Everybody has an embarrassing secret. Some people like to car dance to Eddie Grant’s masterpiece, Electric Avenue, when they think nobody’s watching. Others loved Stephen Baldwin’s performance in Bio-Dome. These people will take their love of arguably the worst (or best) Baldwin to the grave. Some of us even harbor secret feelings for the most embarrassing of athletes. Here’s a list of five guilty pleasure athletes who I’m probably slightly embarrassed to say I like.
1. Gilbert Arenas
Long before Gilby was stashing pistols in the Wizards’ locker room he was kind of an awesome basketball player. I mean, the guy averaged over 29 points per game for the Wizards during the ‘05-‘06 season. The man known as Hibachi also had a flare for dramatic 3-pointers. Oh, and did I mention he even vowed to average 50 points against the Suns and Trail Blazers one year simply because he wasn’t digging their respective coaches? Who does that even? Awesome people named Gilbert Arenas. And this is why he is one of my favorite guilty pleasure athletes. I feel like I probably shouldn’t like him, but that doesn’t stop me.
2. Shawn Bradley
Super tall, super white, super Mormon, Shawn Bradley was maybe the highlight of Space Jam. Well, he and Wayne Knight getting smushed and then blown up like a balloon. Gets me every time. But back to Shawn. He was, well, an enigma in the NBA. Flashes of brilliance were balanced out by epic droughts. But in the end, everyone loves the goofy, tall white guy, and Shawn capitalized off his infamy by earning the most prestigious honor in television, a cameo in Walker, Texas Ranger. I wonder what The Enormous Mormon is up to these days?
3. Ryan Lochte
“Call me George Foreman cuz I’m sellin’ everybody grillz.” Most über douchey white boys who parade around in grillz and have an IQ that rivals that of Forrest Gump probably wouldn’t be very popular in the mainstream. Most of those boys aren’t Ryan Lochte. Swimmers don’t usually get their own shows on E!, but Ryan Lochte defies convention. Oral hardware and Texas-sized ego aside, there is one redeeming quality about Ryan Lochte that keeps us hanging on: that abdomen. Ryan is one of my guiltiest pleasures. I know in my heart of hearts that I shouldn’t like him, but then he smiles at the camera, and the rest is history.
4. Hope Solo
What’s dramatic, gets benched during the World Cup, poses nude for ESPN and publicly criticizes former teammates via Twitter? If you guessed Hope Solo, then you’re a winner! The immensely talented Solo is no stranger to controversy, having captured our attention time and again for her antics. Here’s the thing, though, she’s an awesome goalie. Regardless of her off the field issues – and there are plenty – she constantly proves her mettle on the field, which makes her quite the guilty pleasure. I’m now taking votes on what her next public gaffe will be. My money’s on a hit and run, Amanda Bynes-style.
5. Brady Quinn
If you’re a Browns fan, there are probably more bad words in the English language for you than there are for the average person. Tim Couch? Stop swearing! Brandon Weeden? Potty mouth! One in particular stands out for its vaguely positive connotation: Brady Quinn. Remember when he was going to save the Browns? Then he got Tebowed in Denver, had that one awesome game in K.C. and vanished just as we were starting to get used to him again. It’s been a rough go for Brady in the NFL after he was the darling of Notre Dame Football for a few years. Kid can’t seem to catch a break. But, at the end of the day, Brady still has his fans. Sure, those fans never seem to say it out loud, but we know they’re there. And they are all women. Brady, keep doing what you’re doing, you guilty pleasure, you!
Those are my favorite guilty pleasure athletes. I hate that I happen to love them all. There simply isn’t enough time or space to recall all of my favs, but others include: Ryan Braun, Darryl Strawberry, Michael Irvin, John McEnroe and, of course, Matt Leinart.
Who are the athletes you hate to say you love? Hit us up on Twitter @BaconSports or in the comments with your picks!