Oscars 2011: Comparing Famous Athletes and Actors

Michael AkelsonCorrespondent IFebruary 27, 2011

Oscars 2011: Comparing Famous Athletes and Actors

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    Every single person enters every year with a sense of anticipation.

    For some it's the anticipation for the Rose Bowl or the World Series. For others it's the anticipation that Dwayne Johnson will finally make a decent flick, or that the new Will Smith movie will live up to the hype.

    Whatever it is that gets your juices going, there is one fact you can't deny: Every single healthy, living, breathing human being has at least a small passion for either sports, movies or both.

    As a person who is a big fan of movies and sports alike, I got to thinking one day: Are athletes and actors really that different?

    They both make boatloads of cash, are idolized by the world and have to perform on a consistent basis if they expect to have any type of career.

    Which made me wonder, what if I were to compare some of the biggest names in Hollywood to some of the biggest names in sports?

    In honor of the Oscars, I give you athletes and their movie star counterparts. Enjoy! 

Donald Driver and Zooey Deschanel

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    How you know Zooey: Almost Famous, Elf, Failure To Launch, Yes Man, (500) Days Of Summer

    How you know Donald: Starting wide receiver for Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers

    Donald Driver and Zooey Deschanel are two of the most underrated people in their respective businesses, but they'd probably prefer it that way anyway.

    For years Driver was amongst the best receivers in the league, but you never really heard about it. That's because he wasn't Randy Moss or Terrell Owens and didn't need people watching his every move. He was more than happy spending his down time with his wife and kids.

    And when he wasn't spending time with his wife and kids, he was spending time on charitable efforts. He's now participated in over 500 charity events throughout his NFL career and was a nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2002. 

    He's also the author of two children's books and has the best rags to riches story in the league (you can read more about it here.) It's a shame nobody talks about it.

    On the other side of things, Zooey Deschanel is very similar. She's always been a great actress, but you rarely hear about her. That's because she's never been one to explore the party scene. In fact, she's so far from the type that I almost wouldn't be surprised to hear that she's never had a beer before. (No, really.)

    She even admitted that one of the main reasons she left college after one year was because of all the partying that went on.  

    Moving on, Zooey has been fantastic in just about every movie she's ever appeared in. She's been in some seriously bad movies (Winter Passing, Gigantic, Eulogy) yet I've never once seen anybody—not even the most snobby movie critics—write a single bad word about her. 

    You've probably seen her as the older sister in Almost Famous, Will Ferrell's love interest in Elf, the crazy b*tch from Failure To Launch, Jim Carrey's girl in Yes Man and the lead actress in the critically acclaimed (500) Days of Summer. Now she's working on a pilot to star in a new Fox sitcom.

    Despite being one of the most recognizable faces in front of the camera, away from it she's a quiet chick who's been known to Tweet about using correct punctuation and baking Bundt cakes.

    This is not how famous people are supposed to behave. Driver and Deschanel are two of the few celebrities out there these days that aren't in it for the fame, and for that they deserve respect. 

Scottie Pippen and Bradley Cooper

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    How you know Bradley: Wedding Crashers, Failure To Launch, Yes Man, The Hangover, The A-Team

    How you know Scottie: NBA Hall of Famer and six-time Champion

    The question that plagued Scottie Pippen's career is simple: Could he ever carry a team by himself?

    Sooner or later, that's the same question people will be asking of Bradley Cooper. 

    In every hit movie Cooper has been in this point in his career, he has always had at least two other big names to help him out along the way. In Wedding Crashers there was Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn, in Failure To Launch there was Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker, in Yes Man there was Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel, in The Hangover there was Zach Galifianakis and Ed Helms and in The A-Team there was Jessica Biel and Rampage Jackson.

    As his stock in Hollywood continues to rise, so will the questions about whether or not he can carry a movie.

    And maybe one day he'll get his star on the Walk of Fame (that day is far, far away), and if he does the question will always be: Could he have done it by himself?

Reggie Bush and Dwayne Johnson

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    How you know Dwayne: The Rock, enough said.

    How you know Reggie: Running Back for Saints, second overall pick in 2005 NFL draft.

    This was quite possibly the easiest comparison I made. Bush and Johnson are similar in so many ways.

    Before they even got to where they are right now, they were supposed to be the next big thing. Bush was one of the greatest college running backs of all time at USC, while The Rock was probably the most popular superstar in WWE history.

    They both have huge names, and huge egos. They're the type of guys your wife wished you looked like, and you wished didn't exist.

    However, despite all the talent and hype they possess, Johnson and Bush both have yet to prove themselves at the next level.

    Reggie's been less than stellar in New Orleans while The Rock has been too busy collecting teeth to notice.

LeBron James and Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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    How you know Joseph: Angels In The Outfield, 10 Things I Hate About You, 3rd Rock From The Sun, (500) Days of Summer, G.I Joe, Inception

    How you know LeBron: Just picture the biggest prick possible

    Despite the fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt isn't an arrogant piece of trash, he actually does have a lot in common with LeBron.

    They have both been in the spotlight since high school: LeBron for his ridiculous athleticism, and Gordon-Levitt for his roles in the popular movies Angels In The Outfield and teenage girl favorite 10 Things I Hate About You. Gordon-Levitt also had a main role in the popular TV series 3rd Rock From The Sun, and a recurring role on Roseanne. 

    However, unlike most, these two have not let the pressure of being a childhood star get to them, as they have been just as successful since becoming adults. LeBron has been one of the best players in the NBA since inauguration, and Gordon-Levitt has already starred in popular movies such as (500) Days of Summer, G.I Joe and Inception.

    And for those of you sitting there saying, "How the hell can he compare Gordon-Levitt's success to LeBron's?" just be patient, I'd bet all the money I own that by the year 2015 that Gordon-Levitt will be one of, if not the biggest, stars in Hollywood. He's the next generation's Leonardo DiCaprio. 

Kevin Garnett and Will Smith

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    How you know Will: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Independence Day, Men In Black, too many more to list

    How you know Kevin: Former NBA Champion for the Boston Celtics

    Kevin Garnett and Will Smith are two of the most respected names in their businesses. 

    They've both been around since their younger years—Smith in Fresh Prince and Garnett in his early years in Minnesota—yet both have avoided getting in any real trouble.

    Which is an accomplishment when you're that famous.

    They're also similar because Garnett waited until very late in his career to get a ring, and Smith appears to be in desperation mode to win an Oscar before his career is over. 

    And just like Garnett with his championship, we all know that Smith's time will come.

Chris "Birdman" Andersen and Adam Sandler

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    How you know Adam: Saturday Night Live, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, too many to list

    How you know Chris: Nuggets role player with bird-like tattoos

    Whether people admit it or not, everybody has a soft spot for Adam Sandler, and the same goes for Chris Andersen.

    As two of the craziest people in their respective businesses, many people refuse to take them seriously, but everybody loves them.

    Sandler's movies are almost always destroyed by critics, yet they keep making $100 million in the box office. Boring NBA fans can point out that Andersen's just a role player, but fans come out to see him play.

Tiger Woods and Charlie Sheen

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    How you know Charlie: Eight Men Out, Major League, Spin City, Two and a Half Men

    How you know Tiger: You know, the guy who dominated every headline for about six months

    This isn't rocket science. Two A-List stars, two all-time demises. Next.

Adam "Pacman" Jones and Lindsay Lohan

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    How you know Lindsay: The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday, Mean Girls

    How you know Adam: If you watch ESPN, you know all about him

    Both showed off some serious talent early in their careers, but there's always been one problem for both of them: No matter how many second chances they get, they'll never learn.

    Lindsay Lohan can't go five minutes without getting arrested, and "Pacman" can't go an hour without doing something stupid. 

Barry Sanders and Arnold Schwarzenegger

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    How you know Arnold: The Terminator, Kindegarten Cop, The Terminator 2, The Terminator 3, Jingle All the Way

    How you know Barry: He was one of the NFL's most explosive players and one of the only ones worth remembering on the Lions during the Super Bowl era

    Arnie and Barry, the two that got away.

    Both Schwarzenegger and Sanders were outstanding early in their careers, and were showing no signs of slowing down. People expected them to be great forever, but they knew they couldn't, so they went out on top.

    Both of these guys still had some juice left in the tank, but they decided to retire early. 

    Arnie and Barry, gone but never forgotten. 

Anthony Randolph and Megan Fox

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    How you know Megan: Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Jennifer's Body

    How you know Anthony: He's been traded for David Lee and Carmelo Anthony in the space of one year, you should at least know his name by know

    I'd like to open by saying that Megan Fox and Anthony Randolph are both sexy. They're just different kinds of sexy. They're also both oozing with potential. 

    Fox is the consensus hottest girl in America right now, and if she learned to act, she would without a doubt become the biggest female star in Hollywood.

    To a true NBA fan, Anthony Randolph is sexy, just not in the same way Fox is. The size, athleticism and skill set that he has is absolutely unreal. If this guy truly worked at it, he could become one of the best bigs in the NBA.

    There's no doubt Fox and Randolph both have what it takes to be great, but will they put in the hours? That remains to be seen. 

Brett Favre and Kevin Costner

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    How you know Kevin: Dances With Wolves, The Bodyguard, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, too many to list

    How you know Brett: I don't know, it's not like they talk about him on ESPN ever

    Favre and Costner are both legends in their respective businesses who will never be forgotten. 

    However, despite all the good things that Costner and Favre have done over the years, it's the bad that they'll always be associated with.

    For Favre it'll be the interceptions, and the false retirements. For Costner it'll be all the crappy movies he's made in between the great ones.

    Not to mention these former studs are both now old and gray, and are probably better off watching from the sidelines at this point in their careers.

Serena and Venus Williams and Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen

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    How you know Mary Kate and Ashley: Full House, New York Minute, It Takes Two

    How you know Serena and Venus: They're two of the most successful female tennis players of all-time

    Can it get any more obvious? No matter what they do, they'll always be remembered together (that goes for both sets of twins).

Blake Griffin and Seth Rogen

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    How you know Seth: The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Funny People

    How you know Blake: He's the only guy who can make Top 10 Plays with an uncontested layup

    Seth Rogen has been perhaps the biggest breakout star of the 2000s. Along with Judd Apatow, he has been the biggest star of the new gross-out comedy era that really became popular in 2005 with The 40 Year Old Virgin.

    Since then Rogen has starred in some of the funniest movies of the 21st century including Knocked Up, Superbad, Pineapple Express, Zack & Miri Make A Porno and Funny People.

    Of all the breakout stars in sports during the Rogen era, Blake Griffin is the most recent one. Griffin has been an absolute beast and a double-double machine ever since playing his first game in the NBA.

    However, the question for two of the world's hottest performers right now remains: Can they keep it up?

    For both of these men, that remains to be seen.

Shawne Merriman and Kate Hudson

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    How you know Kate: Almost Famous, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, You, Me and Dupree, Bride Wars

    How you know Shawne: Former All-Pro outside linebacker

    When Kate Hudson's career first started, she BURST onto the scene in one of the finest acting performances and still the biggest Oscar snub of the 21st century in Almost Famous. She absolutely nailed the part of Penny Lane.

    Following Almost Famous, we were expecting very big things out of the 21-year-old (at the time) Hudson. All we've gotten since then are a couple of crappy romantic comedies with Matthew McConaughey and a few other movies that aren't worth seeing.

    On the gridiron, there is a man very similar to Ms. Hudson, Shawne Merriman. He exploded out of the gate with 39.5 sacks in his first three seasons and gave us reason to believe he was the next Lawrence Taylor.

    Since then he's totaled four sacks in three seasons and tested positive for steroids.

    Hopefully, these two will be able to one day rekindle their greatness, but I wouldn't count on it.

Derek Jeter and Queen Latifah

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    How you know Queen: Living Single, Chicago, Bringing Down The House, Scary Movie 3

    How you know Derek: Five-time World Series champion with the New York Yankees

    On the surface it's hard to tell what it is that Derek Jeter and Queen Latifah have in common, but it shouldn't be.

    These are two of the most recognizable faces in America. Everybody knows who Derek Jeter and Queen Laifah are, and everybody respects them.

    These are the two people who every single person in America would stop to ask for their autograph.

Vince Carter and Jim Carrey

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    How you know Jim: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Liar Liar, The Truamn Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, too many to name

    How you know Vince: One of the greatest dunkers and most athletic players in NBA history

    There was a time when there was no bigger movie star than Jim Carrey. It seemed this man could do no wrong. 

    His career really got off the ground when he released three extremely popular movies in the same year: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb & Dumber. 

    Next came three more hilarious movies including a second Ace Ventura, The Cable Guy and Liar Liar.

    After releasing six classics in the space of three years, Carrey was on his way to comedy super-stardom, but then something else happened: Jim Carrey turned himself into a dramatic actor. And an elite one at that.

    He was snubbed an Oscar nomination in back-to-back years for The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, but he was officially the hottest star in Hollywood and on his way to becoming an all-time great. 

    Then the year 2000 hit, and Jim Carrey stopped caring. Maybe it was the Oscar snubs, maybe he just got old, but the fact is that after the year 2000, Carrey stopped trying.

    Since that year he's made just four movies that one would even consider decent: an okay remake of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, an average Bruce Almighty, the solid Yes Man and then in 2004 he gave his only good performance of the decade when he was pretty much flipped off by the Academy in arguably the best performance of his career in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

    But that's it, just one truly good performance in the last 11 years. It's almost like he was trying to let us know that he still had it but he just didn't care anymore, that he was done trying. And because of that, I don't think we'll ever again see a great Jim Carrey.

    And who else could be compared to Carrey but the king of having world-class talent but not giving enough of a sh*t to use it himself, Vince Carter?

    Nobody can deny Carter's talent. He should have a ticket already punched to the Hall of Fame, and he should still be one of the best players in the league, but he just doesn't care enough. It's a shame, because he's one of the most exciting athletes to ever take the court, but you wouldn't know it these days.

Ron Artest and Will Ferrell

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    How you know Will: Old School, Elf, Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Stranger Than Fiction, Step Brothers, The Other Guys

    How you know Ron: The only man to ever thank his physiatrist before his coach after winning the NBA Finals

    It's pretty simple why these men are grouped together. No matter how good they are at what they do (and they both are), nobody will ever take them seriously.

    They're two of the funniest guys out there, yet two of the craziest. They'll always be viewed as a joke.

James Worthy and Paul Rudd

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    How you know Paul: Friends, Anchorman, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Role Models, I Love You, Man

    How you know James: Basketball Hall of Famer, three-time NBA champion for the "Showtime" Lakers

    Paul Rudd might be the most under-appreciated actor out there right now. He finds a way to be overshadowed no matter what he does.

    He was overshadowed as Mike in Friends, Brian Fantana in Anchorman, the funniest movie ever made in Anchorman, David in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Pete in Knocked Up and the small role of Chuck in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

    And up to this point, his two big starring roles—Danny in Role Models and Peter in I Love You, Man—haven't created as much of a buzz as they should have.

    To this point in his career, Paul Rudd has been hilarious in just about every movie he's ever appeared in, yet nobody appreciates him as much as they should. Nobody puts his name in the discussion of comedy icons like Seth Rogen and Will Ferrell.

    Another man who knows all about being overshadowed is James Worthy. He was always out-shined by Kareem and Magic on the Showtime Lakers.

    When teams played the Lakers, they never said they were afraid to play against James Worthy, but they should have been. James was one of the best basketball players I've ever seen play the game.

    Yet nobody ever puts him in the discussion with guys like Larry and Magic when discussing the best players of the '80s. 

Tim Duncan and Meryl Streep

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    How you know Meryl: Kramer vs. Kramer, The Devil Wears Prada, Out of Africa, too many to name

    How you know Tim: The Big Fundamental is a four-time NBA champion and two-time NBA MVP

    No two people command your attention like Meryl Streep and Tim Duncan. The names alone are intimidating; they're living legends.

    Although they've both lost a step or two over the years, if you don't respect these two, you have serious issues.

Ryan Howard and Sylvester Stallone

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    How you know Sylvester: Rocky and Rambo Movies

    How you know Ryan: Three-time All-Star, fastest player in MLB history to 100 home runs

    Nobody is up and down quite like these two. Sylvester Stallone has made two of the most legendary movie series, yet every single movie he's ever made outside of those two series is complete and utter trash.

    He was even voted the worst actor of the 1900s. Good thing the voters haven't seen any of his work since then, because it hasn't gotten any better.

    As for Howard, he pretty much either hits a home run or strikes out every time he steps to the plate, so he also knows how it feels to be on top of the world, and then be considered a bum. 

Clay Matthews and Leonardo DiCaprio

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    How you know Leonardo: Titanic, Gangs of New York, Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, too many to name

    How you know Clay: All-Pro outside linebacker for the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers

    There was a time when people thought Tony Danza was the boss. Not any more.

    That honor is now shared between Leonardo DiCaprio and Clay Matthews, who are quite possible the two coolest guys in the world right now.

    Who doesn't want to be either of these guys. Through all their fame, they just seem like the type of people you would go grab a beer with, not the usual stuck up, too-good-to-be-true celebrities. 

Albert Pujols and Kate Winslet

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    How you know Kate: Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Finding Neverland, The Reader, too many to name

    How you know Albert: The Machine only has three MVPs in nine seasons, so I forgive you if you don't recognize the name

    Kate Winslet and Albert Pujols are both still in their 30s and just entering the best years of their primes, which is pretty hard to believe considering how much they've both already accomplished. 

    Winslet, who is only 35, has already been nominated for SIX Oscars. Even Meryl Streep didn't have that many at 35. She rose to fame in the highest grossing film of all time that didn't involve strange blue people, Titanic. Since then she's really only been in two movies that most people have heard of (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Finding Neverland), yet she continues to deliver outstanding performances. 

    Pujols is just 30, yet he already has 400 home runs and 1,200 RBI while maintaining a .330 career batting average. That's completely insane.

    And although we all know these two are amongst the best in their professions, I don't think we understand just how good they are. In 40 years, your grandchildren will be asking you about Albert Pujols and Kate Winslet.

    Because the way it's going right now, barring a major collapse and/or steroid scandal, Albert Pujols will go down as one of the five greatest hitters in the history of baseball, and Winslet will go down as one of, if not the, greatest actress of all time.