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Karnes: The ‘real’ fantasy team (Oct. 4)

Casey Karnes | Friday, October 4, 2013

Watching fictional athletes in sports movies or on TV always gets me thinking: How would these athletes fare in the real world?
In honor of that thought, I’ve complied a list of the top eight fictional athletes from TV or movies. No athletes based on real people will be included, just original characters. Without further ado …

8. Rod Tidwell, “Jerry Maguire”

Get this man a contract! Jerry Maguire lucked out when his last remaining client ended up being this brash receiver on the Arizona Cardinals. While Tidwell’s off-the-field persona may resemble Terrell Owens’, on the field he is the equivalent of Steve Smith. Undersized, yet bold and fearless, Tidwell is willing to sacrifice his body for his team and family.

7. Thad Castle, “Blue Mountain State”

The hardest-hitting linebacker in the country, Castle has long been BMS’s best player. While his teammates may not agree with his inappropriate leadership tactics, no one can argue with his status as a two-time All American and three-time captain. His lack of intelligence is seen as a hindrance by some but in truth allows Thad to obey his coach and sacrifice his body unquestioningly.

6. Willie Beamen, “Any Given Sunday”

Beamen has Robert Griffin III’s brilliant mix of arm strength and speed and is able to make a huge play out of nothing. But like Tom Brady, Beamen plays with a chip on his shoulder, using his status as a late-round draft choice to motivate himself. While he initially struggles with nerves and then a growing ego, Beamen eventually found a balance that allowed him to exploit his unique talents.

5.  Roy Hobbs, “The Natural”

The movie’s title says it all; Hobbs was made to play baseball. He was an unhittable up-and-coming pitcher before being shot in the abdomen, an injury that ended his career. His pitching career that is, as Hobbs returned and became the best hitter in the game, single-handedly taking his team to the playoffs. If not for his injury, Hobbs very likely could have been No. 1 on this list.

4. Forrest Gump, “Forrest Gump”

Forrest caught Bear Bryant’s eye in college and earned a spot on the Alabama football team, an achievement any Notre Dame fan should be able to appreciate. Then Forrest became a master Ping-Pong player, earning sponsorships and playing internationally on behalf of the U.S. Forrest later showed he could have been a dominant marathoner by running across the country. What Forrest lacked in intelligence, he made up for in speed, endurance and sheer determination.

3. Paul Crewe, “The Longest Yard” (1974)

This is the 1974 version of Crewe, not the doughy version played by Adam Sandler in the remake. As Crewe, Burt Reynolds, who was a running back at Florida State, was the most convincing quarterback ever portrayed. If not for his questionable ethics, Crewe may have been the perfect quarterback, with a cannon of an arm and remarkable athleticism.

2. Rocky Balboa, “Rocky 1-6”

A mountain of muscles with an iron chin, Rocky is the ultimate chump-to-champ story. Balboa has fought and beaten the most fearsome opponents imaginable. He’s so iconic that Philadelphia erected a statue of him, and some consider his victory over Ivan Drago in Rocky IV a turning point in the Cold War. He might rank No. 1, but like many other legends his late-career attempts at a comeback diminished his legacy.

1. Jesus Shuttlesworth, “He’s Got Game”

First of all, what a name! Second, Shuttlesworth is depicted as a Kobe-like talent, being hyped by media, agents and recruiters as the best prospect ever. But on top of that show-stopping athleticism, Shuttlesworth is played by Ray Allen, the greatest three-point shooter in NBA history. A combination of Allen’s shooting and Bryant’s talent would allow Shuttlesworth to compete for the title of best basketball player ever and is certainly enough to name him the greatest movie athlete ever.

Contact Casey Karnes at wkarnes@nd.edu
    

The views expressed in this Sports Authority are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.