The 50 Strangest Athlete Hobbies Ever

Zack Pumerantz@z_pumerantzAnalyst IIIJuly 25, 2012

The 50 Strangest Athlete Hobbies Ever

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    When professional competitors aren't swatting baseballs over padded fences, nailing pigskin-carrying runners and slamming rocks into nets, they have a bit of spare time to cater to their intriguing obsessions.

    What many athletes do during their off days may strike you as odd, strange and just plain hilarious. But don't be fooled, these passions are no laughing matter.

    Years of study, practice and enjoyment have led these sports icons to fully embrace their specific art. Be it eating, collecting or literally making art.

    Time to look at the 50 strangest athlete hobbies in history.

    For some, a chance to try new things.

50. Randy Moss: The Racing Industry

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    We get the love for racing, but seven-time Pro Bowler Randy Moss went far and beyond our expectations when he announced the formation of Randy Moss Motorsports (set to compete in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series) in '08.

    Oh yeah, we're talking pickup trucks. The classy route.

49. Herschel Walker: Ballet

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    From powerful tailback phenom during his Heisman Trophy-winning days at Georgia to promising NFL runner involved in one of the most franchise-altering trades in history, Herschel Walker's path to immortality was far from routine. And now he's on his way to mixed martial arts greatness...or so it seems.

    But in 1988, while still with the Cowboys, Walker made one unique memory when he danced with the Fort Worth Ballet for a single performance. Bulk and bravado merged into one.

48. David Beckham: Fencing

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    Taking the advice of his buddies Tom Cruise and Will Smith, England footballing icon David Beckham decided to trade in his cleats for bladed weapons.

    Quite the bonding experience for these three musketeers.

47. Ron Artest: The Zen Master of Dental Maintenance

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    Thanks to Metta World Peace, we can fully appreciate the fact that the creator of Earth was less of an architect and more of a dentist.

    Just another day in the life of the enigmatic Laker.

46. Deron Williams: Cliff Jumping

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    While we could've done without the raspy play-by-play, this Deron Williams sighting is obviously entertaining (and random).

    At least D-Will remembered his water shoes, because we all know the rocks can be mighty treacherous.

45. Chad Brown: Herpetology

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    “Each spring I’d produce my babies and sell them to local pet stores in Boulder."

    Former Colorado and NFL linebacker Chad Brown, a three-time Pro Bowler during his professional tenure, not only owns Pro Exotics Reptiles, but makes his amphibious dedication quite obvious.

    "I started Pro Exotics in my mind in 1988 when I got my first snake, a boa my freshman year at CU. It wasn't until I was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1993 that I had a little money in my pocket and started to really put this business together."

44. Calvin Murphy: Baton Twirling

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    Despite standing at 5'9" (humorous for NBA standards), former Rockets guard Calvin Murphy could essentially do anything with a basketball.

    But according to his bio, Calvin mastered Murphy's law before even approaching the hardwood. He was a national champion baton twirler in 1963 with a gifted set of paws.

43. Daniel Agger: Tattooing

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    Danish defender Daniel Agger isn't only sleeved in tattoos, but he is actually a qualified artist with a leader's mentality.

    In 2009, he promised to tattoo his entire Liverpool squad if they won the Premiership and secure its first league title in 19 years. They came in second.

42. Rajon Rondo: Rollerball

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    Known for his talented fingers on the court, Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo is now garnering respect for another endeavor, a new-found talent. Roller skating.

    "When I skate I'm in my own world...It's peaceful and relaxing. I don't think about anything when I'm out there. I just skate."

    Just living the '70s dream.

41. Arian Foster and Maurice Jones-Drew: Call of Duty

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    "You get to shoot people without really shooting people" - Texans tailback Arian Foster describing the phenom that is Black Ops.

    Few can resist the temptation to partake in violent online warfare.

40. Dwight Howard: Impersonations

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    If there's one thing we'll always be able to smile about regarding Dwight Howard's scrutinized career, it's his epic renditions of fellow ballers.

    His award-winning performance speaks for itself.

39. Chad Johnson: Bull Riding

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    Nobody said talent was necessary when enjoying a hobby. Take mercurial, yet very charitable receiver Chad Johnson for example.

    Less than half a second was all it took for the former Ochocinco to cement his legacy as an atrocious, chance-less bull rider. But fearless he is.

38. Kevin Love: Dressing as Elmo

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    To cloud the public from easily the most disgraceful and awkward handshake attempt in NBA history, blossoming big man Kevin Love decided to dress as beloved Elmo.

    And then things just got weird. Fast.

37. Karl Malone: Truck Driving

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    He may be nicknamed "The Mailman," but former Jazz great Karl Malone seems more interested in delivering oak logs than stamped packages.

    This 72-foot-long, 34,000-pound 18-wheeler is said to specialize in "long haul trucking, serving the Western and Southern states." The powdered sugar complimenting an already-sweet business; "a company needing payloads moved that contracts with Malone's company can have its first delivery made by the Mailman himself".

    Sold. 

36. Sean Avery: Women's Fashion

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    Only seven days removed from a lacerated spleen-based hospital stint in 2008, NHL knucklehead Sean Avery found himself "setting up shoots" for Vogue magazine.

    After escaping unscathed, we're unsure whether Avery or editor Anna Wintour was the true devil wearing Prada.

35. Matt Barkley: A Night at the Roxbury Renditions

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    So maybe he forgot the sideways head nods, but Matt Barkley could have easily been the third member of the Will Ferrell-Chris Katan tandem that made A Night at the Roxbury a legendary classic.

    Bro rule No. 53: Never forget the head bob.

34. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Collecting Rugs

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    Collecting soft and intricate Oriental rugs seemed like the perfect post-career hobby for Captain Skyhook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    Bruce Lee would also be a solid addition.

33. Dhani Jones: Bow Ties

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    All it takes is one scan of his bow tie website to see that former NFL linebacker Dhani Jones is for real when it comes to neck-knot fashion.

    The Bow Tie cause, as it's called, has been referred to as the philanthropic endeavor of Dhani Jones. Quite the elegant description.

    Jones is pioneering the way for bow-tie madness.

32. Rick DiPietro: Eating Salary Cap

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    After showing some early promise in his first few years, 2000 first overall pick Rick DiPietro was signed to a 15-year, $67.5 million extension. Count that, 15 years.

    Since scribbling his John Hancock on the dotted line, DiPi has done little to provoke any kind of optimism. His most heroic moment was easily his confrontation of opposing goalie Brent Johnson during the Penguins-Islanders melee in 2011.

    DiPietro would falter only seconds later, after one punch.

31. Ronaldinho: Karaoke

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    There are few arts that Brazilian great Ronaldinho can't master. Karaoke is just another simple hobby-turned-passion.

    While we're not sure how serious he is about perfecting his vocal chords, it's Ronaldinho's possession of a karaoke machine that has us thinking he's a diehard rockstar.

    He already has the musical hairdo. Now for the mic.

30. Turk Wendell: Brushing Teeth

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    All players should brush their teeth in between innings. You're right, Turk Wendell.

    The animal-tooth-necklace-wearing, teeth-brushing, baseball-tossing character who once sported a Mets jersey will never be forgotten. Especially by dentists.

29. Joe Johnson: Kicks

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    Featured in his custom-made 500-square foot closet are 436 pairs of sneakers, mostly unworn. And while we certainly applaud his kick collection, perhaps it's time Joe Johnson starts fashioning a pair here and there.

    The dust buildup can get unpleasant.

28. Ryan Klesko: S.W.A.T.

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    After watching officers serve "four warrants on crack houses," former first baseman Ryan Klesko must've been hooked. The illustrious SWAT team, it doesn't get any more intense.

    “There’s no doubt in my mind that this is what I would be doing if I weren’t playing ball.” Although clearly he's got other SWAT-esque habits as well (pictured).

    He may have stayed in the van, but Klesko was certainly in the line of fire. Risky business for the former ballplayer.

27. Carlos Lee: Ranching

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    This passion is far from strange, except for the fact that the Astros slugger owns 300 cows and named his property the Slugger Ranch (obviously quite original).

    It's those fresh eggs and the pure milk that clearly builds the best talent.

26. Chris Kaman: Fireworks

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    A fourth of July check of $10,000 was all it took to cement center Chris Kaman as a master of fireworks. 

    Although it's curious as to why the 7-footer would risk losing any fingers in a sport where hand-to-ball is required. Yet another reckless athlete doing what he loves.

25. Rob Gronkowski: Hanging with Porn Stars

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    During a 2011 season in which he recorded the most receiving touchdowns (17) and most receiving yards (1,327) by a tight end all time, bro-child Rob Gronkowski figured he needed to spice up his personal life. 

    Kodak moments with pornography icon Bibi Jones were certainly specks of pure sugar on an already-loaded cake. The 6'6" meathead is quickly headed for weirdness.

24. Tim Green: Writing Mysteries

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    A linebacker and defensive end with the Falcons during the late '80s and early '90s, Tim Green eventually found his calling in something far less intimidating, but far more dark.

    A future career to be specific.

    From gridiron aggressive to typewriter deceptive, Green now finds himself scripting disturbing novels in the mystery section. The best-selling author is certainly is a man of mystery.

23. Geovany Soto: Accounting

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    According to the knowledgeable duo of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis, Cubs catcher Geovany Soto is an accountant at a styrofoam cooler company in his spare time.

    But we're far more intrigued with Alfonso Soriano, who is said to hail straight from Edinburgh, Scotland.

22. Curt Schilling: Video Games

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    No inspirational bloody sock story could save former hurler Curt Schilling from losing his video game company, 38 Studios. Bankruptcy to be precise.

    Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was the only game released by the company before "unpaid employees and defaulted loans and federal investigations and one very angry Rhode Island governor" ruined the party.

    Schilling was clearly great on the sticks, horrible on the books.

21. Mark Fidrych: Talking to Baseballs

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    During a 1976 season that saw him finish 19-9 with a 2.34 ERA, Tigers phenom Mark Fidrych was seen talking to baseballs, tossing balls that were hit by opponents and scaring away groundskeepers so he could personally manicure the mound.

    One of the stranger specimens ever to approach the diamond.

20. Alex Rodriguez: Looking at Alex Rodriguez

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    This wouldn't be the last time Alex Rodriguez was seen staring at himself in a mirror, but it certainly was the most disturbing.

    On the other hand, the arrogant baller's Centaur painting of himself hanging above his bed may reign supreme.

19. Todd Marinovich: Modern Art

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    Groomed to be the quintessential NFL passer by his father, former USC product Todd Marinovich would eventually crumble under the professional spotlight.

    But his journey would lead him to a greater passion, a more abstract obsession. Painting.

    While his art choice is far from obtuse, it's Marinovich's modern-art flow that has us curious to learn more. Violent, chaotic, breathtaking.

18. Robert Griffin III: Socks

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    As he prepares for his rookie season with the 'Skins, former Baylor phenom Robert Griffin III brings a rocket arm, agile legs and a diverse collection of socks.

    From Barney-faced purple to gold-and-burgundy stripes, we've yet to be disappointed in any of his color choices. The Washington faithful is praying he's just as creative on the gridiron.

17. Brett Favre: Retiring

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    The NFL's Iron Man had so many "last games" that we've lost count. And now that we know it was about the money, tearing apart Brett Favre's career is easier than ever.

    A legendary legacy is now tainted with Favre's inability to decide and commit. As well as Jenn Sterger's accusations.

16. Gilbert Arenas: Hibachi Cooking

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    As a random lobster and the big bird from Sesame Street battle in the background, three-point sniper Gilbert Arenas educates his audience on the art of hibachi cooking.

    Brilliant work.

15. Brian Wilson: Unorthodox Warfare

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    While he's mostly known for his King Leonidas beard, it's Brian Wilson's status as "certified ninja" that has us bowing with respect.

    Thank you Jim Rome for prying, as usual.

    In the words of Wilson himself, screw it, red bull time.

14. Tiger Woods: Spearfishing

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    As perhaps the wealthiest athlete on the planet, golfing legend Tiger Woods needs ways to spend his cash. And what's better than partaking in the ancient art of spearing fish with sharp sticks?

    Nothing is right, and Tiger clearly keeps himself in immaculate shape with his pure love for spearfishing. Precision and patience, the key steps to success.

13. Kevin Garnett: Men's Fashion

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    All it took was "10-15 seconds" for Kevin Garnett to sufficiently undress Craig Sager with his words.

    The man known for his suits had little to say in response. A tearful Sager-led bonfire may have occurred following this pitiful dress-down. Ouch.

12. JaMarcus Russell: Drinking Purple Stuff

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    Undoubtedly inspired by the vocal prowess of one Lil Wayne, recent NFL draft bust JaMarcus Russell found himself addicted to the notorious "purple drank".

    He may blame it on "sleep apnea," but Russell is far more creative than we once believed. Enjoy his personal drank, the JaMarcus edition.

11. Alexander Ovechkin: Pretending to Rap

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    Seemingly the Vanilla Ice of Russia, NHL stud Alexander Ovechkin uses brilliant bounce moves and a memorable front-teeth gap to keep his listeners entertained.

    All he's missing is a bottle of Medovukha and some dressed herring.

10. Chris Bosh: Photo Bombing

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    This specific move is called the Velociraptor, but Chris Bosh often pulls the famed Boshtrich on surprised viewers.

    Just a third wheel searching for his moment.

9. Dennis Rodman: Wife Carrying

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    He may not have competed at the 2005 World Championships in Sonkajarvi, but former NBA rebounding extraordinaire Dennis Rodman was certainly there to witness the masterful art of wife-carrying.

    Rodman's ridden the insane train many times before, so dare we say he's finally approaching normalcy.

8. Nyjer Morgan: Educating

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    Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan (along with alter ego Tony Plush) never shies from the camera when a chance presents itself. And he never fails to deliver some crucial, entertaining and informational verbiage to his audience.

    But it's his constant education that always has us smiling...and learning. An all-around hero.

7. Clinton Portis: Changing Personas

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    Ferocious Miami product Clinton Portis has made a brilliant career out of trucking opponents and scoring touchdowns, but it's his off-the-field eccentricity that has fans truly enamored.

    Dolemite Jenkins is only one of many.

6. Blake Griffin: Interning

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    During the NBA lockout, balling superstar Blake Griffin joined the Funny or Die team as an "unpaid intern," set to learn the ropes and fit in. Tough task for a 6'10" dude.

    But it was his 24-hour surveillance that produced the greatest results. Correction, the most hilarious results.

5. Tim Duncan: Dungeons & Dragons

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    The NBA's first official nerd, Spurs legend Tim Duncan is known for his collection of swords and knives, and for his obsession with Dungeons & Dragons.

    Let's be clear, the most numbingly boring paint player in the league (albeit arguably the best) has one tattoo of Merlin from Arthurian lore and another of a Skeleton Jester. Major dork status.

    Finally we get it; the wizard puts his opponents to sleep.

4. Derek Holland: Reading the Weather

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    Perhaps the most animated and passionate weatherman we've seen since Ollie Williams during a storm, Rangers ace Derek Holland is a new breed of hilarious.

    Pure brilliance.

3. Shaquille O'Neal: Police Work

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    Considering he's rapped, "acted" and even danced-off with the Jabbawockeez, it wasn't really a surprise to see Shaq Daddy become a reserve officer on the Miami Beach police force after getting traded to the Heat in 2004.

    But excluding this epic receding hairline, it was O'Neal's personnel file that struck us as amazing.

    When asked about special skills or equipment, the Big Diesel replied "Laptop computer, binnochulars [sic], master of surveillance". And when asked the definition of "deadly force," Shaq replied "Yes; red, yellow, green".

    Typical weird Shaquille.

2. Mike Tyson: Raising Pigeons

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    Perhaps the most vicious heavyweight ever to approach a professional ring, Iron Mike Tyson naturally has a soft side...a nature-loving side.

    Known for raising pigeons before his boxing career took off, Tyson is determined to become the master of pigeon racing. A pure escape from the rest of society.

    “It took my mind off the world I was living in..." We can't help but smile with respect.

1. Carmelo Anthony: Scaring the Public

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    Epic. With performances like this, 'Melo will bring that ring to New York in no time.

    Perhaps the greatest showing of his career so far.