Incredible Hidden Talents of Athletes
Who knew that some of the guys you watch on the gridiron/court/pitch/diamond are very talented painters? Or pianists? Or tattoo artists?
Some of our favorite athletes are far from one-trick ponies. Their talents are not confined to one activity. These guys and girls are prodigies in more than one regard.
No, we're not talking about the guys who are secretly "rappers." Or "models." Or "fashionistas." These people have actual, real hidden talents but just chose to pursue athletics.
We should bow before their glory.
Once Serena Williams gets tired of dominating any opponent that dares to step onto the court with her, she has another career path waiting in the wings.
The tennis superstar, who most recently was crowned the winner of her second consecutive U.S. Open, also fancies herself an expert seamstress.
According to the Huffington Post, Williams has been sewing since she was "two or three" years old and honed her skills by making clothes for her dolls. Now, she puts her talent to action during photoshoots when the wardrobe selections don't cooperate with her.
Recalling the time her dress ripped during a recent shoot, Williams told the HuffPo:
"I asked someone for the sewing kit and I just sewed it up right there. Everyone couldn't believe it. You could never tell it was broken."
Sometimes, it's the most unexpected people who are the most gifted. Kind of like Happy Gilmore (in terms of golf, not hockey).
Similarly, you'd never expect Ryan Lochte to be an expert artist. But according to him, he is.
Prior to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, Lochte told the Today show that in his spare time, he likes to perfect his drawing skills. That is, when he's not finding new phrases to trademark or engaging with his fangirls on Twitter.
Sadly, though, we may never know just how much of a prodigy he is with a pencil because he is very protective of his work and doesn't share it with anybody
David Beckham's livelihood is far from jeopardized, even now that he has retired from the universe of professional soccer.
For one thing, his wife has her fashion empire. For another, he has his underwear modeling skills.
But Beckham cannot spend his days lazing about in his boxer briefs. He has to keep active somehow, and his outlet of choice, apparently, is fencing.
Beckham took up the sport in 2008, when buddies Will Smith and Tom Cruise encouraged him to do so. According to The Telegraph, fencing allowed Beckham to fit in some much-needed bonding time with his famous buddies. As Smith said:
"We don't get enough time for hanging out, just us three guys, so this is his way of getting together and bonding. David and I go to his home and just do fencing. It's a lot of fun."
Most of us know him as the NBA's leading scorer. Others of us know him as the guy in Airplane!.
But little did we know that one of the most prolific players in the history of the NBA is also an insightful, talented blogger.
The Huffington Post has revealed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to be a gifted columnist who expounds on many of the most important facets of life, including HBO's Girls—a must-read—and how the Real Housewives have enhanced our quality of life, even if we are reluctant to admit it.
Once, Walter McCarty was an impactful leader in the Boston Celtics locker room. Then, he was an assistant at Louisville under his former head coach at Kentucky. Now, he's back in Boston, helping Brad Stevens conquer the tidal wave that is Rajon Rondo.
But Walter McCarty is also a very talented recording artist.
No, he's not a rapper, like every single NBA star claims to be. He is an actual singer. Once, I was lucky enough to see him perform at the Kiss Concert. It was a revelation.
To those of you who were not fortunate enough to see him live, you can hear the magic yourself above.
Like some of his fellow former NFLers, David Givens found his true calling once his professional football career came to an end.
Everything happens for a reason, right?
Givens spent five seasons with the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans from 2002-06 and even won two Super Bowls before suffering a career-ending ACL injury. That is when he turned his attention to drawing.
According to the Patriot Ledger, Givens is a talented graphite artist. His specialties? Creating portraits of sports heroes—and of his former head coach.
Sean Avery has many talents. Infuriating the masses is among them. Using his words to give journalists everywhere gift after gift is another.
So, apparently, is the art of fashion design.
Back in 2008, while he was still playing in the NHL, Avery accepted a prestigious internship with Vogue. The stint was a dream come true for the controversial hockey star, who told People magazine that he's obsessed with clothes and learned a lot from the editors at the legendary magazine, including Anna Wintour.
Still, not everything about the internship was sunshine and rainbows. Avery told People:
"The production aspects sucked, setting up the shoots. That's a little difficult. Yeah, I did it all."
These days, we are well aware that professional athletes resort to unusual means to stay in the best possible shape. They do a lot of yoga. They engage in mental wellness exercises. At first, hearing about that stuff was weird, but nowadays, not so much.
Except in the case of Herschel Walker. It's still a little odd to contemplate the idea of him being a ballet dancer.
A 1998 New York Times profile revealed the prolific NFL running back to be a talented dancer, despite his massive frame. According to the paper, Walker studied introductory ballet while attending the University of Georgia and found that it enhanced his on-the-field skills. He said, "I've got great flexibility for a guy my size and that helps. Some football players are so stiff they can't raise their arms above their head."
Walker can be proud to count himself among those who can.
While sister Serena seems to get all the accolades lately for her work on the court, Venus Williams has quietly been building a fashion empire for herself.
The former No. 1 tennis star and winner of 44 career titles—including nine Grand Slams—found inspiration for her fashion line on the court. Yearning for a tennis wardrobe that was functional yet stylish, she decided in 2007 to just design one for herself.
Now, Williams exclusively wears her own label, EleVen, when she competes.
Remember when Guitar Hero was all the rage? Remember the days when you didn't want to do anything except sit on your couch and jam out to "Surrender"?
Joel Zumaya remembers those days very well. In fact, Zumaya cherished his Guitar Hero days so much that they ultimately interfered with his ability to play baseball.
The former Detroit Tigers relief pitcher became so enamored with the video game that he suffered a sore wrist from playing it too much. The injury ultimately kept him out of the 2006 ALCS.
Sadly, that was only the beginning. Injury woes would hamper Zumaya throughout the next two seasons before ultimately forcing him into retirement.
Fortunately, he now has plenty of time for Guitar Hero.
Plenty of athletes have tattoos. Plenty of athletes have more tattoos than untarnished skin.
But very few athletes could give themselves their own tattoos.
Enter Daniel Agger. The Liverpool star and captain of the Danish national team is covered with plenty of body art, including an entire Viking motif, but he is also a qualified and accomplished tattoo artist. In fact, according to the Sun, Agger once pledged to tattoo his entire club if it won the Premier League title.
There's nothing like the promise of being poked with several tiny needles to motivate you to play your hardest.
Jesus Shuttlesworth. One of the most legendary characters in the history of film.
Ray Allen's first foray into feature films was an instant classic. This was no Space Jam or Kazaam situation; this was not a basketball player pretending to act while surrounded by animated bunnies and coyotes.
He Got Game was the real deal, directed by Spike Lee (who clearly couldn't see into the future, when Allen would become a member of the hated Celtics and win an NBA title—or else he never would have given him the part). It starred Denzel Washington as Allen's dad. It was praised by Roger Ebert, who called Allen a "[rare] athlete who can act."
Perhaps when he's done winning titles with the Heat, he'll return to the big screen once and for all. Or so we can only hope.
Bronson Arroyo is well known for several things. One of them is being the recipient of Alex Rodriguez's infamous slap in the 2004 ALCS. Another is being one of the most unexpectedly consistent starting pitchers over the last decade or so.
But what he would really like to be known for is his musical prowess.
Arroyo, strangely enough, is a somewhat accomplished musician: According to ESPN.com, he has recorded an album, he has attended the Grammys and has even walked the red carpet, and he has jammed out with Miley Cyrus' guitarist—perhaps not a point of pride these days, but still, an interesting tidbit.
ESPN reports that although Arroyo didn't learn how to play the guitar until the age of 22, he was a quick study. After winning the World Series with Boston in 2004, he recorded an album of covers and has plans to release an original album sometime in the near future.
When you're a seven-time All-Star, how do you have time to anything else besides perfect hardcourt skills?
Grant Hill must be a freak of nature. That would explain how he played professionally until the age of 40. It would also explain his proficiency with the piano.
A "This is SportsCenter" ad from 1995 revealed Hill to be quite a talented musician, as he was seen playing the piano in the lobby of the ESPN headquarters and using the power of music to heal the broken hearts of underperforming TV talent. Pretty impressive stuff.
You may have pitied him when you watched, from the comfort of your own home, as he got cut from the Cincinnati Bengals.
But pity no more. Aaron Maybin is doing just fine.
Maybin emerged onto the pop culture spectrum on the most recent season of Hard Knocks, even though he didn't quite make the team. But that didn't matter. What did matter is that Hard Knocks brought some much-needed publicity to Maybin's now fledgling art business.
According to TMZ, the aspiring painter has seen his online sales go through the roof since getting cut from the team, and some of his pieces have even sold for up to $20,000.