Movies and sports have a lot in common. After all, both of them have ultimately the same goal. That goal is to entertain people. Yes, sports can get pretty harsh and sometimes even inspire riots and all kinds of other problems, but at the end of the day, they are there to entertain people and make us forget a little bit about the harsh reality of our daily lives. If you cheer for a team that has won a championship, you know how much that can take your mind off the tough things and decisions you have to make every day. It truly is a feeling that everyone should have at some point in their lives. Now, talking about this connection between the movie and sports industry, it has always been a close one but never as close as it has become in recent years. We have always seen athletes make cameos in movies and TV shows, but over recent years this little side of the industry has exploded.
You will have a tough time finding a superstar athlete in any professional sport who has not made an appearance in a movie or television show. There are even athletes who get lead roles in movies. But like in their respective sports, you can have a bad game followed by a good one. In acting, you can have a terrible movie followed by a good one. That being said, we decided to pick out a few of the good and the bad when it comes to athlete cameos in movies, so relax and check out seven of the worst athlete cameos in movies and eight that stole the spotlight.
15 Best: Hines Ward - The Dark Knight Rises
Let’s start off our list with a movie cameo that was so well hidden that not many people probably even realized it was happening until it was too late. For a fan of both sports and action movies, this has to be one of the most amazing scenes in the history of cinema. As the whole city of Gotham is going down into doom, we are taken to a football field where a game is well underway, and everybody’s cheering as you would expect from a football game. That is when everything starts going down, and when we say going down, we literally mean going down. A huge earthquake starts sinking the ground and the entire football field down into the depths of the Earth while one lone wide receiver runs with the football, desperately trying to score a touchdown without even realizing what was happening behind him.
The moment he stops and looks back at the destruction is about as iconic as any other sports cameo in a movie will ever be.
It becomes even more iconic when we realize that the guy running was Hines Ward. Oh yeah, the guy who ran from doom and scored a touchdown to save his life was none other than a two-time Super Bowl champion.
14 Bad: Tom Brady - Stuck on You
Honestly, anything that has Tom Brady in it will be as polarizing as any movie with a sports cameo will get. Brady is a polarizing figure, perhaps the most influential figure in football today. There are only two kinds of football fans. There are the ones who like Tom Brady, and the ones who hate him. It is really hard to find someone who stands right in the middle of this. Thankfully, the movie that we are going to talk about made things very easy for everyone involved. Unless you are a huge fan, you will probably agree that Stuck On You was a terrible film.
First and foremost, even imagining that someone would think it would be okay to make a comedy about the life of conjoined twins is ridiculous. This is a sad condition that a lot of people in the world have to deal with, and trying to make fun out of it is pretty messed up. And this is so true that most of the actors who were involved with the movie try their best to stay away from putting it back into the spotlight, and who can blame them?
But back to Brady, if you are willing to power through the movie, you will get to see him all greased up at some point in the film. And when we say power through it, you will probably have to, since it is almost impossible to find a clip of the cameo online.
13 Best: Mike Tyson - The Hangover
This is about as classic as it gets. The Hangover was arguably one of the funniest movies of all time. This is one of those movies you walk into a movie theater thinking you are going to watch a solid comedy that you will talk about for a couple of days and then forget it for the rest of your life, but thankfully the truth is very far from that. The Hangover became an instant classic because of how funny it was. From the main cast that played their parts perfectly and hilariously, to the several cameos we had through the movie, all of which made it a little bit better. But the best cameo of all of them was without a doubt Mike Tyson’s.
Tyson is a funny guy, everyone knows that. But to put a twist in the movie in which these guys invade his Las Vegas home and steal his freaking tiger was a stroke of genius.
And let’s not even mention how menacing Tyson manages to be when he says he wants his tiger back. This movie is a classic, and if you haven’t watched it, you don’t know what you are missing. We could also mention that the Tyson cameo was so good that he even came back for the other movies in the franchise.
12 Bad: Chuck Norris - Dodgeball
“Thank you, Chuck Norris.” That was literally the only line the main character of Dodgeball said to Chuck Norris throughout the entire movie. Yes, one of the greatest action heroes of all time and perhaps the most polarizing cult figure we have ever seen, had a cameo on this movie and he was only on screen for maybe 10 seconds before they cut him out again. The only thing Chuck Norris did in this movie was give a thumbs up and reply with "Thank you, Peter". That was literally all he did. It doesn’t make any sense for you to bring someone with as much star power as Chuck Norris to your movie only to give a thumbs up. Yeah, it was funny, but if you had already brought the guy into the movie, you could have given him a little bit more screen time. No one ever complained about more of Chuck Norris.
Either way, as funny as it was this must be characterized as a bad cameo, not because of how Chuck played it, but of the circumstances that the directorial team gave him. Seriously, you should have at least let him throw a dodgeball, for Christ sake. It would have made an already funny movie into a hilarious one. Just imagine a scene of Chuck Norris throwing a dodgeball at some bad guy and having him explode immediately on contact. That is the stuff we live for.
11 Best: OJ Simpson - Naked Gun
Say what you say about O.J. Simpson, but it’s hard to deny that the guy was a good actor. Perhaps there is a good reason for why OJ was such a good actor. We all know him as the Hall of Fame football player. The guy who was a six-time Pro-Bowler and a one-time MVP. This is a man who had an 11-year career in the NFL and managed to run for more than 11,200 yards and scored 61 touchdowns throughout his career. Yes, there is no denying his greatness on the football field, which makes it weird why he was such a good actor.
The answer to that question lies in what he did even before he became a professional football player. Simpson had been acting even before he became famous because of football. His first acting credits came in 1968, a year before he was drafted into the NFL. And while he dedicated a lot of time to his football career, he also dedicated a lot of time to movies, as he starred in dozens of them. Even while he was in jail, he appeared in an episode of the reality series Jail. But we wanted to talk about his appearance in The Naked Gun because this one was priceless as he had arguably one of the greatest (almost) death scenes in the history of movies. Seriously, you gotta check it out.
10 Bad: The Rock - The Mummy Returns
Oh yes, we would not give you only one terrible Dwayne Johnson movie in a list like this. No, The Rock is the paramount athlete who transcended into an actor. You will have a really hard time finding another professional athlete who has starred in as many movies as this guy. And as we mentioned before, when you have played parts in so many movies, it is almost impossible for you not to have a lot of terrible acting gigs on your resume. But if we are to be fair with Johnson on this one, his appearance in The Mummy Returns was not entirely terrible on his part. If anything, he played his character the right way. The problem was that his character was terrible.
There is absolutely not a single person in the world who has watched that movie and does not remember the scene in which Dwayne Johnson comes into the film as a half-man half-scorpion creature trying to kill the protagonists.
Back in the day, that could have been considered great animation to put his face on a creature like that. But looking at it from today really makes you wonder and cheer about how far the animation technology has come in such a short time.
9 Best: Darius Miles - Van Wilder
Many people here might not even know who Darius Miles was, so let’s just give you a quick background on this former NBA player who at some point in time really seemed like he would be the real deal. Darius was the third overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2000 NBA Draft. And yes, you might be surprised to realize a lot of people have not even heard of a guy who was a number three pick not too long ago. The impressive part of his career starts with him being drafted right out of high school and averaging 9.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game as a 19-year-old kid in the NBA, enough to get him into the All-Rookie Team. Unfortunately, his career didn’t go much farther than that as he played 11 seasons in the NBA putting up role player numbers. Although he still managed to get a lot of money, as his career earnings were somewhere north of $61 million.
Bur for more than just a subpar NBA career, this guy should really be remembered by his legendary line in the movie Van Wilder.
As the main character sneaked into the locker room of the basketball team to give them an inspiring halftime speech, all that Darius asked him was, “You invite them freak honeys from Mt. Holy Oak?”
The answer was yes, and that was all the inspiration the basketball team needed to win that game.
8 Bad: Rex Ryan - That’s My Boy
If you have watched a couple of Adam Sandler movies, there are one of two things that probably happened to you. You will have either loved both of them, and you have become a lifetime fan of the actor and his work. Or, the thing that happens to most people happened to you. You got tired of his humor by the second movie, so you just don’t even try to watch anything he puts out anymore. Don’t feel bad; that happens to most of us, and that is probably the reason why not many people went to the movie theaters to watch That’s My Boy. And that is not just us saying, the numbers explain that better than we ever could. The budget for this movie was nothing less than $70 million. Now, would you like to take a guess as to how much they made back in the box office? Less than $58 million. Yeah, those are not good numbers to look at if you are someone who invested in that movie.
But back to the topic at hand, while the classic Sandler humor might’ve done its part to scare some people away from the movie, there was also another celebrity appearance that did not make much sense. We are obviously talking about Rex Ryan, who appeared in the movie as a Tom Brady-loving lawyer. Ryan at the time was head coach of the Jets, which was part of the humor of it, but in a movie like this, it fell rather flat.
7 Best: Dan Marino - Ace Ventura
If Adam Sandler had a hard time getting his money back for some of his movies, one particular comedic actor who has never had a hard time filling a movie theater is Jim Carrey. It is tough to deny this guy’s genius when it comes to comedy.
You would think that most of what he did back in the '90s would be already old and outdated by now, but if we were to be honest with you, we laughed when we watched a clip of him and Dan Marino in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
Yes, this was one movie for the ages, and the money talks. The budget for Ace Ventura was $15 million. The return on it, you wouldn’t believe if we told you. But since the numbers don’t lie, you have to believe that they made more than $107 million at the box office. That is a crazy profit for a movie.
Still, you can watch the movie again today and think that it did not make enough money because of how legendary it was. Now back to the sports side of the issue, Dan Marino was one of the stars of this movie although he was kidnapped throughout most of the motion picture. And you gotta give it to Marino as he played his part to a fault, even as he was the one to discover a particular detail in the culprit to help Ace explain his theory to the cops and everyone else.
6 Bad: NBA All-Stars In The Cleveland Show
The Cleveland Show was terrible. There is no going around. Yes, Family Guy was awesome, and Cleveland was a great character in that show. However, trying to make a spinoff for the character backfired so hard that the creators had to pull him back into the regular show in order for the character to survive as they had to cancel his spinoff. When we talk about cameos, Family Guy is a show that does an amazing job with celebrity cameos. In the regular show, they bring celebrities in to make cameos all the time, and mostly they are pretty good.
However, as with everything else in The Cleveland Show, their cameos were mostly pretty bad. A perfect example for us sports fans happened when Cleveland went to watch the NBA All-Star Game. Yes, we caught a glimpse of what the players on the court feel when a fan on the stands is swearing at them, constantly calling them and their families names all the time. Still, it was pretty messed up how they portrayed a guy like Dirk Nowitzki as someone who could not even understand what the fans were yelling at him. If anything, this was one of those episodes that could have been great but were just botched by lack of imagination.
5 Best: Derek Jeter - The Other Guys
The funniest thing about this cameo is that it makes you imagine what kind of repercussion there would have been in real life if something like the episode of the “Yankee Clipper” had happened in our world. To start off with a little background, The Other Guys is a classic movie starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg that made an astounding $170 million at the box office. The movie revolves around the two stars playing a pair of NYPD detectives that got paired together after one of the most unusual incidents in the history of movies.
Picture this: you are in New York City during the Game 7 of the World Series. You are a detective, and you are doing security in the tunnel leading to the New York Yankees locker room. Suddenly, a shadowy figure appears in the entrance of the tunnel carrying a baseball bat. You can’t see his face, you can’t see anything, and he keeps walking towards you. You yell at him to stop, but he doesn’t, so you raise your gun, and you shoot him in the leg. Seems like the easy and safe thing to do, right? Well, not if that shadowy figure turns out to be Derek Jeter and, with that one shot, you just cost the Yankees a World Series.
4 Bad: Chris Bosh - Entourage
Ever since the beginning of the show, Entourage banked in on countless celebrity cameos that made for a rich experience for the audience to get a little grasp of what celebrity life would really be like. For better or for worse, it was a great TV show that made a lot of fans throughout the years. It also helped a lot of athletes and other celebrities to get more exposure to an audience hungry for celebrity life. But this could be a double-edged sword depending on who you choose to appear in a cameo for your show.
Usually, when you try to bring in a superstar athlete to make an appearance and talk to the boys, it would be someone who is charismatic and can push new light into the show and raise interest.
The problem was that at some point, the casting crew or directors or whoever makes the decisions for Entourage decided it would be a good idea to have Chris Bosh make a cameo appearance in the show. Sure, it didn’t even last 30 seconds, but that was enough for everyone to realize that even when he is discussing a choice of drinks for a party, Chris Bosh is a bad casting choice for a guy who is supposed to be charismatic and captivating an audience.
3 Best: Brett Favre - There’s Something About Mary
Romantic comedies are prime time for celebrity cameos, and one that really nailed it was There’s Something About Mary, when they had Brett Favre appear as one of the romantic interests of Mary, who was played by Cameron Diaz. Throughout the whole movie, you hear and see all these deceitful guys who want to get together with this beautiful woman and the only one who is never using any deceitful means to get her affection is a guy named Brett. And it makes a perfect ending that you only find out near the end of the movie that the guy turns out to be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. We won’t spoil the movie for you if you haven’t watched it, but it truly is a solid romantic comedy even for people who hate romantic comedies. If anything, you should at least just go on YouTube and check out a clip from the moment when Brett Favre appears to reunite with Mary.
But above all else, the one thing you must watch that clip for is to hear what became one of the most iconic phrases of all time when one of the other guys asks, “what the hell was Brett Favre doing here?” That is one question that actor probably had to repeat countless times because fans asked him to.
2 Bad: The Rock - The Tooth Fairy
So, we tried our best to stick to cameos on this list, but there are a couple of acting performances that are almost impossible for us not to mention. After all, when we are talking about sports and movies, you cannot mention those two things without talking about Dwayne Johnson at some point. The Rock is one of the most famous movie stars in the world. And some of the people who watch him on cinema might not even know that he is one of the most famous wrestlers of all time as well.
Yes, this guy is a huge superstar; it doesn’t matter where he goes or what he is doing.Nevertheless, while he has had some major hits in his acting career, he has also had some terrible films that he would rather everyone forget.
At the top of that list, we would put The Tooth Fairy. That was arguably the worst movie we have ever seen Dwayne Johnson in. If we dig in really deep, we can probably understand why he wanted to be a part of this before filming, but after the movie was all said and done this guy has to have regretted it. Seriously, there is no way Dwayne Johnson is proud of what he did during that film.
1 Best: Alex Karras - Blazing Saddles
Okay, we have watched countless celebrity cameos in order to put together this list, but it was hard to find a better one than the appearance of Alex Karras in Blazing Saddles. Born all the way back in 1935, Alex Karras was one of the best defensive tackles of his generation. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times in the 12 seasons he played with the Detroit Lions. This guy was a machine as he played 161 games for the Lions and started in 156 out of them. Yes, that is a franchise player for you.
Now, back to his movie appearances, he made quite a few, but none of his cameos was as legendary as when he appeared in Blazing Saddles. These days we can go on YouTube and find countless videos of people fighting for parking spots and saying, “you can’t park here with that car” or “you can’t park your truck there” or “I got here first.” You know exactly what we are talking about. Now, go back to the Wild West, and you can still find the same problem when a guy “parked” his bull where only horses should be parked. That guy was Alex, and when someone tried to tell him he was wrong, he literally went up and punched the guy’s horse in what was arguably one of the greatest movie scenes of all time.