On February 21, 2015, The New York Post published Reel champions: The Post doles out its all-time Sports Oscars by Brian Lewis.
Sly won a couple of awards…
The ultimate underdog “Rocky” pulled off the upset against sports movie heavyweights “Hoosiers” and “Raging Bull.” Sylvester Stallone got the inspiration for the screenplay after watching the heavyweight title fight between Bayonne’s Chuck Wepner and reigning champ Muhammad Ali, and insisted he play the lead. Good call.
Stallone, who trained with Jimmy Gambina every day for about five months before shooting, became a star, and the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, ranked 57th on the American Film Institute’s 100 Years … 100 Movies — 10th Anniversary Edition.
Stallone got sued by Wepner for a share of the profits and settled in 2006. For the movie that gave us the most-used workout music in history — “Gonna Fly Now” — the line “Yo, Adrian!” and five sequels, it’s the least he could do.
Nominees: “Hoosiers,” “Raging Bull,” “Field of Dreams,” “The Natural,” “Remember the Titans,” “The Fighter,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Hustler.”
Seriously, what other movie hero actually has his own statue? Sylvester Stallone donated a life-size statue of Rocky Balboa to the city of Philadelphia, and it still sits near the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where the titular character ran during his iconic training scene. The character starred in five more sequels, fought villains like Ivan Drago and Mr. T, gave us lines like “Yo, Adrian!” Oh, and Balboa was ranked seventh on AFI’s 100 Heroes and Villains list.
Nominees: Roy Hobbs in “The Natural,” Crash Davis in “Bull Durham,” Terry Malloy in “On The Waterfront,” Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger in “Rudy,” Dottie Hinson in “A League of Their Own,” Daniel-san/Mr. Miyagi in “The Karate Kid,” Paul Douglas in “Angels in the Outfield,” Norman Dale in “Hoosiers.”