Sports Lists

Athlete Reality Shows We'd Definitely Watch

Matt HaupertFeatured ColumnistJuly 16, 2014

Athlete Reality Shows We'd Definitely Watch

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    AARON JOSEFCZYK/Associated Press

    As soon as Johnny Manziel said that he is "not going to change for anybody" at a youth clinic that was part of the NFL's "Play 60" campaign (h/t Los Angeles Times' Chuck Schilken), one thing became abundantly clear.

    Johnny Football belongs on television, whether or not he has what it takes to succeed as an NFL quarterback.

    The excessive partying, celebrity friends and carefree attitude: It's reality TV gold.

    Such shows revolving around famous athletes are not, of course, a novel idea. Ryan Lochte tried and failed after only eight episodes. Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson somehow managed to make an even worse show as "T.Ocho" than they did separately.

    Michael Sam toyed with the idea of having his own show before it was wisely placed on hold.

    These guys never quite got it right—the 15 shows I'm proposing, however, are foolproof.

    Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn in Second Chances. Yasiel Puig in When Puigs Fly. Alex Rodriguez in Things Fall Apart.

    Here are a few of my ideas for reality shows that would be certain to capture the hearts and minds of every fan in America.

Tim Tebow: 'Tebow Time'

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    Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

    Athlete: Tim Tebow

    Show Title: Tebow Time

    Synopsis: The magic is gone. The NFL dream has all but vanished. And yet, Tim Tebow won't disappear. What happens to NFL quarterbacks when nobody wants to give them a chance? Why do people still care about a former below-average backup?

    Tune in every Monday night to follow the inspirational story of a fallen superstar and man of faith who refuses to accept that he's pretty bad at the one thing he's ever wanted to do. Episodes will be aired at the same time as Monday Night Football, which shouldn't cause much of a conflict of interest for Tebow's devoted fanbase.

Derek Jeter: 'The Captain'

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Athlete: Derek Jeter

    Show Title: The Captain

    Synopsis: As J.M. Barrie wrote in Peter Pan: "Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting."

    Pay your RE2PECT to Yankees legend Derek Jeter in this new series that is not meant to bid "The Captain" farewell, but to immortalize him forever.

    Every episode will be exactly the same: An opposing team will give Jeter a weird farewell gift, and he'll get a few massive standing ovations. Then he'll ground out a couple of times.

    And yet, all of you will tune in every single week.

LeBron James: 'The Return of the King'

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    Leo Correa/Associated Press

    Athlete: LeBron James

    Show Title: The Return of the King

    Synopsis: For the first time, get an even more up-close-and-personal look at everything King James than Samsung's already creepily obsessive LeBron James app.

    A camera crew will document every second of James' life, and the show will be broadcast as a 24/7 live stream—you won't have to miss a second. All of those important, burning questions will be answered: Why didn't LeBron mention Andrew Wiggins in his Sports Illustrated essay? What are his opinions on the World Cup? What time does he go to bed? What does he look like when he sleeps?

    At long last, the public can witness the amount of LeBron coverage it apparently needs.

Yasiel Puig: 'When Puigs Fly'

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Athlete: Yasiel Puig

    Show Title: When Puigs Fly

    Synopsis: Puig's first full calendar year in the big leagues has been nothing short of entertaining. As one of the most exciting players in the league, he's also probably the most polarizing.

    For every home run, there's a late arrival to the ballpark. For every incredible throw, there's an embarrassing bat flip or a gaffe on the basepaths. Puig loves the bright lights of the big city—but in the end, will they immortalize or destroy him?

Metta World Peace: 'Give Peace a Chance'

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Athlete: Metta World Peace

    Show Title: Give Peace a Chance

    Synopsis: The Knicks got rid of him.

    Nobody else in the NBA seems to want him.

    But don't be fooled: Metta World Peace's life is as exciting as ever. With the distraction of NBA basketball no longer in his way, World Peace will be able to commit himself fully to his other passions: rapping, poetry and preaching—all about the weirdest things imaginable.

    Take this chance to finally get to know the man behind the most bizarre name change in the history of sports. While the NBA has seemingly written him off, it's time for the rest of us to give Peace a chance.

AJ McCarron and Katherine Webb: 'The Real Housewife of AJ McCarron'

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Athlete: AJ McCarron (feat. Katherine Webb)

    Show Title: The Real Housewife of AJ McCarron

    Synopsis: The season's hottest couple has finally tied the knot, and you're not going to have to miss a single kiss.

    Will the first year of marriage prove to be a bigger challenge than barely making the Cincinnati Bengals' depth chart? How will the egocentric McCarron deal his wife's fame likely eclipsing his own within the next couple years?

    If things don't work out, one lucky fan will win the chance to replace McCarron in the role of Webb's husband for the remainder of the season.

Mike Tyson: 'Under the Lights'

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    Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

    Athlete: Mike Tyson

    Show Title: Under the Lights

    Synopsis: A lot has changed since Mike Tyson was eating ears, raising tigers and thoroughly dominating the sport of boxing.

    After an unlikely journey from the boxing ring to the bright lights of the Broadway stage, you won't want to miss whatever comes next. He seems to be on the fast track for a house full of Tony awards, and his pigeon racing career is just now entering its prime.

    Though he's been the subject of television specials before, none of them have been quite like this, as Under the Lights will take you on an unadulterated ride through the unprecedented and unpredictable life of Mike Tyson.

Manny Ramirez: 'Manny Being Manny'

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    Wally Santana/Associated Press

    Athlete: Manny Ramirez

    Show Title: Manny Being Manny

    Synopsis: Manny Ramirez has spent his polarizing career playing the roles of hero, villain and everything in between.

    After establishing himself as one of the greatest hitters of all time, Ramirez's legacy was tarnished by multiple positive tests for performance enhancing drugs. Now, he'll get a shot at redemption in the unlikeliest way: as a player-coach for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs.

    It's a story seemingly made for Hollywood. A disgraced hero gets a chance to make a big difference to a group of promising youths, inspiring them to reach heights they never thought possible.

    Spoiler alert: A number of gossip websites have leaked that the season finale will not include an appearance by the Cubs in the World Series.

Dennis Rodman: 'Hot Rod'

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    Alexander F. Yuan/Associated Press

    Athlete: Dennis Rodman

    Show Title: Hot Rod

    Synopsis: He's been in and out of rehab. He's been in and out of North Korea.

    Where will former NBA star Dennis Rodman go next?

    Since his playing days, Rodman has had one of the most captivating personalities in sports, and now that personality will finally be available in your own living room via prime-time television. Tune in to see how Rodman balances the unique combination of foreign policy and fatherhood on a day-to-day basis.

Ilya Bryzgalov: 'Mr. Universe'

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    Athlete: Ilya Bryzgalov

    Show Title: Mr. Universe

    Synopsis: Ilya Bryzgalov is not your ordinary NHL goalie. While other players worry about the game they're paid to play, Bryzgalov is thinking about something bigger: the universe.

    Since his famous 2011 interview on HBO's 24/7 in which he referred to the universe as "humongous big" and questioned the magnitude of human problems, Bryzgalov has been one of the most intriguing and enigmatic figures in sports.

    Dive into the mind of a goalie with better things to worry about than a silly game on an ice rink. Episodes will air on the National Geographic Channel immediately following Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

Alex Rodriguez: 'Things Fall Apart'

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    David Karp/Associated Press

    Athlete: Alex Rodriguez

    Show Title: Things Fall Apart

    Synopsis: Alex Rodriguez had it all—he was the richest man in baseball, the league's Most Valuable Player and on pace to shatter every meaningful baseball hitting record.

    One scandal and a lot of dishonesty later, Rodriguez is a broken man. Fans hate him. His team doesn't want him. The Hall of Fame will never take him.

    Very loosely based on the classic Chinua Achebe novel of the same name, Things Fall Apart will follow a self-centered, washed-up cheater as he sits around waiting for the Yankees to void the remainder of his contract.

Richard Sherman: 'Don't Talk About Me'

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Athlete: Richard Sherman

    Show Title: Don't Talk About Me

    Synopsis: Richard Sherman caught the attention of the nation during his post-game rant following the Seattle Seahawks' defeat of the San Francisco 49ers in the 2014 NFC Championship game.

    Unfortunately, most of that attention was negative. But what did Sherman's screamed order at sideline reporter Erin Andrews—"Don't you ever talk about me!"—really mean? Was he referring to that game, or the overall perception that he's just a trash-talking thug?

    Get a look at the real Richard Sherman in this tell-all reality series that will expose his intense dedication to community service, his extreme level of intelligence and the passion and work ethic that has made him one of the brightest stars in the NFL today.

Floyd Mayweather: 'Bieber and Me'

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    Athlete: Floyd Mayweather (feat. Justin Bieber)

    Show Title: Bieber and Me

    Synopsis: It's the unlikeliest of friendships: 37-year-old undefeated world champion boxer Floyd Mayweather and 20-year-old pop sensation Justin Bieber. And yet, the two are inseparable.

    In the feel-good, buddy reality series of the century, Bieber and Me will give fans an exclusive look at what it takes to maintain a long-lasting, perfect friendship. What do these guys talk about at the spa? Do they have crushes on the same girls? What is it like to be so popular?

    Come along for the ride and find out for yourself.

Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn: 'Second Chances'

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Athletes: Tiger Woods, Lindsey Vonn

    Show Title: Second Chances

    Synopsis: Tiger Woods has made a couple of mistakes, and his first marriage ended poorly after more than a handful of extra-marital affairs.

    Now, for some unknown reason, another woman has decided to place her trust in him.

    Will Tiger take advantage of this second chance and get it right with girlfriend Lindsey Vonn? Or will another relationship crumble to pieces?

    In the meantime, will Woods ever be able to get his golf game back to the top?

Johnny Manziel: 'Here's Johnny'

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    Mark Duncan/Associated Press

    Athlete: Johnny Manziel

    Show Title: Here's Johnny

    Synopsis: Nobody in the history of sports has lived a life so perfectly fit for reality television.

    Johnny Football's unapologetic approach to living life to its fullest has made him the ultimate role model for frat boys across the country.

    Will Manziel be able to keep up his fast-paced celebrity lifestyle while still having success on the football field? How long will it take for Johnny to get bored in Cleveland? How many more selfies will show up with Justin Bieber and Floyd Mayweather?

    Thanks to Here's Johnny, you can be there for every scandal, every party, every selfie, every vacation and every highlight-reel touchdown.


    Which other athletes should have their own reality shows, and what would you call them? Let me know on Twitter.


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