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This story is part of Only A Game's 2019 Thanksgiving Leftovers Show. Find the full episode here.
Before Adam and Craig started drawing cartoon versions of LeBron James wearing flowing purple and gold robes and a crown, the brothers worked on a different cartoon sports series.
It was called “Sports Friends," and it appeared on Yahoo Screen.
"The series was basically just athletes talking to each other, but in, like, vulnerable ways that I think made a lot of people uncomfortable," Adam says.
"It was kind of just an intensely fictionalized version of sports, I would say," Craig says.
Now, it just so happens that one of the athletes Adam and Craig parodied on "Sports Friends" was also featured on Only A Game this past year: kicker Stephen Hauschka.
"I go by 'Steve' with my friends and everything," Hauschka told me for our August story. "I guess I'm 'Stephen' in the football world. Sometimes it’s spelled with a 'ph' — that’s my given name — and then I also get spelled with a 'v.' "
You may remember Stephen Hauschka’s story. In brief, he was an aspiring Div. III soccer player at Middlebury College who ended up kicking for the football team at NC State, where he was so happy to make the team that he didn’t complain when his name was misspelled on the roster.
Stephen Hauschka ended up on the Seattle Seahawks from 2011 to 2016, a stretch when the Seahawks had a number of superstars — including Marshawn Lynch, a running back known as Beast Mode.
Sports Friends ... For Real
And in 2013 a cartoon version of Marshawn Lynch, a.k.a. Beast Mode, appeared in an episode of Sports Friends with a cartoon version of Stephen — sometimes with a "ph," sometimes with a "v" — Hauschka.
"So Marshawn Lynch meets Stephen Hauschka, the kicker, for the first time during a game. Like, they never met," Adam explains. "They meet each other at a water cooler."
When I spoke to Alex Buggy, Hauschka's close friend and former college teammate, he had this to say about the relationship between the real-life Marhawn Lynch and the real-life Stephen Hauschka:
"You know, Marshawn is kind of a quiet guy with the media, but him and Marshawn get along really well," Alex said. "And Marshawn’s family is pretty, pretty cool. We hung out with his uncles and stuff after some of the games. So, yeah, it was kind of a unique bond. And I think Marshawn was one of Steve’s biggest fans, actually, on that team."
So it turns out Stephen Hauschka and Marshawn Lynch really were "Sports Friends."
This segment aired on November 30, 2019.
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