Will the Real Superman Please Stand Up?

brian clothierContributor IMay 18, 2009

HONG KONG, CHINA - MARCH 29:  Rugby fans watch the action wearing Superman suits during the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens 2008 on March 29, 2008, in Hong Kong, China.  (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

Often there is discussion generated about sports clichés that have been overused. By definition, a cliché is anything that has become trite or commonplace through overuse. In that respect, I would like to address the label “Superman.”

Superman is the beloved DC Comics hero with super-speed, super-strength, super-sight, and the ability to fly.  This most certainly would be the reason for comparison in the athletic arena.  The problem here, is that every few years, a NEW Superman will be indoctrinated into the sports pathos.

Here, I offer a look at the current Supermen in today’s sports environment.



Barry Bonds – All-time Home Run King (with an asterisk). 

This guy has been linked to illegal substance scandals and perjury.  Possibly his biggest offense though, he doesn’t get along with the media. Louis Lane is a newspaper reporter.

Josh Hamilton—Blasted a home-run derby record 28 dingers in 2008. 

Hamilton has battled injury and drug addiction (a sincere congratulations and well wishes on recovery, Josh).  But, Superman’s only weakness is kryptonite. Besides, wouldn’t a baseball player rather be Batman?



Dwight Howard – NBA All-Star and two-time gold medalist. 

Howard turned heads by winning a slam-dunk contest and his ability to leap.  His vertical is about 40 inches.  Superman can leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Shaquille O’Neal – NBA MVP, NBA Finals MVP, All-Star MVP, and two-time gold medalist. 

Shaq was the original ‘Man of Steel’ in the pro-basketball ranks.  But with the Phoenix Suns, the Diesel has been hampered by injury.  Superman gets his strength from the Sun.



The debate is on right now as to who is the NHL’s Superman.  The popular thought being that it is either Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins or Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. 

Crosby was born in Canada and works in Pennsylvania.  Ovechkin was born in Russia and works in Washington, DC.  Superman was born on Krypton and worked in Metropolis.



Michael Vick -  Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and current piece of human garbage. 

Michael Vick can run, jump and throw.  But forever more, he will be linked to illegal dog-fighting and gambling.  Superman operates within the confines of the law and never assumes he’s above it.

On an aside, I own an American Pitbull terrier.  I rescued her from an abusive home.  She’s the best pet I’ve ever owned.  She’s even-tempered and great around people and other dogs.

I can’t express enough that there are no bad dogs, only bad owners.  If you are looking to own a dog, consider adopting a rescue dog, everyone deserves a chance at happiness.

Tim Tebow – Heisman trophy winner (2007) and two-time college football National Champion.

Tebow has done everything right in his young career.  He lead the Florida Gators to an SEC Championship over the Alabama Crimson Tide in 2008 as well as a National Championship victory over Oklahoma in 2009.

Tebow underwent shoulder surgery to remove a bone spur early this year (not very Superman-like) and most notably, his uniform is blue and orange.  Superman wears red and blue.


Other Sports

Michael Phelps – 14-time Olympic gold medalist, including an amazing eight medals in a single Olympics.

Phelps carries the moniker ‘The Baltimore Bullet’ and though his feats are incredible, he is limited to greatness in the water (much like Aquaman).  After photographic evidence surfaced of Phelps smoking marijuana, he was suspended from competition.  Superman is faster than a speeding bullet and he doesn’t smoke weed.


So as you can see, everyone on the list of “potential supermen” has been eliminated for some reason or another.  My hope is that until an athlete arrives that can catch a bullet and not bleed or can survive a stadium implosion from the inside, we’ll leave the Superman tag alone and just recognize them for their above-average prowess.



Retrieved May 18, 2009, from Dictionary.com