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20 Strange, Random and Fun Facts About Your Favorite Sports Movies

Pink Floyd almost scored Caddyshack and other hard-to-believe facts about your favorite sports movies.

In honor of Sunday's Academy Awards, here are 20 little-known but true facts about your favorite sports movies. Use responsibly.

1. Harold Ramis initially wanted Pink Floyd to score Caddyshack.

We're not sure if Roger Waters, David Gilmore and the rest of Pink Floyd were golf fans but director Harold Ramis did reach out to the band about writing a song for the movie. The band declined the request and Ramis instead turned to Kenny Loggins, whose song I'm Alright became synonymous with the cult hit.

2. Jimmy Chitwood has only four lines of dialogue in Hoosiers: three in the scene where Coach Dale wins the vote to keep his job, then one more during the final game.

3. Hoosiers was loosely based on the Crispus Attucks High School team that lost in the 1954 Indiana state semifinals to Milan High. Oscar Robertson was a sophomore on that Crispus Attucks High School team.

It was quite an upset. From 1950-57, Crispus Attucks compiled a 179-20 record (.899) and won six regional titles and back to back state titles in 1955 and 1956. 

4. Susan Sarandon auditioned for the role of Adrian in Rocky but was considered too attractive for the part.

Bette Midler and Cher were also considered before Talia Shire landed the part.​

5. One of the umpires in The Naked Gun ("You can't throw an umpire out of the game!") is major league umpire "Cowboy" Joe West.


6. Grady Little, who was credited as a "baseball trainer" in 1988's Bull Durham, was the real-life manager of the Durham Bulls at the time.

While credited as a “baseball trainer” in actuality, Little was on the payroll to instruct and make it believable that the actors could play baseball. “[Kevin] Costner was athletic,” Little told The Charlotte Observer. “He could play baseball, golf, whatever. No problem. But Tim Robbins? He was supposed to be this hard-throwing pitcher, and we had a time with him, trying to get it to look like his delivery would get the ball there hard.”

7. The Dude, despite appearing in every scene of The Big Lebowski, is never once seen bowling.


8. According to Joe Esposito, You're the Best, which was made famous in The Karate Kid, was actually written for Rocky III. Sylvester Stallone turned it down in favor of Eye of the Tiger. This explains the lyric "History repeats itself," which otherwise makes no sense. 

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9. Cal Ripken, Jr. was an official consultant for The Fan, starring Wesley Snipes and Robert De Niro. 

Though Ripken was an integral part of the movie, don't expect to see The Fan on his IMDB page. Ripken requested that his name not be used in the movie's final credits. ​

10. The Cardinals-Cowboys game at the end of Jerry Maguire was filmed during an actual 1995 Monday Night Football game. While the Cardinals won in the movie, the Cowboys won in real life on their way to the Super Bowl XXX title.

The venue of the game was Sun Devil Stadium (Arizona State University), home to the Cardinals for 18 years. The stadium was also host to Super Bowl XXX, which the Dallas Cowboys won.

11. Nick Nolte shadowed Indiana coach Bobby Knight during the Hoosiers' 1992 season to prepare for his role in Blue Chips. Knight appears in the movie as himself.

12. Charlie Sheen turned down the role of Daniel LaRusso in The Karate Kid.

Sheen was just 18 and two years away from his first major roles (Lucas, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) when he was offered the role of Daniel LaRusso. He declined and it was instead picked up by 22-year-old Ralph Macchio.

13. Asia lead singer John Wetton sang Winner Takes It All for the 1987 arm wrestling movie Over The Top. After performing the song, however, it was felt that his voice wasn't "mean" enough and a new singer (Sammy Hagar) was chosen.

14. For the scene in He Got Game where Jesus and Jake play for the letter of intent, the original script called for Jesus to win 15-0. During filming, however, Spike Lee encouraged the actors to play for real. The scene in the film reflects the actual game between Ray Allen and Denzel Washington.

According to several players and coaches, Washington was well respected on the court. He played two seasons for the junior varsity squad at Fordham University under former NBA head coach P.J. Carlesimo.

15. While lifting the sleigh for the Rocky IV training montage, Sylvester Stallone tore a muscle in his heart. Filming was interrupted for two months so doctors could reduce the chances of him having a heart attack.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only injury to the heart the actor suffered during filming. Stallone asked co-star Dolph Lundgren, who played Ivan Drago, to try to knock him out and Lundgren did not hold back. “He hit my heart so hard that it banged against my ribs and started to swell," Stallone told an audience at An Evening with Sylvester Stallone in Manchester, England.​ "And that usually happens in car accidents. So I was hit by a truck!"

16. When Ving Rhames won the Golden Globe for Don King: Only In America, he gave it to Jack Lemmon. Still one of the great and most overlooked moments in awards-show history.

17. Bend It Like Beckham was the first Western film to air in North Korea.

The film was reportedly broadcast to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between North Korea and the United Kingdom.​

18. Bill Murray was deemed too old to play Gordon Bombay, later played by Emilio Estevez in three Mighty Ducks films.

In addition to Bill Murray, other actors considered for the title character were Michael J. Fox, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise and Estevez’s brother, Charlie Sheen.

19. NFL running back Darnell Autry auditioned for a part in 1999's Any Given Sunday, but was told that he didn't look enough like a football player. (The role went to Lawrence Taylor.)

Autry, by the way, led Northwestern to the 1996 Rose Bowl while finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.


20. A League of Their Own, released in 1992, remains the highest grossing baseball film of all time with $107 million in domestic receipts.

The rest of the Top 5 are 42 ($95 million), Moneyball ($75.6 million), The Rookie ($75.5 million) and Field of Dreams ($64.4 million).

A version of this story originally appeared on in 2013. 

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