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Maria Menounos and the 10 Best Celebrity Athletes of All Time

Brett GeringCorrespondent IApril 13, 2012

Maria Menounos and the 10 Best Celebrity Athletes of All Time

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    There are 10 celebrities-turned-athletes who have made a name for themselves amongst sports fans. 

    In recent years, fans have become accustomed to seeing athletes venture into the world of entertainment; the names Terrell Owens, Lamar Odom, Chad Ochocino, and Michael Vick have appeared in TV Guide.

    Popular entertainers have also been given the opportunity to show off their athletic prowess (or lack thereof), due to the increased viewership of celebrity athletic events.

    From Hollywood Hill to Capitol Hill, here are the top 10 best celebrity athletes.

10. Mike Greenberg

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    "Back and better than ever," a phrase that many die-hard sports fans hear at 6 a.m. ET every weekday.

    Sitting alongside former Philadelphia Eagle defensive tackle Mike Golic, the Mike and Mike in the Morning host has become a staple of the sports-radio community.

    Athletically savvy, he is not. 

    Mike Greenberg would be the first to tell you, he "...was thrown off [his] own chess team for being too unathletic..." (Draft Magazine)

    [Note to self: change headline.]

    The proud Northwestern alum managed the 2009 National League in MLB's Legends and Celebrity game, but his most memorable sports highlight was yet to come.

    In 2011, Greenberg—or "Greeny"—enlisted the help of his childhood crush and 18-time Grand Slam winner, Chris Evert.

    The pair teamed up for a doubles playoff match, open to public qualifiers.

    Midway through, Greenberg added an alternate definition to the term "backstroke".   

9. Arne Duncan

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    Arne Duncan, the 48-year-old United States Secretary of Education, is a baller.

    A middle-aged, gray-haired passing magician.

    Although, it's somewhat expected given his basketball pedigree. Duncan played college basketball at Harvard, even acquiring the title of co-captain during his tenure on the varsity team.   

    After receiving his diploma in sociology, Duncan traveled to Australia to pursue his professional basketball dreams. For nearly four years, he suited up for the Eastside Spectres of Melbourne. 

    In the 2012 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, Duncan took a day off from his role of Secretary of Education to school youngsters on the hardwood by summoning his inner Bob Cousy.

8. Nelly

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    Batter Up.

    The St. Louis rapper is no stranger to competition—his skills on the diamond earned an MVP trophy in the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Association.

    The lifelong Cardinals fan has won multiple MVP awards at MTV's Rock N' Jock football events (the stats are nonexistent—it's almost as if MTV burned all footage from the Carson Daly era. Understandable.)

    Nelly also recorded 11 points and 12 rebounds during 2006's NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.  

7. J. Cole

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    Jay-Z's protégé J. Cole likes basketball. A lot. 

    In fact, his three mix tapes are entitled: The Come Up, The Warm Up, and Friday Night Lights. His debut album was named, Cole World: The Sideline Story.

    His single "I'm On It" was featured in Derrick Rose's Powerade commercial.

    However, his moment in the spotlight came in the 2012 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game, when Kevin Hart floated a fast-break alley-oop in the air before Cole slammed it through the cylinder.  

6. Ray Romano

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    The stand-up comedian of Everybody Loves Raymond and Men of a Certain Age fame has a love-hate relationship with golf. 

    He loves to hate it.

    Currently, Ray Romano has played in 12 straight Pebble Beach Pro-Ams without making the cut.

    He even volunteered to have his torturous golf swing put on public display in Hank Haney's (Tiger Woods' former swing coach) television show.

5. Rob Dyrdek

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    OK, technically, Rob Dyrdek should be disqualified due to his background as a professional athlete.

    Although his pipe dream was lived through a half-pipe, his personality would ultimately be his claim to fame. 

    At 11 years old, Dyrdek began skateboarding. By his sweet 16, he'd dropped out of high school and booked a flight to Southern California to chase his elusive dream of becoming a professional skateboarder.

    Eventually, he would catch it.

    Fast-forward a couple of decades later, and Dyrdek has transformed into a household name dripping with MTV fame. His shows Rob and Big and Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory have metamorphosed into multi-season successes.

    After training with legendary figure "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, Rob heard the Wrestlemania 27's crowd chant his moniker: "Kid Lightning". 

    In season four of Fantasy Factory, Dyrdek would jump from skateboarding to wrestling—literally.  

4. Kate Upton

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    If there were no words accompanying this slide, you would probably still spend the most time on it. 

    Kate Upton's original claim to fame was the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. After it hit shelves, her career spring-boarded into stardom.

    As of today, she's taught five million-plus You-Tubers how to "Dougie" during a break at a L.A. Clippers game.

    Although diamonds are a woman's best friend, they temporarily had a change of heart as Upton strutted onto one in the MLB Celebrity All-Star Game.

    She then appeared in multiple commercials, marketing the recently released video game MLB 2K12.

3. Kevin Hart

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    Kevin Hart is a 5'2" blur of aggressive, in-your-face, trash-talking fury. 

    He's called Metta World Peace the "stronger version of Prince", puffed up and nearly thrown a haymaker Shannon Brown's way, made it rain from three against UConn's Lady Huskies, and mocked Shaquille O'Neal's over-dramatic collapses on the court.

    To this day, he's the only person to ever launch shoes at a referee, get ejected, and win the MVP within the same game. 

    He may star in a record-breaking comedy, Laugh at My Pain, but there's nothing remotely funny about his anger problems when he posts in the paint.  

2. Mario Menounos

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    Maria Menounos lives for celebrity sporting events. 

    A Massachusetts native, the 33-year-old is a die-hard Boston sports fan.

    Menounos has made appearances in MTV's Rock N' Jock Super Bowl 38, the MLB All-Star Celebrity Softball Game (2008 and 2010) and captured the Madden Pro-AM MVP Award.

    This past month, she sweated off some aggression in WrestleMania 28 (ultimately winning alongside Kelly Kelly.)

    Maria Menounos loves sports, and sports fans love her even more. 

1. Bill Murray

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    Bill Murray is not just a Chicago Cubs fan, he's the Chicago Cubs fan.

    The Groundhog Day star was once the color commentator during a Cubs broadcast, was asked by director Jeff Santo to partake in the documentary This Old Cub, and popped champagne with the team after the Cubs were crowned the kings of the NL Central in 2007. 

    One of Murray's earliest roles, Caddyshack, is renowned as one of the best sports movies of all-time. 

    Although he constantly jokes about his frustration deriving from his golf game, his perseverance paid off after winning the 2011 Pebble Beach National Pro-Am while partnering with D.A. Points.

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