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Biggest sports movie characters: The Top 100 reach their peak



theScore counts down the 100 best fictional characters in the history of sports films.

100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51
50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

10. Apollo Creed

“Rocky” (1975), “Rocky II” (1979), “Rocky III” (1982) and “Rocky IV” (1985)

Creed (Carl Weathers) is probably the most charismatic sports figure that has ever been seen on the screen. She is the perfect opposite of Rocky Balboa̵

7;s outsider character. The extravagant, arrogant boxer, who loosely relied on a combination of fighters like Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, welcomes his larger-than-life status, draws warmth to himself and remains likeable at the same time.

9. Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson

“The Wrestler” (2008)

Darren Aronofsky’s dark leap into the independent cycle of professional wrestling was a masterpiece that achieved an Oscar-worthy success thanks to Mickey Rourke’s incredible portrayal of fading Grappler Robinson. “The Ram” represents everything that is wrong with fame and fortune when his further journey to relive his glorious years costs him more important things in life. Rourke, who actually wrestled in the film, received a Best Actor nomination for his work.

8. Reggie ‘Reg’ Dunlop

“Slap Shot” (1977)

Silver Screen Collection / Moviepix / Getty

Already in the fifties, when “Slap Shot” was released, Paul Newmans Reg feels a bit like Gordie Howe as a passionate on-ice leader who has seen and done everything but still does his job because hockey is really his first Love. As always, this Newman Cool trademark is present both during the games and in the local bar.

Fair warning though: some of Reg’s jokes have not aged well.

7. Crash Davis

“Bull Durham” (1988)

Warning: video contains rough language

Davis (Kevin Costner) is a seasoned catcher hired to teach young hurler “Nuke” LaLoosh how to be a pro while trying to break a small league home run record that most people don’t know or are not interested in. Davis may be rough on the edges in “Bull Durham”, but his devotion to baseball and his ability to deliver memorable speeches make him one of the most legendary sports figures in film history.

6. Happy Gilmore

“Happy Gilmore” (1996)

It’s the perfect fish-out-of-water story: an impulsive would-be hockey player conquers the golf world after discovering an uncanny ability to drive the ball hundreds of meters thanks to his delicate slap-shot technique. As Happy, Adam Sandler is at his best, screams, beats and curses as he walks past the cumbersome Pro Tour residents.

5. Jesus Shuttlesworth

“He Got Game” (1998)

Casting a non-actor – then Milwaukee Bucks star Ray Allen – as the lead actor in a drama was risky, but Spike Lee’s move paid off. Allen does just enough to bring the teenage basketball prodigy, Jesus Shuttlesworth, to life, and then carefully wipes out the paint so Denzel Washington does the heavy lifting.

With Allen as Hall of Famer, the character of Jesus Shuttlesworth has been in the public consciousness for more than two decades.

4. ‘Steamin’ Willie Beaming

“Any Given Sunday” (1999)

Warning: video contains rough language

In the 1990s, Jamie Foxx was best known for the sketch comedy show “In Living Color” and the sitcom “The Jamie Foxx Show”. Oliver Stone’s “Any Given Sunday”, which dives deeper into the shabby underbelly of professional football, has helped bridge the gap between Foxx’s comedic work and his Oscar for Best Actor for “Ray” in 2005.

Much of the history of Willie Beamen continues to this day: the drawer of football and the treatment of black quarterbacks; get used to a rapid rise in celebrity status; and weighing priorities in and out of the field. Beaming feels like an amalgam of many real QBs that came before and after – unique personalities and talents like Jim McMahon, Michael Vick, Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson.

3. Protect McGavin

“Happy Gilmore” (1996)

McGavin (Christopher McDonald) is everything you’d expect from a comedic sports villain. For one, he sees all of his competitors as his inferiors – which often makes him both a sore loser and a sore winner. Shooter also positions itself as a gatekeeper for its sport and scoffs at those who confuse the established hierarchies and traditions of golf.

This makes it the perfect film for Sandler’s Happy, a blue-collar rube with a preference for emotional outbursts. Of course it doesn’t take long for Happy to turn the tables. At the end of “Happy Gilmore”, Shooter completely lost its moral superiority and enabled Happy to win.

2. Dottie Hinson

“A league of its own” (1992)

Second on our list is Hinson (Geena Davis), the dairy farmer who became a catcher in “A League of Their Own”. After joining the All-American Girls Professional Baseball team while her husband is at war, Hinson, thanks to her great playing on the field and her leadership role in this classic sisterhood, became part of the United States National Film Registry in 2012 .

1. Rocky Balboa

“Rocky” (1975), “Rocky II” (1979), “Rocky III” (1982), “Rocky IV” (1985), “Rocky V” (1990), “Rocky Balboa” (2006), “Creed” (2015) and “Creed II” (2018)

The greatest outsider in the history of sports films is rightly at the top of our list. The legendary “Rocky” franchise has produced eight films in five decades, and the only constant has been Balboa, a nobody boxer who got the best out of the ultimate opportunity. Just when it looks like Rocky is facing an impossible challenge, the “Italian stallion” finds a way to overcome the opportunities. Balboa never gives up and has proven over the past 42 years that anything is possible, especially through hard work and perseverance.


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