Follow TV Tropes


I Know Madden Kombat

Go To
"They're playing cricket," muttered Arthur, stumbling along after Ford. "I swear they are playing cricket. I do not know why they are doing this, but that is what they are doing. They're not just killing people, they're sending them up," he shouted.

Often seen in fighting games, this trope is about characters whose fighting styles either use tactics from or are based on non-combat sports. This does not include those who just use sporting equipment as bludgeoning weapons (for instance, Batter Up! and Golf Clubbing). It comes as no surprise that many of these characters are athletes.

Part of the trope name comes from the Madden NFL series of American football video games, and thus indirectly from their celebrity sponsor John Madden.

Sub-Trope of Weapons of Their Trade and Martial Arts and Crafts. This is the inverse of Martial Arts for Mundane Purposes, as well as Improbable Sports Skills. May result in Gretzky Has the Ball or Artistic License – Sports. If the sport is gymnastics or cheerleading, see She-Fu. See also I Know Mortal Kombat, Dance Battler, Wrestler in All of Us, where the fighting style is based on Professional Wrestling and Boxing Battler, a variation on this trope using an actual combat sport.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Air Master, of course. Once known as the 'Queen of Japanese Gymnastics', she is now known, and feared, in the underground street-fighting circuits as the undefeated Airmaster! She even goes as far as to frequently strike the standard 'finishing pose' of gymnastics after kicking ass.
  • Jake from Bakugan: Gundalian Invaders uses football tactics in his Bakugan fights.
  • In Bakuten Shoot Beyblade, it's common for beybladers to personalize their blading style with another interest or skill of theirs and sport is a common one. Many even have personalized shooters that function as an item related to their sport of choice. First and foremost, there's the All Starz, the American team, which members all are star sportsmen. Steve plays football and is both strong and agile, Eddy is into basketball and is nimble with a great downwards attack, Emily has a thing for tennis and outright smashes through the competition, while Michael is baseball personified and a balanced player. His right pitch is so powerful that it is considered the All Starz's secret weapon. Other bladers that use sports are two members of Spintensity, Mario and Paula, respectively good at soccer and fishing, and Hikaru, who's killer at roller-skating. Uniquely, he doesn't have a personalized shooter, but a personalized bey which enjoy added balance due to the presence of wheels.
  • In Black Clover, Magna is a fire mage, but the way he uses and names his spells has a distinct baseball theme to them. At one point, Magna finds himself facing his friend Asta in a Tournament Arc and throws fireballs like he's pitching baseballs, forcing Asta to knock them away with his sword like it was a bat.
  • Waku from Bokurano is a very talented soccer player. While piloting Zearth his arms are pinned by the enemy robot so he instead resorts to soccer kicking the other robot to death.
    • In the manga version he instead kicks Zearth's severed arm right through the enemy robot.
  • In Captain Tsubasa, Wakashimazu Ken is an ex-Heir to the Dojo who also uses his karate skills to play soccer better. Later on, Nitta takes up karate to improve his skills in the Road to 2002 series.
  • In Cross Ange, Ange, while piloting a Para-mail simulator, notes that it's like flying the hoverbike used for the in-game sport called "Iaria" and excels at it on her first try.
  • Like Beyblade above, Crush Gear Turbo has the Mighty Gears, a team that consists of professional players of different sports (baseball, shogi, nine-ball and Formula One).
  • D.Gray-Man: Daisya Barry's fighting style is based on soccer and his anti-akuma weapon is a ball-like bell.
  • In the first fight between Goku and Tien in Dragon Ball, Tien eventually unveils his most powerful technique: Using volleyball moves to toss his opponent around like a ball.
    • Dragon Ball Z had a football team get into an altercation with an imperfect Cell. When tempers flared, they lined up and tried to rush him. Being that it was Cell, it didn't end well for the team.
    • In one of the video game manuals, it's explained that most of the Ginyu Force got their powers from fairly mundane sources during their childhoods; Jeice developed his Crusher Ball technique from being a baseball pitcher, Burter owes his speed to doing chores for his demanding grandmother, and Recoome's agility despite his size lends itself to dance lessons. Ginyu and Guldo already had their powers, but put them to mundane, selfish use at the time.
  • Inverted in Eyeshield 21; Orio Tokashiki of the Teikoku Alexanders uses his skills as a boxer to better play American football. Makoto Otawara, Daikichi Komusubi, and Futoshi Omosadake all use their sumo wrestling talents in the sport, as well.
    • Also in Eyeshield 21, several players use skills that they picked up from other sports while playing American football, especially Mizumachi, whose overall technique is based around his abilities as a swimmer.
  • In Final Fantasy: Lost Stranger, Shogo joined the competitive archery club back in high school for the sake of living out his fantasies as being a Ranger in Final Fantasy''. Although he explicitly learned the ritualistic kind for sport, his skills prove handy when he becomes an adventurer, as he proves to be a great (but not infallible) shot and his ability to fight at range helps him overcome his lack of strength and experience.
  • In the expanded material for Gunbuster, we have the BUSTAAAH HOOOME RUN!
  • Hunter × Hunter:
    • Gon applies the skills he developed for fishing to combat and passes the extremely selective Hunter Exam thanks to it (with the help of friends he gained along the way). It is implied that Gon's father Ging had the same fishing background and is now one of the three strongest fighters in the world.
    • Razor and all of his underlings have sports-themed powers, with Razor himself choosing volleyball as his sport of choice. However, only Razor is seen fighting (with the rest of them using their powers to set up challenges). Though his Signature Move is a spike done with a charged-up volleyball that is capable of tearing a yacht to shreds at its weakest, his actual ability is creating a bunch of autonomous humanoids, so he can be a team by himself.
  • Kill la Kill: Overlaps with Martial Arts and Crafts. Apparently, just about every school club activity, including but not limited to sports, can become a deadly fighting style - assuming you wear the right uniform for the task. However, actual fighting techniques are more effective. Lampshaded by Ryuko, when she is challenged by the tennis club president to a tennis duel and wonders why she can't just beat her up without any regard for sport rules, like she did with her previous opponent, the boxer. Eventually, she decides that beating the enemy at their own game would be more humiliating and decides to roll with it.
    • In the invasion of Kobe, some of the Kobe high schoolers have American football-themed uniforms and attacks.
  • Several characters in Kinnikuman, most notably Specialman, whose entire gimmick is about being an American football player and whose signature move is "Glorious Touchdown", and Kinnikuman Big Body, whose moves are also heavily based on his love of American football. There's also The Mari, who is literally a giant volleyball with arms and legs.
  • Shibuya Yuuri from Kyo Kara Maoh! used his skill at baseball to win a Sword Fight in one of the earlier episodes.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, during the epic dodgeball match, the girls in going with the lead's advice to use their skills in this environment, used a number of unorthodox sports techniques including a soccer kick, a swimming stroke, a basketball dribble and rhythmic gymnastics. The number of things that Makie can do with a gymnastics ribbon is limited only by her imagination.
  • Many of the trainers in Pokémon Adventures have unorthodox methods of launching Poké Balls. These include Crystal's soccer style, Gold's pool cue, Yellow's fishing rod, Erika's bow and arrows, Koga and Janine's shuriken, Bruno and Brawly's nunchucks, Falkner's boomerangs, and Clair's whip.
  • Used quite a bit in Ranma ½: Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics, Martial Arts Figure Skating fit in this category, to say nothing of all the Martial Arts and Crafts styles.
  • Among the main characters in Reborn! (2004) is Takeshi Yamamoto, a swordsman who substituted his initial lack of formal training with his mastery of baseball, even using a baseball bat that turned into a sword when swung fast enough for a while.
  • Himeko of SKET Dance uses a (field) hockey stick as her weapon of choice.
  • Hongo Joichi from TerraforMARS uses soccer moves in conjunction with his altered legs to fight Martian roaches and another recipient of the Mosiac Organ Operation.
  • Turns up an awful lot in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
    • The upper classman duelist Mitsuru Ayanokouji (Harrington Rosewood in the dub) used a deck full of tennis-themed cards.
    • Kakeru Kunitachi (Striker Crossit in the dub) in Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL has a soccer-themed deck, and even a field spell that turns the battlefield into a soccer arena. (Much to the disappointment of his brothers, known stars of actual soccer; Kunitachi wasn't very good because he wasn't much of a team player.)
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Shuzo Hiragi (Skip Boyle in the dub) uses Guts Masters, who resemble players of various sports; thus far he has used monsters based on soccer, Kendo, and football.
  • YuYu Hakusho has one-scene demon who's obsessed with rugby. We don't get to see much of his fighting style, though, because shortly after he attacks Yusuke, one of Rugby's teammates kills him for starting things outside of the ring.
  • In Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead, Akira uses his rugby training to tackle the zombified chairman through the door. He also wrestles and punches zombies on numerous occasions with the athleticism he built up in college.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City featured the Golden Age football-themed All-American and his sidekick, the baseball-styled Slugger.
  • There was the Batman villain Sportsman, who had the same gimmick as the Sportsmaster (see below) except with lots of anabolic steroids.
  • The jai alai themed Blue Beetle villain Overthrow.
  • Rookie from Critter is a sports-themed superheroine with the ability to form hard light constructs in the shape of sporting equipment. Baseball and ice hockey seem to be her favourite sports.
  • Oddly averted in one issue of The Flash: A supervillain crashes a hockey game and tries to steal the touring Stanley Cup, culminating in a showdown with the Flash right on the ice. But the villain is Tarpit, a walking pile of tar, rather than the sport-themed guy you'd expect.
  • Green Lantern:
    • The Golden Age DC Comics super villain, the Sportsmaster was an Olympic level athlete who used sporting-themed weapons such as exploding baseballs, flying bases, rocket baseball bats, knockout basketballs, lacrosse snare nets, exploding hockey pucks.
    • Green Lantern villain Javelin, who threw gimmicky javelins and was supposedly a former Olympic athlete... No, not in curling.
    • Scoopshovel of the Demolition Team, whose skills as a jai alai player are utilized along with his hydraulic toothed bucket arm to uproot entire buildings and send any force back where it came from, plus interest.
  • JLA (1997): Fastball of the Cadre, a minor league baseball pitcher turned assassin after being given a high tech exoskeleton that allowed him to throw exploding balls at supersonic speeds.
  • Marvel Comics has a recurring villain group called the Death Throws who are— wait for it —criminal jugglers. Their juggling implements are also thrown weapons, and they have names like Ringleader, Oddball, Knicknack, Tenpin (snrk!) and Bombshell so you know what their weapon of choice will be before they even start to * snort* juggle. We're sorry. We we'll try to stop giggling.
  • NFL SuperPro had the physical attributes of an elite NFL player multiplied tenfold, with tackling skills that served him very well as a crimefighter.
  • "Calamity" James Wa from The Order (2007), a former baseball prodigy and track star who lost his legs to a drunk driver, well... let's just say his game still revolves around speed, with his state-of-the-art cybernetic legs allowing him to break the sound barrier. He's also adept at improvising "bats" out of nearby debris, at one point splattering the brains of dozens of zombies with an uprooted parking meter.
  • 8-Ball, the closest thing Sleepwalker has to an arch-enemy, is a billiards-themed supervillain who uses a special pool cue that dramatically multiplies the force applied to it.
  • One of Spider-Girl's recurring enemies, Crazy Eight, had a similar gimmick, using trick eight-balls.
  • Spider-Man villain Boomerang was a major league baseball pitcher before getting kicked out for accepting bribes. It helps him throwing his boomerangs.
  • Using sports equipment as weapons was the main gimmick of Casey Jones of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • Since the Summer 2003 BIONICLE setline put such a big emphasis on action features based around their Fictional Sport of Kohlii, the makers of the movie Mask of Light decided that the big showdown at the end would consist of The Hero and the Big Bad playing a more furious and deadly version. In the end, it was a Kohlii move that struck down the villain (if only temporarily).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Japanese kung-fu horror musical comedy (really) Battlefield Baseball is practically built around this trope, featuring a main character who beats people up during baseball matches, accidentally killed his father by throwing a pitch at him too hard, and fights an evil high school baseball team who kill their opponents. Yeah.
  • Jamal from Black Knight (2001). He even shouts the name of the sport style he's using right then. He also trains the rebel army to run football plays in combat.
  • This is the central premise of the Thai action film Born To Fight. The football player use footballs, flaming coconuts, and even a hot wok as projectiles. The gymnast flips acrobatically over swinging machetes while walking a balance beam and drop kicks from uneven bars. The rugby player... punts people in the stomach, slams tables on heads and tackles people through walls.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy uses cheerleading to kill vampires.
  • The "triplets" from Dogma are a trio of hockey-themed demons who can use their hockey sticks to open up portals. Or people.
  • In Flash Gordon, there's a sequence where a somewhat-dazed Flash and Ming's minions improvise a football play, complete with bowling-ball-knocking-over-pins sounds.
  • Jonathan Cabot from combines ninjutsu and gymnastics to make a new martial art, Gymkata.
  • The infamous scene in The Lost World: Jurassic Park in which the little girl uses some conveniently placed parallel bars to gymnastics-kick a velociraptor. Resulting in the expected follow-up line: "And they dropped you from the team?"
  • Now You See Me seems to believe that being magician is equivalent to being a ninja (either that, or the Four Horsemen were somehow chosen for their fighting abilities on top of their on-stage prowesses). One of the magicians takes down several cops at melee combat, and even uses playing cards as shurikens. They're also all pretty good with handcuffs. And one of them is a mentalist, which apparently gives him Jedi Mind Trick-like powers.
  • Though it's not combat per se, the bad guys in Paul Blart: Mall Cop execute the takeover of the mall by means of freestyle bicycling and skateboarding, as well as freerunning techniques.
  • Inverted in Remember the Titans—football player Sunshine uses his knowledge of Tai Chi to flip an opposing tackle ass-over-teakettle.
  • Inverted in The Replacements (2000), where one of the replacement players is a sumo wrestler whose incredible skill at pushing people around comes in handy as an offensive lineman in American football.
  • Inverted in Romeo Must Die features Jet Li adapting his kung fu to suit a pick-up football game.
  • In The Running Man, Ben Richards must defeat a hockey themed hunter in modified goalie pads who calls himself "Sub Zero."
  • Starship Troopers has the "flip-6-3-hole" play imported from some kind of shiny football. It was not in the original story.
  • Casey Jones from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) uses baseball and cricket bats, hockey sticks and golf clubs as bludgeons. However there are times in the movie, such as his finishing moves, where he actually swings the cricket bat and the golf club in the proper way.
  • TRON:
    • The Novelization of the film explains that Kevin Flynn was as good as he was on the lightcycle arena and jai alai matches because he wrote those game programs based on sports and skills he already knew, making it a cross of this and I Know Mortal Kombat.
    • TRON: Legacy establishes Sam Flynn as being an extreme sports junkie and expert motorcyclist, skills that translate all too well into Cyberspace.
  • Jean Reno takes out some bad guys with golf-fu in Wasabi.

  • At one point in the 1632 series, a high school is attacked by Croat cavalry (It Makes Sense in Context). They have some proper weapons, but a number of students end up fighting swords and pistols with fastballs. They're actually reasonably successful; a projectile traveling in the vicinity of 80 miles per hour hitting you in the face at close range is hard to ignore. The only guy using baseballs (who was good enough to play pro in the 20th century, which means it's a 90+ mph fastball) decides to join the military after graduation, so he never has to face THAT kind of situation without a proper weapon. In a later book, he does hit a guy in the face with an apple then beat the crap out of him with a table leg "I never much liked the designated hitter rule".
  • Played for Laughs in Bored of the Rings with the Ballhog, a basketball-playing demon.
    As Goodgulf stepped onto the bridge the passage echoed with an ominous dribble, dribble, and a great crowd of narcs burst forth. In their midst was a towering dark shadow too terrible to describe. In its hand it held a huge black globe and on its chest was written in cruel runes, "Villanova."
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Harry uses his Quidditch skills to help him win the first task in the Triwizard Tournament. He uses his masterful flying to avoid the dragon and his flames, the Wronski Feint (a complicated technique which he had only learned a few months earlier) and seeker skill to scoop up the egg the moment the dragon moves away from it.
  • The Krikketmen from Life, the Universe and Everything apply cricket skills to interdimensional warfare. To put it more accurately, the humans adapted their long-ago style of warfare into a game. (Which does not endear us to the interstellar community at all...)
  • In the Modesty Blaise short story "A Better Day to Die" in Pieces of Modesty, a Non-Action Guy missionary's cricketing skills allow him to play Grenade Hot Potato with lethal accuracy.
  • In Towards Zero, tennis pro Neville Strange murders a woman with a heavy weight attached to a stick that he swings backhanded like a tennis racket. He deliberately uses his backhand to make it look like the murderer was left-handed in order to implicate his left-handed ex-wife.
  • Wild Cards has Curveball, a softball enthusiast whose "card turned" during a high-pitched game, and ever since then, she's been able to turn any object that can be thrown in one hand into a deadly weapon. It helps that she can telekinetically direct its path. And make it explode.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Worldwar, the Chinese Communists recruit Bobby Fiore to fight the Race due to his supernatural skill at throwing round objects (he's a baseball player). He ports his skill into throwing grenades.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel doubts Cordelia's claim that her cheerleading experience allows her to remember the swordfighting moves he's teaching her. She does a "cheerleading routine" with her sword and ends up about an inch away from him, holding the sword to his throat, whereupon Angel laughs nervously and says "Go Team!"
  • The second episode of Band of Brothers had 1st Lt. Lynn 'Buck' Compton, the starting catcher for the UCLA baseball team before he joined the paratroopers, hit a German soldier with a grenade with such accuracy and strength that it exploded as soon as it hit him.
    • This was absolute Truth in Television; in fact they toned things down for the show. Lt. Compton actually nailed his enemy in the head with his grenade.
  • In Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe, despite knowing actual military tactics, when training combatants to survive on the battlefield Sam Axe teaches the tactics are heavily based on team secrets of a football team. Supposedly this helped protect him from legal charges.
  • Death in Paradise: In "Death in the Clinic", Inspector Poole stops a fleeing criminal by grabbing a rubber weight from a fishing net and bowling it overhand at him: a perfect full toss that hits him in the head and knocks him out. Poole immediately undercuts the moment by remarking that he hadn't expected that to work.
  • In the first episode of Kamen Rider Fourze, Gentarou pisses off his school's football team, so they drag him outside and give him the once-over... by using him as a tackling dummy.
  • In one episode of the series Masquerade, Operation Masquerade recruited a baseball player to help them on the mission. He ended up using his baseball skills to take on a Ninja, including catching a shuriken in his mitt and hurling it back.
  • Kimberly from Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers used a mixture of gymnastics and martial arts for her fighting style, as did Billy. Amy Jo Johnson and David Yost actually were champion gymnasts, Yost earning several state championships and Johnson almost making the U.S. Olympic team before suffering a career-ending injury. Zack, similarly, incorporated breakdancing into his fighting style. Walter Emanuel Jones is a professional dancer, who has worked with Cheryl Burke. Also Kat, once Catherine Sutherland began doing her own fight scenes, used ballet in her fighting style. The Wild Force's Sixth Ranger uses a finisher inspired by billiards. Power Rangers Turbo introduced Carlos, who is a great, yet clumsy, soccer player.
    • In Power Rangers Megaforce, Jake would follow Carlos' example, being a soccer player who incorporated his sport's moves in his unmorphed fights.
  • Relic Hunter: In "Diamond in the Rough", Sydney knocks out a fleeing bad guy with a perfectly pitched baseball to the head.
  • Shakespeare & Hathaway - Private Investigators: In "This Envious Court", the villain attackes Frank and Lou with a tennis ball launcher. Lou uses a tennis racquet to smash the ball back at her, hitting her in the bridge of her nose and knocking her down.
  • The X-Files "The Unnatural" involved an old-timey baseball team protecting a Negro League player (who is an alien) from a mounted Ku Klux Klan member (who is also an alien; it's complicated) by chucking high-speed pitches at him. It was the only time the spectacled pitcher ever threw his fastball accurately.

  • Summer's Sequinox outfit resembles sports outfits (mainly volleyball, with knee and elbow pads from roller derby and "magic" tennis shoes), and she can use volleyball maneuvers when attacking with Misirlou Beach Blast because it's just a big ball of water.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Wrestling promotions had their share of sport-themed wrestlers such as The Goon (ice hockey), Hole-in-One Barry Darsow (golf) and others who sometimes used their sport equipment for cheating.
    • AWA once celebrated the upcoming Super Bowl by pitting two former football players against each other in a special rules match that revolved around scoring points.
    • Katsuyori Shibata's second sport was mixed martial arts, which doesn't really count for this trope. But his third sport was soccer, in which using those kinds of kicks definitely counts.
    • "Knuckleball" Schwartz was baseball parody. Montel Vontavious Porter was a football parody of Rod Tidwell and Terrel Owens, although his "ballin" elbow drop refers to a different sport.
    • Wrestler Goldberg, once an NFL football player, used a spear tackle (or "the Spear") as a signature move. It's an illegal tackle in footballnote  — and yes, it does hurt.
    • More generally, many wrestlers with football backgrounds (either college or pro) use modified tackles as moves, sometimes starting from a Three Point Stance.
    • Brazilian Olympic basketball player Giant Silva was paired up with volleyball player Giant Vabo in Fighting Opera Hustle, which predictably resulted in them using many moves inspired by their former sports.
    • The Human Tornado has taken a basketball and literally dunked on Matt Sydal before giving him a hurincanrana after letting go of the rim.
    • WWE calls Antonio Cesaro a "two sport superstar" and describes him having been a rugby player before coming to wrestling.
    • Tazz hates soccer, but admits to finding AJ Styles's pele impressive.
    • A sorta kinda example in John Morrison, who incorporates Capoeira into his matches, which is as much a dance technique as a martial art. Also they bring up that he is a practitioner of Le Parkour a lot.
    • CHIKARA features the Throwbacks, a tag team of athletes from bygone eras. Dasher Hatfield (1910s baseball), Sugar Dunkerton (1970s basketball), and 'Mr. Touchdown' Mark Angelosetti (1980s football) all make heavy use of moves inspired by their sport of choice; one of Hatfield's favorites is "Running the Bases", where he suspends an opponent upside down against a corner post using the ropes(aka "ties him to the Tree of Woe"), mimes hitting a pitch, runs around the ring tagging the other corner posts, then slides into "home plate" — his opponent's head.
    • At SHINE 20, "Portugal's Perfect Athlete" Shanna decided to exploit the enthusiasm surrounding the 2014 World Cup by wearing a Brazilian Uniform and demonstrating her footballs skills on La Rosa Negra.
    • Use of sports equipment is standard fare for a Garbage Wrestler. Notably, Al Snow hit Raven with a Groin Attack with a bowling ball during the 2001 Royal Rumble.
    • Yota Tsuji of New Japan Pro-Wrestling played American football in college and uses a spear called the Gene Blast as his finisher. He was a quarterback mind you, but even so.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: The Golden Boys mercenary squad used to be an actual basketball team, are commanded by their old coach, employ masseurs and physical therapists to ensure they're always ready for "game-time", and keep their morale high with a group of cheerleaders.
  • Hunter: The Vigil allows player characters to take the career of Athlete as a way to give themselves additional skills when hunting monsters. It's mentioned that athlete have valuable skills that translate easily into monster hunting like excellent physical fitness and the drive to succeed against opponents.
  • Rifts:
    • In the Rifts: Australia sourcebook, the Sportsman O.C.C. is a talented athlete in a sport of your choice who adapts the skills from his chosen profession into combat maneuvers. Note that, being Rifts, many familiar sports are barely not gladiatorial combat.
    • The setting has a number of unique sports, like deadball, which is similar to handball but with a heavy metal ball that randomly protrudes sharp spikes. Juicers, the primary players of deadball, can take "Deadball" as a weapon skill. Juicers play a lot of Blood Sports, so skills from any Juicer sport often translate very well to combat.
  • Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization: Building Team Sports or Pro Sports buildings ramps up your civilization's military strength.

  • BIONICLE: As a Toa Mata, Pohatu kicks Kohlii balls (read:small boulders) in combat and later does the same with his Kodan ball as a Toa Nuva. Since his feet are his main weapons, he only ever adopts the early soccer-like version of the sport instead of the lacrosse-based version introduced in Mask of Light. His set even gives him a ball to kick with his gear function.

    Video Games 
  • There are a number of 2D platform games in which the main character kicks a football as their main weapon, including Marko's Magic Football, Soccer Kid and Go Go Beckham, the latter starring a cartoon version of Real Life footballer David Beckham.
  • Bobby from Aggressors of Dark Kombat uses his basketball skills and ball to fight.
  • Asuka 120% is a Fighting Game based around a tournament held by various clubs at a girls' high school. The fighters thus include a rhythmic gymnast (Kumi), a tennis player (Tamaki), a volleyball player (Ryuko), and a softball player (Kiyoko).
  • Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden is... weird. Because it portrays basketball as nothing but a martial art. In any case, Charles Barkley's weapons are basketballs and his moves (Free Throw, Fadeaway, Double Team) are all perfectly game legal... until he learns to Dual Wield and uses two balls, that is. Of course, all these changes happened after the incident with the chaos dunk.
  • Bat Boy is a Shovel Knight-inspired action platformer, where the player character and bosses are sports-themed superheroes rather than outlandishly themed knights. The love interest becomes a literal Tennis Boss. Bat Boy can hit projectiles back at enemies or throw his bat as a Battle Boomerang, and each boss teaches him a new ability from their repertoire when defeated — charging like a rampaging linebacker, a leaping tennis smash, etc.
  • Brawl Busters features as playable classes the Slugger, a baseball player who slides and wields an odd bat that shoots balls when swung, and the Blitzer, a football player who uses pump fakes (fake passes) in his combos and can perform a variation on a Ground Pound by spiking his ever-present ball.
  • In the crossover Fighting Game Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax we have Tomoka Minato from the Light Novel Ro-Kyu-Bu!: Her fighting style is based on her position as captain of her basketball team, as she uses basketballs in battle, whether by throwing them as projectiles, or passing them to her pertners for various attacks; one of her super moves is even a reference to her Scoop Shot Signature Move, as she catches her opponent into a basketball, dribbles and throws him/her high above, all while wings sprout from her back.
  • Elite Beat Agents had Hulk Bryman, a washed-up baseball player, defeat an evil monster using his baseball skills (with the help of cheering from the EBA). Can he kick butt? "You bet, kid!"
  • In Eternal Fighter Zero, Nayuki Minase (awake) has a fighting style characterized by intricate kicks and very fast footwork, a reference to her position as the school's track team captain in Kanon.
  • Fallout 3:
    • One of the potential random encounters is an ice-hockey themed gang named "Sudden-Death Overtime". All they really know about hockey is that it involves ice and fighting, though — the sport died a long time ago after all.
    • Liberty Prime is a Humongous Mecha who throws nuclear bombs like a quarterback throws a football.
    • One of the first perks you can take is "Little Leaguer", in which your experience hitting and pitching as the MVP of the Vault 101 little leagues gives you a bonus to Melee and Explosives (IE, tossing grenades).
  • Fatal Fury:
    • Terry Bogard has a move called "Power Dunk" (POUWAH DAANHK) which is a jumping mid air skill-cracking punch which is said he modified from the basketball move.
    • Raiden is a former American football player who adapted certain moves to fit his later career choice as a wrestler. For instance, he will take a lineman's three-point stance before launching into a vicious shoulder tackle.
  • Fight Fever has Magic Dunker, a basketball player probably named after Magic Johnson. His projectile is a basketball, but he jumps into the air and throws it with a dunking motion.
  • Fighting Vipers features Picky and Charlie, whose fighting styles are centered around skateboarding and BMX, respectively. Charlie in particular has a stance where he's actually riding his bike that incorporates tailwhips, backflips, and simply running his opponent down into his moveset.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, some of the best enemies to fight if you want to get a lot of AP very quickly happen to be the hockey teams in Galbadia Garden.
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Wakka uses his blitzball skills in battle, and all of his weapons are blitzballs. It should be noted that during a blitzball match, you will regularly see people roundhouse kicking each other, punching each other in the face, and actually knocking each other unconscious. And since the sport takes place underwater, a blitzball would have to weigh a lot to overcome water resistance.
    • Tidus as well, also being a Blitzballer. Tidus' Ultimate Overdrive, Blitz Ace, finishes a series of sword attacks off by having a Blitzball served to him by a party member, and performing a "Sphere Shot" (essentially a full flip bicycle kick) to drive a blitzball that explodes right into the enemy's face. In the Blitzball mini-game it self, he also can learn Jecht Shot, and Jecht Shot II, moves where he intentionally hits two or three opposing blockers out of the way with the ball for him to take a shot at the goal.
  • Jagged Alliance:
    • Wink E. Dickerson brings his baseball pitching skills to the battlefield. While of average stats all around, he has a trait that lets him throw grenades much further, though not necessarily more accurately.
    • Timothy 'Leech' Jenkins has one of the highest accuracy scores in the game, cultivated from his previous career as a world-class trapshooter. While of average physical stats, and thus not as swift or durable as more professional soldiers, he seems to have switched to mercenary work quite well. Disturbingly well, given his comments that shooting people is more fun than clay pigeons because they scream.
  • The American Sports team members Lucky Glauber and Brian Battler of The King of Fighters. Half of Lucky's moves involve him lobbing a basketball at his opponents, some of which include him doing jump shots. Lucky also does a couple dunk inspired attacks. Most of Brian's attacks are inspired by Professional Wrestling, but he also has several football attacks including tackles, a chop block and a punt.
  • Knuckle Bash, a Beat 'em Up by Toaplan, has a boss character named Kyaputeso (which is a pun on "Captain" that's kind of hard to explain succinctly), a football player, who becomes playable after you defeat him.
  • Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth: The DLC jobs Linebacker (for male characters) and Tennis Ace (for female characters) which fight using football tackles and tennis serves, respectively.
  • Buffalo Van Dyke from LISA: The Painful RPG is a former pro-football player who has become obsessed with perfecting his game even after the White Flash killed the world's women and set mankind on a path towards extinction. As expected, he fights with a series of football tackles.
  • In Luigi's Mansion, one of the ghosts is Slim Bankshot, an ace pool player who uses his cue to shoot billiard balls at you.
  • Mega Man:
    • Strike Man from Mega Man 10 (who looks like a baseball, no less) throws "Rebound Strikers", fastballs that bounce all over the place and get more deadly per bounce. The enemies in his stage are also sports-themed, including pitchers who throw curveballs and baskets that bounce balls at you.
    • The skier Blizzard Man fights with ski poles.
    • Mega Man 8 has the Mega Ball weapon (which appears to be the game's equivalent of Rush Coil, of all things). It summons a ball that Mega Man can kick, which bounces a number of times. "Classic" series Mega Man also uses it in his Capcom vs. appearances.
    • Tundra Man from Mega Man 11 was originally a polar surveillance robot, but developed a thirst for the spotlight and modified himself to better suit figure skating. His main threat in his fight with Mega Man involves pirouette-induced Collision Damage.
    • In the Mega Man Battle Network games, there's Gridman.exe (football) and Bowlman.exe (bowling). Interestingly, both of them were fan submissions. There's also Blizzardman.exe.
  • Senator Armstrong from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, despite his Navy training, fights like a football player. Played college ball, you know? Not at some cushy Ivy League school either. Try University of Texas. He would have gone pro if he hadn't joined the Navy.
  • Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City features His Royal Airness kicking ass with various powered-up basketballs, and his insane aerial abilities.
  • The Mutant League games are about this trope ratcheted up to the level of Blood Sport. The short-lived cartoon based on them made it Lighter and Softer by a Techno Babble Hand Wave form of Good Thing You Can Heal, and even a Very Special Episode about how humans can't be regenerated like Mutants and should not imitate the really cool graphic violence that made up the bulk of every episode.
  • No More Heroes: Travis Touchdown mixes his apparently professional sword training with Mexican luchador wrestling moves learned by watching video tapes, as well as special attacks learned from his favorite fictional moe anime, 'Pure White Lover Bizarre Jelly'. Despite his last name, he has no attacks that have anything to do with football.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Subverted with Charlie MacDonald who, despite being a football player (with two dozen cheerleader minions), actually fights Travis in a Humongous Mecha showdown. He has one attack where he throws a giant football at Travis and his mech's main body is shaped like a football, but the theme isn't really all that strong.
  • In Persona 3, Junpei Iori holds his sword with the wrong foot forward, meaning that he's essentially swinging it like a baseball bat. His critical hit even has him yell "HOME RUN!!". As befitting The Load, he falls over a lot doing so. Taken to a logical conclusion in Persona 4: Arena in its sequel, where he fights with a baseball themed moveset and mechanic of gaining homeruns.
  • In Persona 5, Kamoshida's Shadow, the demon Asmodeus, will often order his slaves to launch volleys of volleyballs as projectiles at the Phantom Thieves. His most powerful attack, the Gold Medal Shot, involves spiking a giant golden ball hard enough to generate an explosion on impact.
  • Plants vs. Zombies: The Football Zombie attacks using the only thing he remembers from when he was alive: rushing, American Football-style (minus the actual football). His counterpart from the Garden Warfare games, the All-Star, uses a football cannon and can tackle enemies. He can adopt the equipment of various other sports, but his abilities are always based on American Football.
  • Various Pokémon attack using sports techniques:
    • The Alolan primate Passimian performs like an American football (or rugby football) player, and actually does better in Doubles battles due to its ability "Receiver" taking its partner's ability when said partner leaves the field.
    • The Galarian rabbits Scorbunny, Raboot and Cinderace perform like association football (soccer) players, and specialize in kicks, but Cinderace epitomizes the trope in its Secret Art Pyro Ball, where it picks up a pebble, kicks it repeatedly to heat it up like a dropped soccer ball, and then launches it at the opponent for power comparable to a Fire Blast.
    • In Pokkén Tournament, Braixen has a move where she uses her staff like a golf club to launch an exploding fireball at her opponent.
  • The students of the very sports driven Gorin High School in Rival Schools best represent this trope. Shoma (baseball), Natsu (volleyball), Roberto (soccer), Nagare (swimming), and Momo (tennis) all have moves that heavily involve the sports they play, including stances, positions, most of their attacks and projectiles that are balls in their respective games. They all even fight in their sports wear.
  • In Samurai Warriors, Imagawa Yoshimoto fights with a sword and a Kemari ball and his attacks tend to involve a lot of ball-kicking, though the moves he does with his ball look a lot more like high-level soccer tricks than kemari.
  • Shaq Fu, starring famous basketball player Shaquille O'Neal.
  • Street Fighter and the Capcom vs. series:
  • The protagonist of the Platform Game Soccer Kid is a kid who kicks soccer balls at enemies.
  • A fighting game based on 80's TV show Spitting Image has a playable fighter whose style is "adapted from the dance moves of John Travolta". The fighter? Mikhail Gorbachev.
  • In Splatoon 2, one of the sub-weapons available to use is the Curling Bomb, a curling stone that slides along a straight line, bouncing off walls, and eventually explodes. From the same game, the Bomb Launcher special weapon resembles Nintendo's Ultra Machine, a pitching machine.
  • Streets of Rage 2 and 3 lets you pick a character named Skate, who fights hoodlums using his roller-blades.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Super Mario World features Chargin' Chuck, a variety of Koopa decked out in gridiron football gear, who attacks by rushing, lobbing baseballs, and punting footballs. They tend to appear near the curiously goalpost-shaped stage goal.
    • Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island had a level full of two special kinds of Shy Guys, one who could bat thrown eggs at an angle and one who could catch them (or pick them off the ground) and then chuck them back at Yoshi. They'd also try to do the same with watermelon seeds.
    • Chargin' Chucks reappeared in Super Mario 3D World, but their fighting style is more limited to "chargin'" than in their debut appearance. Playable characters however put their soccer and baseball skills to good use, utilizing soccer balls (or bombs made to look like them) and large baseballs as weapons.
  • Super Robot Wars NEO has the cast from Shippu! Iron Leaguer, which is originally a sport anime. As the major theme of the game is about robots fighting each other, the units from it take this trope in order to fit in.
  • Super Smash Bros.:
    • Princess Peach uses a golf club and tennis racquet, inspired by her appearances in the Mario Golf and Mario Tennis games. Her Echo Fighter Daisy does the same thing as well.
    • When Waluigi appears as an assist trophy in Brawl onwards, he uses a tennis racket to reference his debut game.
    • In Wii U/3DS, Wii Fit Trainer knows yoga combat. All of her moves are yoga poses - struck with enough force to damage her opponents. Her side special has her head butting a soccer ball.
    • One of Mii Brawler's neutral specials has them throwing a metallic ball named "Shot Put". It is the only projectile move that the Mii Brawler has.
  • The Scout from Team Fortress 2 is baseball-themed — he can run especially fast, use a bat as a weapon, become invulnerable from an energy drink, and even stun enemies with baseballs. Many of his taunts and all of his achievement titles are references to baseball, and he wears a baseball cap, hand wraps, and long socks tucked into rolled pants (which is characteristic of old-fashioned baseball uniforms). "Yo, I oughta be on a baseball card!" Promotional items for Football Manager 2012 give him a soccer fan's scarf, change his running shoes to soccer cleats, and cause him to spawn with a soccer ball. Basically, if you don't have a baseball bat equipped as your melee weapon it completely changes the character's theme sport.
  • ThanksKilling Day: In the room behind the fireplace, the kid can find a hockey stick that he can use as a weapon.
  • Top Fighter 2000 MK VIII is a bootleg fighting game for the Mega Drive (AKA Genesis) with Michael Jordan as a playable character. Granted, he's pretty much an Expy of Lucky Glauber but nevertheless.
  • Part of Dead End's level 3 special attack in Transformers: Forged to Fight involves him using the exhaust pipe he uses as a weapon to bat a grenade at his opponent like a baseball.
  • Undercover Cops features as one of its playable characters Matt Gables (or "Bubba" in the English version), a former pro football player who can shoulder tackle, punt, and spike enemies to the ground.
  • In Urban Rivals, this is the angle behind the All Stars gang each member of whom is a fighter who uses skills from their specific sport to beat ass like a pro. While the standard hockey (Alexei), football (Randy), soccer (Striker), baseball (Lamarr), and basketball (Mikki) types are present, more esoteric examples include Bhudd, the zen martial arts master and ace bowler; Dan, ping pong expert and channeler of dark forces; and Robb, a legendary champion at darts who uses his flinging skills as a guerrilla.
  • Johnny Maximum from World Heroes has a heavily football inspired fighting style which includes punting, rushing attacks and catching projectiles and throwing or kicking them back as footballs. Let’s not dwell on the fact that football is a sport with highly specialized positions and no player would have all these skills. His idle pose is even a lineman’s three-point stance. He's also based on Joe Montana (note the initials and his default uniform colors).
  • The Bitball weapons in Xenoblade Chronicles 2, while not resembling any type of sports ball in particular, utilize moves inspired by various ball sports, with your party members throwing, kicking, punching, and even dunking the ball into foes, and some of their arts bear sports-inspired names like Touchdown. Common blades with the weapon will even talk more like they're in a ball game then a fight on top of this.

    Visual Novels 
  • The backstory of Ryoma Hoshi, the Ultimate Tennis Pro of Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, involves him using his tennis skills to take revenge on The Mafia for killing his family by killing them with iron tennis balls.

    Web Animation 
  • Giovanni Potage of Epithet Erased seems to have no formal combat training and instead applies a mixture of his soup powers and his notable baseball skill in combat. Mostly this just consists of hitting people with the bat (which is surprisingly effective when he's charged up a guaranteed Critical Hit), but he also manages to knock Sylvie on his ass with a high-velocity ball of yarn.
    Giovanni: I may not be the best supervillain in the world just yet, but when it comes to baseball, I CAN'T BE BEAT!


    Western Animation 
  • The Sportsmaster appears in Batman: The Brave and the Bold using, well, sports equipment. His first appearance had him trying to kill everyone at a bowling tournament, since he didn't believe that it was a real sport.
  • The Sports Boyzz of The Bots Master, who use balls that explode. They are Batzz (baseball), Bogey (golf), Ace (tennis) and All Ball (volleyball and soccer).
  • G.I. Joe character Captain Gridiron, an ex-quarterback that runs around in modified football gear and throws football-shaped grenades. The toyline also featured famous Chicago Bears Defensive End William "the Refrigerator" Perry, who had a chain with a spiked metal football at the end. It was actually a tradition for each new wave of figures to feature at least one sport-themed character, though many aren't quite so blatant as the examples already given; one of the few on the Cobra side of things are Frag-Vipers, hand grenade experts outfitted with a "manual hurling basket" based on a Jai Alai cesta.
  • The Sportsman was a thinly veiled Captain Ersatz for the DC Comics villain the Sportsmaster in Justice League.
  • Kim Possible has She-Fu moves and fighting ability that is rooted in her cheerleading ability.
    • One of that show's recurring villains is Duff Killigan, a rogue golfer who uses explosive golf balls in his capers.
  • In King Arthur & the Knights of Justice, Arthur King and his team would use American football plays and strategies in their battles against the Warlords. They are a college football team, after all.
  • In Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series, the Ducks' combat skills, weapons, gadgets and way of thinking are mostly based off hockey. Their whole planet's culture revolves around hockey.
  • ProStars was a TV show featuring the crime fighting trio of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, and Wayne Gretzky. And yes, all of their crimefighting gadgets involved their respective sports (except, of course, Bo Jackson, who could seemingly pull out any sport he wanted due to the Bo Knows commercials).
  • In an inversion, Rocky and Bullwinkle use tactical plans from Robert E. Lee as their football plays, to some success.
  • An episode of Static Shock featured the Hoop Squad, a four-man team of NBA players Steve Nash, Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, and Karl Malone, who all secretly had superpowers. While the powers have nothing to do with basketball, they way they utilize them definitely does.
  • In the '80s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series, Casey Jones doesn't have any sports skill to back up his attacks, although he does make some horrible sports puns. In the '03 series Casey has used hockey tactics in his fighting style.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man (2012): When the symbiote assimilates with Flash Thompson, he integrates his football techniques and gear into Agent Venom's attacks.
  • Sportsmaster also appears in Young Justice (2010) as a recurring mercenary and the Light's main enforcer, with lots of weaponised sports equipment. He's also the father of main character Artemis.

    Real Life 
  • In Rome in 1496, Spanish mercenary Diego García de Paredes was playing with his brother and five colleagues (among them Francisco Pizarro's father) to a kind of throwing rod game called barra castellana, when they got in a brawl with about twenty soldiers from the Pope's Royal Guard. Armed solely with the rod against their swords, Paredes jumped into the brawl and destroyed the guards, killing five and knocking out over ten.
  • In this video, Bob Sapp demonstrates how American Football can be a martial art.
  • Inverted with the “Flying Wedge” play in American Football that was very briefly used in the late nineteenth century. A Princeton coach was inspired to use this formation from flying wedge formations used in infantry and cavalry assaults and adapted it. However, it became classified as a Dangerous Forbidden Technique because defenders risked serious injuries trying to stop the wedge from advancing.
  • The fight choreographer for The Phantom Menace was said to have used elements of tennis in designing the Jedi lightsaber technique.
  • "Battle of the Hockey Enforcers" takes hockey, and removes all the boring "hockey" parts by just having two guys in full gear box on the ice. Whether this is an inversion or played straight is hard to figure out — fighting is a part of the game itself...
  • Pétanque, a game all about throwing metal balls near a small ball (named piglet) can be Serious Business enough for players to kill each other by throwing the metal balls they are playing with at each other over an argument.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sport Battler


Death By Basketball

Anyone else love how she just stands there screaming and doesn't even try to run away, even though she had at least a 2-3 second head start? (No pun intended on the "head" start.)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / YourHeadASplode

Media sources: