Sports movies are an important part of what might be called the "culture" of sports. As much as we love to debate who should be the starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, or whether or not a player should be in the baseball Hall of Fame, there's nothing quite like getting into an argument over which sports-themed motion pictures are the greatest of all-time.
Of course, those movies don't get the reputation they have today without the masterful performances by the actors cast for the movies. A lot of the time, these actors have little to no experience with the sport that they are being cast to play - which means a lot of hours of training and becoming an expert on the sport they have to depict being great at in the movie.
On the other hand, there are plenty of actors and actresses who have long and impressive resumes in sport, and could have just as easily become pro athletes (or something close to it) had their acting careers not worked out as well as they have up to this point - and who knows, it might not be too late for some.
There's also a category of actors who simply look like athletes - chiseled, in remarkable shape and looking like they conquer mountains as casually as some of us go for jogs on the weekend. No matter what category these actors fall into, one thing is for certain - it might be more entertaining watching them compete in a pro sport than it is to watch them in a movie.
15 Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey already spends a lot of his time making the Average Joe feeling mediocre as it is, so skip past this entry if you're easily rattled (and play golf). McConaughey grew up a golfer and a tennis player at his Texas high school, but it was on the course where he was at his finest. No one can truly confirm the story, but McConaughey claims to have four hole-in-ones on his record. McConaughey has a reported 8.6 handicap, which ranks in the top 25 of Golf Digest's latest ranking of celebrity golfers.
14 Tommy Lee Jones
13 Jason Statham
12 Dean Cain
11 John Amos
John Amos might tell you that the fame he earned from his roles on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Good Times are sources of great pride to him, but he came close to referring to the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs as the directors who cast him and turned him into a star.
10 Ed O'Neill
If you watch Modern Family, you wouldn't find yourself hard-pressed to believe that gruff, lovable grandfather Jay Pritchett spent time in the trenches of a competitive football game.
9 Kate Upton
8 Lou Ferrigno
Besides the fact that Lou Ferrigno is a behemoth of a man and would probably be able to handle himself in a couple of different sporting arenas, his background includes a very brief stint trying to break into professional football.
7 George Clooney
No ladies, we didn't forget George - how could we?
Clooney has conquered Hollywood, although it certainly wasn't a breeze. Like most young actors, Clooney had to pay his dues and took his fair share of rejection before landing a job in the industry. One of those rejections happened in a completely different field - on an actual field, as a matter of fact. Clooney was a gifted ballplayer when he was younger, and tried out for the Cincinnati Reds when he was 16, but he was ultimately let go by the organization.
6 Jon Stewart
5 Marisa Miller
4 Mark Harmon
3 Burt Reynolds
It should come as a surprise to no one that Burt Reynolds could have had a shot at professional sports - he's Burt Reynolds, he can do what he wants.
2 Sylvester Stallone
1 Kurt Russell
The name Kurt Russell kind of has a baseball ring to it, doesn't it?
The Russell's baseball roots run quite deep, and Kurt had a good shot of going pro when he was in his early twenties. The Angels, Twins, Cardinals and Giants were among the franchises who reportedly showed interest in the young second baseman. Unfortunately for Russell, his initial waffling between acting and baseball scared off several teams from committing to him, since he couldn't commit to them.
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