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25 Worst Athlete Acting Performances

Amber LeeSports Lists Lead WriterJanuary 14, 2017

25 Worst Athlete Acting Performances

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    Through my bad acting research, I've reached a few conclusions about athletes and their feeble attempts to become actors and/or commercial pitchmen.

    **Hockey players are so bad at acting that they are only allowed to play themselves—which they don't do very convincingly.

    **Basketball players make the absolute worst movies.

    **Someone in Hollywood thinks Wrestlers + Children = Comedy Gold (they are sadly mistaken).

    **Football players are the worst actors and have the broadest range of failed acting endeavors.

    **The many athletes who have sucked at playing themselves on Entourage could probably form a standalone list.

    Now let's take a look at 25 of the worst acting performances by professional athletes ever.

25. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, The Tooth Fairy

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    The Man: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, former WWE wrestler 

    Starring In: The Tooth Fairy 

    The Plot: Derek Thompson (Johnson) is a minor league hockey player who gleefully revels in knocking out the teeth of his opposition and stealing money from children. After he steals a dollar intended for the Tooth Fairy, he grows wings and is sentenced by Tooth Fairy underlords to serve two weeks as a Tooth Fairy.

    Embarrassingly stupid hijinks ensue, and Thompson learns a valuable lesson about screwing with teeth. 

    Seriously. That was a movie. 

    The Performance: It says a lot about Rock's acting ability that he is still getting cast in crap like this.

24. Dick Butkus, My Two Dads

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    The Man: Dick Butkus, retired NFL player 

    Starring In: My Two Dads 

    The Plot: A lady dies, leaving her child in the custody of two men, either of which could be her father. Instead of having a DNA test to determine custody, the two men decide to live together with their new teenage daughter and raise her as hetero-co-dads. 

    Butkus plays Ed Klawicki, the sassy owner of a cafe where the main characters meet to scheme, plot and drink milkshakes.

    The Performance: In this episode, Mr. Klawicki plays it gay in order to assist one of the dads get the other dad away from a hot blonde who says "yessss" seductively. (Hot blonde is played by a young Morgan Fairchild.)

23. O.J. Simpson, The Towering Inferno

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    The Man: O.J. Simpson, retired NFL player/double murderer 

    Starring In: The Towering Inferno 

    The Plot: The Towering Inferno is kind of like modern-day movies that feature dozens of celebrities (Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve), but instead of being about relationships, everyone is stuck in a burning building and trying to avoid certain death.

    Simpson plays security guard Harry Jernigan, whose biggest contribution to the film was saving a cat (see clip provided).

    The Performance: Simpson plays his part with the dead eyes and vacant stare of someone you're sure could commit a double murder.

22. Chris Bosh, Entourage

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    The Man: Chris Bosh, Miami Heat

    Starring In: HBO series Entourage

    The Plot: Bosh's lady wants vodka. Turtle only has tequila. Bosh offers someone $1,000 to fetch some vodka.

    The Performance: Boring, monotone and pretty much what you'd expect from the least engaging of Miami's "Big Three."

21. Keith Hernandez, Seinfeld

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    The Man: Keith Hernandez, retired MLB player

    Starring In: Seinfeld

    The Plot: Jerry befriends Keith, who in turn befriends Elaine, making Jerry jealous. Kramer and Newman are livid because they think Keith spit on them after a Yankees game at some point.

    Jerry debunks their magic loogie story but eventually has a falling-out with Keith because it was "too soon" in their friendship to help him move. Kramer and Newman jump on the opportunity to help Keith move, annoying Jerry.

    The Performance: Wooden and kind of weird. His scenes with Elaine were particularly painful, and his creeper vibe would have had most women running for the door.

20. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Slam Dunk Ernest

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    The Man: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, retired NBA player

    Starring In: Slam Dunk Ernest (it's funnier in Spanish: see clip)

    The Plot: Ernest wants to join his coworkers' basketball team, but he blows, and they will only let him be their mascot. Ernest is sad about being a joke and is visited by a basketball angel (Abdul-Jabbar) who gives him a pair of magic shoes and a warning not to "misuse" them.

    Ernest gets his chance to play, and nobody seems to notice that he can fly, but people eventually get fed up with his ball-hogging antics. It all works out, though, and they all get drafted into the NBA. Yep, for real.

    The Performance: Inexplicably restrained given the material, which stands out in a very bad way.

19. Brett Favre, There's Something About Mary

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    The Man: Brett Favre, retired quarterback

    Starring In: Well, not exactly starring in There's Something About Mary

    The Plot: There's something about Mary Jensen that turns every man in her life into a completely psychotic stalker. Well, everyone except ex-boyfriend Brett Favre, who was driven away by one of her many admirers.

    Brett returns in the final scenes of the film to declare his love for Mary. Poor boring Brett is rejected by Mary, who prefers semi-unhinged men (don't we all?) and decides she's into Ted.

    Plus, she's a 49ers fan. Was Steve Young not available?

    The Performance: He was lame enough to make even Chris Elliott's shoe-sniffing freak show "Woogie" worth another look.

18. Gheorghe Muresan, My Giant

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    The Man: Gheorghe Muresan, retired NBA player

    Starring In: My Giant

    The Plot: Maniacal con artist Sammy (Billy Crystal) travels to Romania on business, where he crashes his car and is rescued by Max (Muresan), a local giant.

    Sammy thanks Max for saving his life by tricking him into going to America, where he plans to exploit his giantness for profit. Eventually there's a happy ending, but it comes two hours after you stop caring.

    The Performance: Valiant effort, but still tragically awful.

17. Mike Ditka, Kicking and Screaming

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    The Man: Mike Ditka, retired NFL coach

    Starring In: Kicking and Screaming

    The Plot: Phil Weston (Will Ferrell) has daddy issues and takes a job coaching the rivals of the children's soccer team that his father coaches. Too bad he doesn't know anything about soccer or coaching, so he enlists the help of his father's hated enemy, Mike Ditka (played by Mike Ditka).

    Ditka has no plans to play second banana to Weston and treats the kids like they're at NFL training camp. Eventually Weston ditches Ditka and works things out with his father.

    The Performance: Loud, abrasive and wholly unpleasant without even a smidgen of charm. Guess he really was just playing himself.

16. Mike Modano and Basil McRae, The Mighty Ducks

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    The Men: (Then) Dallas Stars players Mike Modano and Basil McRae

    Starring In: (Well, appearing in) The Mighty Ducks

    The Plot: A work-obsessed lawyer finds that there's more to life than courtroom victories after a DUI charge results in a community service assignment that changes his outlook.

    The Performance: Modano and McRae play themselves most unconvincingly.

    **Modano and McRae are at 4:04 of the clip: Click here start the clip at that point.

15. Joe Namath, The Brady Bunch

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    The Man: Joe Namath, retired NFL quarterback

    Starring In: The Brady Bunch ("Mail Order Hero")

    The Plot: Lovable scamp Bobby lies to all his friends by telling them he knows superstar quarterback Joe Namath. Then he enlists lispy Cindy to help him fake a serious illness in order to get Namath to come visit him.

    The Performance: Is about as inspired as the plot, and Namath barely keeps a straight face when delivering his lines.

14. Michael Phelps, Saturday Night Live

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    The Man: Michael Phelps, Olympic swimmer

    Starring In: Saturday Night Live

    The Plot: In the "Michael Phelps Diet," Phelps explains that you don't have to deny yourself in order to lose weight. After all, he eats 50 hamburgers a day—and look at him!

    The Performance: He's the least convincing Michael Phelps I've ever seen, and this was one of his better sketches in the episode.

13. Dennis Rodman, Double Team

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    The Man: Dennis Rodman, retired NBA clown

    Starring In: Double Team

    The Plot: Rodman plays Yaz, an arms dealer in Belgium who meets up with Jack Paul Quinn (Jean-Claude Van Damme), a government anti-terrorist agent, whom he equips with weaponry and such.

    The Performance: Unsubtle enough to make Rodman stand out as the worst actor and biggest spectacle in a Jean-Claude Van Damme movie.

    Rodman brought his trademark style to the film, rocking a number of different hair colors and dressing mostly in sleeveless spandex bodysuits.

12. Dan Marino, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

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    The Man: Dan Marino, retired NFL quarterback

    Starring In: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

    The Plot: Ace Ventura (Jim Carrey) is a pet detective who is called in to investigate the disappearance of Miami Dolphin mascot Snowflake. The story takes an interesting turn when the bad guys then kidnap Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino from the set of his new Isotoner gloves commercial.

    The Performance: Comically bad, like he's reading his lines from cue cards mostly. Marino is so likable and the movie is so over the top that his performance doesn't really impact it in a negative way.

11. Dan Marino, Isotoner Gloves Commercial

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    The Man: Dan Marino, retired NFL quarterback

    Starring In: Isotoner gloves commercial

    The Plot: Marino is a busy man with a lot of people who have hands that are necessary for his own success, so he buys them Isotoner gloves for Christmas.

    The Performance: Awkward and wooden with some uncomfortable laughs.

10. Shaquille O'Neal, Kazaam

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    The Man: Shaquille O'Neal, retired NBA player

    Starring In: Kazaam

    The Plot: Basically Shaq plays Kazaam, a rapping genie who neglects his genie duties after getting a record deal.

    The Performance: About as understated as 2 Live Crew's As Nasty As They Wanna Be.

9. Howie Long, Firestorm

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    The Man: Howie Long, retired NFL player

    Starring In: Firestorm

    The Plot: A group of Wyoming convicts escapes from prison with the help of a smokejumper turned rogue arsonist, and only smokejumper turned hero Jesse Graves (Howie Long) can stop them!

    The Performance: Long's vacant intensity and epic overacting was bad enough to make the audience wish the producers had cast Terry Bradshaw instead.

8. Hulk Hogan, Mr. Nanny

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    The Man: Hulk Hogan, wrestler

    Starring In: Mr. Nanny

    The Plot: Sean Armstrong (Hogan) is a retired wrestler who is suffering from PTSD (from wrestling) of some sort and dealing with financial difficulties. Armstrong accepts a job working as a bodyguard for Alex Mason, head of a company developing an anti-missile system, but ends up babysitting his two kids instead.

    Naturally there are some bad guys who want the anti-missile technology, and the opportunity presents itself for Armstrong to save the day. He saves the kids and their father but is captured by the evil Thanatos until the kids activate an improvised electromagnet to launch him into space.

    The Performance: Painfully stupid and loud. Stephen A. Smith could have played the role with more dignity.

7. Alexander Ovechkin, Chris Cooley and Antwaan Randle El, Eastern Motors

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    The Men: Alexander Ovechkin (Capitals), Chris Cooley (Redskins) and Antwaan Randle El (then Redskins)

    Starring In: Easterns Motors Commercial  

    The Plot: Ovechkin finds a football helmet in his locker and says that means he can play American football. Cooley and Randle El step in to make sure Ovi knows what he's doing and suggest he stick to hockey. Ovi says that running and skating are the same, and the football players disagree.

    Then they run around and Cooley hits Ovi with a football.

    The Performance: Inexplicable.

    **Want to see something even better? Check out Ovi's outtakes from another commercial; he suggests vodka shots would improve his performance.

6. Mark Schlereth, Guiding Light

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    The Man: Mark Schlereth, retired NFL player

    Starring In: Guiding Light

    The Plot: It's a soap opera—the plot is both convoluted and vague.

    The Performance: Stiff and awkward and desperately in need of a teleprompter. Check out these outtakes for a laugh.

5. Phil Mickelson, Entourage

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    The Man: Phil Mickelson, PGA golfer

    Starring In: Entourage

    The Plot: Phil Mickelson joins Ari, Allen and Bob for a round of golf.

    The Performance: Mickelson mostly stands around with a cheeseball grin on his face. His delivery of the very simple line "You guys are hysterical" is about as bad as it could be.

4. Chuck Norris, Hellbound

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    The Man: Chuck Norris, Master of the Universe

    Starring In: Hellbound

    The Plot: Shatter (Norris) and Jackson are a couple of police officers investigating the murder of a rabbi. The investigation leads them to Israel, where they realize that Satan's supernatural emissary, Prosatanos, is their perp.

    Prosatanos was accidentally freed from his tomb by a couple of ne'er-do-well grave robbers (oops!), and Shatter and Jackson have to defeat him to save the world.

    The Performance: Christians are afraid of Satan...Satan is afraid of Chuck Norris! Norris plays the role exactly how a man who believes that is actually true would.

3. Pittsburgh Penguins, A&L Motors Commercial

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    The Men: Evgeni Malkin and former Penguins Colby Armstrong, Maxime Talbot and Sergei Gonchar

    Starring In: An A&L Motors Commercial

    The Plot: Colby Armstrong thinks he's getting special treatment from the dealership because he's a famous hockey player. Maxime Talbot steps in to remind Armstrong that he's a nobody, unlike "superstar" Talbot.

    Gonchar interrupts to explain that at A&L everyone is treated like a superstar. Malkin stares blankly and adds nothing but a laugh for the audience.

    The Performance: Is about as wooden and absurd as you could ever imagine, particularly Talbot.

2. Joe Namath, The A-Team

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    The Man: Joe Namath, retired NFL quarterback

    Starring In: The A-Team ("Quarterback Sneak")

    The Plot: The FBI is concerned the A-Team's mission to rescue a couple from East Germany is just too risky. They arrange a friendly exhibition football game as cover...brilliant!

    The Performance: Namath and everyone else in the episode (except for Mr. T, who is predictably awesome) are laughably horrendous. Listen to the "German" accents by the bad guys in the opening scene.

1. Deion Sanders, Saturday Night Live

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    The Man: Deion "Prime Time" Sanders

    Starring In: Saturday Night Live

    The Plot: In this sketch, MLB baseball players are lamenting their 1994 lockout and questioning if it was the right thing. Sanders plays himself, who is the representative for the Cincinnati Reds in this scenario, and tries to convince the players to stay strong...all the while taking phone calls about endorsement deals worth tens of millions of dollars.

    Sound funny? Well, it's not.

    The Performance: Awkward and forced, and he stumbles on every other word. It's one of the least funny performances in the entire history of SNL.

    In Deion's defense, it seems like it was written by a disgruntled baseball fan intent on making Deion look vile by playing himself.

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