One popular way that filmmakers like to bait consumers into theatres is with cameos. Among the most popular cameos are those by professional athletes. While such performances may add to the box office value of a movie, they rarely translate into career transitions for athletes. There is no need to sugar coat anything, plenty of athletes can’t act their way out of a wet paper bag. Still however, films keep being made which include athletes either as main characters or simply on screen for a few seconds.
Some may argue that all athlete movie appearances are bad but this is simply not true. Some of the most memorable movie moments of all time came from athletes. Lee Trevino said very little in the Adam Sandler classic Happy Gilmore. “Grizzly Adams did have a beard.” Continuing with comedies, remember Sea Bass from Dumb and Dumber? That was none other than NHL tough guy Cam Neely. “Kick his @$$, Sea Bass!” is still memorable to this day. Neely went on to participate in other television and movie projects before becoming the President of the Boston Bruins.
Among other respectable acting performances include Vinnie Jones, the meanest man ever to play soccer (football, sorry to those not from North America). Jones has convincingly played some of the meanest men on film from Big Chris in Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels to his leading role in The Midnight Meat Train (just as disturbing as it sounds). College football player and WWE superstar Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has had a great acting career but other wrestlers have not achieved such success. From the world of mixed martial arts, Randy Couture has demonstrated decent acting ability in The Expendables movies and "Rowdy" Ronda was spot on in the third installment of that series.
Despite all the passable performances, there is still a multitude of terrible cameos by athletes. This list will count down twenty of the worst. If I insult one of your favorite athletes and you think they deserve an Oscar, I welcome ridicule and hatred in the almighty comments section.
20 20. OJ Simpson
In reality, Juice is possibly one of the best actors in human history. Even to this day, he is pretending to be an innocent man. Unfortunately, put the gent in front of a camera, and the charisma is still there but there just isn't any natural talent.
19 19. Lawrence Taylor
18 18. Terrell Owens
Much like OJ Simpson, when TO is put in front of the camera, there is no acting ability, but the charisma stick around. He too was in Any Given Sunday and has had a significant television career since his retirement. He had his own reality show "The T.O. Show" for three years, but the show itself was just self indulgent garbage.
17 17. Stone Cold Steve Austin
16 16. Brett Favre
Brett Favre may be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, but on screen, he really isn't anything special. He did a great job for a long time of acting like a guy who thought he could come out of retirement. During his cameo in There's Something About Mary, he probably conveyed less real emotion than he did when sending those "junk pics."
15 15. Roger Clemens
It should be pointed out at this point that Roger Clemens actually has one of the funniest celebrity cameos on The Simpsons. In the episode "Homer at the Bat" the team gets hypnotized but Clemens remained that way for the entire episode. He acted like a chicken during that time, and the Rocket himself did all of the clucking.
14 14. Tito Ortiz
Much like many of the men on this list, Tito Ortiz has a memorable acting performance. For many years he and ex-wife Jenna Jameson acted like happy couple. During this period, the two made a movie together called Zombie Strippers, which is exactly what it sounds like. It was a poorly executed brilliant idea, but ultimately proved that Ortiz (who played a bouncer) can't play a guy who pushes people around for a living.
13 13. Hulk Hogan
12 12. LeBron James
He hosted Saturday Night Live and the ESPY Awards with Jimmy Kimmel. While there have been worse hosts, LeBron looked confused most of the time during his SNL performance.
11 11. John McEnroe
10 10. John Cena
John Cena's acting career has included some entertaining movies, but he is simply not a good actor. The Marine and 12 Rounds were not terrible movies, but Cena's confidence in the WWE ring does not carry over well to the big screen. He always plays a musclebound everyman trying to save someone but ultimately, his acting takes away from the overall value of the film.
9 9. Dennis Rodman
8 8. Tom Brady
7 7. Roosevelt Grier
Roosevelt "Rosey" Grier was a defensive tackle who played seven seasons for the New York Giants and four seasons for the Los Angeles Rams between 1955 and 1966. He made the Pro Bowl twice and is the last surviving member of the Rams' "fearsome foursome."
6 6. Wilt Chamberlain
We really can't say a bad thing about Wilt Chamberlain's NBA career, as he has multiple records that are still in place today like scoring 100 points in a game, having a season average of over 60 points per game, and so on. But his acting chops left something to be desired.
5 5. Brian Bosworth
Bosworth is widely believed to be one of the biggest draft busts of all time. He was taken in the first round of the 1987 NFL draft and played just two years in the league before retiring. The Seattle Seahawks' doctor commented on the state of his shoulder and back and essentially indicated during the 1989 season that Bosworth was not fit to continue playing football. Even when he did take the field, his performance was subpar for a first round pick.
4 4. Howie Long
Howie Long is an interesting case. He is a Hall of Fame defensive end, having been selected to eight Pro Bowls during his fantastic career with the Raiders. In the show business world, he is known among film buffs for the "Howie Scream." His iconic shriek from the John Woo film Broken Arrow is terrifying but unfortunately, also stands as probably his only decent moment in acting. Hilariously, it wasn't even him making the sound, it was just a sound effect scream.
3 3. Shaquille O'Neal
Spanning a twenty season career, Shaquille O'neal is one of the most decorated basketball players of all time, with too many accolades to name. On top of that, he has had ventures off the court that have been successful. He was a rapper for almost a decade and what he lacked in skill, he made up for in hype, selling plenty of records. He also has a Doctor of Education degree and has been involved in law enforcement organisations.
2 2. Joe Flacco
After his Super Bowl victory in 2013, many people jumped on the "Joe Flacco" is an elite quarterback" bandwagon. He had a great game, no doubt, and he is probably among the top fifteen in the league today. Unfortunately, the knee jerk reaction was insane at the time. He "acted" in a commercial in August 2013 for first Mariner Bank, during which he had to say one line and two words. His "performance" was so bad, it has to be second on this list.
1 1. Wayne Gretzky
He may be the best hockey player of all time, but acting is something he was never meant to attempt. Back in 1989, The Great One hosted Saturday Night Live and while he definitely gave it a great effort, he delivered his lines with the acting skill of a sloth on Valium.
While the sketch "Anal Retentive Fishing" with Eugene Levy was pretty funny, it proved to the world that being unbelievable on the ice did not make someone believable on screen.
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