theScore is counting down the 100 best fictional characters in sports movie history, with a new post every weekday until July 3.
"The Replacements" (2000)
Coming off a career-defining role in 1999's "The Matrix" only added to the comedy of seeing Keanu Reeves' Falco transform from washed-up former college star to underdog professional quarterback.
"For Love of the Game" (1999)
Chapel (Kevin Costner), a former pitching star on his last legs with the Detroit Tigers, has just enough left to shoot for a perfect game in what could be his last start at historic Yankee Stadium. Though he's tough and surly throughout much of the film, Chapel's true colors are on display during his romantic journey with Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston).
Tom Hardy portrays Conlon, a vicious former wrestler turned marine who winds up on a collision course with his estranged brother during a mixed martial arts tournament. Conlon is not only brutally dominant in the cage, but he also doesn't hold back when expressing his feelings toward his trainer and recovering alcoholic father, who is played by Nick Nolte. Conlon secretly has a big heart, though, especially when it comes to his military peers and the widow of his deceased best friend.
"Necessary Roughness" (1991)
Aging quarterback Blake (Scott Bakula) rekindles his dreams of being a star in college by returning to lead a band of misfits at Texas State. The cigarette-smoking, country music-listening QB ends up being a mentor both on and off the field. He takes the biggest punch in a barroom brawl and finds a tutor for a teammate who's struggling with his schoolwork.
"Whip It" (2009)
In this spoofy, coming-of-age film about banked track roller derby, small-town alternative girl Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), aka Ruthless, finds direction in life and joins a community she's proud of rather than participate in beauty pageants to appease her overbearing mother. Page warms the heart as an underdog who overcomes countless obstacles to become a star.
McDermott (Matt Damon) is a brilliant poker tactician and reader of emotions, whose arrogance about his craft winds up getting him in trouble at the card table. It's his relationship with childhood best friend and hustler, Worm (Edward Norton), that is the driving force behind his character growing from a frustratingly naive melonhead to likable protagonist who overcomes the odds.
"Like Mike" (2002)
Child labor laws be damned. When orphan Cambridge (Lil Bow Wow) is shocked by lightning, Michael Jordan's talent is transferred into his diminutive frame. He soon finds himself starring in the NBA, squaring off against the likes of Vince Carter and Jason Kidd all while navigating the search for a permanent parental figure.
"The Mighty Ducks" (1992), "D2: The Mighty Ducks" (1994) and "D3: The Mighty Ducks" (1996)
Reed (Elden Henson) is a street-wise punk with a terrifying slap shot that he can control only with infrequent regularity (think "Nuke" LaLoosh on skates). Reed gives the Mighty Ducks some much-needed sandpaper, playing off the other characters' "Little Rascals" vibes with a cool stoicism.
"The Big Green" (1995)
Musgrove (Patrick Renna) is always quick with a quip while also being perpetually horrified by the prospect of actually having to perform his duties as a goalkeeper. His visions of opposing players as literal monsters are something any shot-stopper can sympathize with.
"Slap Shot" (1977)
Lemieux (Yvon Barrette) may have been a minor character in "Slap Shot," but the French-Canadian goaltender for the Charlestown Chiefs supplied a memorable compilation of the film's best quotes, with Barrette delivering the zingers perfectly.
"You do that, you go to the box, you know. Two minutes, by yourself, you know and you feel shame, you know. And then you get free," he hilariously said about getting a penalty.