Hard-to-believe Hollywood moments in sports that actually happened

Sport, at its best, has a way of being cinematic. In the spirit of Scott’s unlikely star turn, the Toronto Star examines 10 Hollywood moments in sport.

John Scott, the enforcer who became a cause célèbre on his way to being named a most improbable NHL all-star game MVP on Sunday, reportedly is considering offers for the inevitable: A movie based on his adventures.

On Monday, TSN quoted agent Ben Hankinson as saying Scott will “have some different routes” available for “books and even a potential movie” after his weekend in Nashville, where he scored two goals to help win the three-on-three tournament. Teammates lifted his six-foot-eight frame onto their shoulders.

Sport, at its best, has a way of being cinematic. In the spirit of Scott’s unlikely star turn, the Star examines 10 Hollywood moments in sport:

  • On Feb. 9, 1992, months after Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson announced he had been diagnosed with HIV and was retiring from basketball, he returned to the court for an all-star game appearance. It was an appearance unlike any other. Johnson commanded the stage that day in Orlando. He scored 25 points in 29 minutes of playing time, and he was named MVP.

“People with this virus can live on,” Johnson told reporters. “Life doesn’t stop because something happens to you.”

  • Before that moment in New York, standing there on the court as the crowd roared around her, Roberta Vinci was the kind of tennis player respected by the devout, but unknown to the rest of us. That changed on Sept. 11, 2015, when Vinci, an unseeded 32-year-old from Italy, upset Serena Williams in the semifinal round at the U.S. Open. On the court, during the post-match interview, she was nearly speechless.

“It’s amazing,” she said. “It’s like a dream.”

  • Mike Tyson was the scariest boxer in the world, wearing his trademark black trunks. The television announcer said the defending heavyweight champion seemed “almost bored” as he was called to the middle of the ring in Tokyo to face James (Buster) Douglas on Feb. 11, 1990. By the start of the 10th round, Tyson’s left eye was swollen nearly shut. Tyson would fall moments later in perhaps the biggest upset in boxing history.

“Now it’s beyond the shadow of a doubt,” Douglas said in the New York Times. “They know I have heart.”

  • According to legend, Kurt Warner, the grocery store worker earning $5.50 an hour at a grocery store in Cedar Falls, Iowa, was known to throw rolls of toilet paper to colleagues in an effort to keep his arm fresh. His football career had already grown stale, having gone undrafted by every team in the NFL. Five years after that draft, on Jan. 30, 2000, the St. Louis Rams beat the Tennessee Titans 23-16 to win the Super Bowl. Warner was named the game’s MVP.
  • Ten weeks before the 1992 Summer Olympics, Canadian rower Silken Laumann was in the middle of a warm-up exercise when she was struck by a German boat. Her tibia was shattered, her leg mangled. At least one of the German rowers was said to have passed out at the sight. Laumann underwent a series of operations and, two months later, she was in Spain, holding a bronze medal after a third-place finish in single sculls.
  • Kirk Gibson was not merely hurt, he was injured. His left hamstring had been bothering him, and he hurt his knee in the seventh game of the previous series.

“He can’t do it,” Tommy Lasorda, manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, said before Game 1 of the 1988 World Series against the Oakland A’s. “He just can’t do it.”

Except, with the Dodgers down a run in the bottom of the ninth, Gibson did do it — hitting a two-run home run for the win.

  • On Dec. 22, 2014, a freshman on the Michigan men’s basketball team hit a free throw in a win over Coppin State to record the first point of his NCAA career. He got a standing ovation from the crowd. Austin Hatch had survived two plane crashes, one that killed his mother and two siblings, and another that killed his father and stepmother.

John Beilein, his coach, told reporters: “I told Austin earlier, ‘Just shoot it — the Lord will take care of it.’ ”

  • In the autumn of 2010, Steve Delabar was working as a substitute teacher in Kentucky, a pitcher whose playing career seemed lost to injury. He signed a contract the following year with Seattle. In 2013, as a member of the Blue Jays, Delabar was voted into the all-star game. He struck out the only batter he faced, Buster Posey, in five pitches — the knockout blow coming on an 85-m.ph. slider.
  • Therese Rochette was only 55 years old when she died of a heart attack on a Sunday. And hours later, her Olympic daughter, Joannie, was back on the ice, practising to skate at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Later that week, Joannie Rochette was on the podium, having endured through her grief to claim a bronze medal.

“That last triple,” she told reporters, “my mom was lifting me up because I had no more legs.”

  • Jason McElwain missed his first shot. The team manager for the boys’ basketball team at Greece Athena High School, in Rochester, N.Y., was given the chance to wear a uniform for a game late in the 2006 season. McElwain, who lives with autism, was sent onto the floor with four minutes to play. His first shot missed the rim. With a little more than three minutes to play, he caught fire. He finished with 20 points, waves of joy crashing onto the court from the stands.

Article Written By: Sean Fitz-Gerald