The Best Dancers in Sports

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterMarch 29, 2013

The Best Dancers in Sports

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    We all know that professional athletes have got the moves on their respective fields of play—at least most of them do! Why else would they be professional athletes? 

    But that doesn't mean they're great at everything. In a lot of ways, they're just like us. There are plenty of athletes out there who are terrible drivers, abysmal singers and dreadful dancers. 

    And then there are the select few that are good at everything, including dancing. Here are some of the best dancers in sports. 

Jacoby Jones

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    The Ravens' Jacoby Jones is competing on the current season of Dancing with the Stars.

    We're barely into the season and already it's abundantly clear that he's got the same impressive moves of many of the athletes who have competed before him.

    Who knows who will win this season, but I certainly wouldn't bet against Jones. 

Rob Gronkowski

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    Patriots superstar tight end Rob "Sorry For Partying" Gronkowski may not have the ballroom dance skills of some of the other athletes on this list, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have some moves of his own! 

    Gronk's dancing style isn't exactly what you'd describe as "classical," in any way, shape or form. But when the music is blasting and beer is flowing, you just know Gronk is getting down with his bad self. 

Warren Sapp

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    When I first heard that Warren Sapp would be competing on Dancing with the Stars, my immediate reaction was something along the lines of, "Great, that big-mouthed agitator is going to make such a fool of himself." 

    Unfortunately, it was Sapp who made me look the fool! Seriously, though! Who the heck would think a big man like that could be so light on his feet? It's just one of the world's great mysteries, I suppose. 

    And Sapp didn't stop at DWTS either; he takes every opportunity to remind us all how wrong we were about his skills on the dance floor. Like busting out this impromptu ditty on Showtime's Inside The NFL back in 2008. 

USF and UConn

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    Kicking butt at a choreographed dance after practicing 10 hours a day for a full week is pretty impressive stuff. But when you've got that much time to prepare, you better look good! 

    During the Big East baseball tournament back in 2009, USF and UConn had about five hours to kill during a rain delay. They found a creative way of entertaining themselves—and the crowd. 

    They competed in one helluva dance-off, busting out every move in the book. I wouldn't have paid money to see that game, but I'd have paid the cost of admission to see the impressive dance-off live. 

LeBron James

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    Is there anything LeBron James can't do? Besides replace the hair on his rapidly receding hairline? He's got Olympic gold medals and an NBA championship and MVPs galore.

    Not to mention a bazillion sponsors paying him bazillions of dollars, in addition to what the Heat are paying him.

    Not only is he one of the greatest athletes of a generation, if not the greatest, but he's also got the moves off the court too.

    And by "off-the-court moves," I'm obviously referring to his dance moves. It just so happens that in this specific video, he's performing his off-the-court moves on the court. 

Apolo Anton Ohno

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    Superstar speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno is an Olympic medalist many times over—including two gold.

    If you think the finesse he displays on the ice would give him an advantage in a televised dance competition like Dancing with the Stars, well, then you'd be right.

    Ohno competed on Season 4 of DWTS and skated (see what I did there?) to victory. He was an early favorite and easily took down the competition. 

Laila Ali

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    We all know that Laila Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali, can bob and weave in the ring. But did you know she can dance too? Not only can she dance, but she's also pretty damn good.

    When Ali competed on Dancing with the Stars, she faced some pretty stiff competition in Olympic speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno. Yet she still managed to finish in a respectable third place.

    Well, it would have been respectable under normal circumstances, but the fact that she was dancing on two bum knees makes it pretty much amazing. Ali required surgery following her stint on the show. 

Brian Wilson

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    Hey, man, there are other ways for an athlete to get noticed for his fancy footwork than competing on the televised plague known as Dancing with the Stars.

    You know Giants pitcher Brian Wilson wouldn't be caught dead rocking a spandex jumpsuit on that show. But pleather Hammer pants and a bright orange shirt with a mustache on it? Oh yeah, that sounds about right.

    Wilson doesn't just talk the talk, though, he walks the walk. In this case, "walking the walk" means a minute and a half of busting out every MC Hammer move he can muster. All in all? A major success. 

Jerry Rice

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    If anyone thought that Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice wouldn't kick ass on Dancing with the Stars, then they obviously don't know Jerry Rice.

    I can't say for certain, mostly because I haven't been stalking him his entire life, but I suspect that there has never been anything at which he didn't excel.

    He competed in Season 2 of DWTS and was completely robbed, coming in second to the brother of the guy who used to be married to Jessica Simpson. I call shenanigans.

    If you are a regular viewer of ESPN's NFL Live, you know Rice has been known to occasionally display his dancing skills there, too. 

Stacy Keibler

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    Former WWE Diva and George Clooney's lady of the moment,Stacy Keibler has got a body that was built for dancing, among other things.

    She was one of many athletes to compete on Dancing with the Stars, finishing in third place on Season 2. But she was also known to shake her stuff back in her Diva days as well.

    The moves Keibler displayed on DWTS were much different than the dancing she did when she was with the WWE, which wouldn't have been entirely out of place at a strip club.

    And I mean that in a good way, obviously, because I love her. 

Victor Cruz

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    Superstar wide receiver Victor Cruz came out of nowhere as an undrafted free agent in 2010. The Giants decided to take a chance on a local boy, inviting the New Jersey native to training camp.

    And boy were they rewarded...handsomely.

    Not only has Cruz been one of the most productive receivers in the NFL over the past two years, but his signature salsa touchdown dance has also helped make him a certified superstar. 

John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins

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    Considering Wizards star John Wall introduced himself to the home crowd at his very first game in Washington by doing the Dougie, you know he's confident in his ability to throw down on the dance floor.

    That's a pretty big stage if you're just mediocre! 

    But we knew before his rookie debut that Wall had some moves, and so does the Kings' DeMarcus Cousins. The two of them did what young competitive guys do at NBA rookie camp back in 2008: They tried to show each other up!

    They both impressed, so it's hard to say who came out on top at the time. But Wall is about to get paid big time and Cousins is basically hated in Sacramento for being an unprofessional punk, so it seems Wall has ultimately emerged the victor.

Hines Ward

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    When (now) retired Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was chosen to compete on Season 14 of Dancing with the Stars, he found a completely new venue in which to enrage Steeler haters with that smile of his. 

    Ward made a career of smiling in the face of angry opposition on the football field in the NFL. And he didn't change his ways much for DWTS, grinning his way all the way to a first-place finish. 

    Ward's dancing skills also had a little something to do with his success. The boy can move. 

Dwight Howard

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    Now that the Lakers seem to have righted their once-sinking ship, the vitriol directed at big man Dwight Howard has started to subside.

    For awhile there it was really hard to remember that he was once one of the most beloved athletes in the NBA. Even those who vaguely recalled that period in time found it impossible to remember why.

    Well, this video is why. Howard doing his best Beyonce impression to the tune of "Single Ladies" is exactly what makes him so great.

    Athletes take themselves way too seriously sometimes, and he knows how to have a little fun. He's hilarious, likable and knows his way around the dance floor. 

Donald Driver

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    Recently retired Packers wide receiver Donald Driver is no joke. He came into the NFL as an afterthought, a seventh-round selection by Green Bay out of Alcorn State.

    More than a decade later, Driver has been selected to the Pro Bowl four times and has a very important piece of hardware that countless players would kill for—a Super Bowl ring.

    As it turns out, though, Driver can move around the dance floor with the same skill and ease as he did on the football field.

    He competed in Season 14 of Dancing with the Stars, and you could say he caught the game-winning touchdown, because he won the whole damn thing. 

Michelle Jenneke

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    Australian hurdler Michelle Jenneke went from relative unknown to a global phenomenon after a video of her pre-race warm-up ritual went viral in 2012.

    As you can imagine, her warm-up regimen is anything but your run-of-the mill stretching routine. Jenneke gets pumped and primed for a race by dancing. And jumping. And jiggling. And shaking.

    And otherwise engaging in the time of movement that is known to attract the eye of every straight man on the planet. Probably some of the gay ones too. It's just that captivating.

    Jenneke's videos on YouTube have more than 20 million views, so it's no wonder the NY Daily News named her breakout clip the No. 1 viral sports video of 2012. 

Jason Taylor

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    If Michelle Jenneke has everything a red-blooded male is looking for, then retired NFL defensive end Jason Taylor has everything a red-blooded female is looking for.

    He's talented. He's successful. He's affable. And he's one of the most beautiful men on the planet. He's the total package 

    The fact that he can dance? That's just icing on the cake. Taylor competed on Season 6 of Dancing with the Stars and made it all the way to the finale.

    Unfortunately, he lost to former Olympic figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi—a complete injustice.

    Big surprise! The viewing audience of DWTS is a bunch of middle-aged ladies who know and care more about figure skating from the early '90s than football.

    Who would have ever guessed…besides everyone. 

Shaquille O'Neal

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    The great Shaquille O'Neal is a man who can do anything. It doesn't even matter if he's good at it, he'll just do it anyway. 

    He is great at basketball. He is terrible at acting. He is great at delving a dis. He is terrible at rapping. Such is Shaq, one of the greatest personalities, not to mention players, in sports history. 

    The one thing you'd expect Shaq, all 7'1 and 325 pounds of him, would be wretched at is dancing. Stunningly gigantic people aren't generally known for their coordination. 

    But just when you think Shaq is going to zig, he zags. Somehow he is incapable of believably applying Icy Hot to himself in commercials, but he can kick your ass all over the dance floor. A mystery wrapped in a riddle. 

Shawn Johnson

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    Gymnast Shawn Johnson was one of the biggest stars of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing; unfortunately, an injury ended up costing her a chance to compete again at London 2012.

    But Johnson has talents that extend way beyond the gym, and dancing happens to be one of them. She competed in Season 6 of Dancing with the Stars and was the odds-on favorite to win from day one. 

    And win she did—and it never seemed close. Johnson is just one of those people who has the talent, drive and disposition to succeed at anything she puts her mind to. 

Emmitt Smith

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    The NFL players who have done the best on Dancing with the Stars have been wide receivers, which makes sense. Wideouts are built like dancers, actually. They're usually tall, slender, fleet-footed and have seemingly endless amounts of energy.

    Of course, if anyone was going to break the mold, it was going to be Hall of Fame Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith. He's the all-time leading rusher and one of the most celebrated players of all time—what mold hasn't he broken?

    Smith competed in Season 3 of DWTS and rushed his way to a first-place finish, beating out a bevy of underwhelming D-list nobodies along the way. ABC should've just give Smith his own show instead. 

     

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