From Bill Murray’s Ernie McCracken in Kingpin to leg-sweeping wunderkind Johnny from The Karate Kid, there have been some god-awful humans who’ve haunted our heroes in America’s greatest sports movies. But who are the absolute worst? We let two editors debate the topic in the spirit of Dewcision 2016. Here’s where they netted out:
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From the epic flat top to the Cold War mentality, Ivan Drago is easily the best sports movie villain ever executed on film. He was a man of very few words (only 9 lines actually), but he let his fists do the talking in ways most bros only dream. The dude could figuratively kill you with his Drago Death Stare… and even more literally kill you in the ring. Just ask Apollo Creed, who he pummeled into oblivion after a rather delightful pre-fight duet with James Brown. Spoiler alert.
Watching Apollo’s lifeless body die in the arms of his best friend, Rocky, was by far the most devastating blow ever dealt to Rocky fans – and that includes watching Mickey die after a senseless shove by Clubber Lang in the movie before. Drago also birthed the most horrifically callous sentiment ever spat on film: “If he dies, he dies”. Total. Dick. Move.
Truth be told, Ivan Drago’s robotic ways of talking, moving and punching proved him as warm as an ice cube at the bottom of a Smirnoff. But “Wait,” you say, “The guy had some serious game as a fighter.” No, he’s on steroids. Steroids killed Apollo. This guy was such a colossal douche that even his home country of Russia curb-stomped him when they started chanting Rocky, Rocky, Rocky during their fight. Even his home country hated him!
If that’s not master villainy, I don‘t know what is. But hey, great hair.
The clear winner of this showdown is Shooter McGavin and I will tell you why. The man was completely devoid of any redeeming qualities. Think about it. Aside from his ability to golf at a high level and make the occasional hilarious jab involving David Hasslehoff, he is a putrid human being. Just an awful, awful man who will stop at nothing for his own benefit.
McGavin spent the entire movie being a first class A-hole, but there are three things that solidified his place as the biggest sports movie villain. He stooped to cheating when someone was finally better than him. STRIKE ONE. He treated everyone around him like they were second class, shanty-owning citizens. STRIKE TWO. And his biggest, most despicable offense was outbidding everyone at the auction for Happy Gilmore’s Grandma’s house just so he could make sure she never lived there again. STRIKE THREE. You know, Ivan Drago may be a roided up Russian cyborg who killed Apollo Creed, but he never went the extra mile to kick a sweet old lady out of her house. And for that reason alone, Shooter McGavin is the bigger villain.