Volume 96, Issue 95
Friday, March 28, 2003

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Gretzky funny? Pro Stars not an accurate TV show

Mark Polishuk
Sports Editor

When I was asked to write a column for the sports section, I immediately thought about the ultimate conflagration of sports and television. Maybe you remember the theme song set to the tune of Queen's "We Will Rock You."

We are, we are ProStars!

No doubt Freddie Mercury is spinning in his grave. Well, he might have technically been alive when the show was on the air, so perhaps I shouldn't be making any glib remarks about a man's death. That's not a ProStars thing to do.

Anyway, the concept of this early-'90s cartoon show was that Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky and Bo Jackson all hung out together and used their sports skills to stop evil. When they did this I'm not sure, since all three of them were never in the off-season at the same time, but then again, reality was never a big point on this show.

The three ProStars were organized by an old woman known only as Mama it should have been Sparky Anderson and primarily focused their efforts on fighting polluters. I guess they couldn't fight gamblers, for example, since Jordan probably had debts with all of them.

The three athlete's characters were slotted into stereotypical roles. Bo Jackson was the muscle, able to throw cars around just as well as he threw around NFL defenders before he blew out his hip. Michael Jordan was the brains of the group, preparing for his later days of controlling Dennis Rodman. Wayne Gretzky was the funny one, who...

I'll repeat that again, since after all these years, the concept still baffles me. Wayne Gretzky was the funny one. Wayne Gretzky. Now I love Gretz; he's undoubtedly the best hockey player of all time, and by all accounts a nice guy.

However, "funny" is not the first word I'd use to describe The Great One. If you've ever seen his legendary bad hosting performance on Saturday Night Live, you know what I'm talking about. Yet on ProStars, Gretzky was presented as the human equivalent of Raphael from the Ninja Turtles. I always figured that if Gretzky was any Turtles character, it would be Krang, riding around in a giant exoskeleton that looked suspiciously like Marty McSorley.

Even more unusual was the fact that Gretzky not only cracked jokes, he was always making comments about finishing things up quickly so they could all go and eat. Are you kidding me? Even in his playing days, Gretzky weighed maybe 170 pounds soaking wet.

It wouldn't surprise me if Gretzky was the sole reason why the actual athletes didn't voice their animated counterparts. I'm sure the others could handle it. We all saw the depth of Jordan's acting talent in Space Jam and, after all, Bo Knows Voice-overs.

Perhaps the best part about ProStars was that a show like it could never be duplicated today. The mainstream sports aren't considered "cool" enough today, so ProStars 2003 would probably star Tony Hawk, Mia Hamm and Ross Rebagliati.

Even if mainstream sports figures were used, who could they get? Would you want your kids to watch a cartoon about Ray Lewis, Vince Carter, Eric Lindros and Barry Bonds?

Imagine that bunch going into battle against an evil villain. Bonds would refuse to fight for less than $20 million, Carter would be lying on the ground holding his knee and Lindros would be lying on the ground holding his head. That would leave only Ray Lewis to slash away at the villain with his knife before driving off in his limo.

I'll take the original trio, thank you very much. Now that's a real triangle offense.


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