Usually, women in sports films or TV shows have an obvious role: cheerleaders. It's sad to say but that’s usually the go-to role despite how some shows also focus on women in other roles in sports including athletes. If anything, the rise of major stars in sports (such as Ronda Rousey and others) is giving it more of a push. Thus, movies and TV shows are embracing stronger female roles, from players to even coaches or owners. Of course, this being Hollywood, the emphasis is always on how these ladies look. It’s no shock that they go for pretty faces and bodies clad in revealing outfits and quite a few far more attractive than reality would dictate. But they also stand out wonderfully with their drive and it helps to have many played by truly talented actresses. True, some can argue the appeal (Hilary Swank in “Million Dollar Baby”) but it’s still notable how many gorgeous ladies there are involved with sports shows and films.
The criteria for this list is that it focuses on sports itself. So you won’t see, say, the cheerleaders from “Glee” or “Heroes” or such. “One Tree Hill” had basketball as some focus but not really a “sports show” per se so that’s out. Also, slews of movies that have sports mentioned but not truly the center of it all. But even pushing that down, you get to see ladies who steam up the screen big time in a sports movie, whether cheerleaders, players or other characters. Here are 20 of the steamiest women from sports-themed movies and TV shows to make these projects all the better.
20 Jules James (Amanda Peet) - Brockmire
Amanda Peet has made a career of roles that stand out thanks to her heat. It began with her breakout as the hitwoman who showed skin in “The Whole Nine Yards” and carried through numerous films and TV shows like “Studio 60” and “The Good Wife.” A woman who seems to just not age, she’s in fine form in IFC’s “Brockmire.” Hank Azaria plays the title role of a respected announcer who has an on-air meltdown ranting about discovering his wife’s infidelities. After years in exile (where the video of his tirades has become an Internet meme), he’s hired by Peet’s minor-league club owner to call her games.
A bartender in her off time, Peet looks great in either muscle shirt or nice suits and her chemistry with Azaria is fun. They have a drunken one-night stand they want to forget but when the team starts winning, Brockmire insists they keep up the “streak.” Peet proves her heat in any series and this is no exception to push her sexuality better than some half her age.
19 Claudia (Vanessa Angel) - Kingpin
Leave it to the Farrelley brothers to come up with this zany tale. Woody Harrelson is a once top bowler who refused to throw a contest and thus had his hand ground up in a ball dispenser. A decade later, he’s at rock bottom with an artificial hand when he discovers an Amish youth (Randy Quaid) who’s a bowling savant. He decides to recruit the kid in a competition to face his old foe (Bill Murray).
Vanessa Angel is Claudia, the girlfriend of a rich guy who hooks up with the duo and helps them out in their misadventures.
She has a great showcase with stuff like wearing a short skirt that billows up to distract opponents and a nutty humor that helps the film along. Amid the various gross-out gaga and crazy performances by otherwise gifted actors, Angel lives up to her name as one heavenly lady of the lanes.
18 CHRISTINA PAGNIACCI (Cameron Diaz) - Any Given Sunday
Since her debut walking into a bank in a hot red dress in “The Mask,” Cameron Diaz is used to roles pushing her sex appeal and beauty. But every now and then, she can show off some good acting chops and a great example was Oliver Stone’s 1999 football drama. She’s Christina, owner of the fictional Miami Sharks, a woman intent on building a winning franchise and clashing with veteran coach Tony (Al Pacino). Diaz rocks the power suits and skirts better than she does with bikinis, arguing over the choice of star quarterback and pressing how this is business, not a popularity contest. Not helping is her desire to move the team out of Miami and to a new city. Diaz handles herself against these veteran actors, cursing up a storm but also terrific with her passion to show that in any outfit, she is one hot lady.
17 Mae (Madonna) - A League Of Their Own
For all her success as a music icon, Madonna hasn’t had the best luck in movies. She’s had a few hits here and there like “Evita” but other notable flops and terrible roles. But one of her better ones was in this 1992 smash hit which tells the true story of the women’s baseball league which took up interest when many male players were drafted in World War II. With dark hair and a charming accent, Madonna fits as Mae (nicknamed “All the Way” for her bed-hopping ways) the center fielder.
Snapping gum and sardonic, she’s great toning down her usual star power for the supporting role and having a nice chemistry with partner Doris (Rosie O’Donnell).
While her name was high in the credits, Madonna smartly played it quieter yet even 1940s fashions can’t hide the Material Girl in her sexy prime and make this a great role for her.
16 Suzy Miller (Olivia Wilde) - Rush
Chris Hemsworth has been trying his best to prove he can play more than just Thor. One attempt was “Rush,” a 2013 drama where he played legendary race car driver James Hunt during his top rivalry with Niki Laudau (Daniel Bruhl). At the height of his fame, Hunt married supermodel Suzy Miller, played by Olivia Wilde. The actress has made a career of amazingly hot roles and does great here, rocking the 1970s fashion, such as a huge hat. It’s easy to see why Hunt is drawn to her with her smooth talk and great body and they have a good chemistry. It sadly ends when she leaves him for Richard Burton which sent Hunt into a tailspin. But Wilde looks amazingly hot in the role with a lush British accent and looking hotter in their later meeting in a nice dress and necklace. The movie wasn’t a hit but you can’t blame it on Wilde who’s even hotter than the real Miller to shine well.
15 Diana Guzman (Michelle Rodriguez) - Girlfight
Fans know Michelle Rodriguez by action stuff like the “Fast and Furious” movies and others. But the woman showed her strength with her debut in “Girlfight” as a female boxer learning the ropes.
She was believable as a fighter while looking lean and mean pounding a bag, her sports bra and shorts focusing on her taut body and that charisma that made her an early star.
She carried that over to “Blue Crush”, the drama with Kate Bosworth in her own breakout role as a teen surfer. Rodriguez was one of her friends and her in a bikini sure looked great the viewers. But she also seemed fine on a board handling the waves and how great she appeared with the competitions. On either land or water, Rodriguez handled herself wonderfully and showcased how action just comes naturally to her.
14 Marti Perkins & Savannah Monroe (Aly Michalka and Ashley Tisdale) - Hellcats
The very first episode of this CW series openly tackles cheerleading with captain Savannah (Ashley Tisdale) ranting about the hours of training and broken bones they endure and “we are athletes.” Aly Michalka is Marti, a law student at a Southern college who’s thrown to learn she’s lost her funding. Desperate for a scholarship, she joins their cheerleading squad and has a flair for it. Michalka was great in the lead role with her drive, very athletic and showing off in her mid-riff baring uniforms. Meanwhile, Tisdale had her own hot stuff like a short skirt and some singing performances. But she got some dramatic stuff of handling her over-religious mother being down on her lifestyle and learning more of her drive. The show lasted just one season but fans loved it still for how the two leads made the cheerleading so fun to watch.
13 Lyla Garrity (Minka Kelly) - Friday Night Lights
Many hail NBC’s drama as one of the best high school shows ever. In a Texas town where football is considered a religion, life revolves around it totally. The teens here are real teens, not adults in kid bodies who talk in witty cultural references. Minka Kelly is Lyla Garrity, the head cheerleader, a knockout with her brunette hair and lovely in the uniform. She looks absolutely gorgeous but the show focuses on her rough times. She’s in love with the star quarterback but after he’s paralyzed, ends up hooking up with the “bad boy” Tim. She’s rocked to find her father lost her college fund in a bad deal to smash up his dealership and turns to religion.
Kelly was pretty, but sold the role with inner strength to boost it up and be a highlight on the fine show.
Her return in the last season was well handled of finding a new life but somehow making the character shine in a small town.
12 Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) - Friday Night Lights
While there were a lot of very hot ladies on this beloved NBC series, somehow, the oldest of the bunch came off as so much steamier. Connie Britton was a TV veteran when she landed the role of Tami Taylor, the supportive wife the coach. She was a strong woman, independent and doing her best to handle this football loving town. She rose from just a teacher to principal, knowing these kids needed to prepare for the future. One episode has her rocked when, rather than pay for much needed new books, the school board instead votes for a million-dollar video scoreboard for the team.
Britton had good humor handling issues like her daughter finding a first love, handling a new pregnancy and the ups and downs of her husband’s life. Indeed, the two had one of the best marriages on television, each believing and supporting in the other and their love obvious. Britton’s lush red hair and lusher accent made her so amazingly hot yet also a lady to root for even more than the team to make the show a winner.
11 Debra Simon (Denise Richards) - Blue Mountain State
Denise Richards had a very warm air around her from early movie appearances. It really came up in the cult noir “Wild Things” with her skin-baring performance as a high schooler involved in a complex con operation. She even played a Bond Girl and while her acting skills could be slammed, no one could doubt her fun charm. That showed on Spike TV’s cult show focusing on a super-rowdy college football team. Richards showed up as the ex-wife of the school’s dean, which astounded everyone given the guy was an overgrown nerd so many wondered how he landed this hot lady. She showed off nicely from a cheerleading outfit of her own to making out with a lady at a party. It showcased her hot style and further appearances proved that even without a sports role of her own, Richards could shine in this wild football series.
10 Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) - Pitch
In the seemingly endless list of great TV shows Fox axed after just one season, “Pitch” is still well remembered. The set-up was simple but powerful: Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker, the first woman to play Major League Baseball.
The series focused on her rise in the club, the obvious problems of a woman in the locker room and handling the pressures of her fame.
It examined stuff like how the media might give her too much credit for things because of her gender as well as double standards. In one episode, Ginny realizes an opposing team is refusing to “bean” her in retribution and her pushing the pitcher to demand to be treated alike kicks off a brawl. That she looked great was no question and it also showcased her dating life and having to set a good example. Maybe the show would have done better a season later and too bad it ended too soon as Bunbury deserved more of a shot to make her mark.
9 Lucy Draper (Kathy Ireland) - Necessary Roughness
This 1991 comedy has a cult following for its fun charm. It focuses on a fictional Texas college, once a major football powerhouse until they were finally busted for massive rule violations. As such, pretty much every player and coach is banned and expelled and a new coach has to build a squad from scratch. Scott Bakula is the 34-year-old freshman who becomes the QB. Among the various recruits is Lucy, a soccer player brought over as the kicker. Playing the part is supermodel Kathy Ireland and it’s true her acting skills aren’t top notch. But she’s also absolutely gorgeous in the uniform. The movie itself is a nutty comedy but has a good vibe to it and Ireland helps with that.
8 April (Kati Mixon) - Eastbound & Down
In his mind, Kenny Powers is one of the greatest pitchers of all time and only working as a gym teacher in his hometown while a dozen teams fight for his services. In reality, he’s a one-game wonder whose ridiculously overinflated ego and horrible attitude got him kicked out of baseball. Danny McBride is hysterical as a man who thinks the world revolves around him totally. Katy Mixon is April, his childhood sweetheart who he tries to win back.
Possessing a knockout body but a fun charm, Mixon is good in the role, trying to resist Kenny but just can’t help but be won over by him, despite his problems.
Their relationship is up and down with him leaving her a few times (even faking his death on the idea “the press will never leave us alone”) yet they keep getting back together. Wearing low-cut shirts and pants helps to be sure as Mixon is fun with this steamy role in a nutty comedy.
7 Darcy Sears (Ali Larter) - Varsity Blues
This 1999 drama is famous for pushing James Van Der Beek as more than just a “Dawson’s Creek” star. It centers on a town where football is religion, always taken mega-seriously. When the star QB goes down, his Mox takes over and soon a star. But the intelligent Mox wants more than just being a hometown hero and prove himself out of his dad’s shadow. Ali Larter is the head cheerleader who wants to marry a football player to escape this town herself. Larter already looks great in her uniform and blonde hair. But that’s nothing compared to the scene where she tries to seduce Mox by coming out in a “bikini” of whipped cream.
Larter was boosted to fame by the showcase of her stunning body and how stunning she looked to solidify this classic sports film. Many a hot lady has been shown as a cheerleader but Larter’s “bikini” made her truly stand out in the mix.
6 Pam/Cassidy (Marisa Tomei) - The Wrestler
When Marisa Tomei won the Oscar in 1993, it was such an upset that for years, the urban myth was that they just read the wrong name. But Tomei has proven her doubters wrong by carving out a good career as an indie actress with two more Oscar nominations since. One of them was for this 2008 drama where Mickey Rourke had an acclaimed comeback role. He’s Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a one-time mega-star of wrestling now sinking under his bad body and various addictions.
Tomei plays an exotic dancer who, like Randy, faces the challenges of an aging body and declining in her field.
Of course, that takes a hit given how Tomei looks sensational on the stage, no qualms doffing it all at 44 and looking hotter than women half her age. She and Rourke have heart in their talks before the emotional finale and Tomei grounds the film while still looking hot and proving some ladies get sexier with age.
5 Jules (Keira Knightley) - Bend It Like Beckham
It’s the role that launched her to stardom. As soon as this hit, one British magazine reviewer hailed Kiera Knightley as “the hottest tomboy beanpole on the planet.” This film was a hit in England, focusing on Parminder Nagra as a woman defying her family’s traditional views of Indian life to be a soccer player like her hero David Beckham. Knightley is Jules, her teammate who’s rough on her at first but soon sways her over and looks terrific with her drive.
The woman is amazing in the part, totally believable as an athlete and rocks the sports look quite well. The movie hit just before “Pirates of the Caribbean” and made Knightley a huge star and while she’s carved out a great career since, something about her in this part remains notable for a beauty despite her size.
4 Susan Sarandon - Bull Durham
Much can be argued about Susan Sarandon. But she’s also a terrific actress with a long list of hot roles under her plate. And few have ever been hotter than the beloved 1988 comedy.
The film's a terrific look at the minor-league ballplayer life with Kevin Costner as a pitcher mentoring catcher Nuke. Sarandon is the ballpark announcer who also gets involved with both men.
She’s fantastic in the part, her lush Southern accent making every word she utters sound hot as hell and knows the power she has over men. Her chemistry with each is great and her confidence is huge (“there’s never been a ballplayer who’s slept with me who didn’t have the best year of his career afterward.”)
Some consider this one of the greatest sports movies of all time and the sight of Sarandon swinging a bat is terrific to sell her as the ultimate groupie and how a “mature” gal can be even better with age.
3 Torrance Shipman & Missy Pantone (Kirsten Dunst & Eliza Dushku) - Bring It On
While a good child actress, “Bring It On” established Kirsten Dunst as more of a young star. The quintessential cheerleading movie, she plays Torrance, a girl who achieves her dream of taking on the captain spot of her high school squad who are multiple state champions. But the dream turns into a nightmare when new recruit Missy (Eliza Dushku) reveals that the reason for their success is the old captains were stealing the routines of a vastly superior inner-city school team. So Torrance has to retrain her team for the championship. Both ladies look great in their roles with alluring moves (Dushku showing a nice gymnastics routine as her audition) and their banter is terrific.
Sure, we get bits like a car wash but they have nice charm and humor to make the movie a favorite and show these ladies can rock a cheerleading outfit like few others in movies or TV.
2 Ruth (Alison Brie) - GLOW
Alison Brie has made a career out of roles looking hotter than most gave her credit for (such as the nutty Annie on the cult favorite “Community”). In 2017, she finally got the starring role she long deserved. “GLOW” dramatizes the infamous Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a cheap wrestling b-show of the ‘80s that emphasized attractive ladies over serious action. Brie showed off in the first episode, including a steamy love scene but also brought chops such as the revelation came that she was sleeping with her best friend’s husband.
An aspiring actress, she moves into this job with some pride and glee, getting into the role of a Russian heel and enjoying it.
Brie looks great in the ‘80s fashions and leotards, handling training for wrestling moves and it pays off in a great finale. The show was acclaimed as a huge hit and another season coming to push Brie into the pretty lady she’s long hidden away.
1 Dr. Claire Lewicki (Nicole Kidman) - Days of Thunder
Back in 1990, no one really knew who Nicole Kidman was. The Aussie actress had some style but wasn’t known for much. But that all changed with “Days of Thunder”, her role as a doctor helping Tom Cruise’s race driver rebuild his career after a harsh accident. She looked stunning with her curly red hair, great outfits and alluring accent, standing out well, including a memorable love scene. The chemistry between her and Cruise was huge and thus it's no surprise the duo ended up marrying for years afterward. It boosted Kidman to instant stardom, kicking off her own Oscar-winning career and a huge success. While she didn’t get behind the wheel herself, Kidman was in the driver’s seat in attention and got going well with her gorgeous bearing to rev this movie up big time.