Best Recent Acting Roles Pulled off by Athletes

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2015

Best Recent Acting Roles Pulled off by Athletes

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    Duane Prokop/Getty Images

    Over the years, we've seen plenty of pro athletes trade in their cleats and sneakers for a chance to step in front of the camera and try their hand at acting.

    While some have flopped worse than some of the biggest busts in sports history, others have shown that they have some talent and that a future in Hollywood may not be the most far-fetched goal following their playing days.

    They may not ever win an Oscar, but at the very least, these athletes were pretty darn good in their acting roles, so let's applaud their efforts.

Tyler Seguin and Michael Del Zotto (Goon 2)

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    OK, I admit that I'm jumping the gun a bit on this one—especially when you consider that the movie hasn't been released yet—but I have a good feeling that Tyler Seguin and Michael Del Zotto in Goon 2 will be pretty freakin' epic.

    Maybe that's because the first Goon flick was actually funny—and an underrated sports film, in my opinion—or because Seguin's a rising NHL star who seems like a perfect fit next to actor Sean William Scott's sophomoric humor.

    With Seguin and Del Zotto on the opposite team of Scott's character, Doug “The Thug” Glatt, I'm stoked to see what unfolds here.

Derek Jeter (The Other Guys)

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    Warning: Video contains NSFW language.

    Part of what makes Derek Jeter's cameo in the 2010 movie The Other Guys so funny is that it's so completely random and unnecessary that it actually works beautifully.

    Plus, you have to imagine that the guy who shot him—actor Mark Wahlberg, who's a diehard Boston Red Sox fan—kind of enjoyed beating up the once-hated, yet respected, Jeter.

    Appearing twice in the movie, Jeter might not have stolen the show, but he did an admirable job when the camera panned his way.

Hines Ward (The Dark Knight Rises)

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    Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think that former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward even has a single line during his cameo with then-teammate Mike Wallace in the action flick The Dark Knight Rises. Still, it was cool to see the two former Pittsburgh Steelers players in the movie.

    Appearing during one of the most intense scenes of the film, Ward was told to run for his life as the stadium in Gotham, aka Pittsburgh, was splitting beneath his feet.

    According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, here's what Ward had to say about the scene: "I've run scared before, but I really ran scared that day. They told me, 'Don't look back.' I felt the explosion when I was running. I had to wear earplugs. Usually, I'm smiling when I'm running, but that day I was actually screaming."

    Looks like Ward was actually a little scared for his life, making this an epic cameo.

Andrew Luck (Parks and Recreation)

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    Not only one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL but also a pretty solid option as an actor, Indianapolis Colts signal-caller Andrew Luck showed his chops during a scene in the TV show Parks and Recreations a couple years ago.

    Appearing alongside former teammate Reggie Wayne and Colts owner Jim Irsay, Luck made sure that Chris Pratt's character in the show, Andy, had a memorable bachelor party, hitting him with a toss in the end zone with a perfect pass.

    Luck has sort of become the face of the NFL since this, so it was just a small sample of what was to come for the former No. 1 overall pick.

Ian Laperriere, Matt Carle, Scott Hartnell and James Van Riemsdyk (This Is 40)

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    The film This Is 40 had its moments, but for the most part, it failed to be as funny as I think a lot of people thought it would end up being given the cast.

    One scene that didn't disappoint, though, was the one in which Philadelphia Flyers teammates Ian Laperriere, Matt Carle, Scott Hartnell and James Van Riemsdyk all appeared at a bar and flirted with Megan Fox and Leslie Leslie Mann's characters.

    I'm not sure anything tops seeing Laperriere remove his fake teeth and watching Fox act like a weirdo with the grill in her mouth. Just a normal night at the bar for a hockey player, I'm sure.

Mike Tyson (The Hangover Part II)

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    Warning: Video contains NSFW language.

    When it comes to an athlete absolutely showing no shame in a cameo, I think that Mike Tyson takes the cake, because he didn't just show up and have one or two lines but actually had a pretty big role in both The Hangover and The Hangover Part II.

    Tyson, who admitted later to Yahoo Sports (h/t the Daily Mail) that he was ripped out of his mind on some stuff while filming the first movie, showed how versatile and funny he can really be in the second installment, though, actually singing a song that sounded like the worst karaoke performance ever witnessed.

    But, hey, Iron Mike was born to box, not sing, so it actually works well for him and gives him an A-plus grade for hilarity.

Ronda Rousey (Entourage)

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    What a year it was for UFC superstar Ronda Rousey, huh?

    In addition to becoming the biggest showstopper for the organization, Rowdy showed that she had some acting chops, too, doing what she does best by going head-to-head with a brave—and definitely crazy—Turtle in their scene from the movie Entourage.

    Not only did Rousey show off her skills in the gym from that flick, but she also had one of the best fight scenes of 2015 in film with her other cameo in Furious 7, where she and Michelle Rodriguez don't disappoint against one another.

    The only thing that would have made Rousey's year better would have been to retain her women's UFC title, but at least she's winning on the silver screen.

John Cena (Trainwreck)

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    Although another athlete might get credit for his cameo in the movie Trainwreck, a case could be made that it was WWE superstar John Cena who stole the show with his role.

    Cena, who through his wrestling persona has proven to be a good actor, played the overly intense and strange boyfriend of actress Amy Schumer, who wants to make Schumer's character, Amy, the face of a hopeful new cross-fit program of his.

    Each time Cena appears on screen, it's awkward and funny, so the only wish was that he got more camera time.

LeBron James (Trainwreck)

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    That other athlete from Trainwreck I mentioned earlier in the John Cena slide? Yeah, that would be some guy named LeBron James, who, after delivering an epic NBA Finals performance last summer, showed to have quite the acting guile with his role in this comedy, too.

    James is the biggest athlete on the planet, capable of handpicking every project he wants to work on, so it was cool to see him not only show up in Trainwreck but have such a supporting role that he absolutely killed.

    As big of a superstar as LeBron is, he stepped into a aw-shucks role that fit him a little bit too perfectly and gave audiences plenty of laughs.

Tom Brady (Ted 2)

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    Warning: Video contains NSFW content.

    It's not common to see New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady break his stone-faced, all-business persona during the football season before, during and after games. But get Tom Terrific on a big screen, and dude brings serious heat.

    I mean, would you have guessed that Brady would be a good fit for the movie Ted 2 when the bear and his sidekick, actor Mark Wahlberg, are on the hunt for a perfect sperm donor, going to great lengths to secure the right guy? I wouldn't.

    Yet there was the four-time Super Bowl champ, allowing Wahlberg and a talking bear to look under his bed sheets and get into a fight with them. Classic.

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