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15 Worst Athletes Turned Actors of All Time

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15 Worst Athletes Turned Actors of All Time

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

There are so many people that believe just because they are good at one thing it automatically means they will be good at something else. Unfortunately, movie goers are forced to witness this first-hand when athletes attempt to take a stab at acting.

It’s an insult to actors around the world for athletes to assume they will dominate whatever acting role they are given. I don’t see Leonardo DiCaprio trying his luck at quarterback because he is an unbelievable talent in front of the camera.

I understand several athletes who appear in movie, television or commercial roles are more or less thrust into it. It’s not as if they believe they are good at it, but rather, the companies around them that want to give it a shot. It’s more about selling the product with a recognizable name more than anything else.

Then there are the very talented athletes who decide a career in acting after their playing days are over makes sense. Some get the hint immediately and call it quits before humiliation sets in. Others decide that if directors will continue giving them roles then there is no reason to stop, even if they are terrible at acting.

A majority of the athletes on the slideshow were actually very successful in their given sport, which made it that much harder to watch when they failed on the big screen. At least most of them have championships, medals or titles to ease their pain. Make sure to click through to see the 15 worst athletes turned actors of all time.

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15. Shaquille O’Neal

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

There are definitely worse athletes who act in commercials, but Shaquille O’Neal is right up there. The good news he’s getting better at acting, which should make for entertaining TV spots going forward. Shaq has starred in a couple of films, with his performance in Steel being the reason why he’s on this slideshow. With that being said, it was his lead role in Kazaam that’s the reason why he’s only No. 15.

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14. Michael Jordan

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Like Shaq, Michael Jordan’s acting in commercials and movies can go either way. Jordan did a decent in Space Jam, especially since a majority of the time he was performing with cartoons that weren’t really there. Meanwhile, Jordan’s appearance on Saturday Night Live, as well as, some commercials were hard to watch.

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13. LeBron James

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LeBron James may think he’s a good actor with his diverse roles in his The LeBrons commercials. However, the reality is he’s not very good. For me, it was his small role in the television show Entourage that was cringe-worthy enough to never want to see James in anything besides being a professional basketball player.

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12. Howie Long

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Howie Long was a phenomenal football player who decided to try his hand at acting after his sports playing career came to an end. The most logical role for him was to be an action star considering his large build. His performances in Broken Arrow and 3000 Miles to Graceland were not terrible, but they weren’t exactly believable either. His lead role in Firestorm is a big reason why he’s on this list.

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11. Roy Jones Jr.

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Boxer Roy Jones Jr. is definitely someone who shouldn’t be messed with inside or outside of the ring. For that reason, I’m going to try to be as nice as possible while dissecting his acting. Jones’ big moment came in The Matrix Reloaded, although he did appear in a few roles prior to that. He only had a couple of lines in his brief appearance in the blockbuster film, but they were mostly unbearable to watch.

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10. Dennis Rodman

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Dennis Rodman’s personality has all of the makings of someone who would fit right in with Hollywood. A couple of TV roles and his movie debut as a character other than himself in Double Team proved that he really should have stuck with basketball a while longer.

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9. Lyle Alzado


Lyle Alzado was a forced to be reckoned with on the gridiron as he played a huge role in the Oakland Raiders 1983 Super Bowl win. For whatever reason, Alzado thought that he could be a decent actor after his football career came to an end. However, it was quite clear that would never be the case after his lead role in Destroyer.

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8. Brian Bosworth

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Brian Bosworth has tried to make a legitimate go at acting since his football career came to an end. Unfortunately, his initial role in the film Stone Cold proved that he didn’t possess the necessary talent. For that reason, he kind of just bounced around the industry for the next two decades.

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7. Brett Favre

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The legendary quarterback put his acting chops to the test right before our very eyes during his retirement phase in which he would then decide to return to football. Everyone knows why Brett Favre is on this list and it’s because of his small role in There’s Something About Mary. It was awesome to see him at the end of the film, or at least up until the point where he spoke his lines.

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6. Dan Marino

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Dan Marino is one of the best quarterbacks to ever line up under center. However, his acting in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Bad Boys II was not very good. To make it even worse is that he was basically playing himself in both films.

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5. Bruce Jenner

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The general public recognizes Bruce Jenner either as an Olympic hero who won the gold medal in the Decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics or as the father of the most annoying family in the world in the reality television series Keeping Up with the Kardashians. As bad as the acting is in the reality show, the real reason Jenner is on this countdown is for his horrible performance in Can’t Stop the Music, which was a film about The Village People.

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4. O.J. Simpson

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O.J. Simpson is a lot of things and a good actor isn’t one of them. His performance in the The Naked Gun series is why he finds his name on this list.

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3. Matt Nover

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Nover is best known for his integral part in helping the 1992 Indiana Hoosiers basketball team reach the Final Four. He had a brief stint in acting as Ricky Roe in Blue Chips. Unfortunately, like his basketball, his acting career didn’t pan out.

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2. Wilt Chamberlain


Wilt Chamberlain is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, which is why no one can really blame him for believing he could be a good actor too. However, after his performance in Conan the Destroyer it was painfully clear that Chamberlain would never be known for anything more than being a great center, and his mind-blowing number of sexual conquests.

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1. Alex Karras


Alex Karras made a name for himself in the world of acting after his football career came to an end. Just because he appeared in numerous TV roles, such as M*A*S*H and Webster, it doesn’t mean that he was good at it. In fact, his role as George Papadapolis in Webster was particularly hard to watch and the main reason he is No. 1 on the countdown.