I love sports “rants.” They wonderfully encapsulate the raw emotion that arises from serious competition, and while their narrative often gets hijacked to celebrate the sort of sensational absurdity that comes with going viral, the reason why they often go so viral in the first place is because they’re among some of the most honest human moments in not just sports, but in life in general.
Moments as genuine as these are tough to replicate, but here are some pretty quality actors who may be able to do the following clips proper justice:
1. “Play More Like Dogs” – Matthew McConaughey
In 2011, Coastal Carolina David Bennett gained considerable notoriety amongst bored on the internet folk with this odd, rather funny rant about why his players stop needing to act like cats (and more like dogs). Bennett’s mannerisms and general diction make it pretty clear that he’s a distant relative of Rusht Cole.
2. Iverson’s “We Talkin’ Bout Pratice” – Michael B. Jordan
Probably the most famous “sports rant” of all-time, and one that actually foreshadowed the internet media machine quite well — despite the great content, the press conference has (arguably) been taken out of context since it’s initial virality. While Iverson was indeed ranting about practice, he wasn’t so much arguing that he was “above” practice as he was saying that he felt it was a more responsible move to sit out of practice and preserve his energy.* Remember, the 6’0″ Iverson was one of the toughest players out there, constantly battling injury after injury. (During the 2001 Finals, he reportedly played through 11 different injuries) So for a guy like that — a guy who gave his all every time he stepped out on the court — practice may have been doing more harm than good.
Anyway, my pick to play Iverson is the about-to-be-huge Michael B. Jordan. He’s got considerable experience as a cocky, sometimes indignant star athlete (Vince from Friday Night Lights), and played that role quite well…he was respectful when he needed to be, but was also capable of exhibiting a ridiculous bravado not too dissimilar to A.I.’s.
*I actually don’t know this for a fact, as I am not Allen Iverson. But that was always the sense I got from the press conference.
3. Phillip Wellman Minor League Meltdown – Jim Carrey
I think there’s really only one person for the role of Phillip Wellman during this 2007 minor league game. He may have to put on a few pounds, but this has gotten Fletcher Reede written all over it.
4. Bobby Knight’s Chair Throw – Jon Voight
In this clip, Bobby Knight reminds me of a Pokemon who’s signature move was something along the lines of “dig” — one that first needed to gather their energy, but then unleashed it with a fervent fury that was guaranteed have a severe impact every time. I feel like this is how characters played by Jon Voigt also channel their rage.
5. Herm Edwards’ “You Play To Win The Game” – Robert Wisdom
I think the best choice for Herm Edwards in the now-classic “you play to win the game” speech would be Denzel Washington. Both have that blazing charisma and “I don’t care if I come off as crazy, because I 100% believe what I’m saying” mantra. But to give the legendary Coach Boone another football coach role feels wrong, so were gonna go with The Wire and The Dark Knight Rises actor Robert Wisdom.
I always thought his role in The Wire (Bunny Colvin) was one of the most underrated characters of the whole series, and it’s the sort of role very much fits here; Wisdom portrayed Colvin as an excellent leader of men, who didn’t so much care about the conventions of the job as he does doing the job to the best of his ability.
6. Johnny McEnroe “You Cannot Be Serious” – Christian Bale
A few years back, Christian Bale exhibited a disdain for amateurs that can only rival the unchecked rage of Johhny McEnroe himself. Clearly, this sort of unhinged agitation isn’t necessarily a bad thing for some.
7. “I’m A Man, I’m 40” – Will Ferrell
I’ve always loved this speech, because it’s the ultimate example of a coach going to bat for his players in the face of unfair criticism and vitriol. It’s clear that Gundy will take a 3+ million view bullet for his players, and that’s all you could really ask for from a coach.
Although Gundy cares about his players a lot more than Will Ferrell does in this hilarious Kicking and Screaming clip, “I’m A Man, I’m 40” sounds like a Will Ferrell quote itself. Honestly, I’m kinda sad it’s not a Will Ferrell quote. It definitely should be.
8. Dennis Green’s “They Are Who We Thought They Were” – Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is best known for being a very funny man, but his turns as an outraged/broken down dude are equally as great. If you recall his role in Hot Tub Time Machine, Nick Weber-Agnew has a number of vulnerable moments that could easily be recreated to fit this Dennis Green presser — a pinch of brokenheartedness, that’s overshadowed by a raw, slightly hysterical anger.