These athletes aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Cut through all the post game interviews, soda commercials and red carpet events and what have you got? Some talented people who can dunk a ball better than the average person, throw a punch harder or hit a tennis ball in the right spot more times than an amateur. Sure it’s impressive, even down right entertaining. But when they’ve had a hard day they still come home to a happy pooch that gives them the same unconditional love we all want in our lives.
Aside from explicit adult entertainment, the Internet is flooded with cute pictures and videos of pets. They don’t just give us companionship but a reminder of how simple life actually is. When sportsmen and women fret over contract negotiations and fights in the dressing room, all they care about is whether or not they get fed and when they can run around the park. Not that complicated really.
Seeing big hulking footballers and fighters snuggle up to a little furry creature makes them more endearing by default too. It’s hard to be mad at them when that innocent face is starring down the lens, all you can think about is how damn cute they are. It immediately disarms us from the stinking game they played or controversy the athlete is embroiled in. Quite a clever tactic when you think about it.
So forget all the scandals and turn away from the conflict. Take a few moments to enjoy some very talented sports people getting cozy with their dogs. We guarantee maximum cuteness.
20 Mike Conley and Rio
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley hasn’t had too much to cheer about throughout his NBA career, but when he comes home he knows he has someone to be there to commiserate with him. 2 years ago he posted a picture of himself on Instagram lying down fixing his piano stand with his beloved German Sheppard on the timber flooring, writing alongside the post, “My boy Rio trying to help put the piano stand together! #mansbestfriend.” Looks like Mike has an eager apprentice in the household!
19 Michelle Wie and Lola
Michelle Wie is one of the brightest faces on the LPGA circuit. The 26-year old and 4-time tour winner is incredibly popular on the course, but when she comes home to little Lola, she is the center of her world. The pair are inseparable together, with Wie taking Lola on drives and trips to the pool when she isn't practicing her swing on the range. Adorable and very cute.
18 Lindsey Vonn and Lucie
Lindsey Vonn gets attached to things, for better or worse. The World Cup ski racer this year picked up a little puppy and posted the picture on Instagram while asking for name suggestions. Although she already has two dogs in Leo and Bear, Vonn decided three really is company. “So excited to welcome this sweetheart into my life!” wrote Vonn. “I’m having a hard time finding a name though …. What do you guys think? Lucy? Cookie? Help!! Xoxo.” Eventually she settled on Lucie – great choice.
17 Kyrie Irving and Drew
Melbourne-born Cleveland star Kyrie Irving gets nostalgic about his little man Drew. Last year on National dog day he posted a picture on his Instagram account of his furry little friend when he was a puppy resting on his shoe. The adorable picture shows Drew looking up sheepishly at the Cavaliers point guard, but we’re sure he wasn’t doing anything sinister at the time. Who knows how big Drew is these days, but the snap might have killed off two birds with the one stone by plugging his new shoes in the same frame. Both are great, but Drew is the better prize.
16 Kevin Durant and YoungZo
We don’t know whether the hash tag is actually incorporated into his puppy bulldog’s name or not, but YoungZo gets a lot of love on social media. The stocky addition to the Durant family is described as “my girl” by the Oklahoma City star and the hand exchange between the pair is nothing short of delightful. Although, as Durant says, maybe YoungZo was fishing for another treat of bacon. Those puppies will do anything for a feed!
15 Le’Veon Bell and Beautiful
What a great name for a dog – Beautiful. Sums up everything the 24-year old Pittsburgh Steelers running back feels about his companion as he posts videos taking her on car trips and loving Valentine’s Day snaps. Le’Veon Bell cannot get enough love from his dog as he wrote alongside the video – “beautiful wanted to be on gram today … so make sure y’all (show) her some love, she’s so pretty.” Get a room you two!
14 Manny Pacquiao and Pacman
Keeping up with the fitness regime of boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is grueling work, but when it comes to his little friend Pacman, it’s the Philippine fighter that has to catch up. The Jack Russell takes a lot after his owner, being small but ferocious with a great engine on the running track. Pacman last made an appearance leading into the Floyd Mayweather fight in 2015 and given Pacquiao’s latest controversy it seems like he should be spending more time with his puppy away from the media spotlight.
13 Mick Fanning and Harper
The Aussie surfer had a 2015 to forget. Aside from losing his brother tragically, he narrowly survived a shark attack live on television during competition. It seemed like everyone and everything was out to get him, but after a brush with death, things seem to have been getting better for good old Mick. His dog Harper makes common cameo appearances on his social media pages and it seems the two are cut from the same cloth. Who says dogs don’t have a sense of humor?
12 Joseph Fauria and Pomsky
Being a free agent in the NFL can be a distressing time. Since tight end Joseph Fauria was shown the door on the New England Patriots roster, the former Detroit Lions and Cardinals footballer hasn’t had much to get excited about. That is until he is paired with his baby husky Pomsky, a gorgeous little mutt who was actually blamed for Fauria’s injury sustained with the Lions when he attempted to toilet train the little guy. That is the NFL equivalent of saying “the dog ate my homework!” Pomsky can’t be blamed for that, just look at that adorable face.
11 Roy Hibbert’s French Bulldog
Roy Hibbert only came to the LA Lakers in 2015, but it seems like he might be used for trade bait by the franchise. Despite this uncertainty, the former Indiana Pacers center is a bit of a character off the court as was seen on Jimmy Kimmel back in 2012. His Skype session with Jeremy Lin was interrupted by the appearance of his $3000 French bulldog on the program which really did steal the whole show! So long as he has his companion it shouldn’t matter if the Lakers keep him or not.
10 David Price and Astro
You know a loving relationship between a star athlete and his dog becomes a strange dynamic when the puppy gets their own Twitter account! @Astro_DPsDog already has over 5,500 followers as the Boston Red Sox pitcher shows off his love for his French Bulldog every spare second he gets. For goodness sake, even the Red Sox official Twitter account tweeted about Astro coming on board to the organization. Would Price have put that in the contract? “Price and Astro” – sounds like a sitcom worth watching.
9 Paula Creamer and Studley
Getting married? Brings the dog. Going out on the town? Brings the dog. Out on the golf course? Oh you know she is bringing the dog. Yes 10-time LPGA Tour winner Paula Creamer loves her canine Studley so much the couple have practically espoused their love to one and other time and time again. They are pictured together so often, one would wonder if her hubby Derek Heath would be a bit jealous.
8 Caroline Wozniacki and Bruno
Since Serena Williams’ little puppy Chip passed away last year, Caroline Wozniacki’s relationship with Bruno took the headlines for everything related to tennis player’s puppy love. The Pomeranian dog was spun by the tabloids as the presence to fill the Rory McIlroy gap in her life as the fluffy little pooch was seen with the Danish star on the practice court and prancing around the kitchen. We don’t think that’s what Rory was about, but maybe that explains their break up?
7 Russell Wilson’s Dogs
Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson already hit the jackpot when he won the Super Bowl and hooked up with music sensation Ciara, but the fortune for the well-spoken quarterback doesn’t end there. His two large canines might looked depressed, yet that seems to be more about their complexion than their emotional state. The black and white dogs of course get a lot of love on Instagram – they're Russell Wilsons dogs, it was always going to be the case.
6 Kraig Urbik and Henry
For these two, it was love at first sight. Even a big, bustling physical specimen like Buffalo Bills Kraig Urbik has a softer side as the 30-year old offensive guard cuddles up to his little pug Henry back home. He’s followed the modern trend of creating Henry’s own Instagram account @henryurbik by explaining via Twitter – “It’s true. I’ve made Henry his own Instagram so mine isn’t only photos of our dog.” At least Kraig is honest enough to admit his obsession with the cute little guy.
5 George Kottaras and Leo
Big white Labradors are some of the best breed of dog going around, completely loyal and unashamed lovers of their owners. San Francisco Giants catcher George Kottaras is lucky enough to have one of his own in Leo, posting pictures weekly of the pair enjoying a warm embrace and genuinely feeling the love between man and canine. That’s one of Kottaras’ better catches.
4 Pau Gasol and Linda
35-year old giant Bulls center Pau Gasol might be a menacing presence on the court, but underneath it all he is nothing but a big softie. The Spanish basketball star is in the middle of fighting off trade rumors as he seeks to bed down the rest of his career in Chicago and if the stress is getting to him, at least he has little Linda to keep him company. The pair’s selfie was one of the cuter athlete/dog snaps going around the Internet.
3 David Ortiz and Happy
David Ortiz and a little white chihuahua…. is this a new Odd Couple film or something? The controversial baseball legend is actually a big fan of canines and his little pride and joy can be spotted around various VIP events and back at Ortiz’s own pad. Maybe the 40-year old Red Sox star is getting soft in his old age but if this is how he wants to show it, all the more power to him!
2 Klay Thompson and Rocco
Wherever Klay goes, Rocco will follow. This loyal bulldog cannot get enough of his Golden State Warriors owner, tagging along to walks along the beach, runs on the park, writing on the computer and having a snooze on the couch. Hit up the champions Instagram account and you will be sure to see Rocco taking up some space. Money and success is a great part of being an NBA player, but the love and loyalty from someone like Rocco is priceless.
1 Vernon Davis and Cookie
Needless to say NFL players and dogs have not always had the happiest of relationships, but try and separate Vernon Davis from Cookie if you dare. The Super Bowl winning Broncos tight end was in football heaven the other week and life could not be better for the 32-year old. But throw Cookie into the mix and well, and the couple are nothing short of cute. The true definition of a man’s best friend.