The 25 Most Random Athlete Endorsements Ever
They say with fame comes fortune, but it’s not always as straightforward as that.
It might be more fitting to say that “With fame comes offers.” And for athletes that means sponsorship opportunities
Naturally, most of the companies that end up sponsoring athletes and receiving their endorsement are businesses specializing in products that appeal to the athlete in all of us—shoe designers, sports drink companies and athletic merchandisers.
But that’s not always the case.
Sometimes athletes end up putting their stamp of approval on some random or seemingly nonsensical stuff, products with no correlation to the player pushing them.
Which is precisely what this list is about: occasions when athletes have loaned their brand to products or services that have little to no natural correlation with their public persona.
25. David Beckham Fish Sticks
A man has to make a buck, that much I will always understand.
But what I don’t think I’ll ever wrap my head around is how someone in the advertising division at Birds Eye had the idea to pair soccer legend David Beckham with fish sticks.
I guess they’re both...best served hot and steaming?
24. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and TaxSlayer
NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. will fix your food, caddy your round of gold and cut your hair—all while you discuss all the money you saved by using TaxSlayer to organize your personal finances.
I guess this commercial is what it looks like when an advertising firm tries to squeeze a celebrity endorsement into “triple coverage.”
23. Dustin Pedroia’s Awkward Tire Commercial
Hawking tires isn’t a completely unimaginable thing for a pro athlete to do.
But when Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia starts trying to act as if he uses them as part of his jackhammer training regimen, that’s certainly something we didn't see coming.
22. Mike Ditka Hates Rust
Former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka hates rust almost as much as he hates...“oleum”?
We’re following you, Mike, and we love the acting job you’re doing.
But two questions: What in the hot sweating hell did they pay you to do this? And where can I get a “Torture Salt Fog Chamber”?
21. Danica Patrick and GoDaddy.com
Don’t drop a deuce in my pillowcase and tell me it’s “memory foam,” Go Daddy.
Which is exactly what the domain name-brokering website is attempting to do when they try to sell NASCAR driver Danica Patrick—a random and underwhelming sex icon at best—as a steamy playgirl in their television spots.
I have no problem with Patrick, but her and GoDaddy.com make for forced and implausible bedfellows at best.
20. John McEnroe’s God-Awful Bic Commercial
“Some guys have normal skin, and some guys eat a whole bag of biscotti and cry into a pillow while watching the movie Crash.”
That’s pretty much the gist of the commercial former tennis star John McEnroe did for Bic razors, and we can only assume expressing his machismo was the foremost reason he agreed to this random advertisement.
19. Shaquille O'Neal Launches "Luv Shaq" Vodka
Line up ladies, because Shaquille O’Neal has entered the vodka game and he’s bringing the “Luv Shaq” your way.
Coconut-flavored and sugar-free, O’Neal’s new “Luv Shaq” vodka is scheduled for release sometime in 2013.
Does it make perfect sense? No. Is it going to be cheap and gluten-free? Yes.
18. Kobe Bryant’s Call of Duty Black Ops Commercial
The Call of Duty franchise was reaching out to all types of gamers with this commercial for Black Ops, and the Black Mamba’s cameo was indeed awesome.
But nobody expected to see an athlete, much less the star shooting guard of the Los Angeles Lakers, in the middle of a combat and hellfire Call of Duty commercial.
17. Jonathan Ogden’s Gebco Insurance Commercial
No, it’s not Geico.
Former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Jonathan Ogden decided to boogie down for a Gebco car insurance commercial—which is a bit like advertising for the Best Value brand of ketchup instead of Heinz.
16. Patrick Ewing’s Snickers Commercial
It’s as hilarious as it is random—Patrick showing up on the scene, kindly addressing his friend Brian and blasting a hot wad of dunkage all over the poor kid.
We haven’t been this glad to see Ewing since we were “on fire” with him in NBA Jams.
15. Tracy McGrady Endorses Chinese Beer
Former Orlando Magic forward Tracy McGrady may be out of the game in the United States, but he’s still playing hoops overseas for the Qingdao Eagles and pulling down bucks by doing advertisements like this spot for Xuejin Chinese beer.
I guess it’s good to see McGrady is still alive and well, but it’s less encouraging to see a basketball player wandering alone in the park with a six-pack of beer.
14. Mike Krzyzewski’s American Express Ads
Even after coming under fire for the commercials, Duke head basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski doesn’t regret the series of the American Express spots he starred in that aired during the 2005 NCAA basketball tournament.
We can’t dog him for getting after the paper, but we can’t say that there’s a natural link between well-paid head coaches and spending on credit.
13. Kobe Bryant’s Smart Car Commercial
Even in his foreign car commercials, Kobe Bryant somehow still manages to use his "Psshht... you think I don’t know what I’m doing here?” facial expression.
12. Tom Brady's Ugg Commercials
He actually did it.
It may not be the most surprising endorsement, especially when you consider the “soft” criticisms his critics reserve for him, but New England Patriot quarterback Tom Brady’s decision to shoot a commercial for Australian shoe company Ugg leaves sports fans with some questions.
Why would you give people this ammo? Why would you do this to you?
Only one answer exists: “Must be the money.” And that’s enough for Tom Brady.
11. Pete Rose’s Kool-Aid Commercial
“Kool-Aid! It’s for hot kids just like you! OH YEAH!”
Oh, no. No, no, no.
In this commercial, former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose stumps for Kool-Aid while Kool-Aid croons its seductive and sugary siren song to “hot kids.”
Just put the bat down and leave the park, Rose. None of us want to see you implicated in anything this random and weird.
10. Kobe Bryant and Turkish Airlines
American basketball star endorses Turkish Airlines—makes perfect sense, right?
I know basketball is becoming bigger and bigger in Turkey, but the first-glance randomness of Kobe Bryant’s commercials for Turkish Airlines still leaves me with a queer and befuddled feeling in my gut every time I see them.
9. Manny Ramirez Endorses “Sum Poosie”
8. Brock Lesnar’s Human Scent-Killer Commercial
If you ever need to twist the head off of a bull elk, you’re gonna need to get up real close-like to do it.
That’s where former MMA fighter Brock Lesnar and “Super-Charged Scent Killer” come in.
In this commercial, Lesnar promises viewers his scent neutralizer is guaranteed to “smash human odor” and make you virtually undetectable to wild game.
It’s a random, terrifying commercial, and I will never walk a trail again without experiencing the creeping feeling that Brock Lesnar is waiting for me somewhere along the way in a hollowed-out log.
7. Jaromi Jagr Peanut Butter
It’s rich, creamy and there’s plenty of nuts in there—it’s Jaromi Jagr Peanut Butter.
And all we can say is, "Why, Lord?"
6. Wilt Chamberlain Endorses Children’s Laxatives
Laxatives for children, sold by a 7’1” professional basketball player with a beard.
5. Manny Pacquaio Vinegar and Soy Sauce
He’s the second-highest paid athlete in the world, but that doesn’t mean Manny Pacquiao is above licensing his mug out for use on condiment labels.
4. “Unbreakable” Perfume by Khloe and Lamar Odom
I...I don’t even know what to say.
The “Unbreakable” unisex perfume Lamar Odom co-sponsors with his wife Khloe Kardashian makes my eyes burn and the goodwill toward men I have in my heart turn to ash.
3. Muhammad Ali Roach Traps
“Put these pretty roach traps out ‘round your dining table and fine cutlery. Don’t worry, my face will only add to the wonderful atmosphere.”
Even in his random and lesser known endorsements, Muhammad Ali still had to insert a bit of his patented self-loving attitude, as evidenced in this d-Con roach trap ad.
2. Four Famous Coaches Plug Guitar Hero
Surreal doesn’t even begin to explain the feeling of watching Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Bob Knight doing an advertisement for Guitar Hero in their underwear.
Honestly, I would have expected to see OJ Simpson, Queen Elizabeth II and Boy George do the YMCA in painter’s suits before I saw these four coaches do an advertisement for a video game.
1. Joe Namath’s Pantyhose Commercials
Majestic. Beautiful. Completely wrong and inexplicable in all ways imaginable.
Give former Jets quarterback and Hall of Famer Joe Namath credit—he came out of blue-sky nowhere and got us good with this random endorsement of “Beautymist” pantyhose.