Top 25 Real Life Friendships in Sports

It is easy to forget because of the lavish lifestyles that the more-famous individuals in the sports world lead that pro athletes and others associated in the industry are real people just like you and I. They wind down by attending shows, going to movies or by sitting at home and relaxing with loved ones, and they also hang out with their friends from time to time. Because these athletes are widely recognized by fans and also by media members whenever they venture out into the public eye, friendships involving professional athletes have made for headlines on websites and in magazines.

The summer of 2015 put women's football/soccer in the mainstream for some time thanks to the FIFA World Cup, a competition that was won by the United States. Two of the women who featured for the United States Women's National Team have been teammates and friends for some time, and that relationship has been well documented by American soccer journalists and also by fans of the players and of the team. Those two are, of course, not the only well-known footballers to be involved in famous friendships. Several others are showcased in this piece.

While it is not uncommon for teammates who work and live with each other on a daily basis to forge strong bonds, other well-known friendships in sports have stemmed from family ties or business endeavors. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but profitable business relationships can, in certain situations, breed friendships among athletes and other individuals who work in the sports world. With that said, an absence of profits and cash flow can lead to a friendship disappearing even quicker than it was formed.

25 Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus

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You know that one friend who seemingly loves nothing more than to push your buttons and get on your nerves for his own personal enjoyment? That man for Adrian Beltre is Elvis Andrus. The two Major League Baseball personalities who have played for the Texas Rangers for years have been featured in a video entitled “Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus – Best Friends,” one that went viral in baseball circles in 2013 and one that provides some highlights of that relationship. Remember, when watching the video, that Beltre does not enjoy being touched on the head.

24 Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux

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Entertaining pregame handshakes, social media bikini post-offs and Halloween costume contests: Following the friendship had by United States Women's National Team members Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux is fun for all. Of the two, it is Morgan who has unquestionably become widely known as one of the best players on her team who has also featured on magazine covers and in television commercials. Morgan's star should only be on the rise for the foreseeable future, as she turned 26-years old in the summer of 2015.

23 The Kliq

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It is arguably the most-famous group in the history of North American professional wrestling, one made up of men who have remained close friends for years. Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and Sean Waltman joined up to form The Kliq when all four were working in the WWE in the 1990s, and that group split when Hall and Nash made the jump to World Championship Wrestling in 1996. While Hall and Nash became the two founding members of the New World Order, Michaels and Triple H ultimately became the leaders of D-Generation-X.

22 Peyton Manning and Eli Manning

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Just because the two National Football League quarterbacks happen to be brothers does not mean that they do not deserve to be mentioned in this piece. The Mannings have achieved great successes during their careers. Eli has two Super Bowl victories on his professional resume, while Peyton has thus far lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy on a single occasion. When not on the field, football fans have seen Eli and Peyton Manning in SportsCenter and Sunday Night Football commercials, and the two were featured in a Oreo ad campaign.

21 Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love

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Remember when there were concerns had by some analysts that Kevin Love was not getting along with his news teammates after joining the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014? Those worries were quickly put to bed for good during the 2014-15 National Basketball Association regular season. Love and Irving have been seen together off the court on numerous occasions and the two also had a postgame handshake that made for some interesting headlines. Irving voiced how upset he was when Kevin Love went down to a season-ending injury early into the 2015 NBA Playoffs. What could have been for Cleveland had Love and Irving remain healthy up through July.

20 Johnny Manziel and Floyd Mayweather

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Time will tell if the friendship of a NFL quarterback and of one of the greatest boxers of his generation will have a long future considering the events of the past year. Johnny Manziel had quite the tumultuous start of his pro career after being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in May 2014 and things apparently got so out of hand that the phenom known as Johnny Football entered a rehabilitation facility in the winter of 2015. Manziel has since lived a different life, one that has not seen him being photographed hanging out with the likes of Floyd Mayweather. Those two could probably do things that would not involve Manziel experiencing any setbacks.

19 Mike Richards and Jeff Carter

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National Hockey League fans have followed the friendship of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter for some time. Richards and Carter formed what has been called the greatest “bromance” in hockey when the two met as teenagers and the friendship that was forged has lasted throughout both of their pro careers. The two have managed to play on the same team on multiple occasions in an era of free agency and of trades, and Richards and Carter were able to celebrate winning the Stanley Cup twice. It is nice to be able to enjoy such a moment with a great friend.

18 Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney

While the two have not shied away from competing against each other when they have met on the pitch, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney have remained friends for years long after Ronaldo left Manchester United and the Premier League for sunny Spain and Real Madrid. It has been rumored that the two could once again be joined together either by Rooney signing for Real or by Ronaldo making a long-anticipated return to United. Neither of those events have yet occurred, but Ronaldo may, if certain reports are to be believed, be considering a United return sooner than later.

17 Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas

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No disrespect meant to Justin Thomas, but he has a ways to go if he is going to catch up to his more famous friend as it pertains to their golf careers. Jordan Spieth has taken over the world of golf in 2015, and his pursuit of what would have been a historic Grand Slam was followed by fans all over the world and made for compelling television in July 2015. Just as amazing has been watching Spieth perform is the realization that he turned 22-years old on July 27 of 2015. Spieth is just getting started and it will be a delight to watch him improve.

16 Gareth Bale and Luka Modric

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The friendship that was first forged at Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur has since gone worldwide. Luka Modric has been credited for helping convince Gareth Bale to make the move from Spurs to Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, and the midfield maestro also aided Bale during his early days with the Spanish giants. The two have remained friends and have won multiple trophies at Real, and it has been rumored that they could be involved in a package deal if one or the other was to ever decide to return to the Premier League in the future.

15 Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal

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Any relationship can get rocky from time to time and that is especially true when it involves two of the best players of a generation in a same sport. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have enjoyed a professional rivalry and they have also been friends with one another, and the two have publicly praised each other during interviews. While the relationship has gone through some rough patches, it is believed and hoped that Federer and Nadal are back to being good buddies as they approach the end of their historic careers.

14 Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant

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It is understandable that Lionel Messi and Kobe Bryant would strike a friendship. Messi has not, after all, ever had to worry about sharing the basketball court with the Los Angeles Lakers legend (insert a rim shot here). Along with pairing up for commercials, two of the best athletes of their generations who are fans of each other have spent time together outside of work situations. Bryant met up with the Barcelona team when the Spanish giants were in Los Angeles in July of 2015; just an average fan watching a club complete some preseason training.

13 LeBron James and Jordan Henderson

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LeBron James is not your average soccer fan who catches the occasional Premier League contest. The NBA superstar is also a part owner of Liverpool. James did a solid for buddy Jordan Henderson in the summer of 2015 when the Cleveland Cavaliers player asked that his 21 million Twitter followers vote for Henderson to feature on the cover of video game FIFA 16. Henderson is no Alex Morgan, the US player who will be on the cover of the game in the States, but the Liverpool man nevertheless won the fan vote. Thanks, LeBron!

12 Tony Romo and Jason Witten

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Tony Romo and Jason Witten are statistically speaking two of the greatest players in the history of the Dallas Cowboys, and that they have performed for the Cowboys has also made the duo one of the most-hated pairs in all of the NFL among non-Dallas fans. Romo and Witten have enjoyed a great relationship on the field and a solid friendship off of it, and the two have spoken well of each other many times during press obligations. The window for the two to win a Super Bowl with Dallas is quickly closing. Will they achieve that goal?

11 Drake and _____

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A running joke in the sports world is that the music personality will not be far behind whenever a team wins a sports championship. Drake has dropped names such as Johnny Manziel in songs. He has appeared at noteworthy NBA games and he has attended college basketball contests. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari even sent Drake a championship ring after Kentucky cut down the nets in 2012. Make whatever jokes and comments that you want. Drake often has one of the best seats in the house during a sporting event.

10 Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield

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The old saying goes that time heals all wounds. It appears that is the case even if the wound comes from one man biting off a portion of the ear of an opponent. Nobody would have much of a reaction upon learning that Evander Holyfield still held a grudge over what Mike Tyson did during that infamous fight years ago, but the two have instead put the matter behind them. They have joked about it during television segments and all indications are that the two have a solid friendship. Let's hope their meals are much more pleasant now.

9 Tom Brady and Wes Welker

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The two may no longer be teammates on the New England Patriots, but Tom Brady and Wes Welker have nevertheless remained friends even though they have competed against each other during meaningful games. Brady and Welker still communicate with each other during regular seasons and Welker has publicly defended his former quarterback regarding the “DeflateGate” matter. It has been rumored that Welker, who has suffered multiple concussions during his career, may reunite with Brady and the Patriots one last time before he retires.

8 Neymar and Lionel Messi

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It is important to strike up relationships with teammate, and that is what has happened at Barcelona with two of the most-recognizable athletes on the planet. Neymar told reporters in February of 2015 that Lionel Messi, arguably the best footballer in the world, was his best friend, and that friendship continued on during a season that saw Barca pull off an impressive treble. You can also probably throw Luis Suarez into the mix, as Suarez became the third member of that attacking presence when he joined Barcelona from Liverpool in the summer of 2014.

7 CM Punk and Colt Cabana

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The two who made their names working for independent wrestling organizations have remained close even though CM Punk has traded his wrestling career for a stint in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It was on the podcast hosted by Colt Cabana when Punk described over the Thanksgiving 2014 holiday weekend in detail why he had departed the WWE, and that appearance made headlines and also brought a massive amount of attention to Cabana's show. Punk did his buddy quite the favor and you can be sure that it was appreciated.

6 Stephen Curry and Draymond Green

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Get used to seeing this NBA friendship. It is one that should only continue to blossom in the future. Steph Curry and Draymond Green became household names among those who do not actively follow the league on a monthly basis when they helped the Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015 NBA Finals. Green then re-signed with the Warriors on a five-year deal after the Finals and it is believed that Curry will put pen to paper on an extension with the club in the near future.

5 Michael Jordan and Roger Federer

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This friendship may very well be the ultimate “power couple” of the bunch. Two of the greatest athletes you will ever see perform in their sports have come together for a Nike campaign and Michael Jordan has also watched Roger Federer play live and in-person. Federer, meanwhile, has admitted to being a fan of “His Airness” while growing up. The two coming together for a business endeavor would make for a fascinating partnership to follow, not to mention one heckuva reality television show. Somebody should get on this idea and fast.

4 Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada

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Both Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada are kings among diehard fans of the New York Yankees. The two played together in the baseball capital of the world for nearly two decades and it was widely known that they were and still are friends. Jeter even served as the best man at Posada's wedding years ago when the shortstop was still in the infancy of his Hall-of-Fame career. Both have since moved on to the post-baseball portions of their lives, leaving a hole within the Yankees that will not be easy to fill. All eyes are now on you, Alex Rodriguez.

3 Tiger Woods and Jason Dufner

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Things have admittedly been better for Tiger Woods than what he has experienced in 2015. Woods is failing to make cuts at majors, he is not coming close to winning weekend tournaments, and he has become somewhat of a punchline for those who root against him whenever he takes the course. One of the greatest golfers in history was in the news in the summer of 2015 when it rumored that he was dating the ex-wife of friend Jason Dufner. Those tales did not keep the two from engaging in a practice round together and it is believed that the two have even joked about the matter.

2 The Four Horsewomen

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Marina Shafir, Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke are not all that well known outside of mixed martial arts circles. The fighter who makes up the fourth horsewoman, however, has become an international superstar. Ronda Rousey is, after her knockout victory over Bethe Correia on August 1st, seen as the best female fighter in the world and she has also featured in movie roles and even a WrestleMania segment. The biggest star in the UFC and in the sport, Rousey is a draw whenever she fights on pay-per-view. That will continue to be the case until she loses a fight; if that day ever arrives.

1 LeBron James and Johnny Manziel

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How much longer these two remain close friends could be determined by how well or how poorly Johnny Manziel performs with the Browns. Manziel and LeBron James have the same marketing agent, both play in Cleveland, and James has served as a mentor for the quarterback known as Johnny Football since Manziel's days at Texas A&M. James has taken Manziel under his wing even further since the 22-year old left a rehabilitation facility in 2015, and fans of the Browns will be hoping that some of James' greatness will rub off on the young signal-caller.

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