Sports Illustrated Book of the Apocalypse
By Jack McCallum
Along with complete game shutouts, wooden tennis rackets, and relevant
boxers, here‟s another athletic relic: the
sports movie. True, there are still finesports documentaries (more, in fact, than ever) and sports-themed adaptations(
) getting released. But gone are the days when studios stuffed the boxoffice with movies on the order of
. The official explanation: the current coin of the realm is theoverseas market and somehow stories of, say, Shoeless Joe Jackson emergingfrom a cornfield get lost in translation between Iowa and Mumbai, Shanghai orDubai.
But I‟d submit that there‟s another reason: sports need no fictionalizing. No
script can compete with the plot twists, drama and melodrama that sports provideauthentically and organically. Envision a pitch meeting at a studio, impeccablydressed and copiously moussed Hollywood tastemakers seated around amahogany table. And then getting laughed out of the room for offering thesefanciful premises:
Likeable Asian-American kid graduates from Harvard and has serious game, butis overlooked by NBA teams. Even his hometown club cuts him loose after a
season. He‟s on the verge of getting demoted to the minors when the
woebegone New York Knicks give him a shot. He lights up Kobe Bryant,breathes life into the moribund Knicks and becomes an overnight star in the
world‟s media capital.
Openly religious NFL quarterback has obvious flaws in his game but his faith isunshakeable. When finally given the chance to start, he orchestrates a series offourth-quarter comebacks
one less probable than the next
leading his team tothe playoffs and polarizing a nation in the process.