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Posted: Friday December 8, 2006 12:16PM; Updated: Friday December 8, 2006 12:53PM
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Sports Casting Call: Cheers
Here's the ninth edition of our monthly feature in which we pair characters from a TV show with sports figures. This month we cast Cheers.
SamJoe Namath
Ladies loved Mayday and the guys wanted to be him. His baseball career was derailed by alcoholism, but he kicked the habit to run the bar. Another famed ladies man -- most recently smooching Suzy Kolber -- Broadway Joe soared higher in his playing career but has had his own battle with the bottle.
NormJohn Madden
Like the theme song says, everybody knows the convivial Norm's name (though we never saw his wife's face). His professional career was a black hole; he was often unemployed. Thanks to his broadcasting gig and eponymous video game, everybody knows Madden's name. He was a hero to Raiders fans in the Black Hole.
CliffBuck Showalter
Postal worker Cliffie was the bar know-it-all. His interpersonal skills definitely needed work, especially with the opposite sex. To Carla, the best thing Cliffie could do at Cheers was leave. Showalter's rep is as baseball's know-it-all and his inability to deal with players got him bounced from the Rangers. His best move is to leave -- the Yanks and Diamondbacks each won it all the year after he was fired.
CarlaShawn Kemp
Carla was more fertile than Mesopotamia, starting the show's run with four children and finishing with eight. She hated that "beanpole" Diane. While the hefty Kemp will never be confused with a beanpole, he can give Carla a run for her money in the dependents department.
DianeDoc Rivers
The chatty Diane talked a great game but was, frankly, a lousy waitress. She often seemed to feel that spending all that time at a bar was beneath her abilities. Rivers talked a great game as an announcer, but his recent performance as Celtics coach has many Boston fans wondering whether the job is above his abilities.
CoachCharlie Manuel
Coach took a few too many pitches to the noggin during his playing days, which perhaps contributed to his, well, moderate intellect. But you'd never meet a nicer guy. "Uncle Charlie" Manuel is another longtime baseball man who?s popular with the fellas. Still, his critics wonder whether he has the smarts to run a team.
WoodyTerry Bradshaw
Woody was a country boy at loose in the big city. He wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he was so quick with a chuckle that nobody held it against him. Despite years in the limelight, the country has never been taken out of out of good ol' boy Bradshaw. Critics questioned his intelligence during his playing days but his four rings gave him the last laugh. And he's still yukking it up today.
RebeccaLatrell Sprewell
Rebecca was introduced as a tough, capable businesswoman but as it turned out she was more of a neurotic klutz, who threw herself at rich men, a strategy that rarely paid off. Spree was generally tough and capable on the court, but his foolish business decision to turn down a three-year, $21 million extension in 2005 -- and call it insulting to boot -- worked as well as one of Rebecca's harebrained schemes.
FrasierChauncey Billups
The erudite Frasier also possessed an ego as big as his vocabulary. He had his moments in Cheers but needed a new start out west to become a star. Point guard Billups clashed with some of his early coaches, who felt his ego outpaced his skills. He made the most out of the opportunity at his sixth stop, Detroit, to become Finals MVP.
LilithOrel Hershiser
Lilith was pale, restrained, unemotional and seemingly quite repressed. Yet beneath that placid demeanor lay a wild, passionate woman if suitably aroused. The oddly pale Hershiser looked more like an accountant than a professional athlete, but his Clark Kent exterior hid a fierce competitive fire that earned him the nickname "Bulldog."