Once you reach adulthood, life can be pretty tedious, due to all the responsibilities that tend to land on your shoulders, and it is because of how stressful these responsibilities can be, that we all need to find ways to enjoy ourselves when we have some free time. Luckily for us, there are numerous entertainment methods available to us, such as watching movies, listening to music, playing board games, or spending hours upon hours on YouTube. There are other methods though that are far more popular and engaging, such as watching TV, and either participating in a sport, or watching one on some sort of screen.
These two methods are so popular because with television, we choose from a wide variety of shows that cover every genre imaginable, and which tell compelling stories with interesting characters; while sports offers us the best and oldest form of entertainment: physical competition between opposing individuals. On their own, these two entertainment mediums generate billions of dollars in revenue every single year, so it only makes sense that they would find some way to overlap with each other in order to help boost their profits, which is why virtually every single sporting event in the world can be found on certain television networks. That, of course, is not the only way in which both mediums overlap, as there are instances of professional athletes appearing on TV shows for what is known as a cameo, and in most cases, these cameos can be short and easily forgettable, and in this article, we will go back and look at 15 of these athlete TV cameos.
15. Kobe Bryant – Modern Family
For almost a decade now, Modern Family has been one of the best comedy shows around, and it has the awards to show for it, and when you are such a big hit, you are able to attract some notable guest stars. In the last episode of the show’s first season, Phil takes Gloria, Alex, and Manny to a Lakers game, where they see Kobe Bryant getting ready to head to the court. The group call out his name to try and get his attention, and when they do, they have no idea what to say, which leads to Kobe telling Phil to be better prepared next time, which is good advice from a five-time NBA champion. The episode was also supposed to feature cameos from fellow Lakers Paul Gasol and Luke Walton, but they were ultimately cut from the show.
14. Bret Hart – The Simpsons
There are those who say that professional wrestlers are not real athletes, but seeing as these individuals usually come from athletic backgrounds, and put their bodies through a lot of physical training, they deserve to be recognized as legitimate athletes. Bret Hart is one of pro wrestling’s more iconic superstars, and from 1985 to 2000, he was pretty much a household name who eventually got the opportunity to appear on an episode of The Simpsons. Hart’s appearance occurred in 1997, in the episode titled: “The Old Man and the Lisa,” which sees Mr. Burns lose his entire fortune, which causes the bank to then foreclose on his mansion. Hart comes in and buys the mansion, and in the process refers to Mr. Burns as a “PITIFUL, PENCIL-NECK GEEK.”
13. Scottie Pippen – Fresh Off The Boat
LeBron James will go down as one of the best players in the history of the NBA, but he is not the greatest of all-time, as that accolade still belongs to Michael Jordan, who will likely never lose that title. Jordan dominated the NBA when he was in his prime, and he was the main reason why the Chicago Bulls won six championships during the ’90s, but he did have some help from fellow Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen as well. Pippen was there for all six championships, and although he was a great player in his own right, he effectively lived in Jordan’s shadow, something that was lightly touched upon in his Fresh Off the Boat cameo. In the episode, he offers a group of kids a pair of sneakers, which they assume are Air Jordans, but when he says they are Air Pippens, no one wants them.
12. Paul O’Neill – Seinfeld
There is an entire generation of human beings who have probably never seen an episode of Seinfeld, which is an absolute shame, because it is still the best sitcom that has ever aired on television. The show ran for nine seasons, and is a perfect example of how a show about nothing can become comedy gold, as long as it focuses on four main characters, who are legitimately terrible people. Over the course of its run, Seinfeld became interwoven with the New York Yankees, and in the fourth episode of Season 7, Kramer gets into the Yankees’ clubhouse to tell former right fielder Paul O’Neill, that he had promised a sick kid in the hospital that he would hit two home runs in that day’s game. O’Neill may have won five World Series titles, but he was never a home run hitter, which he hilariously explains to Kramer.
11. Marshawn Lynch – The League
Over the course of television history, there have been shows that have aired for multiple seasons that never got the acclaim or attention that they deserved, and The League fits that description perfectly. The sitcom was a semi-improvised comedy series that is set in Chicago, and which follows a group of friends who compete against each other to see who will win their fantasy football league. Usually, the NFL is against having its players appear on TV shows, but that did not stop a large number of players like Marshawn Lynch from showing up. Marshawn showed up in the 11th episode of the show’s 6th season, and in it, he became an investor in something called an EBDBBnB, which is essentially a bed and breakfast in which all the guests sleep with each other.
10. Shaquille O’Neal – Curb Your Enthusiasm
We have already seen Seinfeld on this list, but that is not the only show that was created by Larry David, as he also made and appears in HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is very similar to Seinfeld, but with A LOT more swearing. The show follows Larry through his daily life in Los Angeles, and like many people, his daily life includes sports, which is why we see him at a Lakers game in the second season. In the episode, Larry is sitting courtside with a friend, and at one point, he decides to extend his legs to get more comfortable, an act that turns out to be a terrible decision, as Shaq accidentally trips over his legs while trying to get back into the game, resulting in the Hall of Famer getting injured.
9. Chase Utley & Ryan Howard – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
For a show to air for more than 12 seasons, it must be doing something right, and although it has received little critical recognition, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has proven that not all good shows need to win awards. The show revolves around twin siblings who run a dilapidated bar in South Philadelphia, alongside their father, and two friends, and they each get involved in some very amusingly controversial activities that leads them to conspire against each other. In 2010, fans of the of the Phillies got the chance to see Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on the show, where the team’s former first and second basemen took part in a charity event held in Atlantic City, an event that leads to a drunken wrestling match.
8. Tom Brady – Entourage
It is no surprise that the New England Patriots are the most despised franchise in the NFL, mainly because they win a lot games, sometimes through suspicious ways, and they have won so many games mainly thanks to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Brady recently failed to win his sixth Super Bowl, but despite this, and based on his achievements, and all the records he currently holds, he will go down as one of history’s greatest quarterbacks. HBO’s Entourage was known for its celebrity cameos, and Brady was one of them, as he appeared on a golf course with the show’s cast and Mark Wahlberg, where he invites Turtle over to his house to have dinner with him and his wife Gisele Bundchen.
7. Keith Hernandez – Seinfeld
Over the course of its run, Seinfeld had a plethora of memorable story lines, but only one of them actually focused on a professional athlete, and that athlete was two-time World Series champion Keith Hernandez. The former first baseman appeared in two episodes in Season 3, and sees Jerry trying to befriend the former New York Met, but things take a turn when Keith decides to cancel plans with Jerry in order to go on a date with Elaine. In the next episode, Elaine breaks up with him because he smokes, and Jerry ends their friendship after Keith asks him to help him move, but what really made his appearance memorable was the fact that both Kramer and Newman hated Hernandez because they thought he spat on them after a game.
6. Jay Cutler – The League
Seeing as The League was set in Chicago, you would think that quite a few members of the Chicago Bears would have appeared on the show, but in truth, not many did, which is why it was so special when Jay Cutler showed up. Cutler appeared in the third episode of Season 5, alongside his celebrity wife, Kristin Cavallari, and in it, two of the show’s main characters discover that they send their child to the same preschool as the celebrity couple’s. The couples try to become friends, but thanks to a laughable sequence of unfortunate events, Cutler and his wife want nothing to do with them. Based on Cutler’s performance in his last couple of years with the Bears and his recent comeback with the Dolphins, some of you might question why anyone would be so excited to become friends with him, but the episode aired in 2013, back when Cutler was still a pretty decent quarterback.
5. Kevin Garnett – The Jamie Foxx Show
Kevin Garnett played in the NBA for 21 seasons, and in that time, he became a 15-time All-Star, as well as a one-time MVP and champion, and when you combine those achievements with his numbers, you can see why he will soon find himself in the Hall of Fame. Jamie Foxx has won an Oscar, and has appeared in numerous films over the course of his career, but what many people do not know, or have simply forgotten, is that he once had his own show, a show that actually launched his career. The Jamie Foxx Show aired for five seasons despite being plagued by low ratings, and in its 4th season, we got to see a young Kevin Garnett make an appearance, where he was revealed to be the owner of the size 22 shoe that Jaime found under his girlfriend’s bed.
4. Ken Griffey Jr. – The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
In baseball, there have been a lot of nice guys, individuals that other players just love to play with, and Ken Griffey Jr. was one of those guys, except he also happened to be one of the best players of his generation. Griffey played in the Majors for 22 seasons, where he became a 13-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove, and seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and the only real blemish on his Hall of Fame resume is the fact that he was never able to win a World Series. In 1994, Griffey appeared on an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and in it, he is just minding his own business until Carlton challenges him to try and knock down a bunch of bottles with baseballs, and when he cannot do it, he and Will Smith exchange some nice quips.
3. Kevin McHale – Cheers
There are indeed many young people who have not seen an episode of Seinfeld, but even more young people have not seen an episode of Cheers, which was both critically acclaimed, and extremely popular during its entire run. The show is set in a Boston bar, and follows the lives of a group of locals who go to the bar to drink, relax, and socialize, and like many of the bars in Boston, sports was a big deal. The Celtics are one of the NBA’s most iconic and successful franchises, and in Season 9, Kevin McHale, who won three titles with Boston, is “hired” by the bar to help win a basketball contest, but during the actual contest, he gets injured by one of the bar’s employees, an injury that ends his season.
2. Derek Jeter & Bernie Williams – Seinfeld
Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter both spent the entirety of their careers with the Yankees, and while together, they helped the franchise win 4 World Series titles, while also posting numbers that make both of them deserving of the Hall of Fame. Since the pair were life-long Yankees, it means that George Costanza got to meet them while working for the team, and in Seinfeld‘s 8th season, we got to see them briefly interact with each other. In the episode, George decides to become abstinent, an act that miraculously causes his intelligence to increase, which is why he goes down to the field and uses physics to give both players some batting tips, despite the fact that the two were just coming off a World Series win.
1. The Rock – Star Trek: Voyager
Dwayne Johnson may be one of the most popular actors on the planet, but he will always be remembered as The Rock, one of history’s most entertaining and iconic professional wrestlers. As far as sci-fi goes, Star Trek is one of the most popular franchises around, and if you thought there was no connection between Star Trek and The Rock, you would be wrong, because the franchise actually gave him one of his first acting jobs. In 2000, The Rock appeared in the 6th season of Star Trek: Voyager, where he played an alien pit fighter who faced off against Seven of Nine, one of the show’s protagonists, and not only does he go on to win the fight, he does so by delivering his famous Rock Bottom finisher.
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