Free Throws, Touchdowns, and Action? Athletes Turned Actors

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    Former New York Giants defensive lineman, Michael Strahan retired from football, and now he is trying his hand at acting. He stars in a new FOX sitcom, Brothers, premiering this Friday, September 25th. As an athlete, he holds the NFL record for sacks in a single season, earned the 2001 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and set a new NY Giants franchise record for most career sacks. Will Strahan be able to carry his successful football career over into comedy? Only time, and a few Emmy Awards shows, will tell.

    Michael Strahan’s move into acting has us thinking about all the other athletes-turned-actors. Strahan was not the first, and he definitely will not be the last. Take a look at the head-to-head showdown between these athletes’ athletic careers and their acting careers. Which career comes out on top?

    Terry Crews

    Athlete: Terry Crews played for a number of NFL teams between 1991 and 1997 including the L.A. Rams, San Diego Chargers, Rhein Fire (NFL Europe-Germany), Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles. No notable honors.


    Actor: He has a mile-long list of notable acting credits. You may recognize Crews from Everybody Hates Chris, White Chicks, Norbit, Get Smart, Terminator Salvation, and Gamer. He has also been nominated for four Image Awards, and a Teen Choice Award.


    Result: Terry Crews may not have starring roles, but his comedic skills and outlandish dance moves are in high demand in Hollywood. His acting shadows his past pro football career.

    Shaquille O’ Neal aka Shaq

    Athlete: Shaq won three NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat. He was named MVP of the NBA Finals all three times with the LA Lakers, and he has the highest scoring average for a center in NBA Finals history.


    Actor: He bombed in the children’s flick, Kazaam, and the superhero movie, Steel. Shaq also made a few cameo appearances in Scary Movie 4, Freddy Got Fingered, and The Wash.


    Result: This is clearly no contest. Shaq is terrible at free throws, but his acting is worse. His acting chops were so bad, the X2: X-Men United filmmakers ignored Shaq’s request for a role.

    O.J. “The Juice” Simpson

    Athlete: The Juice is the first NFL player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a 14 game season. He won the NFL rushing title four times. He was named NFL Player of the Year in 1973, and he was also inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.


    Actor: O.J. Simpson had a successful film career with parts in the television mini-series Roots, and dramatic motion pictures The Cassandra Crossing, Capricorn One, and The Klansman. He also starred in the comedic Back to the Beach and the widely popular comedy The Naked Gun trilogy.


    Result: O.J. Simpson’s acting and athletic career tie, but both are outshined by his criminal record. He will forever be known by the white bronco and the too small black glove.

    Rick Fox

    Athlete: Rick Fox played with the Boston Celtics from 1991-1997, and from 1997-2004 with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the first Boston Celtics rookie to start on opening night since Larry Bird in 1979. He also won three World Championships with the LA Lakers.


    Actor: Fox has a promising television career with recurring roles on One Tree Hill, The Game, Oz, Ugly Betty, and Lifetime’s 1-800-Missing. He has also starred alongside veteran actress, Angela Bassett in Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns.


    Result: Rick Fox’s athletic career wins for right now. He has yet to truly make his mark in the acting world, but he is off to a good start.

    Carl “The Truth” Weathers

    Athlete: Carl Weathers had a brief professional football career. He played eight games with the Oakland Raiders, and signed with the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League for two years. However, he did have the privilege to play for hall-of-fame coaches Don Coryell and John Madden.


    Actor: Weathers is well known for playing Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise, and for his role as Dillon in Predator. He starred in Hurricane Smith and The Comebacks. He has also made numerous television cameos, including Michael Strahan’s new sitcom, Brothers.


    Result: Carl Weathers made the right decision to retire from pro football, and make the move into acting. He is celebrated for many of his iconic roles in film history.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger

    Athlete: Arnold Schwarzenegger is considered one of the most important figures in the history of bodybuilding. His legacy is commemorated in the Arnold Classic annual bodybuilding competition. He has five Mr. Universe wins, and seven Mr. Olympia wins to his name. He still holds the record for the youngest ever to win Mr. Olympia.


    Actor: Schwarzenegger became the epitome of an action star. He is most well known for his role as The Terminator in The Terminator franchise. Other notable action movies are the Conan series, Commando, Kindergarten Cop, and Predator with another athlete-turned-actor on our list.


    Result: Arnold Schwarzenegger dominated in both his athletic and acting careers. Not even his new career in politics can top his famous line, “I’ll be back.”

    Dennis Rodman

    Athlete: Dennis Rodman earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times, and was voted NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice. He has also won seven straight rebounding titles, and five NBA championships. hails Rodman as “arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history and one of the most recognized athletes in the world.”


    Actor: Rodman starred in the action flick Simon Sez, and won a triple Razzie Award for his role in Double Team alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme.


    Result: Despite, Dennis Rodman’s controversial “bad boy” antics, his athletic skills as a defensive basketball player can not be downplayed. However, he should never try acting again.

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