You may have heard. Retired Arizona Cardinal quarterback Kurt Warner is having a motion picture made about his life. The story is undoubtedly movie-worthy, the rags-to-riches tale of a grown man bagging groceries who doesn’t give up on his NFL dreams and eventually becomes the best football player in the world.
It got me to thinking. There have to be some other great Arizona sports stories that could be set to the silver screen. It’s the subject of this week’s, “The 5″…
#5: “Superbad” – Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (because he’s in everything), “Superbad” chronicles the story of a Phoenician who was a teenage preacher and high school shot put champion with an overwhelming fascination for bodybuidling. Young Wayne Coleman ended up becoming a professional football player but was far more succesful as a weightlifter once dubbed “the strongest man in the world”. And still, Coleman’s greatest fame awaited him as a Hall-of-Fame professional wrestler known as Superstar Billy Graham.
#4: “Hedake and the Angry Pinch” – It was one of the great scandals in college sports history, and it happened right here in Arizona. Stevin “Hedake” Smith was a promising young point guard for the Sun Devils, who became infamous for his involvement in a point-shaving scandal that sent five men to prison. Former ASU student Benny Silman was hit with the largest penalty, a 46-month prison sentence. (This has already been a made-for-tv movie)
#3: “Strugrats” – Tucson’s own Kerri Strug became America’s darling in 1996 for nailing a vault with an injured ankle at the Atlanta Olympic Games. The scene of her being carried away in the arms of her comparatively massive coach Bela Karolyi, like Frodo being carried from Mordor in the claws of giant eagles, was the moment of the ’96 games. Starring Haley Joel Osment as Strug and Sacha Baron Cohen as Karolyi, see how Strug’s Wheaties-worthy performance clinched team gold for her and her “Magnificent Seven.”
#2: “Cool Hand Lute” – Just how did college basketball’s silver fox build a hoops dynasty up from the hot desert sands of dusty Tuscon, Arizona? Bob Barker takes on the role of a lifetime, portraying the mastermind behind a most improbable destination for a hoops hotbed.
#1: “Tillman” – If there is a biography about an Arizonan to be made, it has to focus on the life of Pat Tillman. Characterized by most who knew him as one of the most interesting people you’d ever want to meet, there was so much more to Tillman than his football achievements and the tragic end to his life. I’d love to see this movie, and although actor Sean William Scott looks like Tillman, he can’t act. So, Tom Hardy gets the potential Academy Award winning lead role in “Tillman”.