25 Sports Stars with Unexpected Talents

Austin SchindelAnalyst IIJune 26, 2011

25 Sports Stars with Unexpected Talents

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    The idea of “taking your talents” somewhere has become a phenomenon. I have even heard of people taking their "talents" to class, the grill or even the bathroom.

    No matter how talented our favorite athletes might be, they tend to surprise us. Not everyone is defined by how far they can hit the ball or how many times they can sack the quarterback. Some like to keep their unique skills under wraps, while others like to flaunt them.

    Nonetheless, here are the 25 best-kept sports star talents that are about to get exposed...

25. Channing Frye: World of Warcraft

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    While recovering after surgery, Channing Frye had a lot of downtime and took up the interactive online role-playing game World of Warcraft.

    Apparently he ended up being pretty good. He had two level 80 characters (I suppose that is good) and was well known in the community.

    I would think that he would have found something else to do with his time, but at least he was on top of his game when he was playing.

24. Ray Allen: Acting

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    He Got Game is one of the best basketball movies in recent memory. Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics plays Jesus Shuttlesworth, a young, up-and-coming basketball star.

    What is most surprising about this performance is that Allen is a very cool, confident and quiet guy. In the movie you see his true colors and realize that he actually is a rather talented actor.

23. Daniel Agger: Tattoo Artist

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    The Liverpool center back has many tattoos, all with different significance and meanings. They are creative and have caused a buzz around what he will ink on his body next.

    Have no fear—he can do it himself.

    That’s right. Agger is also a certified tattoo artist who at a time promised his entire team tattoos if they were to win the Premier League.

22. Steve Nash: Soccer

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    Assist man Steve Nash is Canadian. We can hold this against him for so many reasons, but it explains his soccer talents. Beyond enjoying the game, Nash is actually very skilled with the ball on his foot.

    Everyone remembers this, but his skills go much further. You wouldn’t expect someone who is so good with his hands to have equal mastery over his feet.

21. Deron Williams: Cliff Diving

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    Talent? Questionable. Ballsy and dangerous? You bet.

    Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets is going to demand in his next contract that he be able to make dangerous jumps off rocks into dangerous waters with no protective gear or safety whatsoever.

    I think the backflip is certainly talent-worthy, and the fearlessness is also something that is hard to come by.

20. Curt Schilling: Online Gaming

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    Schilling was quite a hard-nosed and opinionated player back in his day. The opinionated part hasn’t changed, but the ability to play baseball has. So he took his talents and put them towards his own video game company called 38 Studios.

    He is the founder and chairman of the company, showing off his gaming skills and innovation to a whole different group of baseball fans—virtual ones.

19. Karl Malone: Truck Driving

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    Second-most points scored in an NBA career. Two MVP awards. Eleven-time All-NBA First Team.

    These are all what define Karl Malone.

    But few people know that he is also a proud owner and operator of his own 72-foot-long, 34,000-pound, 18-wheel truck.

    While he is not delivering oranges cross-country, he passed all the written and driving tests and can drive his truck wherever he pleases.

    I do not know too many people who can drive a car well, let alone an 18-wheel monster.

18. Joel Zumaya: Guitar Hero

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    Zumaya could not pitch in the 2006 ALCS because of a sore wrist. I bet you can’t guess how he could have possibly acquired this injury. Okay, I’ll tell you...Guitar Hero.

    Yes, the man who can throw the ball 100 miles per hour began his spiral into an injury-plagued career because he was playing too many video games.

    I am not sure what skill level he is at, but I can assume he is damn good if he was injured in the process.

17. Jerry Stackhouse: Singing

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    Jerry Stackhouse was the man at North Carolina, and he was equally good when he got to the NBA. He was one of the most prolific scorers in his prime and made his name as a great shooter and is a two-time All-Star.

    And when you thought you had seen it all, he really impressed when he stepped up to sing the national anthem.

    Who knew that a slashing forward would also have a pretty good voice? He sang our nation’s anthem a couple other times, pumping up the crowd while earning himself some serious respect.

16. Martina Hingis: Show Jumping

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    Hingis was a tennis prodigy that, like most, peaked too early. After retiring at age 22, she focused her attention on horse riding. This passion of hers became her new concentration, which she pursued.

    In 2009, at the Gucci Masters International Jumping Competition, she participated and took a terrible dive off the horse.

    She may never be as good of a show jumper as she was a tennis star, but this hidden talent is still quite impressive.

15. Todd MacCulloch: Pinball

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    Being seven feet tall with a debilitating foot injury does not leave you with too many career options.

    When former 76ers and Nets center MacCulloch was forced to retire early from basketball, he moved on to his second love...pinball.

    This is not your average arcade or local bowling alley game—he plays on the professional level. Besides having 60 machines of his own, MacCulloch has participated in international competitions and likens the pressure of the game to basketball.

    Sounds like he has lost some perspective, but we will keep that to ourselves.

14. David Beckham: Fencing

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    Now that Beckham is in the twilight of his career, he and his Hollywood buddies have taken up fencing. One would assume that Beckham’s quick feet and competitive nature make this a no-brainer for him.

    I am glad to see that he is working very hard with his LA Galaxy team.

13. Todd Marinovich: Painting

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    What began as a promising NFL career turned into a drug-infested life that was going nowhere. I know that is a little harsh for the B/R Swagger section, but I call it as I see it.

    He eventually honed his talents and displayed them through Impressionist art. It is great to see a failed athlete have a secondary set of skills, and a great one at that.

    He uses his knowledge of sports to draw rather impressive pieces that show a very talented artist under all those hits.

12. Shaquille O'Neal: Law Enforcement

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    Shaquille O’Neal is and will always be a character.

    Though most things appear to be a sideshow, O’Neal has also dabbled in law enforcement in Los Angeles and Miami. He has gone through, and passed, reserve officer training in both cities with the legitimate intention of serving the community.

    Not many athletes would want to get in the line of danger, but Shaq believes he can use his talents for good.

11. Michael Cuddyer: Photography

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    Twins outfielder Michael Cuddyer had an idea to actually learn how to use a camera. He wanted to do more than just snap some photos, and now this has turned into a life-changing experience.

    He has taken this skill and brought it to all the different parks that he visits. He takes photos and shares them on his flickr account.

    This is a true talent that has been exposed.

10. Chad Brown: Reptiles

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    Many know Chad Brown from his days at the University of Colorado or his impact on the “Blitzburgh” defenses of the mid 1990s. But beyond the big hits and Pro Bowl selections, Brown is a refined snake and reptile aficionado.

    He owns his own shop called Pro Exotics in Colorado, which breeds and sells non-venomous snakes and reptiles. His affinity for the animals only grew as his time in the NFL continued, and his passion led to the beginning of his business.

9. Sean Jones: Stockbroker

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    Besides being a defensive end for the Green Bay Packers, Sean Jones also worked as a broker, in real estate and had his own local television show.

    Talk about a renaissance man.

    He might be the most talented person on the list that nobody even knows about. What is more impressive? Being able to play football and baseball like Deion Sanders, or being able to sack a QB and then tell him how much his potential injury could affect his future earning power?

8. Theo Walcott: Children’s Storybook Writer

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    Walcott, the formidable forward from Arsenal, has a much softer side to him. In his quest to educate young people, he has written four children’s books that have been published.

    He continues to aspire to write for children and teach them lessons he learned as a child.

7. Herschel Walker: Ballet

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    Walker is both controversial and revered for his incredible potential, collegiate success and the infamous trade. He played in the USFL and NFL, amassing huge stat lines as a running back, receiver and return man.

    They say quick feet and strength are two of the keys to being a great running back. His strength came from the 3,500 sit-ups and 1,000 push-ups he does every day. The quick feet come from his background in ballet.

    He studied the dance form at the University of Georgia and took place in one performance with the Fort Worth Ballet in Texas in 1988. He was strong yet graceful, as he held his own and showed that he was a man of many talents.

6. Jake Plummer: Handball

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    No, I am not kidding.

    Jake “The Snake” Plummer took up the game after his retirement from the NFL in 2008. He had played before that with his brother in doubles tournaments and eventually hosted his own pro invitational.

    His claim to fame is losing to his brother in the 2008 Idaho State Singles Championships.

    I know, folks—I can’t make this stuff up.

5. Baron Davis: Filmmaker

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    Seeing that his basketball skills do not really count as a talent anymore makes this a little fuzzy, but I’ll continue. Davis has been very successful as a small-time actor and big-time producer.

    Along with friend Cash Warren, he has worked behind the scenes to make important documentaries such as Crips and Bloods: Made in America. He hopes to move into the industry when he checks out (I mean retires, because he has already done the former).

4. Tom Zbikowski: Boxing

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    Though Zbikowski is a Baltimore Ravens safety, it has not stopped him from pursuing a career in boxing. With labor negotiations up in the air, he returned to the ring and has a 4-0 career record.

    I suppose that he had withdrawal from doling out punishment and needed to get back in the game.

3. Calvin Murphy: Baton Twirling

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    Before reigning over the basketball courts, Murphy was a world-class baton twirler. Both his mother and sisters pressured him into the activity, something he probably did not want to do at the time. Little did he know how much fame he would have from this seemingly silly activity.

    He went on to be a national champion by the time he was in the eighth grade, and he gave a great deal of credit to baton twirling for his ball-handling skills.

    This very cheesy video with legendary coach Red Auerbach shows Murphy using the baton and describing how it has helped him to be so successful.

2. Mike Tyson: Pigeon Raising

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    Ever since he was a young boy, Tyson has had a love for pigeons. It’s hard to believe that a former heavyweight champion of the world would have such a delicate passion, but as his life changed, so did his interests and priorities.

    In this clip he describes pigeon racing with Larry King and how it is one of the oldest competitions known to man. He has had a show dedicated to this craft and now spends his days with a much different crowd.

1. Sean Avery: Fashion Designer

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    Avery is a controversial figure who has gotten suspended, put his foot in his mouth and even has NHL rules named after him. But he also has a lighter, more gentle side: the fashion world.

    In the summer of 2008, he interned at Vogue magazine and has worked with different clothing lines during Fashion Week in New York.

    This is a very hidden talent that he is very proud of.