Celebrities are legends in their own minds, and many don’t know what to do when they find themselves in the world where the limelight is reserved for the players in the game.
While most choose to sit sideline and clap politely, some celebrities with an athletic past can't let an old dog lie. These are the ones dusting off their musty high school cleats and getting over-competitive at sports-centric charity events, trying their best to show everyone what could’ve been had that pesky million dollar movie deal not gotten in the way.
The following is a list of 18 such celebrities who love their pastime and continue trying to convince everyone how they once could throw a pigskin “over them mountains."
Fancies Himself: The White Tiger Woods.
Actually Is: The White MC Hammer.
While I prefer the Marky Mark of the past, Wahlberg has come a long way from modeling underwear and dancing in wet underground parking garages.
In addition to his work as an actor and producer, Mark Wahlberg has taken up golfing over the past decade and reportedly can cream a ball over 300 yards off the tee.
Wahlberg is a physical specimen and his frequent participation in charitable golf tournaments is admirable, but until he’s picking up birdies on the tour or administering the People’s Elbow in the Octagon, the jury will be out on his athlete status.
Fancies Himself: Don King.
Actually Is: Curtis Jackson III, Rap Mogul and Delicious Water Salesman.
It started with rap, proceeded to Vitamin Water, and now rapper 50 Cent is looking to get into the world of sports as a boxing promoter.
Boxing is getting too old, according to 50 Cent, who believes he has what it takes to drive a younger crowd and rejuvenate interest in the sport.
Maybe 50’s right, and maybe he will be able to provide a shot of youth in a sport that needs it. But just because you look like you could punch a bull-male bison into a bloody pile of Slim Jims doesn’t make you an athlete.
Rogan, pictured left.
Fancies Himself: Bruce Lee
Actually Is: Dad Who Will Kill You at the Hot Dog Stand
Joe Rogan loves to talk trash. Between his stand-up comedy, jawing with actor Wesley Snipes and controversial UFC commentary the man has basically paid the rent with his ability to verbally tear into society and his fellow man.
What’s lesser known, however, is Rogan’s history as an accomplished martial artist before becoming the blunt-talking television host and smart-a** extraordinaire we know him to be today.
At 45, Rogan is a little old to be scissor-kicking in the cages, but with his background and the freakish training regimen he still maintains, we have to give him some credit: He’s about as close to an athlete as most celebrities get these days.
Fancies Himself: Wes Welker.
Actually Is: The Guy Who Gets Picked First in Flag Football.
Wherever there is a celebrity football game going on, Nelly will be there with gloves and a bandana.
We might not know where he is the other 364 days of the year, but it seems like every Super Bowl Nelly peeks his head out of the ground like Punxsutawney Phil and straps on the flags to play some celebrity football.
He might’ve played the star running back Megget (what a reference) on the prison football team in the re-make of The Longest Yard, but a nomination into the celebrity flag football Hall of Fame is a close as Nelly could ever get to professional athlete stardom.
Fancies Himself: A Burning Pterodactyl-Phoenix of Pitching Potential
Actually Is: A So-So Reliever
Charlie fancies himself a lot of things these days, most of them involving gross hyperbole, torpedoes and blood.
But the truth remains that Sheen had a decent arm back in the day—not good enough to go pro, according to Sheen, but good enough to get some attention from the University of Kansas his senior year of high school.
He was also said to have thrown 83-85mph balls while pitching on the set of the 1989 baseball flick Major League. Two years ago I would’ve dropped a “tiger blood” joke here but I figure it’s best for everyone if we just move on now.
Fancies Himself: Willie Beamen
Actually Is: An Athlete-Actor-Rapper-Singer
Jamie Foxx thinks he could’ve been a lot of things, including a professional athlete.
Sure, he was a baller in Any Given Sunday, but I’ll take Slow-Jamz-Jamie and a half gallon of recreational Cool Whip over Al Pacino and thinly veiled racism any day.
Fancies Herself: The Undertaker
Actually Is: Slowly Dying of Poor Life Choices and Cholesterol
Back flips. Hair pulling. Slapping. As usual, Snooki was still getting paid for these acts when she went on WWE’s Wrestlemania, but for once it was actually in the script.
In all fairness, Snooki is kind of “cleaning her act up” since she’s had a child and all. Only now, in addition to all the wonderful Jersey Shore footage of mom getting “smooshed” and punched for money, now that baby will have tape of her in the ring executing body-slams.
She might’ve pulled off a flip or two, but I don’t think we’ll see her tangling with Chael Sonnen anytime soon.
Fancies Himself: A Baller, Possible Shot-Caller.
Actually Is: 5’7", 130 Pounds of Hair Gel and Diet Pepsi.
Justin Bieber’s attire and attitude suggest he has a mean cross-over he’s waiting to bust out.
But the reality is that Bieber is a Canadian pop star and “singer-songwriter” (I choked while typing that) who owns a closet full of high-tongued sneakers and tried the hardest in a meaningless NBA All-Star Celebrity Basketball game.
Fancies Himself: Allen Iverson
Actually Is: Not Even Scalabrini
First of all, he’ll always be “Lil” Bow Wow to me. Secondly, if there’s one thing I know about the man, it’s that he loves his basketball. It’s about as well documented a celebrity obsession with a sport as there gets.
He wrote the soundtrack to every middle basketball warm-up everywhere in the early 2000’s, and played the lead role in the movie “Like Mike.” Bow Wow also jumps at the chance to show his moves off at every charity basketball game possible.
Now I don’t know what kind of shape Bow Wow is in these days, but he got out of the rap game in order to focus on acting, and I bet his crossover is getting ugly.
Fancies Himself: Cal Ripken Junior Mated With Kelly Slater
Actually Is: The Kid Who Had a Six Pack in 1st Grade
The only thing more irritating than shirtless pictures of Matthew McConaughey is shirtless pictures of Matthew McConaughey running with Lance Armstrong.
Because contrary to popular belief, running next to one of the world’s greatest athletes (dope or no dope), does not make you an athlete by association.
Sure, he’s ripped, and sure, he loves to haunt the sidelines at football games and show he can throw a first pitch all the way to the plate at a major league ball game. But if an actor doing that qualifies him as an athlete, then Dwight Howard’s press interviews qualify him for a spot on the cast of Breaking Bad.
Fancies Himself: Randy Moss
Actually Is: High
The self-proclaimed “best wide receiver you ever laid your eyes upon” looks more like a human tooth-pick in his semi-pro highlight reel than the best wideout ever. That’s right, Snoop Dogg used to play semi-pro ball for kicks in the early 2000’s.
Love you Snoop-a-Loop, you had a couple slick moves in that highlight reel. Sure, most of them were dance-moves, but I respect it.
With that said, I still believe the Doggfather should stick to coaching and preparing his son to play on the big stage at UCLA.
Fancies Himself: A Footballer
Actually Is: A Jackass and a Wimp
Karma is a whimsical beast, my friends. When you’re good to people and treat them nicely, sometimes the world shines on you.
But sometimes you lie about your past as a soccer player in order to drum up media hype for your cooking show, and then the cosmos paste you in the back with its knee of justice at a charity soccer game.
It was a hard foul, but Ramsay crumbled like a leaf and “required” a stretch and an oxygen mask to get off the field. I can only assume they told him no for a rescue chopper.
Fancies Himself: Hot Sauce
Actually Is: Weak Sauce
Usher is a partial owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers and half of the people responsible for this worthless video of the R&B singer playing his pop-singing prodigy Justin Bieber.
Please do not watch that video, you will never get that time back from your life and I don’t want that on me today. I will say this about it though: Any man who passes up on an attempt to swat Justin Bieber’s jump shot into another dimension is not a true athlete.
Fancies Himself: His Airness
Actually Is: Grinding and/or Peeing on You Right Now (Allegedly, your honor)
I really hope I’m wrong about that second statement above there, but strange things happen in the life of Robert Kelly, and not just because he’s a weapons-grade crazy person.
One of these strange things was Kelly signing a contract with the Atlantic City Seagulls, a semi-pro basketball team in 1999. The Seagulls’ coach was convinced that Kelly had the goods, and was “right on the edge of the NBA.”
Needless to say, it didn’t work out as planned, and he moved on to bigger stranger things.
Fancies Himself: Alex Rodriguez.
Actually Is: Beefy Country Singer
As it turns out, Garth Brooks actually was a legitimate athlete back in “the day.” Before he was a country music star Brooks played baseball in high school and received an athletic scholarship to Oklahoma State University to throw javelin, of all things.
But touring life and trays stacked with pigs-in-a-blanket will catch up with you, as it did Brooks, whose multiple attempts to relive his glory days on the field with professional baseball teams have been anything but successful.
Fancies Himself: A Realistic Enough Quarterback.
Actually Is: The Most Average Athlete Ever.
Sandler is an in-betweener.
He’s not “Tom Arnold” fat and he’s not Channing Tatum svelte. No one really laughs at the notion of him playing sports, although I do recall a “Bwaaaaat??” Scooby Doo sound escaping from me when I heard he would be playing Paul Crewe, the brass-balled quarterback from The Longest Yard.
It's because Sandler is an average guy. He wouldn't be picked first—or last—in any half-respectable pick-up game.
Fancies Himself: Ronaldhino
Actually Is: Pretty Damn Good at Penalty Kicks
Instead of buying a Corvette and a pony keg of little blue pills when he turned 40, Woody Harrelson decided to take up soccer. The funny thing is, the crazy bastard’s not too bad at it, either.
The footage of Harrelson popping in a winning penalty kick at the 2010 Soccer Aid match put on by UNICEF is about as awesome and surreal as celebrity/sports moments come.
Fancies Himself: Isaiah Thomas.
Actually Is: A Terrible Person.
Whether its playing for money, or just to cool down after a hard day breaking windows and being an a**hole at ABC, Chris Brown takes his hoops seriously.
Brown might very well respect the game of basketball more than women and private property. Too bad he and R&B singer Neyo couldn’t beat 5’2" comedian Kevin Hart in a game of pick-up ball.