I saw Trainwreck this weekend and was shocked by an emaciated LeBron. Then I realized he was in the midst of his paleo phase, so I was able to focus on his shockingly good performance. And I don’t even like the guy! Even better was Amar’e Stoudemire, who I’m really happy for, because that dude needs a fallback plan once people realize he’s not that good at basketball. That got me thinking about other athletes who turned out to be decent actors, thus this 5 most legit athletes in movies list was born.
1. Ray Allen – Jesus Shuttlesworth in He Got Game
No athlete-turned-actor list would be complete without one of the all-time best, Ray Allen. While the movie is a mess, Allen keeps things believable on the basketball side by playing and acting like a pro. Also, Denzel. ‘Nuff said.
2. Lawrence Taylor – Shark in Any Given Sunday
Maybe he wasn’t necessarily acting playing a psychotic linebacker who conceals injuries to keep playing, but Lawrence Taylor brought it as Luther “Shark” Lavay. I believed him, and that’s half the battle. Just ask Shaq if people believed he was a Genie who fit inside a boom box in Kazaam.
3. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Murdock and Himself in Airplane! and Troop Beverly Hills
Granted he’s playing himself in one of these, he still shows major acting chops, especially in Airplane! as the co-pilot you don’t want flying your aircraft.
4. Cam Neely – Sea Bass in Dumb and Dumber
He hocks a loogie on Jeff Daniels’ burger, engages in fights in public restrooms and is called “Sea Bass.” Oh, and about 99% of Americans (including this girl) didn’t even recognize him in this movie. “Kick his ass, Sea Bass!”
5. O.J. Simpson – Nordberg in the Naked Gun Movies
Before he started killing people and getting away with it, O.J. Simpson was America’s Sweetheart and a damn good actor. Who could forget the unreal afro he wore in the club scene in the third one? Comedic gold, friends.
Honorable Mention: Brett Favre as himself in There’s Something About Mary. Acting or not, that was an amazing cameo that no one saw coming!
Those are the five pro athletes that didn’t embarrass themselves taking a stab at acting. Sorry, Hines Ward doesn’t get to be on here for running back a kickoff for a TD while Heinz Field imploded behind him in The Dark Knight Rises. Sorry, yinzers. Maybe we’ll do a Vol. 2 featuring Terry Bradshaw’s eye-opening, butt-exposing turn in Failure to Launch.
Let us know who your favorite athletes turned actors are on Twitter @BaconSports.