Actors Who Are Obsessed with Sports

Scott Janovitz@@BrainTrain9Featured ColumnistMarch 7, 2015

Actors Who Are Obsessed with Sports

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    More than just a Cubs fan, Bill Murray is an iconic sports fan.
    More than just a Cubs fan, Bill Murray is an iconic sports fan.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In the same way athletes have forever admired actors, actors too have traditionally held athletes in high esteem.

    Of course, while many sports superstars can actually experience and try their hand in acting, most actors have to simply settle for courtside seats.

    Not so surprisingly, in some instances, these peripheral admirers take their passion for sport to the absolute extreme.

    Take Bill Murray, for example, who not only watches his favorite teams but actually owns several of them. Or Billy Crystal, who took his love for Yankee baseball to the field itself, signing a one-day contract with the team back in 2008. 

    There's also Jack Nicholson, of course, who has been a constant, and noisy, presence at Lakers home games dating all the way back to the 1970 season. 

    With the aforementioned superfans in mind, we've done our best to honor and spotlight the 15 most worthy actors who are obsessed with sports.

    While many talents could have deservedly made our prestigious list, in the end, we did our best to identify the actors who truly take their sports fandom to the limitwell beyond where any of their sane colleagues would ever dream of going.

Close, but No Cigar

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    Samuel L. Jackson is a fan of just about every major sport and can regularly be seen at Toronto Raptor basketball games.
    Samuel L. Jackson is a fan of just about every major sport and can regularly be seen at Toronto Raptor basketball games.Associated Press

    Though we've singled out 15 actors who are completely obsessed with sports, there are plenty more with similar passion. With them in mind, consider this our list of honorable mentions:

    • Samuel L. Jackson, Toronto Raptors, University of Tennessee women's basketball
    • Justin Timberlake, Memphis Grizzlies
    • Alyssa Milano, LA Dodgers
    • Chris Rock, New York Knicks
    • Denzel Washington, New York Yankees
    • Woody Allen, New York, Knicks
    • John Krasinski, Boston sports
    • Drew Carey, Seattle Sounders
    • Eric Stonestreet, Kansas State sports
    • Will Smith, Philadelphia Eagles and 76ers
    • Mike Myers, Toronto Maple Leafs
    • Jessica Alba, Golden State Warriors
    • Kevin Hart, Philadelphia sports
    • Susan Sarandon, New York Rangers
    • Tim Robbins, New York Rangers
    • Ice Cube, Oakland Raiders
    • Jamie Fox, Dallas Cowboys

Matthew Perry

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    Matthew Perry grew up as a huge hockey fan.
    Matthew Perry grew up as a huge hockey fan.Associated Press

    We should first note, Matthew Perry's recent appearance on SportsCenter—on February 24, 2015, to be exact—was the very inspiration for this article. 

    On the show, the diehard Los Angeles Kings fan and long-time season-ticket holder admitted to having a live-update sports ticker running throughout his Hollywood mansion. 

    Of course, when you have enough money to buy houses that look like this, you can really have just about anything. 

    And Perry's house is good for a lot more than a badass sports ticker; when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup in 2012, the Emmy-nominated actor hosted the after party.

Stephen King

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    Stephen King may write fiction, but he lives sports.
    Stephen King may write fiction, but he lives sports.MICHAEL C. YORK/Associated Press

    Though he's no doubt best known for his thrilling novels, Stephen King has had an impressively prolific career as an actor too. 

    Over the years, he's also proven to be scarily into sports. 

    More specifically, King is an obsessed Boston Red Sox fan, frequenting both their home and away games and regularly mentioning them in his novels as well. 

    In his 1999 novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordonthe former Red Sox closer naturally plays a leading role, and in 2004, King really showed his commitment to the Sox when he co-authored Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season. 

Vince Vaughn

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    When it comes to sports, Vince Vaughn pretty much loves everything Chicago.
    When it comes to sports, Vince Vaughn pretty much loves everything Chicago.Associated Press

    In just the second big-screen appearance of his career, Vince Vaughn got the chance to embrace his considerable love of sports, playing the part of Notre Dame running back Jamie O'Hare.    

    The part hit home for Vaughn, a sports enthusiast who grew up in Buffalo Grove, Illinois.

    When he's not on set, the affable comedian pulls hard for the Irish in addition to most things Chicago related.

    At Cubs games, Vaughn has welcomed the opportunity to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during many a seventh inning, and he has long been a Chicago Blackhawks season-ticket holder as well.

    And just like so many other avid fans, Vaughn's sports interests reach far and wide; most recently, he served as the grand marshal for the 2015 Daytona 500.

Matthew McConaughey

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    Growing up in Texas, Matthew McConaughey had no choice but to love the Longhorns.
    Growing up in Texas, Matthew McConaughey had no choice but to love the Longhorns.Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    It isn't exactly hard to imagine Matthew McConaughey the sports fan, especially when you consider his southern drawl and the comfort with which he starred in films such as Two for the Money and We Are Marshall. 

    Born and raised in the football-crazy state of Texas, McConaughey grew up on University of Texas football and, somehow, on the Washington Redskins as well. 

    When it comes to the Longhorns, McConaughey's love and commitment cannot be questioned. 

    In 2005, when the team won a BCS national title, he found his way into the Longhorn locker room to join in the post-game celebration. And more recently, the Oscar-winning actor showed up for a 2014 practice and gave this rousing speech.

Adam Sandler

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    Growing up in New York, Adam Sandler grew to like nearly every team the Big Apple has to offer.
    Growing up in New York, Adam Sandler grew to like nearly every team the Big Apple has to offer.Chris Park/Associated Press

    Though his allegiance has at times been questioned—bouncing back and forth between the Jets and Giants is hardly allowed—Adam Sandler's overall passion for sports should never be doubted. 

    When away from home, new and improved cell phones have made keeping up with sports far easier than in the past. For Sandler, though, they are apparently still nowhere near sufficient.

    On the set of his most recent "classic"—2013's Grown Ups 2Sandler reportedly tasked multiple people with lugging around a big-screen TV and satellite dish to ensure a sports fix was never too far away. 

    Even when the cast had to shoot a scene aboard a boat, Sandler require his television crew to follow.

    Of course, the funny-man actor has also made sure to include the Jets in a number of his films. Sandler convinced former Jets coach Rex Ryan to appear in That's My Boy; in Mr. Deeds, Sandler's character actually purchases the New York-based team; and in Big Daddy, multiple characters make obvious references to the men in green and white.

Snoop Dogg

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    With his son agreeing to play for UCLA, Snoop Dogg is now a diehard Bruin.
    With his son agreeing to play for UCLA, Snoop Dogg is now a diehard Bruin.Katy Winn/Associated Press

    As a lifelong fan of the USC Trojans, Snoop Dogg's badge of sports honor took a major hit in February, when his youngest son, Cordell Broadus, spurned USC to sign a letter of intent to play college football at UCLA.

    All joking aside, no one can really blame Snoop for picking his son over the Trojans, for whom the rapper-cum-actor has rooted since the day he was born. In fact, if you looked hard enough, you could often see Snoop Dogg along USC sidelines.

    Now, though, it's all blue and gold in the Broadus den. 

    Away from the college gridiron, while growing up in Long Beach, California, Snoop forever pulled for both the Dodgers and Lakers too and still frequently attends games in support of both teams.

    And his love for sports extends far beyond just watching them; Snoop is a certified coach in the Orange County Junior All-America Football League, as well as the creator of the Snoop Youth Football League, where he schooled both his Cordell and Kansas City Chiefs running back De'Anthony Thomas, to whom he gave the nickname "Black Mamba."  

Paul Rudd

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    Paul Rudd is the world's best-known Royals fan.
    Paul Rudd is the world's best-known Royals fan.Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    While he often plays characters who are a bit more "arty", actor Paul Rudd has been an enormous sports fan his entire life.

    Growing up in Kansas, Rudd became a fan of every professional team the state has to offer. And as a former student at the University of Kansas, he's naturally a diehard fan of Jayhawk basketball too. 

    Of course, Rudd was first and foremost a well-known loyalist of the Kansas City Chiefs. So when the team was to be featured on HBO's Hard Knocks in 2007, it only made sense for the franchise to ask Rudd to narrate.

    Not surprisingly, he kindly obliged.

    And more recently, Rudd took his allegiance to Kansas' teams to a whole new level.

    When his Royals defeated Baltimore in Game 4 of the 2014 ALCS, the popular actor could hardly contain his excitement and invited fans to celebrate the win with him over at his mom's house.

Ashley Judd

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    Though she was born in Granada Hill, California, actress Ashley Judd spent a majority of her childhood in the fine State of Kentucky, which meant she had very little choice in one basic matter: whether to root for the Kentucky Wildcats. 

    Since then, Judd has done nothing but zealously embrace the pride of the Bluegrass State, attending as many Wildcat games as she possibly can and rooting passionately—rather than passively—whether present or not. 

    For real proof of Judd's obsessive and altogether inspiring fandom, simply watch the video above or consider the following quote from it: "Before the game, I am not social, I am not friendly—I have nothing but contempt for anyone who wants to talk about something other than basketball."

    She sure sounds like a fan to us!

The Boston Boys

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    Mark Wahlberg is committed to sports in a major way, both emotionally and professionally.
    Mark Wahlberg is committed to sports in a major way, both emotionally and professionally.Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    When it comes to Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Mark Wahlberg, if you give any of them a chance to talk Boston sports, they'll surely take it and run. 

    In addition to being an avid poker player—yes, poker is considered a sport these days—Damon is also a diehard fan of the Boston Red Sox. In fact, when the team won the World Series back in 2007, the Academy Award winner was tasked with narrating the commemorative DVD. 

    Just like his good friend, Affleck is also obsessed with everything Boston. He's reportedly a huge Patriots fan, calls Larry Bird his favorite athlete and admits that he'd rather see the Red Sox win the World Series than win another Oscar.

    Not to be outdone, Wahlberg too is a sports fanatic. However, he is hardly confined to simply pulling for the local teams and everything NBA.

    The star of both Invincible and The Fighter is also quite the sporty entrepreneur; Wahlberg has his own line of sports nutritional supplements—for those who want to know, it's called "Marked"—he has teamed up with Indian Motorcycle to create a unisex clothing line and is also the owner of the Barbados Tridents cricket franchise. 

Jerry Seinfeld

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    For as long as he's been alive, Jerry Seinfeld has loved the Mets.
    For as long as he's been alive, Jerry Seinfeld has loved the Mets.Richard Drew/Associated Press

    As a young kid growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Jerry Seinfeld was naturally drawn to the New York Mets. The Yankees simply weren't his "kind of team," as he favored the way the Metropolitans played the game from the moment he first laid eyes on them.

    To hear the genius comedian speak about his favorite team and sport says it all: "It's a cliche, but walking through the tunnel at Shea Stadium of a night game, seeing that color—the green and the seats and the lights...I was probably 10 or 11, and when those lights hit you and you see the green grass—that's my first really powerful baseball moment."

    From then until now, Seinfeld has remained a fanatical fan. In fact, the team means as much to him now as it did when he was just a kid.

    When SNY recently announced that it could not come to financial terms with broadcaster Bobby Ojeda—who had called Mets games for the last six years—Seinfeld was so bothered by the news that he began a public campaign in favor of his favorite announcer. 

Will Ferrell

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    As a USC graduate, Will Ferrell is a natural fan of the Trojans.
    As a USC graduate, Will Ferrell is a natural fan of the Trojans.Winslow Townson/Getty Images

    Though he's easily one of the funniest men alive, Will Ferrell's love of sports is truly no joke. 

    In addition to Ferrell's hardcore allegiance to Chelsea soccer—in 2009, he was an honorary captain for an exhibition game with Inter Milan—he is a diehard fan of the USC Trojans too and with good reason.

    Ferrell attended USC in the late '80s and remains an active alumnus to this day.

    As a committed football fan, he can regularly be spotted at both Trojan practices and games, with his most notable appearance coming in October of 2013. 

    And we'd be remiss if we didn't also mention the comedian's frequent appearances on ESPN's SportsCenter, which perfectly combine his two greatest passions: comedy and sports.

Jack Nicholson

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    For more than 45 years, Jack Nicholson has been a loyal Lakers fan.
    For more than 45 years, Jack Nicholson has been a loyal Lakers fan.Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Over the last 25 years, you'd be hard-pressed to watch the Lakers play at home and not see Jack Nicholson sitting courtside. 

    In total, the 12-time Oscar-nominated actor has been a Los Angeles Lakers season-ticket holder for more than 45 years, dating all the way back to the 1970 season. According to reports, the directors with which Nicholson works have learned to structure their schedules around Lakers home games.  

    Now that's commitment.

    One of the very best physical representations of Nicholson's rabid fandom dates back to 2009, when his Lakers took on the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals. Angered by a Game 2 call that went against Pau Gasol, Nicholson's frustration lifted him out of his seat and down the sideline, until he was eventually ranting alongside then-Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy.  

    More recently, the hot-tempered Nicholson has cooled off on the currently dreadful Lakers, telling TMZ that he'd gladly sell his season tickets at face value. And while we'd never support fair-weather fandom, that doesn't seem to be the root of Nicholson's problem.

    Just ask former Laker Pat Riley: "He's been a good friend of mine...for years. It's borne out of basketball more than anything else. He's simply a fanatic and has been ever since I started my career with the Lakers in 1970. He's a real fan."

    In truth, the 77-year-old actor is simply too invested and too fragile, and that makes watching the miserable Lakeshow a legitimate health risk.

Spike Lee

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    Superfan Spike Lee will forever be associated with New York Knicks basketball.
    Superfan Spike Lee will forever be associated with New York Knicks basketball.Associated Press

    Simply put, no actor is as associated with a single sports team as Spike Lee is with the New York Knicks. 

    Whether Phil Jackson was right—he recently described Lee as "an avid Knicks fan who doesn't know anything about basketball"—there's no questioning the Emmy winner's level of commitment. 

    Since 1985, Lee has been a constant in Madison Square Garden, while his relationship with former Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller—who notoriously burned the Knicks on countess occasions—has become legendary. 

    Not surprisingly, Lee's obsession with sports—he's also a diehard fan of the Yankees and Arsenalhas often spilled over into his work.

    For Knicks fans, he recently made a film chronicling the Triangle Offense, and he's either made or been a part of countless other like-minded projects, such as He Got Game and numerous documentaries, including ones on Mo'ne Davis, Mike Tyson and Jim Brown.  

    Of course, in the 1990s and on an even larger scale, Lee managed to successfully combine his skills in film with his love for basketball, creating—through the fictional character Mars Blackmona visible and equally profitable relationship with the great Michael Jordan.

Bill Murray

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    When Bill Murray had the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game, he most the most of it.
    When Bill Murray had the chance to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game, he most the most of it.Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    As a native of Illinois—and the star of Caddyshack, which is one of the greatest sports movies ever made—Bill Murray is an avid fan of just about every team located in the fine Prairie State.

    While he is a committed loyalist to both the Chicago Bears and Bulls, his favorite team is unquestionably the Cubs.

    In the 1980s, Murray once played the part of guest commentator during one of their home games. Far more recently, he threw out the first pitch and was invited to party in the team clubhouse after they clinched the NL Central in September of 2007.

    Oh, and how can we forget, the baseball-obsessed Murray also owns numerous minor-league teams—the Charleston RiverDogs, the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Brockton Roxfor which he can be seen taking tickets and serving as the director of fun

    On the college level, the renowned comedian pulls strong for the University of Illinois and, when in town, tries to attend a majority of the school's home basketball games. Most notably, Murray sat courtside when the Illini took on UNC in the 2005 National Title Game. 

    Not surprisingly, the comedy great passed his love for sports on to son Luke Murray, who is now an assistant basketball coach at the University of Rhode Island. As expected, the elder Murray is also a diehard fan of whichever team employs his son and is a regular at their games as well, most recently traveling to Logan, Philadelphia to watch Rhode Island take on La Salle.

Billy Crystal

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    For Billy Crystal, the Yankees are a major part of who he is.
    For Billy Crystal, the Yankees are a major part of who he is.Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    If you've ever had the pleasure of seeing Billy Crystal's Broadway play 700 Sundays—an homage to his deceased father—you will already understand just how important the Yankees are in the Crystal family. 

    In the two-act, one-man show, Crystal talks at length about his lifelong love for baseball and about the times he and his father shared both playing and watching the sport.

    He also recounts the momentous time Mickey Mantle signed his glove and how later in life the two actually became extremely close friends. In fact, when Mantle passed away in 1995, Crystal got together with Bob Costas to write a eulogy, which Costas presented at the funeral.

    And when the Yankees held a ceremony to unveil Mantle's monument at old Yankee Stadium, George Steinbrenner chose Crystal to emcee the event. 

    More recently—and perhaps the coolest thing he's ever done—Crystal took his Yankee fandom to a whole new level; he signed a contract with his favorite team, attended spring training and even got the chance to lead off an inning, an at-bat that ended six pitches later with a strikeout.  

    Of course, the nine-time Academy Award host has a love for sports that registers far beyond the Yanks. 

    Crystal is a part-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks and consistently inserts baseball into the movies in which he stars—in City Slickers, Crystal's character is seen wearing a Mets hat throughout, and in Running Scared, his character is an avid Cubs fan and regularly wears their jersey to prove it.

    Finally, in a very Crystal-esque odds-defying way, the legendary actor is a well-known and long-time Clippers fan as well.


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