Mark Madden

Mark Madden

The Super Genius of Pittsburgh Sports.Full Bio



Given the paucity of sports to moot, my program has occasionally stooped to (uh, "relied upon") talking about grotesquely cliched, used-up and bedraggled topics.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. It's a long three hours.

Best baseball movie, best football movie, best hockey movie, blah, blah, blah. ("Eight Men Out," the original "The Longest Yard" and "Slap Shot," if you're keeping score at home.)

I've not yet discussed what the best basketball movie is, because Pittsburgh doesn't have basketball. (Pitt doesn't count. Everybody is transferring, and a potential recruit picked Elon over Pitt. FFS.)

But the best basketball movie ever is definitely "Semi-Pro." It's Will Ferrell's best sports movie. (Sacha Baron Cohen ruined "Talladega Nights.")

"Semi-Pro" is based loosely on the defunct American Basketball Association (1967-76), which was Crazy Town with two hoops. For reference, read the league's biography, "Loose Balls." (I attended Pittsburgh Condors games many times. Cheap ticket.)

A lot of the stories in "Semi-Pro" are based in fact. Barry and Garry Nelson were 6-foot-10 identical twins who played at Fox Chapel High School and Duquesne Unversity (Class of '71). They had brief pro careers.

Traveling carnivals occasionally visit neighborhoods for a week during the spring and summer. One summer during that time frame, a carnival set up shop in Aspinwall. It featured a wrestling bear.

Garry Nelson wrestled the bear. He was told not to punch the bear. He did anyway. The bear was dazed. Garry was asked to leave.

Later, Barry Nelson showed up at the carnival. He had no idea what had happened. The bear saw Barry, got mad, and chased him.

That story may or may not be the basis for Jackie Moon wrestling Dewie the bear,

That story may or may not be totally true. Time tends to embellish.

But that story is funny AF, and so is "Semi-Pro."

If you disagree, you can eat ***t! A big bag of ***t!

Thumbnail Via New Line Cinema

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