Most athletes make just as big of a statement like any celebrity in the entertainment world. That's exactly why they're often hired to carry out major or minor characters in a wide range of movies even if they lack the necessary skills when it comes to acting.
When an actor or actress acts, they seamlessly pull off the voices of the falsified yet flawless characters who clearly know how to react in any given situation on the set. But when an athlete acts, they may not be aware of the dynamics of acting, and thus, their chances of pulling off a memorable scene can earn anywhere between an "A" grade to a "F" grade when the typical grading scale enters the picture.
Whether they're playing a macho man or a bashful wallflower, athletes are human just like the rest of us. They're not perfect and they're not immune to making mistakes, especially when it comes to unfamiliar experiences, like, say, acting, broadcasting or business. But that's okay as there's always room for improvement for just about anything that one could learn. Moreover, there are also guys who are so-so as actors, which means that there likely will never be a happy medium for the everyday people who simply watch all these movies.
Here are seven athlete cameos that improved a movie, seven that made it worse and seven no one cares about. Hope you'll enjoy the list . As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.
21 Improved: Mike Tyson (The Hangover)
Any boxing fan would be familiar with the high-profile name of Mike Tyson, who competed professionally from 1985 to 2005. Following his boxing career, Tyson's public image had taken a hit, but he endeared himself to many with this epic cameo. Tyson acted as a fictionalized version of himself in The Hangover. That, my friends, was a perfect example of how to write in a proper cameo. He helped add an interesting twist to the comedy, as the 'wolf pack' stole Tyson's pet tiger and had to return it to him the following day, in exchange for information on their friend.
20 Made It Worse: Chuck Norris (Dodgeball)
Chuck Norris may be a stellar martial artist, but his acting skills could be better. Dodgeball is a sports comedy about a group of misfits who enter a dodgeball tournament in Las Vegas. The group's goal? To save their local gym from the buyout of a health/fitness chain.
You'd think that Norris—a karate champion and instructor—would heavily contribute to the sports comedy, but he didn't really add much. Norris's cameo consisted of him giving a thumbs up as a judge and saying "Thank you, Peter." That was all he did.
I don't understand why a director would cast someone with a lot of star power like Norris, only to hand him a minimal role.
19 No One Cared About: Tom Brady (Stuck On You)
Love him or hate him, Tom Brady is one of the most influential quarterbacks in the NFL. You either hate him with a passion or idolize him to a great degree. There's no in between when it comes to feelings towards Brady.
But what about Brady's cameo in Stuck on You? Odds are, many didn't even notice his cameo as Brady was in disguise. As some may recall, the movie is a comedy about the life of conjoined twins. Brady likely got the role due to Matt Damon, a big time Patriots fan starring in the movie, but this cameo isn't really noticeable on first viewing. So yeah, Brady was just another cameo here.
18 Improved: O.J. Simpson (The Naked Gun)
Obviously we feel a whole lot differently about O.J. Simpson today, but as far as his acting career goes, he was one of the better crossover stars from sports to the silver screen. Simpson's cameo in The Naked Gun was priceless, as he acted out one of the greatest slapstick scenes in the crime/comedy category.
Sure, Simpson starred in a long list of movies, but his cameo in the crime comedy was a big moment for the former running back in the NFL. Simpson's role was so successful that he was brought back for two sequels, playing Detective Nordberg.
17 Made It Worse: Clay Matthews (Pitch Perfect 2)
Don't get me wrong, I like both the Green Bay Packers AND Pitch Perfect 2, but I'm sorry, Clay Matthews is better off as a football player as opposed to a singer.
Remember when a group of Packers players plus Aaron Rodgers' younger brother Jordan sang "Bootylicious" by Destiny's Child? Well, Matthews was part of the all-male group. However, Matthews should've just acted and skipped the singing altogether. Matthews's singing voice was nowhere near average. I thought another guy in the group should've belted out some tunes, like, say, Jordan, who embarked on a reality television career and now enjoys a sports reporting gig.
16 No One Cared About: Lawrence Taylor (The Waterboy)
If you're a football fan like myself, you've likely heard of The Waterboy. We can all agree that Lawrence Taylor found quite a lot of work in his post-NFL career. Taylor had a ton of acting roles and has even participated in WrestleMania XI, where he defeated Bam Bam Bigelow.
But Taylor's cameo in the sports comedy wasn't that noticeable. Taylor took in a mumbling speech from the stuttering water boy and delivered a pretty memorable line at LT's Louisiana Lightning Training Football Camp. It was a notable line, but Taylor wasn't the only former NFL player or coach to appear in a cameo on that set.
15 Improved: Derek Jeter (The Other Guys)
We all know that Derek Jeter as a baseball hall of famer and for nearly 20 years, was the most popular athlete in New York City. Being in the spotlight like that afforded Jeter to get some opportunities in showbiz, appearing in various shows and movies like Seinfeld, Finding Your Roots and The Other Guys.
I'm going to further discuss the latter as Jeter's cameo in the buddy cop action film was gold. Jeter was unintentionally shot by a hot-tempered detective named Terry during the World Series and suddenly re-appeared out of nowhere as a shadowy figure. That was certainly a wake-up call to Terry, who realized that he cost the Yankees a World Series.
14 Made It Worse: Chris Bosh (Entourage)
Chris Bosh's cameo in the comedy-drama was short-lived as he was cast to simply talk about a selection of drinks for a party. Bosh, who was known as "Mr. Basketball" in high school, left Georgia Tech after just one season to enter the 2003 NBA Draft. Since then, Bosh made a name for himself in the NBA roster and will retire with a lot to be proud of.
Bosh's cameo wasn't an accurate portrayal of a man who's fun and upbeat in person. It wasn't uncommon for Entourage to feature some athletes during the series, and Bosh's appearance didn't really stand out.
13 No One Cared About: Terry Crews (Balls Of Fury)
It's not like Terry Crews's career in the NFL was worth noting, but hey, he was still a former defensive end and linebacker and we had to bring him up. Crews, however, found more success as an actor and comedian, so the bad luck in the pros wasn't a signal of the end of the road. Crews has starred in everything from the ensemble action movie The Expendables to the police television sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
But Crews appeared in the sports comedy Balls of Fury and nobody really cared about that cameo. Crews competed in ping pong against an FBI agent and acted like the agent was Iron Man, which was something that we could've witnessed in everyday life.
12 Improved: Darius Miles (Van Wilder)
Yep, Darius Miles was selected third overall in the 2000 NBA Draft and played as a small forward and power forward. But Miles never really lived up to the hype, despite a decent start in his two-year tenure with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2000 to 2002.
Miles's acting career might not have made him the next George Clooney, but I have to admit, his cameo in the romantic comedy film Van Wilder was decent. He played a basketball player who attempted to buy false test scores off of the seventh-year senior Van Wilder. He was more noticeable than the uncredited Lamar Odom, whose cameo portrayed him as a rival oolidge Chickandee player.
11 Made It Worse: Shaq (Grown Ups 2)
I'll admit the first film in the Grown Ups was sort of funny as Adam Sandler gathered some of his friends to have fun and act out a corny movie for big bucks. But, Grown Ups 2, was the sequel that might've been better off not being made. The comedy film was littered with a wide range of cameos ranging from Chris Berman to Stone Cold Austin. Moreover, Shaq was also cast in the comedy, which was arguably the worst cameo. Shaq played a bald police officer who suffered bullying at the hands of his older, yet smaller brother. For a big, tall guy like Shaq, that was one of the many corny scenes he had to act out.
10 No One Cared About: Johnny Unitas (Any Given Sunday)
Some of those reading may not really be familiar with the sports comedy film Any Given Sunday, but it deserves a mention because it drew a mixed bag of reactions from fans and critics alike.
Sure, it was a football movie with plenty of star power and some critics lauded how accurate some depictions of life in the pros were. The movie deals with a once-great football team, the Miami Sharks, struggling to make the playoffs. Al Pacino stars as a legendary, but some feel over-the-hill, head coach. Other stars in the movie include Jamie Foxx, LL Cool J, former NFL players Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor, and late NFL players Y.A. Tittle and Johnny Unitas. But Unitas's cameo as the coach in the final game in Dallas was brief with very few lines.
9 Improved: Brett Favre (There's Something About Mary)
You may not be a fan of romantic comedies, but you can't deny that the casting of Brett Favre for his cameo in There's Something About Mary was memorable. Favre played himself in a cameo that was initially written for Steve Young, but Young turned down the offer due to the rough nature of the film.
Favre stood out as the only guy out of the group of guys who never used deceit to win the heart of Mary Jensen. Favre later appeared to reunite with Jensen, and while Favre was a little awkward in the role, it suited him well enough.
8 Made It Worse: Kevin Durant (Thunderstruck)
I'm pretty sure that you haven't heard of this movie before. Why's that? The family comedy film Thunderstruck was released in 2012, but only accumulated a little over $587,000. Yeah, that's a good amount of money, but it wasn't exactly a Hollywood blockbuster
The main character, Brian Newall, gets special powers from a limited edition basketball and swapped his existing basketball skills with NBA MVP Kevin Durant. Sure, Brian improved over the years, but Durant wasn't much of an outspoken NBAer in the movie, which made him a questionable pick for the supporting cast. It certainly isn't a movie many should be making a point of seeing.
7 No One Cared About: Dirk Nowitzki (Like Mike)
I'd say that the comedy film Like Mike was one of the best movies in my childhood, but I'm sorry, Dirk Nowitzki's cameo was a moment that most likely went unnoticed. I mean, all Nowitzki played as a guy who was unable to understand what the fans were yelling at him. He ended up asking for an autograph for his niece. That scene was a classic, but it wasn't carried out in the greatest way possible.
Given the prominent legacy he'll eventually leave behind, Nowitzki should've been handed a bigger and better role to showcase his talents off the court.
6 Improved: Dan Marino (Ace Ventura)
If Jim Carrey had any regrets about his previous movies, this movie wasn't one of them. The comedy film Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was a success on and off the set. It was over the top in the best kind of way. It also generated a high profit of $107 million. The surprising part? The budget for this movie was only $15 million.
Former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino is arguably one of the best players of all time. He was the king of Miami at the time this movie came out and seeing him getting rescued by Ventura was a memorable scene in a great movie. Marino helped us laugh and anticipate what was going to happen next.
5 Made It Worse: Howie Long (Broken Arrow)
Raiders legend Howie Long wore the No. 75 and played his entire 13-season career with the team. He was a crucial part of the Raiders' defensive line, and as a result, earned eight Pro Bowl selections. He also was a Super Bowl XVIII champion.
Long, however, fares better in sports broadcasting as a studio analyst on Fox NFL Sunday. His roles in action films were rather minor and mediocre. Take, for example, his cameo in the action thriller Broken Arrow, where he played Master Sergeant Kelly, who had brief scenes in the war zone and was often looked down upon by his superiors. It really didn't add anything to the movie.
4 No One Cared About: Rex Ryan (That's My Boy)
Just like his coaching career, no one gave a darn about Rex Ryan's cameo as Jim Nance in the satirical dark comedy film That's My Boy. Some of Adam Sandler's movies were less than average and this was one of the movies on my crud list. I mean, its budget was less than $70 million and it also generated less than $70 million.
Ryan delivered the bad news to a broke, irresponsible slacker that he owed $43,000 in back-taxes to the IRS by the end of the weekend, which leads Sandler's character to his successful son. However, Ryan convinced him to place a $20 bet on a runner competing in the Boston Marathon. There was some humor, but the jokes got old quickly.
3 Improved: Hines Ward (The Dark Knight Rises)
Hines Ward was a star wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who took him as a third-round pick in the 1998 NFL Draft. Ward went on to act, dance and analyze for various movies, shows and networks after playing in the NFL for 13 years and winning two Super Bowls.
Ward was the perfect fit for the superhero film The Dark Knight Rises, which was filmed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bane took over Gotham and blew up bridges to cut the city off from the rest of society. During a football game, Bane set off a bunch of explosives under the field, which resulted in the amazing image of Ward returning a kick, only to notice he's the last one on the field.
2 Made It Worse: John McEnroe (Mr. Deeds)
Retired tennis star John McEnroe's outspokenness and confrontational behavior has frequently gotten him in trouble on countless occasions.
You'd think McEnroe's bad guy persona would translate well in the acting world, but not really. McEnroe's cameo in the comedy film Mr. Deeds was really him just being himself, but there was a lack of anger in the role, which wasn't the right role for a guy like him. The director could've gave him a couple more scenes where he completely went berserk at a person or a group of persons. Instead, we only get a brief glimpse of him causing trouble with Sandler's character on the streets of New York.
1 No One Cared About: Lee Trevino (Happy Gilmore)
Including this cameo in some form was a no-brainer. World Golf Hall of Famer Lee Trevino has been dubbed as one of the greatest golfers in golf history by fans and critics alike. So there's no shortage of love for the 29-time PGA Tour winner and six-time major championship winner.
Despite all his success on the green, Trevino didn't feel comfortable on the set. Sure, he appeared in a cameo for Happy Gilmore, which was yet another Adam Sandler film, but he never actually read the script and regretted taking the gig. So much for an acting opportunity that could've been done better.