The best sports movie characters of all time

Johnny BallgameCorrespondent IJune 18, 2008

Fantasy geeks everywhere love a good sports movie. Hell, they love a bad sports movie. Movies based on our favorite sports are those we can’t wait to see in the theatre. One great thing about sports movies is they can be from many different genres. There are sports-comedies such as Major League, Slap Shot or Caddy Shack. Others can be love stories like Bull Durham or Jerry McGuire. And don’t forget about drama titles such as Hoosiers, Rocky, Field of Dreams and The Natural. Just to name a few.


My favorite aspect regarding sports movies are the characters created. Who doesn’t love a great sports movie character? I’ve compiled a list of my favorite fictional sports movie characters of all time. Here they are:


10. Apollo Creed (Rocky)- Some call Creed a poor man’s Muhammad Ali. Obviously this character was based on “The Greatest of All Time” and definitely lived up to that billing. Creed was a smooth talking, fast jabbing artist of boxing. He kicked the hell out of Rocky for two fights but lacked the power to knock the underdog out. Creed was the man. He set the stage for the cocky, loud mouth sports characters to follow.

9. Shooter McGavin (Happy Gilmore)- Everybody loves Shooter McGavin. He made that movie. He epitomized the arrogant, country club golfer proto-type and lived up to everything. His antics and hilarious tag-lines against Happy Gilmore were legendary. The sport of golf needs a real life McGavin clone. It would spice up a boring sport. McGavin’s character was a joy to watch.


8. Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Bull Durham)- This bonus baby pitcher with a million dollar arm and a five cent head is a main reason why I feel Bull Durham is the best sports movie of all time. His nickname, Nuke, is also the greatest ever for a sports movie character. He was a lovable moron who wore Motley Crue t-shirts underneath his sports blazers- something only guys like him can pull off.


7. Willie Mays Hays (Major League)- This movie has many deserving characters who could qualify on this list. Guys like Jake Taylor, Pedro Cerano and “Wild Thing” Ricky Vaughn are all deserving. However I feel Willie Mays Hays was the greatest of the movie. He drove a Volkswagen bug which looked like a Rolls Royce and had the speed of a Ricky Henderson. He was arrogant and overconfident even though he shouldn’t have been. He led the way for the Cleveland Indians to win the pennant and defeat the Yankees in a one game playoff. He also had some memorable quotes such as “the American Express card, don’t steal home without it”.


6. Roy Hobbs (The Natural)- First off, only Robert Redford could have pulled this one off. Redford’s portrayal of a once legendary baseball prospect turned into a 30-year old rookie was absolutely amazing. He was the humblest of baseball heroes, a quiet slugger that only wanted to play ball. He had one major flaw, the same flaw many guys have- women. Hobbshad a soft spot for the pretty ladies and his country background didn’t equip him for the fast women of the city life, and Kim Basinger was just down-right sexy in this movie. Gotta’ love the name, too. Roy Hobbs. It’s just classic.


5. Reggie Dunlop (Slap Shot)- If you’ve never seen this movie, please put in on your list of future rentals. Slap Shot is one of the best sports movies of all time. It’s based on a minor league hockey team and Dunlop, played my silver screen legend Paul Newman, is the perfect leader. Dunlop is an aging minor league hockey player who serves as both player and coach. He’s creative, brash and gets the ladies. It’s your typical Paul Newman role.


4. Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane (White Men Can’t Jump)- Had to put these two together. Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes work perfectly together in this classic hoops flick. Both can actually play ball and seem very athletic which helps the basketball scenes seem very real. The dialogue displayed between Hoyle and Deane are probably better than any other sports duo in movie history. I can watch this movie all the time.


3. Eddie Felson (the Hustler)- Ok, I like Paul Newman. This movie has him playing the role of “Fast” Eddie Felson, a pool hall hustler. This is an older flick, filmed in 1961 but stands the test of time. Like Wesley Snipes, Newman makes this list as two characters. The Hustler is one of the greatest sports flicks of all time mainly due to Newman and his ability to be loved by both men and women. If you’re a woman and have never seen a Paul Newman movie when he was in his prime, get your girls together and rent The Hustler. It’s a movie men and women can watch together and enjoy for different reasons.


2. Rod Tidwell (Jerry McGuire)- Tidwell could be at the top of this list as Cuba Gooding, Jr. delivered an Oscar winning performance as a loud mouth, prima Donna wide receiver that thought he deserved to be in the class of Jerry Rice, Cris Carter and Andre Reed. Tidwell’s portrayal of the flamboyant wide receiver such as a Chad Johnson, Terrell Owens or Michael Irvin proto-type was right on. Tidwell makes me crack up every time I watch this movie.


1a. Rocky Balboa (Rocky Series)- Stallone created and acted as this character and did a brilliant job in both respects. He was the true underdog raised in the streets of Philadelphia. He wasn’t very skilled in the ring but proved he could defeat anyone with his amazing ability to take a punch. He wasn’t pretty or fast, but his heart outweighed everything. Rocky was the only sports movie to win an Oscar for best picture.


1. Crash Davis (Bull Durham)- The career minor leaguer lit up the silver screen in Bull Durham as both a baseball player and tireless romantic. Davis is a legend in movie history and his quick witted dialogue is something any guy would love to have in his arsenal. He was a man’s man who was both arrogant and humble.


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