Comparing Sports Figures to the "Entourage"
Quick. Name the only show besides SportsCenter that could fit Drew Brees, Marc Cuban and Minka Kelly into the same half-hour. Sorry PTI.
Now even quicker. Tell me the only show that could transform the three most miscellaneous big name actors into cult phenomenons. You're welcome Bob Saget, Seth Green and Gary Busey.
If you can catch your breath, tell me the only time you've ever seen the best actor of our generation and the best athlete of our generation on the same screen pursuing the same venture. Thanks Vince, it's for the kids.
If you answered Entourage, Entourage, and on an episode of Entourage, you aced the pop-culture portion of this final exam. Because of Entourage, the show that put Tom Brady and Mark Wahlberg in the same golf foursome, is ending tonight after eight scintillating, celebrity-rich seasons.
The show has always struck a jugular nerve among celebrities who understand the rip-roaring, often reckless lifestyle.
No group has been struck harder than professional athletes, who've formed a cameo waiting list longer than Green Bay Packers season ticket hopefuls have. What makes them so attracted?
Maybe it's the old "actors want to be athletes," "athletes want to be actors" dynamic that binds our premier entertainers through mutual respect.
Maybe it's because through it all, Entourage reminded us that even the richest, most famous people are nothing without the friends who keep them grounded.
Maybe the buddy-buddy, locker-room style banter defines the show.
Or maybe it's because Entourage is just plain cool.
And there's not a single friend group on the male planet that hasn't likened themselves to Vince and the boys. Those comparisons begin and end by deciding which friend is most like which character. So since every sports figure would give up an arm and a signing bonus just to make a 30 second cameo, which ones are actually similar enough to play the roles themselves.
Let's play that male bonding game with sports figures. If these guys were actually friends, they'd have a much stronger case than you and your three delinquent buddies.
Extra: Lloyd Lee-Brian Cashman
Plain and simple.
Highly intelligent, impeccably loyal subjects who consistently answer with flying colors to pressure and abuse from an over-demanding boss.
Just as Cashman emerged as perhaps the best GM in the game, Lloydddddddddddd!!!! emerged as one of the most resourceful reps in the Miller-Gold agency.
Extra: Shauna Roberts-Phillip Rivers
Both are dogged by hot tempers that mask how much they care about their craft and the people they associate with.
Rivers never quite gets mentioned among the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
Shauna never quite gets enough credit for keeping Vince's reckless personal life from forming its own season of E! True Hollywood Stories.
Extra: Sloan McQuewick-Anna Benson
Ok, ok Anna Benson isn't technically a sports figure, but she may as well have been for the way she ruined and tarnished her husband's psyche and career.
Kris Benson was actually a solid middle of the rotation starter early in his career, but then Anna started flashing for Playboy and sleeping with the long relievers, leaving her fading husband with far too many off-field distractions to keep his ERA below 4.50.
Granted, Sloane is far from a gossip-thristy sexpot. But E's emotional obsession with her prevents him from enjoying and focusing on his opportunistic rise as a successful talent agent.
Visually, it's plainly obvious to see how men like E and Kris Benson get distracted.
Extra: Billy Walsh-Andre Agassi
The classic case of a social rebel turned sober, buttoned down citizen. Both showed flashes of brilliance during his rebellious haze.
But both hit mindset altering roadblocks at full speed during the heart of their careers.
For Walsh, Medellin begat Johnny's Bananas. For Agassi, ecstasy kick begat four major titles after turning 30.
Extra: Scott Lavin-Joe Buck
It's the same story with Lavin and Buck. In small doses, there dry-winded pompousness is tolerable, sometimes even humorous.
When they're force-fed down our throats like baby apricots, we Entourage fans find ourselves yearning for the days of Dom.
Or in Buck's case, Pat Summerall.
Ari Gold-Mark Cuban
The most powerful men in their respective businesses, Cuban and Gold are pure self-made success stories to the bitter core.
Both also have a distasteful tendency for outlandish behavior and vulgar sound bytes.
But as Mrs. Ari and David Stern refuse to realize, it's only because they care so much.
Through three NBA stops in his first nine pro seasons, Randolph was always content to lazily let his talent fall by the wayside as he rode the coat tails of hefty guaranteed contracts.
Since finding a home in Memphis, however, he's developed into the best player on a rising playoff contender.
Through about the first 30 years of his life, Turtle was always content to let his business savvy fall by the wayside as he rode the coat tails of his famous childhood friend/legal guardian.
But after his success with Avion, Turtle finally appears ready to put his acumen towards something other than weed and sneakers.
Johnny Drama-Venus Williams
Early on in their careers, it looked like Venus and Drama would be the stars of their respective families. But Drama's shows kept getting cancelled and Venus stopped winning majors against her sister.
Both are still successful to an extent.
But they also represent the emasculating travails of the less talented older sibling.
Eric "E" Murphy-Lawrence Frank
Talk about a one in a million shot. Frank never even made his middle school basketball team. Heck, he didn't even make his 3rd grade synagogue team.
Against all odds, the pugnacious go-getter carved out a niche for himself as one of the more respected coaches in the NBA. And cocky millionaire players take his constructive criticism in stride.
Talk about a one in a million shot. Murphy was a community college dropout and nighttime Sbarro's manager when he moved to LA to help manage his best friend's career.
Against all odds, E carved out a niche for himself as a respected talent manager for actors who didn't even grow up next door to him.
And he's nabbed the hottest relationship pull in Entourage's rich eye-candy history.
Vincent Chase-LeBron James
No pun intended but this one's a slam dunk. Here are two entertaining megastars who've surrounded themselves with childhood friends without giving a damn what the general public thinks about it.
If they retired today, Vince and LeBron would both be Hall of Famers in their respective fields. While the resumes speak for themselves, it would be a waste of talent if they didn't double their accomplishments before calling it a career.
LeBron still needs a championship. Vince still needs an Oscar. Stay tuned.