A History of Bearcats in Hollywood


Ides of March (2011)

Way back in November, I made a quick list of times the Cincinnati Bearcats were shouted out in rap songs. Because of the longstanding relationship between hip-hop and basketball, there were plenty of easy references.


Now that the offseason is here and I’ve had time to catch my breath, I felt like it made sense to circle back and do the same for movies and TV shows. Before you get your hopes up, you should know that this one was much harder. Not only are there fewer references, but they’re harder to pinpoint and often difficult to find an actual video. I’ve done my best.

As always, if you know of one I missed, let me know and I’ll do my best to track down a clip and add it here.


Ides of March (2011)

If you’re from Cincinnati and/or a fan of Ryan Gosling, there’s really no reason you shouldn’t find a way to watch this movie. Not only is it entertaining, but it’s set in the Queen City, and there are some nice local references (to both UC and Xavier, you dirty Musketeers).

There’s something magical about Gosling muttering the name of our beloved mascot a couple times.



Glee (2013)

In the 2013 Glee episode “Movin’ Out,” the University of Cincinnati TAP (Transition and Access) Program for students with special needs got some recognition as a character with Down Syndrome named Becky takes a college tour at UC. It’s cool to see a shoutout that isn’t sports-related.

Here’s some coverage of the episode by FOX19 and WLWT.


The Middle (2010)

The Middle may be the most mediocre television show ever created, but the sitcom about your average family in Indiana earned some brownie points by dropping a very sly Bearcat reference in the 2010 episode “Mother’s Day.”


Sports Night (1999)

The late ’90s Aaron Sorkin Series Sports Night only lasted two seasons, but this drama about a fictional SportsCenter clone snuck in a Bearcats basketball reference in the 1999 episode “Eli’s Coming.”


Eddie (1996)

God bless ’90s comedies that manage to cram Whoopi Goldberg into a role as head coach of the New York Knicks. It’s not the most realistic movie ever made, and the reviews are brutal, but there’s a quick Nick Van Exel reference here.


Love and Basketball (2000)

Compared to Eddie, the Omar Epps-led Love & Basketball is a modern classic. Its Bearcat reference is another one that flies under the radar, but Los Angeles Laker Nick Van Exel earns another mention.


ER (2006)

In this 2006 ER episode titled “Ames v. Kovac,” some buddies at the barber shop argue in favor of the good old days of NBA basketball when guys like Oscar Robertson were running the show.


The Perils of Penelope Pitstop (1969)

Nice. This Hanna Barbera cartoon was short-lived, running for just one season in the late ’60s. The Bearcat reference here is deceptive, because Bearcat was also the name a popular car in the first part of the 20th century.

The vehicle made a weird comeback in the ’70s and ’80s and last rolled off the line in 1995. It’s super classy.


Broken Lance (1954)

Another deceptive reference, but I’m reaching at this point. Fittingly, a “bearcat” can also be a slang name for a person that “fights or acts with force or fierceness.” That’s how it’s being used in this 1954 classic.