July 4th is coming up, which understandably holds quite different meanings for all citizens. The one constant? There's bound to be a Will Smith movie dropping and lo and behold, there is! Hancock, which appears to be about some kind of down-on-his-luck superhuman who may or may not be advised by Jason Bateman and dating Charlize Theron, opens this weekend. It's going to make more money than anyone reading (or writing!) this post would see in 15 lifetimes, so that's cool. More importantly, though (money isn't everything!): what up with Will Smith? Is he unquestionably the best crossover artist of all-time? (He's had large success in three entertainment mediums) Is he a consummate action star or a legitimately quality actor (reference: Six Degrees of Separation, The Pursuit of Happyness, even Ali)? Is there a better jam for this time of year than Summetime? The guy's amazing. We're dedicating Sporting Equivalency to him. Bonus side note: Smith turned down Keanu Reeves' part in The Matrix. BBQ debate topic for the weekend: is that movie better or worse with him in it, and is he an even bigger star if he ended up taking it? Discuss.
Will Smith's MLB Equivalent: David Ortiz
Gotta go big, so the first inclination was A-Rod. Biggest difference? Performance in the clutch. There's three actors who have opened seven consecutive films to $100 million plus: Tom Cruise (duh), Tom Hanks (kinda duh), and Will Smith (considering he has a movie every major holiday, duh). That's clutch. When you're talking clutch, who else can you put but Big Papi? Guy is so clutch, MLB wants him filming a commercial in Yankee Stadium as opposed to A-Rod or Jeter. Plus, they both seem kinda goofy; while we're not ready to let Ortiz top-line I Am Legend, we think he could probably do a decent job as a wise-cracking leading man. What about a buddy cop picture with him and Ramirez when they retire? Screw it, we're quitting our jobs.
Will Smith's NBA Equivalent: Al Jefferson
Whoa. Seems random, no? Bear with us. Will Smith has referred to the term "Big Willie" in basically every red carpet interview he's done since 1996; he even calls his opening weekends "Big Willie Weekends." It's virtually at the TM-level. We had to go with someone who screams "big," perhaps even in their nickname; "Big" Al Jefferson was perfect. Here's the second peg: when Fresh Prince was on, although it was a good show and the theme song was incredibly catchy, did you really think Will Smith would become THIS big? Probably not. Al Jefferson's toiling in Minnesota right now, gone from Boston right before they host a championship parade, and he's about to get under-appreciated Kevin Love to join him in the paint. Pfffft. But in a few years, when Jefferson is regularly going for 27 and 12 and Rashad McCants has figured out how to play D, you'll say, "Where did this Big Al guy come from, anyway?" That's what we say about Big Willie.
Will Smith's NFL Equivalent: Champ Bailey
They both make a ton of money. They both seem unflappable in virtually any situation. They both are near the top of their respective fields, but seem to get mentioned less than they should for how good they are at what they do. If someone ever green-lighted a movie about Champ Bailey, Smith seems a decent choice to play him; circa 1990 we're going with Omar Epps here, but has anyone heard from that dude recently?
Will Smith's Olympic Equivalent: Tyson Gay
We normally go NHL here, but we're excited for Beijing and Gay's world record attempts. Interesting tidbit on Smith's Wiki: Barack Obama wants Smith to play him if (read: when) they make a film about his life. If Gay goes and racks up a huge performance in China and someone starts floating that script, we'd try to get Smith for it. He's got the same look (solid smile, bigger ears) and is completely believable as an athlete (he was real good as possibly the greatest athlete ever). Plus, we bet Smith could beat most dudes in Hollywood in the 100.