Today’s 15 Funniest Professional Athletes

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15 Funniest Professional Athletes

Funniest Athletes
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Professional athletes are entertainers. We buy tickets to see them perform because they do things that we cannot and we marvel at their physical abilities. But in this age of endorsement deals, all-access locker room interviews and direct communication through social media, many athletes continue performing even when they are off the field of play. As a result, athletes’ develop star personas, public reputations and brands. That is, their personalities often shine beyond the limelight of professional arenas.

Lucky for us, many of them are absolutely hilarious – and their entertainment value is not limited to the duration of the game. They pull out gut-wrenching victories on the field and provide gut-busting interviews off it. They dominate highlight reels and twitter feeds. They demonstrate who they are as individuals outside of their professions and sometimes become icons in popular culture.

These are today’s 15 funniest professional athletes.

Some do spot-on impressions, some are eternally quotable and some have ridiculous commercials. Others seem legitimately insane. Regardless of the reasoning, the end result is the same: laughter.

There is a legitimate argument against this constant access in that it can get athletes into trouble and can deny them a private life. True as that may be, it has become part of the job. Professional athletes are entertainers, and their amusement expectations are increasingly reaching beyond the field of play. The guys on this list have mastered the art of showmanship.

Not all of the people on this list are currently playing for a professional team but are nonetheless relevant in contemporary sports.

James O’Hare is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @JimboOHare, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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15. Ilya Bryzgalov

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Ilya Bryzgalov is a Russian goaltender, currently playing for the Minnesota Wild, and he has had some of the funniest interviews of anyone in sports.

For instance, he has some serious thoughts about the universe. Also, there’s only one thing that scares him: “Only bear. Bear in the forest.”

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14. Novak Djokovic

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Novak Djokovic does excellent impressions of fellow tennis players and coaches. They don’t call him the Djoker for nothing.

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13. Brett Favre

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Brett Favre really angered some people with all the retirement shenanigans. However, it’s impossible to stay mad at the guy, especially after watching his mic’d up bits.

Listening to him screw around with refs and other players on the field, you truly understand his love for the game of football and football’s love for him.

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12. Derek Holland

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Derek Holland of the Texas Rangers is one of the most under the radar funny men in sports. He does great impressions of Harry Caray and Tim Kurkjian and, for reasons I can’t explain, did the weather for a local news broadcast.

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11. Charles Barkley

King Charles
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King Charles is funny without even trying. He calls everything how he sees it and is totally unapologetic about the things he says. He’s also given us some great quotes about playing ball in college: “Auburn is a pretty good school. To graduate from there I suppose you really need to work hard and put forth maximum effort.” “20 points and 10 rebounds will get you through also!”

He’s hosted Saturday Night Live twice and his golf swing will leave you in stitches.

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10. Chad Ocho Cinco

Ocho Cinco
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First of all, he changed his last name from Johnson to Ocho Cinco, in honor of his number. This is only made more hilarious by the fact that eighty-five in Spanish is actually ochenta y cinco.

He’s had some of the most original touchdown celebrations, like using the pile on as a putter and proposing to a cheerleader.

He even bought Bengals fans front row seats at Lambeau Field so he could do his own Lambeau Leap.

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9. Blake Griffin

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Blake Griffin has done some hilarious commercials for Kia and GameFly. He’s also had some hysterical tweets, including such gems as the one after Serge Ibaka punched him in the groin.

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8. Ryan Dempster

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Ryan Dempster actually did stand-up before his baseball career took off. Thanks to a Harry Caray impression that rivals Will Ferrell, he might be the most well-known funny man in baseball. He also does Chris Farley and characters from the Austin Powers movies.

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7. Brian Scalabrine

White Mamba
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Brian Scalabrine could be the most widely adored player in NBA history for his mediocrity. He has to be the only basketball player ever to be cheered when he touches the ball as a visiting player and the only one to receive MVP chants in other teams' arenas.

It was totally sarcastic but the White Mamba was no less intense entering games off the bench. For that, he was always a fan favorite.

(For the record, Derrick Rose ultimately blocked that two-handed dunk attempt pictured above.)

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6. Rob Gronkowski

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Gronk is no stranger to outlandish behavior off the grid iron. In addition to dating a porn star, while playing a game of marry, eff, kill, he said he’d take Tim Tebow’s virginity. His over-the-top spike is also one of the funniest touchdown celebrations in the NFL.

Beyond all of this, his candidacy for this list can be surmised by three words: “Yo soy fiesta.”

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5. Bart Scott

Bart Scott
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Bart Scott is absolutely ridiculous. We all know about his hilarious post AFC Divisional Round tirade. But he also pegged Ray Rice with the football after a play was over and threw a referee's penalty flag into the stands.

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4. Metta World Peace

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The Artest formerly known as Ron is a human highlight reel of weird. I honestly don’t know if he just has a strange sense of humor or if he’s actually crazy. Maybe it’s a little of both. Either way, he always makes us laugh.

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3. Brian Wilson

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Brian Wilson’s notable comedic bits include breaking a bat over his beard, showing up for a talk show interview dressed as a sea captain, explaining the magical phrase, “Got Heeeem,” and pranking Chris Rose. His SportsCenter commercial is also outstanding.

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2. Peyton Manning

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You could spend an entire day watching and re-watching Peyton Manning’s commercials. My personal favorites are his Priceless Peptalks and the one for Sprint NFL Mobile. But Manning’s comedic resume is not limited to endorsements. He was an excellent host on Saturday Night Live and his United Way spoof in particular will go down in SNL lore as one of the best sketches from an athlete host.

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1. Shaquille O'Neal

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From laugh-out-loud interviews to hilarious commercials, to dancing with the Jabbawockeez, to starring in a kids’ movie about a magical rapping genie that lives in a boombox, Shaq is a pure entertainer. Compared to the other basketball players on the list, he’s unrepentant like Barkley, clever like Griffin, loved like Scalabrine and unpredictable like Metta.

He never ceases to make people laugh. No matter what you care to call him – Superman, Shaq Diesel, Big Aristotle, Wilt Chamberneezy, Big Shaqtus etc. – Shaq is today’s funniest professional athlete.