YouTube Clip of the Day: Kobe Bryant Live Rap Performance with Tyra Banks

 

Obviously listening to his own beats.

Because he has evolved into quite a refined gentleman, most people forget that in his younger years Kobe Bryant was, well, just a kid. He was young, cocky, and not afraid to showcase all of his talents. And I mean all of them…

Kobe’s 2001 single “K.O.B.E.” featuring none other than Miss Tyra Banks (who has a few YouTube gems herself) took the country by storm. And of course the country I’m referring to is Tajikistan, where it went platinum…last year.

Needless to say Kobe retired rather abruptly from the rap game. That is one area where I’m afraid Shaq will always have the edge. Although, I’m pretty sure Shaq was never introduced by Ahmad Rashad and the Ying Yang Twins. So he’s got that going for him…

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YouTube Clip of the Day: Best Celebration Ever?

This one came out a couple of months ago, and I have to say that Chad Ochocinco has nothing on Icelandic soccer players. The boys from FC Stjarnan come up with a celebration that, well, is just too great for words. Enjoy.

So is this the best celebration ever?

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YouTube Clip of the Day: Ivan Drago Does His Best Elvis Impersonation

 

"I must break ice blocks..."

One of the great actors of our time, Dolph Lundgren (check out his IMDB page if you don’t believe me…He-Man: Masters of the Universe…need I say more?), is probably best known for his role as Rocky Balboa‘s Soviet adversary Ivan Drago in 1985’s Rocky IV. Surely Rocky’s Sylvester Stallone‘s Hall of Fame selection and my subsequent list of characters that belong in the Hall of Fame had Drago on my mind.

It reminded me of this clip, which I originally saw on The Soup. Not only is Dolph an awesome performer, but he takes several breaks while singing to 1) perform an awesome drum solo and 2) destroy wood and blocks of ice with parts of his body. Plus he’s in a tuxedo the whole time. Marvelous.

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Which Fictional Sports Characters Belong In the Hall of Fame?

 

Sly Stallone's election created a slippery slope.

When the International Boxing Hall of Fame elected Sylvester Stallone to the Hall of Fame, they were essentially putting his fictional character, Rocky, alongside greats like Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Robinson. I’m sure many other sports writers in the country had the same reaction, but I immediately thought that this created quite a slippery slope when it comes to the idea of a “Hall of Fame.”

So when I heard the news yesterday I decided to come up with a list of fictional characters that belong in their sports’ respective Hall of Fames. Sure enough, when I checked out my buddy Larry Brown’s site, larrybrownsports.com, this morning, I saw that he already came up with a few: Happy Gilmore in golf, Bobby Boucher in football, Jake Taylor in baseball, Butch McRae in basketball, and Forrest Gump in table tennis.

While that’s a good start, I think we should take the list a little further and make it a bit more realistic. We have to take the caveat that we only get a glimpse of a career in most films, so we’ll have to project what we think could happen over the course of a full career given talent, work ethic, family situation, etc. I’ve come up with three nominees for each of the major sports, and Sow and I will come up with the winners in this week’s podcast. Enjoy.

National Baseball Hall of Fame (Cooperstown, NY):

  • Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, Major League, Major League II. After a troubled past, Vaughn took the league by storm with his electric fastball and intimidating eyewear. In his second season, Vaughn experimented with various offspeed pitches when he realized he wouldn’t have his 95+ fastball forever. While the changes led to a significant sophomore slump, Vaughn picked it up in the playoffs when he led the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. It’s reasonable to think that Vaughn would have figured out how to combine his velocity with offspeed like many before him (Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, Josh Beckett) and had a long and illustrious career. Hall of Fame Moment: Striking out Clue Haywood of the Yankees to give the Indians their first playoff berth in 35 years.
  • Billy Heywood, Little Big League. Heywood made baseball history in 1994 when he, as a 12-year old boy, took the reigns as manager of the lowly Minnesota Twins. Heywood was able to turn the team around through various Little League gimmick plays and his mantra “remember, this game is fun.” Though he retired due to emotional immaturity (including benching future Hall of Famer and step-father Lou Collins for personal reasons) after narrowly missing the playoffs in the ’94 campaign, it is hard to imagine that would be Heywood’s last shot at managing in the Big Leagues. If nothing else, he would still be owner of the Twins for the duration of his life, and being the youngest manager in the history of the game would definitely get him some votes. Hall of Fame Moment: Tipping his cap to a capacity crowd chanting “Billy! Billy!” after nearly leading the Twins to the playoffs.
  • Steve Nebraska, The Scout. No doubt that Nebraska has the talent to be a Hall of Famer. His unthinkable 112 mph fastball led him to pitch a “true” perfect game in 1994 against Ozzie Smith and the Cardinals: 27 up, 27 down, 81 pitches, all of ’em strikes. The only question is, would the unreachable mark that he set in his first Major League game create impossible expectations for the young right-hander? We already know that he was working through significant psychological issues, and it’s hard for me to imagine that he could overcome them to have a full career. But still, given his talent level I couldn’t leave him off the nomination list. Hall of Fame Moment: Beating his chest like King Kong on the mound at Yankee Stadium after his immortal performance.

Honorable Mention: Dottie Hinson (A League of Their Own), Kelly Leak (The Bad News Bears), Roy Hobbs (The Natural)

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, Mass.):

  • Neon Bodeaux, Blue Chips. The virtually unrecruited Bodeaux made a huge splash on the college basketball scene when the “7-foot-4” center began his career at Western University in 1994 under the tutelage of the polarizing Pete Bell. Although Bodeaux went pro after his freshman year amid allegations that he received illegal benefits, Bodeaux was as close to a sure thing as they come. A strong, mobile, 7-footer can have a long and illustrious career in the NBA, so I’m going to have to give him the nod. Hall of Fame Moment: Slamming home the game winning basket against Bobby KnightCalbert Chaney, and #1 Indiana University in is freshman year.
  • Jesus Shuttlesworth, He Got Game. Despite a trying recruiting process, there is no doubt that Jesus would have had a tremendous college career. Often those spurned by their loved ones early in their lives go on to do great things just to spite them. A pure shooter always has a place in the NBA, and Jesus’s flawless form and picture-perfect NBA body surely would have taken him a long way. Hall of Fame Moment: Beating his father in a game of one-on-one for much higher stakes than just basketball.
  • Saleh, The Air Up There. After being discovered in his native Africa by down-on-his-luck assistant coach and former college hoops great Jimmy Dolan, Saleh elects to suit up for St. Joseph’s. A 6-8 raw athlete with incredible jumping ability and ball-handling skills, it is presumable that Saleh would spend at least three years in college honing his game, where he would probably put up big numbers. A prince in his native land, Saleh would show tremendous leadership skills on and off the court and not be lured out of college early by the temptation of a large contract. Having already won a game for his tribe’s land, Saleh would have no problem handling the pressure of big games in the NBA. The whole “one-name” thing would also be an incredible marketing tool for whatever franchise ended up drafting him. Hall of Fame Moment: Saving his tribe from ruin by executing the famous “Jimmy Dolan Shake and Bake” to perfection to win the game.

Honorable Mention: Jimmy Chitwood (Hoosiers), Monica Wright (Love and Basketball), Billy Hoyle (White Men Can’t Jump)

Pro Football Hall of Fame (Canton, OH):

  • Wendell BrownVarsity Blues. Overlooked on a team full of high-profile talent like Lance Harbor, Johnny Moxon, and Charlie Tweeder, Wendell was the self-proclaimed “black work horse” that led the West Canaan Coyotes to back-to-back-to-back district championships. Wendell had his mom do his recruiting and earned himself a scholarship to Grambling, where he no doubt would have been a big fish in a small pond. Probably a late pick in the draft, Brown seems like the type whose grit and work ethic would prove all the naysayers wrong and lead him to a prolific career in the NFL. Hall of Fame Moment: Exposing the inherent racism of the West Canaan football program to his friend Johnny Moxon. (It may expose the inherent racism of YouTube users that I can’t find a clip for this…).
  • Rod TidwellJerry Maguire. The former ASU Sun Devil had a breakout 1996 season for the Arizona Cardinals and earned himself a lucrative long-term deal. Many may say that the flashy Tidwell was just playing for “the quan” and would have regressed into his “me-first” attitude in the coming years, but all signs indicate thatTidwell turned an emotional corner and was ready to take his place as one of the NFL’s elite receivers. Hall of Fame Moment: Endearing himself to fans after a scary hit, Tidwell put on a performance that will go down in football television history.
  • Joe Kane, The Program. “Kane is Able” had a tough junior season in 1993, marred by an embarrassing DUI-induced stint in rehab and a sub-par performance from his ESU Timberwolves. Before the setbacks, Kane came into the season as a Heisman favorite so clearly the talent is there. He cleaned up his act and went into his senior season clean and sober, which surely would have propelled him to be a top selection in the draft. He may not have the size of a prototypical NFL QB, but his struggles early in life could give him the strength to persevere against the odds. Hall of Fame Moment: Putting the women and children to bed and going looking for dinner, then finding Darnell Jefferson in the end zone to defeat Georgia Tech in his final game of the regular season.

Honorable Mention: Billy Bob (Varsity Blues), Shane Falco (The Replacements), Lucy Draper (Necessary Roughness)

Well that’s a good start, but I’m sure there are a number that I have forgotten. Who knew 1994 was such a great year for sports movies? Feel free to make additions in the comments field and maybe your suggestions will make it into the podcast.

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YouTube Clip of the Day: Scott Howard Wins in the End

He feels...like a winner!

When you talk about the great sports movies of all time, you often hear the same names come up: Bull Durham, The Natural, Major League, Varsity Blues, Miracle. What people forget is that the ground-breaking 1985 film Teen Wolf, starring a young Michael J. Fox, is in essence a sports movie. It also happens to contain one of the original (and best) sports montage scenes of all time, enriched by the harrowing tenor of Mark Safan’s Win in the End.

A little backgroud: Scott Howard (Fox) has led his high school team to the championship game against his dreaded rival (and boyfriend of Howard’s dream girl), Mick. Howard has played all season as his alter-ego The Wolf who, naturally, has superior basketball abilities. After a recent altercation with Mick at the school dance where Howard, as The Wolf, nearly attacked Mick out of anger, Howard has vowed never to transform into The Wolf again. Much to the chagrin of the home crowd, Howard shows up to the championship game not as The Wolf, but as himself. After his teammates plead with him to transform so that they have a shot at winning, Howard utters the classic words, “Guys, I wanna win. But I gotta be me.” Then the magic unfolds…

A few things to note:

  • The director must not have shot enough basketball scenes, as the same clips are used over and over from different angles.
  • The red-headed lefty, #45, is clearly the best athlete on the court and the Player of the Game but you don’t see him running off with Boof afterwards. Where’s the love?
  • Mick repeatedly clotheslines opposing players (a WWE-worthy shot at 2:01), but is never whistled for a flagrant foul nor ejected from the game.
  • Dwight Howard could learn something from Chubby’s hook shot at 3:02.
  • After a behind-the-back assist at 4:20, Howard brashly celebrates by jumping into his teammate’s arms in the middle of the game…meanwhile the other teams goes down and scores immediately.

I know the clip doesn’t show the ending, but I’ll let you guess how it turns out.

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YouTube Clip of the Day: Gheorghe Muresan Scores One for the Kids

What a great day for humanity.

For those of you that don’t remember, Gheorghe Muresan was a 7-foot-7 Romanian monster who took the league by storm when he started playing for the Washington Bullets (still sounds better than Wizards…Gilbert Arenas clearly likes the original name better…I’m not really worried that he’ll cast a spell on me, but I am worried that he will shoot me with bullets) in 1993.

As the tallest human to ever play in the NBA, Gheorghe’s game was shaky at best, largely due to the fact that he had trouble moving his gigantic body up and down the court. But still, he put up some relatively decent stats for a few years.

Off the court, however, Gheorghe was an absolute star. He turned in hilarious performances in several commercials and, of course, embraced his freakish appearance by starring in the 1998 Hollywood Blockbuster My Giant with Billy Crystal (I’m pretty sure Muresan was nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar that year…no wait…that was James Coburn).

Despite his performance in My Giant and this tremendously terpsichorean portrayal in this SportsCenter commercial, I have to say that Gheorghe’s best performance comes in the Snickers commercial below. I am forever in the debt of YouTube User patvilhauer for posting this and I can even forgive him/her for horribly butchering the spelling of “Murison.” Really? In the 20 minutes it takes to upload a 30-second clip to YouTube, you couldn’t have punched “Murison” into Google and realized that Charles Leslie Murison wasn’t featured in the video?

The “don’t look at me!” line at the end absolutely makes the ad. I can’t help but think back to high school, when this commercial prompted me and my buddies to say “…and score one for the kids” after any mediocre result after a maximum amount of effort. In fact, I’m bringing that back.

Ex: “I just spent three hours writing an article but I forgot to hit ‘save’ and I lost all my work when my computer died. And score one for the kids…”

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YouTube Clip of the Day: KerPlunk

Don’t ask me why I thought of this, but I just remembered watching Nickelodeon (particularly during Christmas season) and being bombarded with advertisements for various games. Crocodile Mile was a personal favorite, along with Crossfire, but this one had a particularly catchy theme song which has stuck with me to this day.

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