Guilty Pleasures

Celebrities Who Should Play Sports

Matt HaupertFeatured ColumnistJune 10, 2014

Celebrities Who Should Play Sports

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    John Shearer/Associated Press

    Sometimes when I'm watching a movie and I notice a particularly athletic actor race across the screen or leap onto a building, I think to myself, "Gee, that guy would make a great outfielder for the Cubs."

    Now, part of this is because, as a Cubs fan, my expectations are very low and my desperation is very high.

    But it's also because a lot of movie stars just look like they'd be great at sports.

    This list is not necessarily focused on celebrities with legitimate athletic experience. Rather, this list is about the celebrities who just look like they'd fit right in.

    The right face.

    The right beard.

    The right build.

    The right energy.

    We as fans have a predetermined idea of what different types of athletes are supposed to look and act like.

    A football player looks different than a hockey player who acts different than a baseball player who is entirely different than a jockey.

    Where, then, would celebrities like Daniel Radcliffe, Chuck Norris and Eminem fit in best?

Channing Tatum: Football

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    Arthur Mola/Associated Press

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 181 pounds

    Channing Tatum has the picture-perfect mold for a pretty-boy NFL quarterback.

    He's got the muscular build of Colin Kaepernick, but more importantly, he's got the face of Tom Brady.

    It's a face that can sell tickets. It's a face that can win championships.

    For every Tom Brady, however, there's at least one Brady Quinn—a prototypical pretty-boy QB seemingly destined for fame and success whose career flops out prematurely after spending a few too many days in Cleveland.

    But Tatum seems to have the kind of skill set that would have Mel Kiper drooling.

    Strong arm? Check.

    Mobility? The guy is literally a professional dancer. Good enough for me.

    Football IQ? Who knows.

    Who cares? With a face like that, there's at least gotta be a backup job out there for him somewhere. It's not like he can be much worse than Blaine Gabbert.

Chuck Norris: Hockey

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    Eric Charbonneau/Associated Press

    Height: 5'10"

    Weight: 175 pounds

    Standing under six feet tall, Chuck Norris would be a very undersized professional hockey player.

    Why, then, do I believe that with no hockey experience at all, he would instantly be the most badass player in the NHL?

    The answer is simple: He is Chuck Norris.

    Seriously. Imagine Norris skating toward you full speed with pads, a hockey stick and that classic "I'm Chuck Norris and I know it" look in his eyes.

    Now try to imagine getting in his way, delivering a hit and overpowering him on the ice.

    You can't, can you? Me neither.

    This, of course, is still leaving out the No. 1 thing that makes Norris perfect for the NHL: his beard.

    Once you reach the playoffs, growing a thick, manly beard is as important, if not more important, than the way you actually play the game.

    Norris' does not disappoint. It's thick. It's well kept. It's versatile. It is, in the purest sense of the word, a winner.

    And with that beard, Chuck Norris would be a winner, too.

Bruce Willis: Baseball

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    Jon Furniss/Associated Press

    Height: 5'11.5"

    Weight: 213 pounds

    One of the greatest action stars of all time, Bruce Willis would make a dynamic addition to the middle infield of any team in the big leagues.

    Willis has ample power, speed and agility—repeatedly demonstrated throughout his illustrious acting career—and his 213 pounds of muscle would make him a force at shortstop.

    He's even got that classic aging ballplayer look: a scraggly veteran who is unwilling to let his glory days go and is still in decent enough shape to hit 20 balls out of the park and maintain a .250 batting average for a few more seasons.

    OK, to be honest, the primary reason for putting Willis on this list is that I just can't look at Bruce's sparkly bald head and charming smile without thinking of baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr.

    Put Willis in an Orioles cap and a No. 8 Ripken jersey and try to tell me the image doesn't scream "Baseball Hall of Fame."

Jennifer Lawrence: Archery

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    Arthur Mola/Associated Press

    Height: 5'9"

    Weight: 139 pounds

    Jennifer Lawrence had to learn a thing or two about shooting an arrow to play Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

    In fact, Lawrence's archery training was taken very seriously.

    In preparation for the movie, the Academy Award-winning actress was personally trained by Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig to perfect her form.

    But would Lawrence's skills translate from a fictional dystopia to the Olympic Games?

    Well, may the odds be ever in her favor.

Chris and Liam Hemsworth: Rowing

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    Joel Ryan/Associated Press

    Height: Chris, 6'3"; Liam, 6'3"

    Weight: Chris, 209 pounds; Liam, 196 pounds

    Anyone who saw The Social Network learned the story of Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, a pair of Harvard University twins who claimed Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea to create Facebook and sued the company for $140 million.

    Worth noting is that Tyler and Cameron are also Olympic rowers, and they placed sixth at the Beijing Olympics as a pair.

    Now, by no means do all rowing teams have to be siblings, but can you think of a better pair to take down Team Winklevoss than Chris and Liam Hemsworth?

    Standing at only 6'3" and weighing an average of just over 200 pounds, the Hemsworth boys actually don't quite match the Winklevoss twins in size. But what could be the small advantage that pushes them over the top?

    Well, one of them is Thor—and that's gotta count for something.

Barack Obama: Basketball

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    Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 180 pounds

    President Barack Obama's love for basketball has been well documented throughout his time in the White House.

    Not only is his NCAA tournament bracket featured on ESPN every year, but he also once gave himself the birthday gift of playing a pickup game with a group of his favorite current and retired NBA stars.

    Why not sign him on to a minimum-salary deal and see what he can do?

    His size suggests he could make a decent point guard, and he's definitely got the leadership skills and charisma to make a positive contribution to a locker room.

    Besides, whether you like him or not, the guy would probably give a killer pregame speech.

Daniel Radcliffe: Horse Racing

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    Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

    Height: 5'5.25" 

    Weight: 117 pounds

    Being a jockey is a difficult field to break into partly because of the stingy size limits placed on anyone racing a horse.

    The Kentucky Derby, for example, requires all jockeys to weigh no more than 126 pounds in all of their equipment, meaning the jockeys usually must weigh somewhere between 108 and 118 pounds.

    Fortunately, Daniel Radcliffe fits nicely under this weight limit, and his small 5'5" frame places him around the average height for a jockey.

    It seems as though he was built specifically for the job of riding a horse, and the Harry Potter series showed us that he has more than what it takes to be a hero.

    Maybe all we need to finally see another Triple Crown winner is to hand off the reins to "The Boy Who Lived."

Vin Diesel: Football

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    Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

    Height: 6'0"

    Weight: 225 pounds

    Looking at Vin Diesel, it's actually a lot easier to imagine him as a football player than an actor, so the idea that he should play in the NFL does not seem too far-fetched.

    Diesel is a rock-solid 225 pounds and has a Brian Urlacher-esque look, giving him the perfect size and style to fill the inside linebacker position for any team.

    His perfect combination of speed (see: The Fast and the Furious), size (see: The Iron Giant) and leadership (see: The Pacifierwould without a doubt make him a feared force on the gridiron.

Hilary Swank: MMA

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Height: 5'6"

    Weight: 121 pounds

    Hilary Swank has displayed her potential as an athlete—and, more specifically, a fighter—time and time again during her storied career in Hollywood.

    In 1994, she demonstrated her prowess in martial arts by starring in The Next Karate Kid, which became a staple in the "terrible sequel" genre.

    Ten years later, she was at it again as the centerpiece of the critically acclaimed boxing flick Million Dollar Baby.

    Imagine if she could combine these skills—the brute force and dedication from her days pretending to be a boxer and the wise teachings of Mr. Miyagi—into one.

    The result would be a dynamo fighter with unstoppable force and unbeatable speed.

    The result, in short, would be the ultimate MMA fighter.

Eminem: World Series of Poker

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Height: 5'8"

    Weight: 155 pounds

    Though his height and weight are included here just to keep things consistent, it is clearly not Eminem's physical build that gives him the ideal look for the World Series of Poker.

    Instead, it's everything else that is so beautifully captured in the picture above:

    The hat.

    The glasses (though, admittedly, sunglasses would be better).

    The jersey.

    The pensive expression.

    The fact that he never smiles.

    Eminem is the master of the bad-boy look and the grand czar of the poker face.

    You'd be uncomfortable getting stared down by him from the other end of the table, and you'd be downright terrified to put your money on the line sitting next to him.


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