By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on April 30, 2014
The hit television show “American Idol” originally aired in 2002. It has spawned the careers of numerous musical artists, most notably Kelly Clarkson. The show has seen its share of judges, while guest judges periodically make an appearance. Believe it or not, there are several professional athletes who have gone on to have successful music careers. Here are 16 sports stars who have what it takes to make a great judge on “American Idol.”
Manny Pacquiao may not be the best judge “American Idol” has ever seen, but he definitely has the singing experience to be a judge. He has released two albums as well as two singles over the span of five years.
Former basketball player Carlos Arroyo established a music career in 2009. He even founded the record label Arroyo Hit Music. He has released several singles, including one with Reggaeton artist Yomo.
Barry Zito’s father, Joe Zito, composed and arranged music for Nat King Cole in the 1960s. His mother was also a musician who sang with Nat Cole King. For that reason, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Zito developed musical talents. The pitcher plays the guitar, and he co-wrote a song for the movie “A Thousand Words,” which starred Eddie Murphy.
Former lineman Kyle Turley moved to Nashville to pursue a career in music after his football playing days were over. He co-founded Gridiron Records and released a debut album titled “Anger Management.” Some of his songs talked about his football career.
Alexi Lalas has done quite well for himself as a musician in his post-soccer playing career. He sang and played guitar for the band Gypsies, a group that released two albums. He also had a successful solo career in which he put out four albums, with the most recent one released in 2010.
Former pitcher Jack McDowell has an extensive musical career. Over the span of a decade, he released six albums with bands V.I.E.W and Stickfigure.
In 2000, Oscar De La Hoya released his Grammy-nominated self-entitled album “Oscar De La Hoya.” The tracks on his Latin pop album were written in both Spanish and English by the Bee Gees and Diane Warren.
Nick Swisher has the look of someone who knows his way around a guitar. The Cleveland Indians first baseman released a children’s album titled “Believe” in 2011. He covered songs such as “Lean on Me” and “Believe.” All proceeds from his album went to his charity that raises money for children with health issues.
If former baseball player Omar Vizquel ever gets tired of coaching, he really should take a legitimate stab at a singing career. In 2005, Vizquel was a part of a group of several big leaguers who got together to sing on the album “Oh Say Can You Sing?” His cover of “Broadway” by the Goo Goo Dolls was inspiring.
Aubrey Huff proved he has musical talent when he sang a powerful rendition of John Michael Montgomery’s “Letters from Home” for the same album as Vizquel back in 2005.
Darren McCarty was the lead singer for the rock band “Grinder.” Unfortunately, the band stopped playing music due to the sudden passing of bass player James Anders.
Former baseball player Tim Flannery has enjoyed his life as a musician in retirement. His style of folk music is well liked in Ireland, and he also had the honor of singing the National Anthem with band members of the Grateful Dead in 2011.
Bronson Arroyo is exceptional at playing the guitar and has a decent voice too. He even taught teammate Kevin Millar how to play the guitar so that the two of them could jam out to a cover of “Tessie” by the Dropkick Murphy’s.
Ozzie Smith has proven musical talent. He must have passed down his great voice to his son, Nikko, who was a finalist on “American Idol” in 2005.
Former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams is a classically trained guitarist who has released two jazz albums. He was even nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2009.
Mike Reid is the most legit athlete-musician on this list. The former defensive tackle has a solid music career, which includes the 1990 No. 1 smash hit “Walk on Faith.” He also was the co-writer for Ronnie Milsap’s Grammy Award winning song “Stranger in My House.”
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