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What if fictional sports movie characters were real?

Updated on June 12, 2017

INTRODUCTION

Sports movies are often about these athletes who are portrayed as being the best in their game. The unrealized superstar's coming of age. Triumphant stories of the underdogs. Dreams coming true when opportunities come knocking. In the world of movie sports, anything can happen.

Take the case of Roy Hobbes in The Natural, who early in his career, was poised for bigger things in baseball until a bullet in the body ended his career early. But, he came back to an amazing season that’s the stuff of legends. And to those who witnessed it, said that Hobbes could be “the best who ever played the game.”

Had Roy Hobbes not fatally injured, he would've set amazing records.
Had Roy Hobbes not fatally injured, he would've set amazing records.

But what about those whose story seem to be just beginning? In Hoosiers, the lowly small-town Hickory team led by a determined coach and his slightly sober assistant won the state championships against an obviously superior team. But, that's where the story ended. What happened after then? Did they win another one? Did the guys go to college or remained farmers? Did any of them get drafted in the NBA?

Here, we'll try to find the possible answers to these questions. And a lot more.

FOOTBALL

FRANK CUSHMAN, Quarterback

PROFILE

Name: Frank Cushman
Sports: Football
Position: QUARTERBACK
Height: 6'2"
College: Odessa, Texas

PLAYER ANALYSIS: Looks to have a strong throwing arm and good fundamentals to make an immediate impact on any team. He has the built to withstand transition to pro. Personality-wise, “Cush” has charisma and likes the camera very much. He looks good during interviews and knows what to say. Having a very supportive, hands-on father, there's pressure for him to prove that he is the consensus over-all number one pick. His future in football is indeed bright, unless of course, he gets a case of too much cush-lash.

With Cushman announcing his eligibility, top prospect Keshawn Johnson (WR) might slide to no.2 over-all pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.
With Cushman announcing his eligibility, top prospect Keshawn Johnson (WR) might slide to no.2 over-all pick in the 1996 NFL Draft.

FANTASY DRAFT ANALYSIS

Frank's father Matt Cushman and sports agent Jerry Maguire wants him to go number 1 over-all, which he definitely will. Matt prefers Denver, but lottery team the New York Jets owns the no.1 pick. They are looking to boost their offensive line with Pac-10 All-American Wide Receiver Keyshawn Johnson. But, with resident QB Boomer Esiason going to the Cardinals, they will need to fill the leadership hole and that means Cushman is their most sensible choice.

If the Jets passes on Cushman, he will most certainly be picked up immediately by either the New York Giants or the St. Louis Rams in the 5th or 6th pick. The only other Quarterback that's worth taking in the first round is MIchigan State's Tony Banks, but with good defensive prospects available, he'll probably move down as an early pick in the 2nd round.

Cushman's father and agent discuss his future with words stronger than oak bond.
Cushman's father and agent discuss his future with words stronger than oak bond.

FANTASY1996 NFL DRAFT PREDICTIONS

Round/Pick #
NFL TEAM
PLAYER
POSITION/COLLEGE
1/1
New York Jets
Frank Cushman
QB/Odessa
1/2
Jacksonville Jaguars
Keyshawn Johnson
WR/USC
1/3
Arizona Cardinals
Kevin Hardy
LB/Illinois
1/4
Baltimore Ravens
Jonathan Ogden
OT/UCLA
1/5
New York Giants
Simeon Rice
DE/Illinois
1/6
St. Louis Rams
Lawrence Phillips
RB/Nebraska
1/7
New England Patriots
Terry Glenn
WR/Ohio State
1/8
Carolina Panthers
Tim Biakabutuka
RB/Michigan
1/9
Oakland Raiders
Rickey Dudley
TE/Ohio State
1/10
Cincinnati Bengals
Willie Anderson
OT/Auburn
Adjusted to predicted team selections.

CUSHMAN GOES #1 IN THE DRAFT!

The New York Jets picked Frank "Cush" Cushman from Odessa, Texas as the no.1 overall pick in the 1996 NFL Draft. The Jets needed an offensive weapon having finished in the league last with a 3-13 record. Cushman takes the reins from exiting QB Boomer Esiason (who goes to the Cardinals) and have to lead a team that consists of Running Backs Adrian Murrell and Richie Anderson and Wide Receivers Kyle Brady, Jeff Graham, and Wayne Chrebet.

Other notable players selected were Eddie George, Terrell Owens, Joe Horn, Jonathan Ogden, Marvin Harrison and Ray Lewis.

"Cush" will have 3 stellar seasons before back injuries force him to retire.
"Cush" will have 3 stellar seasons before back injuries force him to retire.

CUSHMAN FANTASY POST-SCRIPT

The Quarterback had a stellar rookie season with the New York Jets where he threw for more than 3,500 passing yards with 26 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions. He was the Offensive Rookie of the year and a 3 time pro-bowler. Back injuries limited him to 10 games in two seasons and he was traded. He retired after only 9 seasons.

Tidwell during Monday Night Football. Cardinals went up against the Cowboys.
Tidwell during Monday Night Football. Cardinals went up against the Cowboys.
Color commentator? You betcha.
Color commentator? You betcha.

MOVIE CREDITS

Movie: Jerry Maguire (1996)
Directed by: Cameron Crowe
Cast: Frank Cushman (Jerry O'Donnell), Matt Cushman (Beau Bridges), Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise)

AND WHAT ABOUT...ROD TIDWELL?

Who could forget about Arizona Cardinal's garrulous wide receiver who makes up for being undersize at his position with frenzied tenacity? Tidwell made headlines during a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football when he went down after catching a touchdown and appeared to have passed out only to wake up dancing. The crowd went wild.

TIDWELL'S FANTASY POST-SCRIPT

Tidwell got his Arizona dollars when the Cardinals gave him an $11.2 million contract in front of national TV on the Roy Firestone Sports Show. The emotional WR couldn't hold his tears. He also became a mega endorser after Nike shoes gave him love with a multi-million deal. Tidwell finished his career in Arizona with career records in receiving TDs (75), receptions (701), and receiving yards (9,640). The 5’10” wide receiver now works as a commentator for Fox Sports and have hosted Saturday Night Live...twice.

BASKETBALL

JIMMY CHITWOOD, Shooting Guard

PROFILE

Name: Jimmy Chitwood
Sports: Basketball
Position: GUARD
Height: 6'2"
College: Hickory High, Indiana

PLAYER ANALYSIS: Has a sweet release and could shoot from anywhere. Moves well without the ball to position himself for the open jumper. Has a mean shooting streak when he really gets hot. They say Jimmy never misses and that may actually be true. He is a clutch shooter and when he says, “I’ll make it,” better believe it. When the game is on the line, the clock winding down, better give him the ball. Could also play defense and listens well to the coach, to whom he has a tendency to get emotionally attached to. Jimmy is a team player but if the need arises, will carry the team on his shoulders.

Bill Russell was the 2nd pick of the draft and went to St. Louis, but was later traded to Boston. He and Jimmy Chitwood were part of the US Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal in Australia.
Bill Russell was the 2nd pick of the draft and went to St. Louis, but was later traded to Boston. He and Jimmy Chitwood were part of the US Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal in Australia.

FANTASY DRAFT ANALYSIS

After his winning shot that gave Hickory a 42-40 win over South Bend in the 1952 State Championships, the 6’2” Chitwood went to the University of Kentucky where he and center Bob Burrow (dubbed the "Firing Kentuckians") led the Wildcats to two straight National Championship appearances. Chitwood was part of the US Olympic basketball team that participated in Australia playing alongside Bill Russell and K.C. Jones.

Coming into the 1956 NBA Draft, Chitwood was one of the 92 hopefulls that included Burrow, Bill Russell, Tom Heinsohn, Si Green and Jim Paxson.

FANTASY 1956 NBA DRAFT PREDICTIONS

Round/Pick#
NBA TEAM
PLAYER
POSITION/COLLEGE
T*
Boston Celtics
Tom Heinsohn
F-C/Holy Cross
1/1
Rochester Royals
Sihugo Green
G-F/Duquesne
1/2
St. Louis Hawks
Bill Russell
San Francisco
1/3
Minneapolis Lakers
Jim Paxson
G-F/Dayton
1/4
New York Knicks
Ronnie Shavlik
F/NC State
1/5
Syracuse Nationals
Joe Holup
F/George Washington
1/6
Fort Wayne Pistons
Ron Sobieszczyk
G/DePaul
1/7
Philadelphia Warriors
Hal Lear
G/Temple
2/8
Rochester Royals
Bob Burrow
F-C/Kentucky
2/9
St.Louis Hawks
Willie Naulls
F-C/UCLA
2/10
Minneapolis Lakers
Terry Rand
C/Marquette
2/11
New York Knicks
Gary Bergen
C/Utah
2/12
Syracuse Nationals
Jimmy Chitwood
G/Kentucky
2/13
Boston Celtics
K.C. Jones
G/San Francisco
2/14
Fort Wayne Pistons
Bob Kessler
F/Maryland
2/15
Philadelphia Warriors
Phil Rollins
G/Louisville
*Territorial Pick

JIMMY CHITWOOD GOES #12 IN THE DRAFT!

Hot shooting Kentucky Senior Jimmy Chitwood was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals as the #12th pick of the second round. He, and George Washington University rookie forward Joe Holup will join the Syracuse roster that consists of power forward/center Dolph Schayes, sophomore guard Ed Conlin, center Red Kerr and small forward Earl Lloyd. The Syracuse Nationals were the Eastern Division runner-ups and finished with a 35-37 W-L record.

Other notable players drafted were Sam Jones (7/58) and Elgin Baylor (14/90), both by the Minneapolis Lakers.

CHITWOOD FANTASY POST-SCRIPT

Chitwood had a productive rookie season averaging 9.4 points per game with 1.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists coming off the bench for Ed Conlin. Syracuse finished 2nd in the Eastern Division behind the Boston Celtics, who also defeated them in the Division Finals. He improved his scoring in his sophomore year with 11.0 points per game and got the starting job when Conlin had a brief stint with Detroit in 1958. Chitwood had 8 seasons with Syracuse and retired during the team’s transition into the Philadelphia 76ers in ’63. He finished with career averages of 10.0 PPG, 3.5 APG, and 2.8 RPG.

1951-52 HICKORY HUSKERS, INDIANA STATE CHAMPIONS

Clockwise from top left: #43 Whit Butcher, #15 Jimmy Chitwood, #53 Strap Purl, Coach Norman Dale, #21 Everett Flatch, #12 Merle Webb, #14 Buddy Walker, #13 Ollie McLellan, #25 Rade Butcher.

Coach Dale during the 1952 State Championships. Hickory vs. South Bend.
Coach Dale during the 1952 State Championships. Hickory vs. South Bend.

MOVIE CREDITS

Movie: Hoosiers (1986)
Directed by: David Anspaugh
Cast: Jimmy (Maris Valainis), Rade (Steve Holler), Ollie (Wade Schenck), Buddy (Brad Long), Merle (Kente Poole), Everett (David Neidorf), Strap (Scott Summers), Whit (Brad Boyle), Coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), Myra Fleener (Barbara Hershey)

AND WHAT ABOUT...COACH NORMAN DALE AND THE REST?

Fantasy Post-script

Coach Dale had a brief 2-year career as assistant coach for the Indiana Hoosiers before returning to Hickory to coach high school basketball for 6 more years. He married school teacher Myra Fleener and they had a son. The town of Hickory renamed the school after coach Dale.

The Butcher brothers, Merle Webb and Buddy Walker all played college basketball but none of them made it to the NBA. Everett Flatch heed God's calling and became a pastor, Strap Purl went into business school, while Ollie dropped out of school and remained in Hickory all his life.

BASEBALL

NUKE LALOOSH, Starting Pitcher

PROFILE

Name: Ebby Calvin Laloosh
Sports: Baseball
Position: PITCHER
Height: 6'5"
B/T: R/R

PLAYER ANALYSIS:
Nicknamed “Nuke,” for his nuclear 100 MPH fastballs, is a pitcher who could silence opposing teams with multiple strikeouts. But, that relies heavily if his head is on the game, since he is known to easily be distracted. As powerful as his thunderbolt arm is, his mental game is brittle, and this results in wild pitches and everything from the fence, the dugout, the scorer's table to the mascot, become a target. He also relies heavily on his fastball and has a limited range of pitches that batters would most likely expect the heat. According to dugout talk, Laloosh is also a sort of a loose cannon and an egomaniac, who picks fights constantly with teammates, especially the catcher. One thing is certain though, that arm is a viable weapon, and it only needs to be turned in the right direction.

Nuke Laloosh during his glory days in the minors photographed here with catcher Crash Davis.
Nuke Laloosh during his glory days in the minors photographed here with catcher Crash Davis.

FANTASY DRAFT ANALYSIS AND POST-SCRIPT

Promising rookie pitcher Laloosh was drafted by the Atlanta Braves in 1997 and immediately sent to Triple-A Minor League Durham Bulls for training. There, the raw talent displayed scorching fastballs, most of them wayward, but soon honed his undeniable skills to become a dominant minor league star. His emergence caught the MBL ‘s attention and soon Laloosh got a spot in the Braves’ roster in 1989.

“Nuke’s” major league debut year was impressive. Finishing third behind Tom Glavine and John Smoltz with 9 wins and 10 losses for a .473 W-L record. He also had 88 strikeouts. But, his “nuclear” fastballs took its toll on his arm and for the next 8 years, Laloosh spent more time on the injured list than in the field. He had a short comeback in 1998, when he pitched a perfect game against Pittsburgh before his arm gave way permanently. He was finally released in 2000.

THE FASTEST PITCHES IN BASEBALL

Player
Year
Speed (MPH)
Nolan Ryan
1974
108.1
Bob Feller
1946
107.6
Aroldis Chapman
2010
105.1
Joel Zumaya
2006
104.8
Neftali Feliz
2010
103.4
Andrew Cashner
2012
103.3
Henry Alberto Rowdriguez
2010
103.2
Bob Turley
1954
103.2
Mark Wohlers
1996
103
Kelvin Herrera
2012
102.8
Bruce Rondon
2013
102.8
Jonathan Broxton
2009
102.6
Nuke Laloosh
1990
102.5

MOVIE CREDITS

Movie: Bull Durham (1988)
Directed by: Ron Shelton
Cast: Nuke Laloosh* (Tim Robbins), Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon)

*Laloosh was inspired by real ballplayer Steve Dalkowski, a minor league legend known for his uncontrollable fastballs.

AND WHAT ABOUT...CRASH DAVIS?

Catcher Crash Davis, a 13-year veteran in and around the Triple-A circuit was Nuke Laloosh’s teammate in Durham. After Laloosh packed his bags towards the Majors, Davis journeyed once again and joined the Asheville Tourists, a Class A South Atlantic minor league team in 1989. There he broke the minor league record for career home runs.

He then retired after a few seasons and returned to Durham and married Annie Savoy, his longtime baseball muse and the woman in the menage a trois with Laloosh. Crash and Annie separated only after a year. Davis had a successful career as a coach for the Visalia Rawhides, a minor league affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He remains a legend in the minor leagues.

Add Nuke Laloosh and Crash Davis to your baseball cards collection, BUY:

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