcindor of the Bel-Air courts.

    For those reasons, plus his impressive Air Jordan shoe game, Will Smith deserves the crown as the best athlete in television sitcom history.