As youngsters dreaming of becoming pro athletes, it’s fair to say that these 20 never dreamed of making it big in the movie industry. They had lofty goals and aspirations, but those were limited to their sport of choice. Not every athlete dreams of becoming the next Arnold Schwarzenegger. But life doesn’t always turn out as you intended it to. Achieve some form of success in one profession, and those in another come knocking. These 20 already have star appeal due to their feats, personality in their chosen sports. Casting directors have noticed this, have scouted them, have given them a try on the big screen.
Some would say that athletes are born performers. Some have personality, that natural charisma, which would carry them in good stead, no matter what they try their hand at. There have been quite a few athletes over the years who’ve made the transition to movies, or have at least dabbled in the movie industry. Many have done rather well, can now call themselves stars in multiple professions. But with others, in fact the vast majority of athletes who’ve gone down this route, you’d have to say that things haven’t gone quite as well.
No athlete starts off with a big, major role in a movie. You’ve got to start with cameo appearances and build up your filmography from there. Some of these cameos from athletes have been nothing short of cringeworthy. A lot of people either remember them for the wrong reasons, or have erased these roles from their minds entirely. Some have been so dire, so short, that even sports fans have completely missed them. These are 20 athlete movie cameos even sports fans completely missed.
20 Floyd Mayweather - When Love Kills
Legendary retired boxer, Floyd Mayweather, certainly has the gift of the gab. He’s a guy who’s got charisma, is unapologetic about his loud-mouthed, over-the-top personality. And he’s got the skills to pay the bills. It’s why he’s known as Money Mayweather, has acquired a small fortune over the years. Since retirement, Floyd’s probably wondering what to do with himself. The opportunity arose to star in the movie When Love Kills, and he took it. But he, and the critics, weren’t making a lot of noise about this movie or his performance. It was a short role and he was essentially playing himself.
19 Brett Favre - There's Something About Mary
Former NFL quarterback, Brett Favre, enjoyed a stellar time on the football field. He holds many NFL records, but it’s safe to say he won’t be gaining any recognition for his acting performances. He hasn’t done much acting. One movie he’s starred in was There’s Something About Mary. That movie had a pretty big name cast, including Cameron Diaz. Brett made an appearance at the end as one of her love interests. It was a big surprise and I’m sure that not many people expected Brett to pop up for a cameo. It was actually decent acting, but he looked out of place alongside Cameron Diaz and Ben Stiller.
18 Hines Ward – The Dark Knight Rises
This was a pretty good movie cameo. But there was plenty of stuff happening in the movie at the time, so much so it’s safe to assume that not a lot of people even realized who the lone player left on the football field was. The city of Gotham is going down. Somewhere in the city a football game is taking place. Suddenly, the ground begins to open up and everything comes crashing down. Hines Ward wasn’t crashing down. The wide receiver, in his attempt to score a touchdown, had no clue what was happening. Oblivious to the destruction going on behind him, he finally takes a look back.
17 Darius Miles – Van Wilder
Former American basketball pro, Darius Miles, has actually starred in quite a few movies. Since his career came to an end due to injury, he’s been looking for something else to occupy his time with. When he got an opportunity to star in this movie though, he must have known that his basketball days were winding to a close. He didn’t have a starring role in the movie, and when he was on screen, he was surrounded by other basketball pros, including Lamar Odom. But he did have a part to play, saying the line: “You invite them freak honeys from Mt. Holy Oak?”
16 Rex Ryan – That's My Boy
Rex Ryan has held a number of coaching positions over the years. Being one of the more outspoken coaches in the NFL and coaching in a big market like New York, Ryan garnered some popularity. But Rex Ryan has also done plenty of other stuff off the football field. He’s got a media presence. That enhanced – or didn’t serve him any favors, depending on how you look at it – when he starred in the Adam Sandler movie, That’s My Boy, in 2012. He played a lawyer, and his character was ironically, a fan of the New England Patriots. There was one crowing moment of that cameo. While admiring a picture of Tom Brady, the former Jets and Bills coach uttered: “That’s just the right amount of scruff.”
15 Reggie Jackson - Naked Gun
Former baseball legend, Reggie Jackson, enjoyed a stellar career on the baseball field. He’s a Hall of Famer, and plenty of other accolades have come his way too. But he didn’t win any awards for his cameo appearance in Naked Gun. It was a slapstick comedy with puns and gags a plenty. Reggie was an athlete assassin. It’s fair to assume not many people were laughing, ha-ha funny at Reggie’s cameo. A lot of people may have been laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. We’ll always remember him as a great on the baseball field, just perhaps not on the big screen.
14 Sammy Sosa - On The Line
It’s fair to say that Sammy Sosa is one of the most beloved characters in baseball. He’s changed a lot over the years, in more ways than one, but the love that his fans have for him hasn’t diminished. He’s done some TV work, has appeared in commercials, but he’s also got movie credits. He’s had a couple of cameos in movies – really short roles – but he’s starred in movies nevertheless. One was his appearance in the 2001 film, On The Line. Sammy was playing himself in the short cameo and it’s fair to say that there aren’t many people who can recollect the scene.
13 Dan Marino – Ace Ventura Pet Detective
Jim Carrey is someone who people tend to either love or can't stand. His comedy tends to be rather over the top for some. This movie was classic Jim Carrey. It’s one that launched Jim’s movie career and it ended up getting a bit of a cult following. Former Miami Dolphins quarterback, Dan Marino, also starred in the movie. He’s actually been seen quite a bit in pop culture. In the Ace Ventura movie, Dan played himself. But he didn’t have a massive role, and besides, this film was all about Jim Carrey and Courtney Cox. A lot of people would’ve missed his involvement.
12 Roger Clemens - Kingpin
Roger Clemens went on to have a long, successful career in baseball. He was once incredibly popular. However, his reputation has been tarnished somewhat for obvious reasons. We’re not putting this on that level, but this cameo scene of course didn’t help. Kingpin is a bit of an over-the-top goofball comedy. Woody Harrelson played the main character. Roger played the big tough southerner who picked on the kid in a bar. The accent was ridiculous and the acting wasn’t great either. It’s not one of Roger Clemens’ proudest moments, although of course he’s done a lot worse.
11 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Airplane
Kareen Abdul-Jabbar is a massive name in the world of basketball. He played for 20 seasons in the NBA, winning numerous accolades in the process. He rose to the top, stayed there, and made the most of the opportunities that came his way. And he did have plenty of opportunities off the basketball court. He made his acting debut in the 1972 Bruce Lee film, Game of Death. Eight years later he starred as a co-pilot in the movie Airplane. There was a short scene in the film where he admits to being Kareem Abdul Jabbar to a boy who’s defending him.
10 Maria Sharapova - Ocean's Eight
Maria Sharapova was once one of the biggest, most popular and wealthiest female athletes in the world. But now she’s looking to reach those heights again and claw herself back up into the top half of the rankings after her doping ban. But she’s still mightily popular.
Ocean’s 8 has been the movie of 2018. It has a massive A-list cast, and also has quite a few cameo appearances. We doubt that anyone expected Maria to be making an appearance. But yes, the tennis star did film a brief cameo for the movie. She’s in the credits. Another tennis star, Serena Williams, filmed a cameo for the movie as well.
9 Lee Trevino – Happy Gilmore
It’s amazing to think that the movie Happy Gilmore is 22 years old! Many would say that it remains Adam Sandler’s best movie. That movie was all about Adam, but there were a host of cameo appearances from some top athletes too. One of these athletes was Lee Trevino. He played himself in the movie. It wasn’t a big part, but at least he had some dialogue. However, even Lee doesn’t look back on that appearance with fond memories. He’s said that he wished he’d had read the script before accepting. That’s mainly because of the crude words and foul language used.
8 Lawrence Taylor - The Waterboy
Former linebacker, Lawrence Taylor, built up quite a following during his NFL days. His popularity was immense, so was his general presence. That goes for his screen presence too. Many casting directors realized this, roped him in to do some cameos here and there. Lawrence has done quite a few cameos over the years. One was in the Adam Sandler movie, The Waterboy. That movie’s deemed to be a classic and had quite a few appearances from NFLers. Although it was a blink and miss it kind of scene, Lawrence did have some memorable dialogue. However, even NFL fans might find it tough to recall what he actually said.
7 Tony Bellew - Creed
Okay, so there was always going to be some cameos by pro boxers in the movie Creed. There generally are cameos by athletes in Sylvester Stallone movies. But a lot of people around the world probably wouldn’t have known who’s the real deal and which boxers are actors. In the movie Creed, Tony Bellew was the real deal. He’s become quite a big name in the UK especially in the last couple of years. A lot of people around the world would probably just know him as that guy who starred in Creed. He did have one heck of a career though, one that he’s recently called time on.
6 Cam Neely - Dumb and Dumber
Cam Neely played in the NHL for 13 years and many feel is rightfully in the Hall of Fame. He’s now an executive for the Boston Bruins, the same team he played for most of his career. Over the years, Cam has starred in a few films. A lot of people probably would’ve missed his role in the 1994 movie, Dumb and Dumber. He got the part of Sea Bass in that movie. He delivered a few lines. But apart from that, it was a pretty short cameo, one that was probably missed by a lot of people. He also filmed a scene in the sequel, Dumb and Dumber Too.
5 Tom Brady - Stuck On You
Stuck On You starring Matt Damon wasn’t exactly a memorable film. It was slapstick and the critics didn’t think much of it. The plot was all over the place, and to a lot of people, despite having a couple of big actors in the lead roles, it didn’t really work.
Co-star Matt Damon was bred in Boston. Upon his insistence, the film had to have Tom Brady in for a cameo role. He appeared as a tech worker, complete with piercings and stubble. It was a bit of a random cameo, and it’s fair to assume a lot of Brady fans didn’t even register that it was him.
4 LeBron James - Trainwreck
Due to his mass appeal and the star quality that LeBron James possesses, he was always going to get offers from casting directors to do this and that, appear in certain scenes, make cameo appearances. Trainwreck is a 2015 romantic comedy film. The movie was directed by Amy Schumer. It didn’t exactly get great reviews. But despite appearing in just a few short scenes, a lot of people enjoyed LeBron’s performance. Some publications have actually deemed it to be the funniest part of the movie. But wait…there was a little bit more from LeBron in the movie. He played a weird version of himself, which was enough to steal the show.
3 Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Talladega Nights
Dale Earnhardt Jr. has enjoyed successes right throughout his career on the racing circuit. However, he’s most known for his exploits at the Daytona International Speedway. He still races part-time and is also an analyst for NASCAR on NBC. Dale has also tried his hand at plenty of other stuff throughout his career, such as acting. He’s made quite a few cameos in movies over the years. One which you might have expected him to appear in, but may have missed anyway, was the 2006 film, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. He was seen asking Bobby for his autograph.
2 Derek Jeter - The Other Guys
Derek Jeter is a massive name in the world of baseball. Even those who aren’t really into the sport know his name. He’s far more than just a former sportsman, he’s a celebrity in his own right. That’s why it’s little surprise that casting directors have come calling. In 2010, Derek starred in the crime/action movie, The Other Guys. The cameo by the former New York Yankees shortstop may not have been all that memorable to fans. But it was memorable to those on set, especially to Mark Wahlberg. He’s gone as far as to say that shooting with Derek was one of his most memorable days on set ever.
1 Lance Armstrong - Dodgeball
Sports comedy, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, actually proved to be quite a hit. That was despite the forgettable cameo by now-checkered cyclist, Lance Armstrong. Don’t take our word for it – check out the movie yourself. Now knowing what we know about Lance Armstrong, his cameo in which he says some inspiring words, seriously rings hollow looking back on it. Some media publications have gone as far as to say that he marred the movie. Fight through illnesses, hardships and never quit. Those were the inspiring words of Lance Armstrong. At the time, people thought nothing of it. Now, it’s a different story.