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Sports Movie of the Week — ‘The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh’ [VIDEO]

Julius Erving as Moses Guthrie
Warner Bros.

After an off-season labor dispute that threatened the entire season, the NBA finally begins its 2011-12 schedule with five games on Christmas Day. One team you won’t find playing on that day: the Pittsburgh Pisces, the fictional team at the center of our Sports Movie of the Week: ‘The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh.’ This 1979 comedy starring NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving was filmed when Erving, astrology and disco music were all at, or near, their peak of popularity.

Erving plays Moses Guthrie, the lone star on the Pittsburgh Pythons, who are the worst team in the NBA. While his talent is undeniable, Guthrie can’t get the team to gel around him and they eventually walk out. Team ball boy Tyrone Millman (James Bond III) suggests that the Pythons contact astrologist Mona Mondieu (Stockard Channing). Under Mona’s direction, the team holds open tryouts and chooses only players with same zodiac sign as Guthrie: Pisces. Can the basketball talents of this bizarre bunch – and the power of the stars – change the fortunes of the renamed team?

Five Reasons to Watch ‘The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh’

1. Real NBA stars of the 1970s like Erving, Connie Hawkins, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bob Lanier, Cornbread Maxwell, Spencer Haywood and many more in game action.

2. A laser-filled pre-game entrance that may have been a pre-cursor of today’s dramatic NBA player introductions and dynamic on-court entertainment.

3. The incessant chatter and effusive personality of Meadowlark Lemon, who was then an active member of the Harlem Globetrotters.

4. The opportunity to hear the broadcasting voice of since-deceased Los Angeles Lakers’ play-by-play announcer Chick Hearn.

5. Well-known “Simpsons’” voice actor Harry Shearer as sports anchor “Murray Sports,” whose character was reportedly based on since-deceased Pittsburgh Steelers’ announcer Myron Cope.

Click the play button to watch the original trailer of the film below:

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