4th & 10: Greatest Sports Movie Characters

Sam and I compiled a list of the greatest characters from sports movies.  The athletes on this list lit up the big screen and provided viewers with an innumerable amount of emotions.  Sometimes we cried with them, sometimes we laughed, and occasionally we had the chance to marvel at their athletic prowess (or lack thereof).

The List:

1. Shooter McGavin

2. Ricky Bobby

3. Rick Vaughn

4. Carl Spackler

5. Jackie Moon

6. John Moxon

7. Shane Falco

8. Jimmy Chitwood

9. Jerry Maguire

10. Danny LaRusso

Levi Dunagan

Jackie Moon

Moon is part athlete, part entertainer, part coach, and part owner.  He is a quadruple threat.  Moon is the reason NBA teams have conditioning coaches.  He is tall, pale, and slightly repulsive.  Moon once wrestled a bear in order to bring fans to games, the bear was never found.


Daniel LaRusso

Daniel LaRusso, also known as The Karate Kid, is the man.  He beats up the douchebag, Johnny, in the championship fight after enduring ridicule throughout the film.  Oh, I forgot to mention LaRusso ended the fight on the coolest move ever seen in karate.  Oh and even more amazing, he was playing through the pain after taking a cheap shot earlier.


LaRusso gets the girl in the end and gave hope to every kid who grew up getting beat up after school.  Let’s be honest, we all knew a “Johnny” growing up and it would have felt great to knock him out.

Jimmy Chitwood


Chitwood saves Gene Hackman’s job.  Then, even though he hasn’t practiced with the team until midseason, Chitwood shoots over 90% in the movie.  It’s even more miraculous that no team guards him tightly in any game that year.  They simply accept the greatness of Chitwood.  It remains unclear on whether or not Chitwood had another person take his ACT for him so that he might play basketball collegiately for one season before taking his talents to the NBA (looking at you DRose).  Furthermore, Chitwood hits the biggest shot of the entire movie when it matters most, thus securing his spot as one of the most clutch athletes in movie history.

John Moxon


Moxon rises up from relative obscurity in a small town in Texas.  Moxon assumes the starting quarterback position after superstar Lance Harbor is injured.  Moxon possesses ridiculous arm strength and speed when running in space.  How the coaches didn’t move him to another position to take advantage of his big play ability is beyond me?  He doesn’t enjoy it however, famously telling his father that “playing football at West Canaan might’ve been the opportunity of your lifetime but I don’t want your life.”  The truth siren rang out like a tornado warning when Mox uttered those words.  Moxon had character issues, once taking his teammates and Harbor out to a strip club the day before a game.  Is this where Richie Incognito got the idea for his strip club linemen meetings?

Jerry Maguire 


Where to begin with Jerry Maguire?

For starters, the guy is my role model.  Maguire is a big believer in the fundamental aspects of client representation.  He issues a mission statement that inspires those who read it, and also, results in his getting fired from SMI.  However, there are a few things about Jerry that push the limits for most people.  He starts a new company and immediately begins a relationship with his coworker.  He loses a major client the day before the draft.  He is more famous for phrases like “you complete me,” “help me help you,” and his flare for the dramatic than for his ability to actually market Rod Tidwell.  Jerry also has a drunken conversation with his coworker’s young son and is engaged to a psychopath for the first portion of the film.

Sam Pouncey

Shooter McGavin


Who’s the meanest golfer of all time?  Shooter McGavin.  That’s who.  He hated Happy Gilmore, and went to great links to show it.  He bought Happy’s grandmother’s house just to spite him and hiring some loon to hit him with a Volkswagen Beetle are two of his worst offenses.

Favorite quote: [on Happy Gilmore’s first tournament] “I didn’t get a chance to see him play.  I was too busy winning…Yeah, how did he finish again?  Dead last?  Oh yeah, yeah he had a good day though.  Thanks.”

Ricky Bobby

Ricky Bobby accomplished everything a baby born in a Greyhound bus could dream of accomplishing.  NASCAR driver?  Check.  Beautiful wife?  Check.  The worst behaved and funniest children in history?  Check.  A best friend who lets him win?  Check.

Then he lost it all in a wreck with that French guy who sounds like a dog with peanut butter on the roof of his mouth.

Then, makes a comeback and is involved in the most bizarre NASCAR race ending ever.

Favorite quote:  “I hope both of you have sons…Handsome, beautiful, articulate sons, who are talented and star athletes and they have their legs taken away.  I mean I pray you know that pain and that hurt.”


Rick Vaughn


Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn may be Charlie Sheen’s magnum opus, besides that “Good Morning America” interview.  He is a sick pitcher for the Cleveland Indians slinging fastballs in the triple digits, cutting the sleeves off his jersey, and wearing Ray Ban’s with a skull and crossbones on the nose.  Sheen also reportedly did steroids for the role, fitting considering the movie was filmed before drug testing in baseball and Jose Canseco was juicing 80% of the MLB.

Favorite moment:  Entering the stadium in the 9th to the whole crowd singing “Wild Thing”.

Carl Spackler

The colorful groundskeeper at the Bushwood Country Club has an interesting life.  He caddies for the Dalai Lama, is one of the greatest “Cinderella” stories in Masters history, and his mortal enemy is a gopher.

Favorite quote: “I smell varmint poontang, and the only good varmint poontang is dead varmint poontang, I think.”


Shane Falco


Shane “Neo” Falco is the replacement quarterback for the Washington Sentinels, and is one of two players on this list to be coached by Gene Hackman.  He is played by Keanu Reeves, who may or may not be immortal.  Oh what’s that?  Keanu is actually nicknamed “Neo” in a different movie?  Sorry, I must not have noticed since he didn’t change anything but his haircut.

Favorite quote: “I want the ball.” (Winners always do).

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