For Better or Worse: Real Sports Franchises in Movies and TV

William JohnsonCorrespondent IIIOctober 17, 2011

For Better or Worse: Real Sports Franchises in Movies and TV

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    There are plenty of fictional sports teams that appear in movies and/or TV and, unsurprisingly, most of their designs suck. To me, a sports movie has to have real teams in it to add a true authentic feel. And even if a film can't afford the rights to the professional sports licenses they want to show, sneaking in a few 'illegal' jerseys or fan-made T-shirts can preserve the feel (see Big Fan's 'Dallas Sucks' T-Shirt as an example).

    And if the movie isn't necessarily a sports film but a character loves sports or identifies with their area of birth or, in some cases, a particular film or television episode focuses on a sporting event, I like to see a true respect to detail by showing authentic, real team designs of all shapes and sizes (or something close to).

    With no rhyme or reason, I decided to look at real, professional sports teams that have appeared in cinematic movies and television series since the dawn of those mediums. Some have entire motion pictures supporting them. Others get a passing reference through a worn shirt, an old hat, or a cameo guest spot.

    I try to look at as many major and minor indications of sports franchises in cinema/television that I know of but, probably, and/or likely, I missed some or many. If you didn't see any that you particularly love, be it an entire movie or television episode, or just a loving and/or passing glance to a sports team that bears some significance to the movie/show/character, let me know in the comment section.

Arizona Cardinals -- Jerry Maguire

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    The Cardinals are hardly seen in this film but one of Jerry Maguire's most effective sequences takes place at Sun Devil Stadium, where the Cardinals used to play before moving to Glendale, and involved eventual Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr.

    In this scene, Cuba's character of Rod Tidwell catches a pass in the endzone but lands awkwardly and appears to be knocked unconscious. A long silence, and a lot of phone back and forth occurs, before Tidwell magically gets up and goes berserk, literally climbing the walls in satisfaction.

    Jerry Maguire was a major success getting five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and grossing $153 million in the US alone.

    The Cowboys also feature prominently in the film.

Arsenal Part 1 -- Fever Pitch

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    Before it became a meager, if well intentioned, American romantic comedy about baseball in 2005, Fever Pitch, based on the semi-autobiographical book by Nick Hornby, actually looked at football (or soccer) and the team Arsenal.

    The book is perhaps better remembered and loved then the original film (or the remake) though future Oscar winner Colin Firth gives an excellent performance.

Arsenal Part 2 -- Ocean's Twelve

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    Arsenal makes less of an impact in Ocean's 12. The squad travels from country to country with gymnast and burglar Yen (Shaobo Qin) in one of their suitcases.

    Hey, if you like soccer this is pretty cool. . .I guess. . .

    Arsenal is also featured in the film Incendiary but any clips actually showing Arsenal or its fans has a rather naked Michelle Williams having sex on a couch with Ewan McGregor or a number of injured/dead victims from a major terrorist explosion so. . .NSFW.

Atlanta Braves -- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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    Star Trek: DS9's captain, Benjamin Sisko, played by Avery Brooks, made it clear very early in the show's seven year run that Sisko, and his son Jake, were obsessed with baseball.

    By the time the show's final season rolled around, the audience was blessed (or cursed) with a full-on baseball episode.

    Playing Sisko's son Jake was actor Cirroc Lofton. Being the cousin of MLB player, and former-Brave Kenny Lofton, Cirroc chose to adorn a Braves cap during the episode.

    That all makes sense, I guess, even though at the time of filming AND premiere (1998), Lofton was back on the Indians after a one year stint with Atlanta.

Boston Red Sox Part 1 -- Fever Pitch

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    The making of the film is perhaps better than the film itself. Since the story was derived from Nick Hornby's book, in which a team shows little sign of success much to the main character's lament, showing a frustrated but loyal Red Sox fan, circa 2004, sounded like the perfect match for the American adaptation.

    Oddly, while filming concluded, the Red Sox won the frickin' World Series for the first time in 86 years! So the ending was re-shot and the main character, played by Jimmy Fallon, was no longer tortured by late night viewings of Billy Buckner.

Boston Red Sox Part 2 -- Cheers

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    Sam 'May Day' Malone was not known as the Red Sox greatest pitcher. He was, actually, hardly seen as a pitcher at all as his career was summed up by hit after hit, home run after home run, mostly due to his drinking.

    Constantly referencing the Red Sox due to Sam's past and the show's location, Cheers was also highly reverential to the Celtics, having many an episode take place within the historic Garden itself.

    From day one, waitress Carla wore an apron with the Red Sox logo emblazoned on it for the show's 11 year run.

California Angels -- Angels in the Outfield

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    One of the best lines in the film occurs when Joseph Gordon-Levitt asks his dead-beat dad when he could live with him and not in a foster home.

    "When the Angels win the pennant", he says, knowing that hell would probably freeze over first.

    This surprisingly touching film came out in 1994, eight years after the Angels had gone to the ALCS. However, during that time, the Angels had a total record of 592-657 (.473) with no playoff appearances (however, they did win 91 games in 1989) and no sign of hope for the near future.

    After the movie was released, the Angels went back and forth with winning seasons but, rather quickly, won a World Series (and, thus, a pennant) in 2002. By then, however, Gordon-Levitt had moved out of his foster home as a legal adult.

    Angels in the Outfield doubled its budget of $24 million and grossed $50 million in theaters. An additional $22 million in rentals made it a bonified financial success. So much so that sequels, entitled Angels in the Endzone and Angels in the Infield, were produced.

    The film is, of course, a remake of the original from 1951, which was about the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Chicago Bears -- Brian's Song

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    The movie that makes most, or all, men cry, Brian's Song, released in 1971, was, shockingly, a television movie. But, despite that, is one of the most quoted and famous football movies ever made.

    Starring James Caan after he was a big success in The Godfather and Billy Dee Williams before he became a household name in The Empire Strikes Back, the movie touched on more then just football: racism and friendship ended up being the predominant issues in this tear-jerker of a drama.

    What makes the movie even more touching is that it was, for the most part, true, as Williams plays Gale Sayers and Caan plays Brian Piccolo, real life Bears players.

Chicago Bears Part 2 -- Superfans on SNL

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    No explanation needed. This phrase, originated on Saturday Night Live's often repeated skit 'Superfans', has become part of the cultural zeitgeist and repeated quite often by pretty much everyone.

Chicago Blackhawks -- Wayne's World

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    'Game On' became a common catchphrase in my neighborhood whenever my friend and I would play street hockey or football on our neighborhood street.

    Wayne's World, in general, has a very hockey-like theme as real-life Canadian Mike Myers added his love for hockey into the production design. Since Wayne's World takes place in Aurora, Illinois, it is only natural Wayne and Garth would be Blackhawk fans.

    The donut shop in the film (which was also featured in Wayne's World 2) is named Stan Mikita's Donuts. Stan Mikita was an historic career Blackhawks player who, overall, scored 541 goals.

Chicago Bulls -- The Wire

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    The Wire is many things but, on a trivial note, it is one of the only, if not the only, shows to have a Bulls jersey that wasn't Jordan or Pippen related.

    Namond Brice, son of notorious Avon Barksdale muscle man Wee-Bey Brice, will appear on this list a few times.

    In one scene during the show's fourth season, Namond is rocking this old school Artis Gilmore jersey.

Chicago Cubs -- Rookie of the Year

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    Before becoming a sex obsessed teenager in the American Pie films, Thomas Ian Nicholas starred in the seminal family baseball film Rookie of the Year.

    Starring then-star Daniel Stern (who also directed) and then-not-crazy Gary Busey, Nicholas acted out every kid's dream: pitching for a major league team.

    The 1993 feature had competition with Little Big League in most kids households. Without doubt, though, Rookie of the Year was a financial success earning almost as much in rentals as it did in the box office.

Chicago White Sox Part 1 -- Eight Men Out

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    The most scandalous team in baseball history got the bio-pic treatment in 1988 but barely made waves, just earning back its budget in box office revenue.

Chicago White Sox Part II -- Major League II

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    Though Major League II is, no doubt, about the Cleveland Indians, the White Sox are given the villain treatment, this time with a former Indian! (duh duh DUH) switching sides and becoming a divisional rival.

    At the time of Major League II's release, the White Sox were an excellent 67-46 in the strike shortened season and had, in 1993, made it to the ALCS with 94 wins, losing in six to the eventual champions Toronto. So their appearance as a potential juggernaut with World Series aspirations wasn't a preposterous idea.

Cincinnati Reds -- Hu$tle

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    Tom Sizemore starred in this ESPN produced bio-pic regarding Pete Rose's gambling scandal while coach of the Reds.

    The film is generally frowned upon and has a meager 4.2 rating on

Cleveland Indians -- Major League I and II

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    The classic film, Major League, and its solid sequel Major League II, both comically mock but secretly love the Cleveland Indians, turning a city's endless misery into something fun and possibly successful.

    The first film, released in 1989 and earning over five times its budget at the box office and in video rentals, was rated R and certainly a bit more adult. And it didn't necessarily light a fire under the Indians butt as the Indians crawled to season win totals of 77, 57, 76, 76, and 66 until 1994.

    Once Major League II was released in '94, however, the Indians must have been embarrassed enough at being known as the 'losing team' that they continued to dominate the AL for years to come, going to the World Series in 1995 and 1997 and winning over 97 games three times.

    A terrible second sequel, Back to the Minors, was made and quickly forgotten.

Dallas Cowboys -- Making the Team 1-????

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    I don't know how many there were or if the show is still on but apparently the show does exist and that is scary. . .

Dallas Mavericks (feat. New Jersey Nets) -- Like Mike

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    While Like Mike is a surprisingly fun romp and features just about all 30 NBA teams, the clip above, and perhaps the funniest part of the film, belongs to the Dallas Mavericks.

    *note: You'll have to get through a tiny part featuring the New Jersey Nets in their Jason Kidd days. It is funny though so it won't be traumatic or anything.

Derby County -- The Damned United

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    Derby County made it back to the Premier League in 2007-2008 for the first time since the early part of the short decade and went on to compile one of the lowest point totals in EPL history (11).

    Shirts went for sale that said 'I scored on Derby County in 2008'. They were utterly shocking and awful and haven't returned to the EPL since.

    However, the 2009 film The Damned United manages to show Derby County in its prime, back when manager Brian Clough provided Derby with trophies galore in the '60s and '70s.

    Sadly, only seven people saw the film, which is a shame. Go watch it!

Detroit Lions Part 1 -- Beverly Hills Cop I, II, and III

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    Eddie Murphy was still in his prime back in 1984 when Beverly Hills Cop came out and his Detroit Lions jacket became a piece of cinema history.

    While not about sports in the least, Eddie wearing Lions merchandise automatically brings up BHC and his character Axel Foley.

    In all reality, Murphy hardly wore the jacket, if at all, in the first film. But the Lions jacket became such a key marker for the character, and an easy way to franchise a character, that it almost became irremovable come BHC III.

    If there is a BHC IV, there is no doubt Murphy's wardrobe will be limited to just the jacket though the original must be a bit worn by now.

Detroit Lions Part 2 -- Paper Lion

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    The wonderful film, based upon the equally wonderful book, stars Alan Alda as a newspaper reporter pretending to be a Lions quarterback. It seems unlikely yes, but the story is true making the proceedings so great and unexpected.

    George Plimpton, the author of the book, is played by Alda in the film. Plimpton suited up for the Lions a yesteryear ago as part of a research project which became the book itself.

    Alan Alda, who has been nominated for 33 Emmy Awards (winning six of them) and one Oscar, was also nominated for a Golden Globe for this film.

Detroit Tigers -- For Love of the Game

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    One of Sam 'Drag Me to Hell and Spider-Man' Raimi's quieter and contemplative films, For Love of the Game is a neat story, watching a perfect game in the making whilst cutting back in time to see the pitcher's, played by Kevin Costner, relationship with his true love Kelly Preston.

    Despite a great opening weekend, the film eventually fell way below its budget-marker and lost money and, ever since, has become kind of a forgotten sports movie.

Durham Bulls -- Bull Durham

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    I know I should probably hand over my sports-movie-fan card but I have actually never seen this movie so I have absolutely nothing to offer for you here.

    The Durham Bulls are now the AAA affiliate for the Tampa Bay Rays and, at the time of filming/release in 1988, were the A affiliate for the Atlanta Braves.

    I'm going to go watch this now. . .

Green Bay Packers -- That '70s Show

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    Eric's (Topher Grace) dad has never been to a Packers game with his son. . .until this episode. Being a sitcom, hijinks ensue.

Los Angeles Lakers Part 1 -- Curb Your Enthusiasm

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    Shaq gave up acting, for the most part, and this clip will show you why.

    Always accessible to true sporting talent, HBO, through Arliss and, surprisingly, Curb Your Enthusiasm, managed to have comedic plots take place with real stars in their real uniforms and, as with this episode, in their real stadiums/arenas.

Los Angeles Lakers Part 2 -- Love and Basketball

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    The entirety of the first minute or so of this clip shows, pretty much, the entire Laker career of Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) in the basketball romantic-drama Love and Basketball.

    The Los Angeles Sparks get similar love at the end of the film when co-star Sanaa Lathan plays for them after McCall retires.

    Love and Basketball, produced by Spike Lee, is generally insulting to women under the guise of female empowerment and also happens to have a running time of 631 minutes.

Los Angeles Lakers Part 3 -- Modern Family

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    Kobe made this funny appearance on a show I must admit I never have watched.

    Lastly, Del Harris, Cedric Ceballos, and Vlade Divac, amongst others, make an appearance in Space Jam. . .I just couldn't find a picture or a clip.

Los Angeles Rams -- Heaven Can Wait

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    This nine-time Oscar nominee (winning one) is a remake of the film Here Comes Mr. Jordan, from the 1940s.

    The original film dealt with a boxer dying before his time and reincarnating as someone else. In this case, director-actor Warren Beatty portrays a quarterback for the then LA, now St. Louis, Rams.

Leeds United -- The Damned United

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    The Damned United, while looking at Derby County in part, is mainly about Leeds United and how Brian Clough took over the club for a shockingly short 44 days.

    Clough, a manager in high demand who would see further tremendous success in later years, was all but tortured by his players, his owners, the league, and himself during that short but rocky 44 days.

    Once again, go watch this movie. It's very good.

Liverpool -- Formula 51

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    Liverpool itself doesn't play a major role in the film but co-star Robert Carlyle wears a blood red jersey throughout much of the film and makes an effort in one scene to beat up Manchester United fans.

Manchester United -- Bend It Like Beckham

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    One of the best sports films you're probably too embarrassed to admit is awesome, Bend It Like Beckham became a cult arthouse hit and a launching vehicle, along with Pirates of the Caribbean, for young starlet Keira Knightley.

    While the film focuses more on gender roles in sports and in certain cultures, Manchester United is ever present as the films main character obsesses over then-United heartthrob and solid player David Beckham.

Miami Dolphins -- Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

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    I don't think any film, or any sports team really, has ever glorified a conference championship ring. In fact, I didn't even know they gave out rings for conference championships!

    One of Ace Ventura's duties in the film with his name on it is to figure out who kidnapped the Miami Dolphin's team mascot. A missing jewel in an AFC championship ring gets the investigation started.

    Anyway, Ace Ventura was the launching pad for Jim Carrey's film career after immense success on TV's In Living Color. Co-star Courtney Cox didn't do so bad either. Meanwhile, Marino starred in Bad Boys II and never actually won a Super Bowl though, we must assume he won another AFC ring since, at the end of Ace Ventura, the Dolphins play in the Super Bowl.

Millwall -- Black Books

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    Often credited as the English team with the most goons, Millwall, who are also featured as villains in the ultra-violent soccer film Green Street Hooligans, have all their stereotypes thrown against them in this outrageous but cult English sitcom classic.

Milwaukee Brewers -- Mr. 3000

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    In 2004, Bernie Mac got his own staring vehicle in the baseball film Mr. 3000. While having a pretty solid plot (a former all-star with 3,000 hits finds out he actually only hit 2,997 and comes out of retirement, way too late, to get his final three hits), the movie wasn't particularly funny or inventive.

    But, the then terrible Brewers, who hadn't had a winning season since 1992, must have enjoyed the publicity and went .500 (81-81) in 2005, the first time since 1997 they didn't have a win total below 74.

    Mr. 3000 failed to capitalize on Bernie Mac's charisma, which is all the film really has, and actually lost $8 million dollars at the box office.

Minnesota Timberwolves -- The Wire

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    Namond is back, this time showing off the very cool throwback Timberwolves sweatsuit. No actual relevance here but nice to see a forgotten and under-appreciated logo and color scheme go noticed by a member of the media!

Minnesota Twins -- Little Big League

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    While the Twins also appear in Major League: Back to the Minors, the most major appearance I can think of is Little Big League, the seminal family baseball film from the early 1990s.

    While Little Big League was competitive for attention with kids of my generation in the VHS era with Rookie of the Year, ROTY ended up being a bigger financial success.

    In the end, it is cooler to see a kid PLAY baseball, like the kid in ROTY, then it is to see a kid OWN a baseball team, as the main star in Little Big League does.

The NBA Part 1 -- Forget Paris

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    While Forget Paris is a fun and often touching romantic comedy as seen through adult eyes, going to the theater to see it barely above the age of 10 was pretty traumatizing.

    Until I realized Billy Crystal was an NBA ref and my once-beloved league was the center of much of the action.

    Not every NBA team is featured but plenty are and they are, without doubt, some of the funniest and most interesting parts of a movie that is about anything but basketball.

The NBA Part 2 -- Eddie

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    I already gave Eddie its mention but a number of NBA teams, besides the Knicks, get a lot of screentime in this enjoyable film.

    Pay special attention to the Sacramento Kings, who get Oscar gold out of Olden Polynice.

The NBA Part 3 -- Like Mike

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    I gave Like Mike a shout out once but I have to again because it is a very cool, respectful love song to one of the worst eras in NBA history (that icky period in the early/middle of the '00s).

Newcastle United -- Goal! the Dream Begins

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    Much like The Damned United, very few people saw Goal! The Dream Begins even though it is a fairly epic adventure showing a Mexican-born illegal alien from Los Angeles travel to England and become an unlikely star on Newcastle United.

    The film has spawned two sequels but distribution, even in England, where the film was a surprise flop, was difficult on the film. The second film got some marketing help but the third film is lost in obscurity at this point.

New Jersey Nets/Orlando Magic -- Just Wright

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    Just Wright is more a romantic dramedy then a sports film but when sports are shown in the film, it seems the Nets and Magic are locked in constant combat.

    The 76ers kind of show up at one point but not really.

    Just Wright is a decent enough film but you have to realize that while the female lead is a former rapper turned Academy Award nominee, the other two biggest roles go to a full-time rapper and an acting-challenged NBA center (who happens to be Dwight Howard).

    The film only grossed about $21 million but it was a low budget affair ($8 million) so it technically made bank.

    *note: look for Rajon Rondo in a cameo. Why he is at a New Jersey Net party and says nothing is beyond me.

New York Giants -- Big Fan

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    This weird, sad, and sometimes frightening film concerns a never-grew-up toll booth operator obsessed with the Giants. The fan, played by Patton Oswalt, gets beat up by the Giants star QB but lies about who the beating so the QB won't get suspended and the Giants can keep winning.

    Critically praised but hardly released in theaters, Big Fan does the rounds on HBO and IFC.

New York Islanders -- Entourage

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    Since acting isn't necessarily a requirement, or a given, for the cast of the HBO hit Entourage, most of the actors can dress and act like themselves if they really want to.

    Kevin Connolly's character of Eric is a big Islanders fan. . .and so is Kevin Connolly. While Turtle is the more flamboyant when it comes to sports memorabilia, you can see E rolling around in Islanders gear from time to time as a personal shout out.

    Connolly is such a big fan of the team, in fact, that he was asked, by the team, to announce one of their draft picks in the 2010 draft. With definitely more charisma and pronunciation then NBA commissioner David Stern, Connolly announced Brock Nelson as the Islander's pick, 30th overall.

    Despite this love and exposure, the Islanders still suck.

New York Jets -- Law and Order: SVU

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    A small example, yes, but Captain Cragen's love for the Jets (and also a reminder that the show takes place in New York even though, technically, the Jets don't) has been displayed to millions of homes for over 13 seasons.

New York Knicks Part 1 -- Eddie

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    I like Eddie because it was so much fun to watch as a fan of the NBA in its heyday.

    The team focused on in the film is the New York Knicks and many actual NBA players make up the fictional roster including now deceased former star Malik Sealy.

    Also appearing was Mark Jackson, John Salley, and Rick Fox to name a few on the Knicks squad.

New York Knicks Part 2 -- The X-Files

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    In the first season episode 'Beyond the Sea', Mulder, oddly being the skeptic in the episode, tricks Brad Dourif's supposedly psychic character Luther Lee Boggs to 'read' a crime scene from a recovered piece of cloth at the scene of a crime.

    When Boggs does his act and seems to impress Scully, Mulder points out the shirt is simply cut from his favorite New York Knicks T-Shirt and thus Boggs is a fraud.

    While never seen again, Mulder's Knicks T-Shirt became sort of a running gag whenever the opportunity came for Mulder to be surprisingly skeptic.

New York Knicks Part 3 -- Entourage

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    There are probably thousands of examples of Turtle's Knicks love but this was one of the easiest to find, so there.

New York Rangers -- Mystery, Alaska

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    Another underdog story, Mystery, Alaska has an isolated Alaskan town's meager hockey team go up with the mighty Rangers in the great outdoors.

    Despite an excellent cast, which featured Russell Crowe, Burt Reynolds, Colm Meany, and Hank Azaria, the film sunk at the box-office, earning only $8 million on a $28 million dollar budget.

    It has become popular, however, not just amongst hockey fans but other casual movie watchers on channels such as TBS and TNT.

New York Yankees Part 1 -- Seinfeld

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    Despite being a massive Mets fan, Jerry Seinfeld featured the Yankees more then most on his legendary television program, even having character George Costanza work for the team.

    The highlights of the Yankee era of Seinfeld, however, was when show producer/creator/writer Larry David would appear as the late George Steinbrenner.

New York Yankees Part 2 -- The Pride of the Yankees

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    Gary Cooper played the legendary Lou Gehrig and recreated, in almost perfect detail, Gehrig's historic speech about being 'the luckiest man on the face of the Earth'.

    The 1942 film was nominated for 11 Academy Awards but only won one.

New York Yankees Part 3 -- The Scout

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    This little seen comedy (it grossed just over $2 million dollars) starred Brendan Fraser as the next great Yankee pitcher.

The NHL -- Clerks

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    Clerks might be the only time I've ever seen a Tampa Bay Lightning jersey in a movie.

    Being from New Jersey, director/writer Kevin Smith had one of the most unique hockey scenes in film history in his first first Clerks: atop a convenience store roof.

    As shown below, everyone is wearing a jersey of choice. While Devils jerseys are common in Smith's films or his own stores, the Penguins and Lightning, as mentioned, get shout outs. So does mother Russia.

Oakland Athletics -- Moneyball

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    This recently released film focuses on the true story of Oakland A's GM Billy Beane and how he used different techniques to draft and trade players for the budget-challenged team.

    Some of the stars of the movie look just like their real life counterparts while others are outrageously out of place (see: Carlos Pena).

    However, the film is moving and true so you can't lose there.

Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons -- Hot Shots

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    Though this clip is long (and in French!) you can see rivals of the '80s and '90s going at it for laughs for a few brief seconds: Barkley and Laimbeer!

    *note: skip to 5:18 for context.

Philadelphia Eagles Part 1 -- Invincible

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    Another true story has Mark Wahlberg playing real-life walk on Vince Papale (and they even look like each other).

    Capturing the look and feel of the 1970s, Invincible also has a killer soundtrack and was a moderate success with audiences, making almost $58 million on a $40 million dollar budget.

Philadelphia Eagles Part 2 -- the Wire

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    Namond makes his last appearance, this time showing off, what I assume to be, a Jerome Brown Eagles jersey.

Philadelphia Phillies and Cincinnati Reds -- Summer Catch

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    Now I can't find anything with Freddie Prinze Jr on the Phillies on any video site so you'll have to watch the trailer. . .which features Jessica Biel in a bikini (or Beverly D'Angelo in lingerie if that is your kinda thing) so some of you may be happy.

    Anyways, the largely forgettable film has a pretty cool ending. Spoilers (do I really have to say that)?

    Naturally, young Freddy gets promoted from AAA to the big leagues and pitches for Philly against the Reds. With his first pitch, the Reds' Ken Griffey Jr launches one out of the park.

    Also notable about the film is the list of actual MLB stars who made up the also-real minor league team the Chatham Anglers: Buster Posey, Dustin Pedroia, Nick Swisher, Chase Utley, Jeff Bagwell, and Jason Varitek, just to name a few. But I got that off of Wikipedia so it may be a dubious fact.

Pittsburgh Penguins -- Sudden Death

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    This not-really-that-bad Van Damme flick has terrorists kidnapping the Vice President during the Stanley Cup Finals.

    While the action and tension isn't bad, things get goofy when Van Damme dresses up as a Penguins goalie and actually saves a shot. *sigh*

    It's also the first movie (or anything really) where I've seen a last-second shot applied to hockey.

    This movie was a huge laserdisc rental in my house circa 1995 and 1996 and was a box office hit, making $64 million worldwide (on a budget of $35).

Pittsburgh Pirates -- Chasing 3000

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    I have also not seen this in its entirety though I've caught glimpses on HBO.

    The story revolves around a dying kid's wish to see Roberto Clemente hit his 3,000th hit in person before he, and, consequentially, Clemente himself dies.

Real Madrid -- Goal 2: Living the Dream

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    Back with the Goal! films. This time our hero from the first film, Santiago Munez, gets transferred from Newcastle United to play for Real Madrid with David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, and Ronaldo.

    Oddly, the film was released in the United States in August of 2008. At that time, Beckham had signed with the LA Galaxy, Zidane was long gone, and Ronaldo, also gone, was eating sixteen burgers a day while playing for AC Milan.

Rockford Peaches -- A League of Their Own

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    A team that, sadly, would not be known without the amazing baseball film A League of Their Own, the Rockford Peaches won four championships in the AAGPBL (don't ask me what it means).

San Diego Padres -- The Kid from Left Field

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    So, apparently this movie was made for TV in 1979 and starred the late Gary Coleman.

    I know nothing about it and can't really find any info about it. Or I'm lazy. Or I just don't care.

San Francisco Giants Part 1 -- The Fan

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    This bizarre Tony Scott production really has no heroes. You either rooted for selfish baseball star Wesley Snipes or child-kidnapping psychopath Robert DeNiro.

    While the film, of course, deals with the obsession of baseball, there are a number of scenes depicting Snipes in a Giants uniform hitting ridiculously cheesy CGI home runs out of Candlestick Park.

    The 1996 film completely tanked at the box office taking in only $18 million against a $55 million dollar budget.

San Francisco Giants Part 2 -- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

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    While Cirroc Lofton had a reason to wear a Braves hat in the baseball centric episode of DS9 titled 'Take Me Out to the Holosuite' (see that slide), none is really given for Avery Brooks, who plays Captain Ben Sisko, in regards to his choice of a Giants hat.

    Even in the 24th century people must still be Giants fans. And it might make sense since Starfleet Headquarters is in San Francisco. And I'm a nerd.

Seattle Supersonics -- Frasier

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    A lot of kids will grow up not knowing Seattle had a team in the NBA. And while NBA2K12 will immortalize the greatest team to never win a title with its 1996 unlockable Sonics team, another unexpected source will preserve Sonics memories forever. . .Frasier!

    One of the most popular sitcoms of the last three decades, Frasier was not known for its sports world as Frasier and Niles Crane often existed in the stiff-upper-lip-opera area of Seattle.

    But, on occasion, Seattle sports was represented to the fullest.

    In a separate episode early in the shows run, Niles is forced to go to a Sonics game with his dad and instead of watching listens to his cassette Walkman. When a fan sits next to him and asks him the score, Niles, straight faced and unaware, says, 'West Side Story'.

    The Sonic appeared a few times in the series while the Seahawks were often mentioned.

St. Louis Cardinals -- The Pride of St. Louis

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    This 1952 film, nominated for an Oscar for screenplay, depicts 'Dizzy' Dean in his formative years with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays -- The Rookie

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    Until 2008, The Rookie, which came out in 2002, was probably the greatest thing to happen to the Devil Rays since the actual birth of the franchise. 

    For once, someone could watch someone in a Rays uniform and actually feel good for a change.

    Granted, the perception of Tampa baseball has changed two division titles and an AL pennant later BUT when things were REALLY bad, seeing Dennis Quaid provide a feel good story around a tortured franchise was a true win.

    The Disney picture not only marked the nine billionth sports movie Quaid has starred in but was equally a commercial and critical success, earning four times its budget and getting a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 82%.

Toronto Maple Leafs -- The Love Guru and Chasing Amy

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    I didn't see The Love Guru nor will I. The Maple Leafs are in it though. 

    And since I couldn't find a clip or picture, there is no image from Chasing Amy in which costar Joey Lauren Adams wears nothing but a Leafs jersey, something writer-director Kevin Smith considers very sexy.

Utah Jazz -- Celtic Pride

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    Yes, this movie is technically about the Celtics but it is hard to find a movie with a Jazz player as the focus so I gave the Jazz the props here.

    Celtic Pride is considered one of the unfunniest movies ever made though I kind of like the premise (in which two Celtics fans kidnap the Utah Jazz's star player in order for him to avoid playing in the elimination game of the NBA Finals). The movie is critically maligned and the box office was dismal. It's amazing Judd Appatow, who came up with the story, managed to get work again.

    But work he did as The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, many years later, became huge sensations.

Washington Bullets/Wizards -- The Wire

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    While this jersey is pretty rad, its value is well noted by Avon Barksdale's muscle-man Cutty. Why would a lower level drug dealer be rockin' a brand new, expensive Wes Unseld jersey in the ghetto streets of Baltimore?

    While the jersey remains unscathed thankfully, this unfortunate pusher got his face rearranged in an alleyway and never wore something so garish but badass again.

Washington Nationals -- How Do You Know?

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    James L. Brooks most recent film was advertised as and looked like the next As Good As It Gets. But meager critical response and bleeding-in-the-red box office (it only grossed $30 million on a $120 million dollar budget) doomed this to recycle mode on HBO or TNT.

    Still, it was cool to see a Nationals jersey on the big screen.

Washington Senators -- Damn Yankees

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    Damn Yankees has been a play and a movie and, in any incarnation, is a blast, as one Senators baseball player makes a deal with the devil so that the Yankees will finally lose and the Senators can thus win.

    While the play and original film version was a big success in its time, Damn Yankees was in its prime when resurrected for Broadway with future-Alias star Victor Garber and the secret-sex-bomb star of Cheers, Bebe Neuwirth.

West Ham United -- Green Street Hooligans

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    You won't find any characters in Green Street Hooligans wearing any West Ham logos because once the team found out the film involved, well, hooligans beating people to death in tube stations and in the streets, the team said 'no' and refused any access to the team and its licenses. . .save for a very brief scene inside West Ham's stadium during a game.

    The Hammers have also been quietly given homage in British shows like The Office (UK) in which their team song is sung and in Law and Order: UK where lead detective Ronnie Brooks often carries his West Ham United coffee cup around proudly. 

Got Any More?. . .

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    . . .put them in the comments section.