Next Major Sports Movie Odds: Kobe, Biles, Tiger Among Favorites
Bill Speros | 7 mins
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Ask 50 people: “What is the best sports movie ever made?”
You will probably get 50 different answers.
What about “The Best Sports Movie Never Made?”
On Tuesday, Disney released a trailer for Rise, a biographical movie about the life of Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brothers, Thanasis and Kostas, which will appear on Disney+. With that in mind, we examined the sports and movie landscape to determine the most likely sports figures to next appear on the big screen – or at least the bigger screen in your family room.
Sports and Hollywood clashed at the Oscars when Will Smith, who was nominated for and eventually won “Best Actor” honors for his role as Richard Williams in “King Richard,” smacked comedian Chris Rock live in front of millions on worldwide TV. Smith (sort-of) apologized and has been banned from the Academy for 10 years.
His Oscar for “King Richard” will stand, as it was earned and deserved.
During his brief “retirement,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady announced plans for a movie called “80 For Brady.” It purports to tell the true story of four die-hard Brady/Patriots fans who road-trip from New England to Houston for Super Bowl 51. It stars Rita Moreno, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Sally Field. It is expected to include Brady playing himself.
Next Athlete To Get A Major Sports Movie
So, who will be the next sports figure to appear in a non-documentary film, either as themselves or in a portrayal by a Hollywood star?
Here are our projected odds on that proposition. These odds are compiled using a Bookies.com analysis of the potential storylines, audience interest, and other projects in the works.
Next Sports Star Movie Projected Odds
|Simone Biles/USA Gymnasts||+650|
|Marvelous Marvin Hagler||+1300|
Odds above were set by Bookies.com Senior Handicapper Adam Thompson. They are projected and not currently available at legal sportsbooks or betting apps. This page will be updated should odds become available.
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Big Names Share Spotlight
Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020. Bryant’s death rocked the sports and culture world. His story was played out for all to see during his 20 seasons in the NBA. Bryant’s Lakers won 5 NBA titles during his time with the Purple and Gold. His life offers a compelling tale. It seems to be a natural pick, especially in the wake of the controversial, yet much-talked-about HBO docu-drama “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.”
The issue with any film surrounding Bryant would be whether it would have the blessing of his family or be “unauthorized” or morphed into fiction-lite. The commercial success of “Winning Time” could also inspire a similar movies/series concerning the late Wilt Chamberlain or long-time Celtics great Bill Russell.
The Celtics won 11 titles during Russell’s 13 seasons in Boston at a time when the city was struggling with race relations. Russell is very much still with us and active on social media. He recently sold off much of his personal memorabilia and is active in promoting social justice and racial equity.
The tale of trauma and triumph surrounding Simone Biles and her fellow USA gymnasts is the stuff of Hollywood. Yet it was all too real. There is an audience waiting for this compelling story of how so many women were able to overcome such personal tragedy, and the courage it took for them to speak out to the world about it.
Tiger Woods Could Tell His Own Story
There are multiple markers in the life of Tiger Woods that could stand on their own. “King Richard” was the first major film that told the backstory of the Williams family that was made with the family’s cooperation.
Woods and his camp are in what seems like perpetual battle mode when it comes to unauthorized biographies or video dramas about the 15-time major champion. Woods has a long-term deal with Discovery+, so any movie detailing any part of his life would likely land on that platform. The streaming space is oversaturated (see CNN+ and the recent slide in Netflix stock). So this might be something that could surface in the near-term.Colin Kaepernick has been both a noteworthy and polarizing figure since he first opted to take a knee during the National Anthem back in 2016. He remains in the news as he tries to snag a roster spot in the NFL for the upcoming season.
Kaepernick is active across multiple media platforms, so any film telling all or part of his story seems all but inevitable, especially given the increasing number of streaming services seeking original content.
Remembering The Likes Of Clemente, Hagler
The 50th anniversary of Roberto Clemente’s tragic death comes on Dec. 31. Clemente, who was born in Puerto Rico, was the first great Latin baseball megastar and overcame institutional prejudice and racism throughout his career. Clemente died in a plane crash while trying to deliver post-earthquake aid to Nicaragua. He was enshrined into Cooperstown with exactly 3,000 hits in 1973, as the Hall waived its normal five-year waiting period. There is a push to have his No. 21 retired across baseball as a tribute, like the one afforded to No. 42 Jackie Robinson.
Marvelous Marvin Hagler (yes, his first name was officially changed to “Marvelous”) lived a true rags-to-riches boxing story. Hagler grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts in the shadow of all-time heavyweight legend Rocky Marciano. Hagler won 64 of his first 66 fights and ruled the middleweight division from 1980-87. His career ended after he lost to Sugar Ray Leonard in a controversial, 12-round split decision. Hagler walked away from boxing after that bout, one which millions still believe he won. Hagler was very protective of his life story before he died in March of 2021 at age 66.
Multiple Sports Tales To Be Told
There are multiple tales to be told among many others on this list. Here’s a quick rundown.
Conor McGregor: Originally a plumber in Dublin, Ireland, “The Notorious” fought his way to worldwide prominence on the MMA stage. Brash and combative outside the octagon, as well as inside it, McGregor has millions of UFC betting fans and numerous foes, but he always seems to land in the spotlight. Often lost is the fact that he was a UFC titleholder in three different divisions over a span of a dozen years.
Usain Bolt: Bolt is a worldwide athletic phenomenon and was nearly unbeatable on the track. Anything with his name on it has a built-in audience of hundreds of millions.
Shohei Ohtani: The 2021 American League MVP, Ohtani is the most dynamic and talented two-way pro ballplayer since Babe Ruth. He enjoys superstardom in both the United States and Japan.
Molly Seidel: Many sports movies tell stories about athletes that are not necessarily well-known but bring a backstory worthy of a full film or series production. Molly Seidel is a long-distance runner who won the Bronze medal in the Tokyo Olympic Marathon in 2021 — her third marathon ever. She was the first American woman to medal in the Olympic marathon in 15 years. She went from never having run a marathon to running three in just 18 months. She had been running distance for years, but dealt with multiple injuries and an eating disorder.
Ryan Lochte: Had it not been for Michael Phelps, Lochte may have become the greatest male American Olympic swimmer of all time. Lochte won 12 Olympic medals. He is an incredible athlete who had a self-destructive streak that nearly ruined his life and swimming career. His rise, fall, and eventual personal success in overcoming his self-imposed challenges would no-doubt thrill audiences.