With the 2016-2017 sports calendar providing perhaps the best sports year ever, there are plenty of stories that could be great theater on the big screen. In fact, some of those stories have already scored movie deals. But with the Academy Awards on the horizon this weekend, we got to thinking -- which sports stories would make the most intriguing and entertaining films?
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A World Series in Chicago
This is an obvious one. A long-suffering Cubs franchise finally took the MLB by storm and captured their first World Series in 108 years, and they did it in incredibly dramatic fashion. Theo Epstein's ability to erase the two biggest curses in baseball history is an easy focus. Think 'Moneyball' but with, you know, winning a title. The movie writes itself.
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Deflategate: The Movie
This one is such a no-brainer that it's already in the works. After the endless and insufferable Deflategate saga finally played out, Brady put together an outstanding season and was the driving force for the best comeback in Super Bowl history. A 25-point comeback on the world's biggest sports stage? With a controversial backstory of cheating, lies, manipulation, etc.? It almost seems too farfetched, even for a film. But don't worry, we already took care of the casting.
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All Star: The John Scott Story
This one is also already in the works, and for good reason. The John Scott saga was an incredible story of peaks and valleys. Fans hijacked the All-Star vote and elected the former NHL enforcer into the game as a joke, which was a conflicting scenario for the veteran. But things got shady when Scott was traded by the Coyotes in what may have been a concerted effort to render him ineligible. This made a number of people -- including Scott -- upset, and the NHL allowed him to play. He went on to score two goals and win the ASG MVP before retiring at the end of the season.
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3-1 Lead: The Cleveland Comeback
Naturally. A prodigy turned hometown hero turned villain turned hero again. LeBron James had to be the guy to finally break Cleveland's title drought, and it may only make it more special that it played out the way it did. Repairing his image after deserting for Miami, losing a Finals to the Warriors only to avenge them the following year, coming back from a 3-1 series deficit, making an incredible block in the final seconds...it all felt so perfect. That script has to be on the way, and it better include plenty of J.R. Smith shenanigans.
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Miracle in the Midlands: Leicester City's Road to Glory
A scrappy underdog side overcomes 5000-1 odds to win the Premier League and capture the hearts of the world in the process. Throw in some seedy Jamie Vardy party scenes, a stirring speech from lovable Jamaican team leader Wes Morgan, and the wise musings of old-school Italian coach Claudio Ranieri, you’ve got yourself a picture. The elevator pitch: It’s “Miracle” with bad Midlands accents instead of bad Minnesota accents.
Lochte: Run from Rio
To be honest, this one is probably more suited for an "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" parody ("The Gang Causes An International Incident") but it would make for a solid movie too. It's not every day -- or every four years -- that you get to witness an Olympic athlete almost incite an international conflict by peeing all over a gas station.
Erich SchlegelErich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Gawker v. Hogan
Hulkamania is not something we expected to see in 2016, but it happened. Hogan's massive victory in his lawsuit against Gawker was one of the year's biggest (and most controversial) sports stories and would make for a riveting courtroom drama on the big screen.
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Yes, this is sports...shut up. It's a tale as old as time -- a man on a hunting trip in Australia happens upon a roided out kangaroo strangling his dog, so he confronts the 'roo and stuns him with a nasty haymaker straight to the face. It was the best viral clip of the year, but it gets better. The story then took a dramatic turn after the fact, when it was revealed that the man was actually a zookeeper. Outrage sparked controversy that led to an investigation into the incident, and the man nearly lost his job. The film should focus on the incident's ramificiations for both parties involved, as I assume this kangaroo's entire life as wildlands badass was shattered the moment he took that punch.
Gas Mask: Laremy Tunsil's Draft Day
"Draft Day" was a surprisingly solid movie about some generic NFL Draft stories, so why not document the absurd night Laremy Tunsil had last spring? Just minutes before what was supposed to be the best night of his life, Tunsil's social media was hacked and someone posted a video of the Ole Miss guard smoking out of a gas mask/bong contraption. Later, screenshots were posted suggesting that Tunsil took money from coaches. The hack potentially cost Tunsil a lot of money, as he slipped in the draft -- several teams allegedly took him off their board completely -- before being selected by the Dolphins at No. 13. That whole ordeal would be fascinating to watch play out on the big screen.
Ah, a classic story of friendship, love and betrayal. Lakers rookie D'Angelo Russell tries to prank teammate Nick Young by videotaping him admitting to being unfaithful in his relationship, then accidentally allows the video to leak and causes a major firestorm that ultimately results in Young's relationship falling apart. Basketball fan or not, seeing what unfolded in the locker room and in the personal lives of those two players following that incident would be must-see stuff. Just as long as Iggy Azalea doesn't provide the soundtrack.
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Post Up If You Can
One of the more bizarre stories of the year featured a Canadian high school basketball star from the South Sudan, who was thought to be 17 years old, actually turning out to be 29. The player claimed that he didn't actually know he was 29 while doing the paperwork for his visa and that it was all an honest mistake. Whether that's true or not, it doesn't matter for Hollywood. It works either way.