10 Stars with Awesome Out-of-Sport Hobbies

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2016

10 Stars with Awesome Out-of-Sport Hobbies

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    Noah Graham/Getty Images

    Pro athletes do amazing things in their sport of choice in front of countless fans, but it's what they do outside of sports that sometimes goes unnoticed.

    Though these superstars do things in a sport 99 percent of the population could not, they are actually quite human and do the same things as almost any fan. Some take part in other sports, some get artsy, others have ridiculous collections.

    Of course, being able to do something better than 99 percent of the rest of us means fat paychecks and an ability—if they so choose—to do these otherwise relatable hobbies in extraordinary fashion.

    Still, it's fun to know what superstars do away from the court without getting weirdly invasive (looking at you, paparazzi). So here are some of the most interesting hobbies professional athletes pursue when not playing a game in front of fans.

Rajon Rondo, G, Chicago Bulls

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    The Hobby: Roller Skating

    No typo there, folks.

    Rajon Rondo, now of the Chicago Bulls, starting roller skating when he was a member of the Boston Celtics.

    Look, when one thinks of finding a hobby they want to become good at, slapping some wheels on the feet and gliding around while trying not to break a bone or two isn't the first thing to come to mind.

    It did for Rondo, though, and one of the NBA's fastest players on the hardwood looked to have a strong handle on roller skating, too.

    Rondo has bounced around with three different teams in as many seasons now, but at least he has this somewhat odd hobby to fall back on if things don't work out with Dwyane Wade and the Bulls.

Cristiano Ronaldo, F, Real Madrid

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    Francisco Seco/Associated Press

    The Hobby: Bingo

    How hard can it possibly be to relate with Cristiano Ronaldo?

    The man many hate for his good looks, world-class skills and his willingness to flaunt both in front of millions of people enjoys playing something as simple as a game of Bingo.

    A simple Google search says Ronaldo loves the game of Bingo, which he used as tool to help him pick up on English numbers and sayings.

    Now, throw aside the weird visual of Ronaldo sitting around in his kit with a bunch of elderly people playing Bingo (somewhere, there's a scrapped commercial shoot for a product collecting dust). But the fact something so simple entertains one of the globe's biggest names and taught him the nuances of a language is downright remarkable.

    Eat that, Hooked on Phonics/Rosetta Stone.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

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    RICK SCUTERI/Associated Press

    The Hobby: Photography

    When Larry Fitzgerald isn't catching touchdowns for the Arizona Cardinals at a Hall-of-Fame clip and in picturesque fashion, he's taking pictures.

    This mostly occurs in the offseason, when Fitzgerald, to his own causal admission, travels to as many as 10 different countries, as captured by NFL.com's Tiffany Shine:

    Most of the photography that Fitzgerald does Devin can’t do with him because of the strenuous travel schedule Fitzgerald keeps in the offseason. “I bang out 6-10 countries in 20-30 days,” he remarked matter-of-factly. He enjoys travel so much that he fits in as much as he can in the offseason. Fitzgerald has been to Thailand, India, China, Tokyo, Kenya, Brazil, Egypt … and that’s just the beginning of his massive travel log.

    Now, maybe this isn't as relatable as Bingo or something given the way Fitzgerald can trot the globe each offseason if he so chooses. But given the technology of phones today, anyone has a great piece of equipment to snap shots with wherever they may be.

    A skill in of itself, it's hard to imagine Fitzgerald being anything short of stellar with a camera in his hands.

Robert Griffin III, QB, Cleveland Browns

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    The Hobby: Collecting Socks

    Most professional athletes like to collect kicks. You know, the Air Jordans and the Yeezys and maybe their own signature shoe.

    Robert Griffin III? He cares more about what's inside the kick. If a fan has ever seen the Cleveland Browns quarterback without a unique sock on his foot, it was like seeing a unicorn. Cherish it.

    Seriously, this is the guy who rocked Ninja Turtles socks to a media day and Superman socks to collect his Heisman Trophy. Don't forget the Barney socks at a press conference. 

    Oh, and given the spirit of the current season, RG3 even gave out socks instead of candy on Halloween.

    All hail the sock king.

Chris Paul, PG, Los Angeles Clippers

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    The Hobby: Bowling

    Here's a sport everyone can get behind—bowling.

    What better way to let out some stress than flinging a ball at some pins and taking in the wreckage on a scorecard? Call it the anti-golf.

    Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul agrees, as he once told ESPN's Arash Markazi of his hobby:

    Some guys have other hobbies but I’ve been bowling since senior year of high school. That Christmas my mom and dad got me a bowling ball that looked like an ABA basketball -- it was red, white and blue. They got my brother a bowling ball that looked like a regular basketball. I just love bowling. My family bowls all summer long.

    Paul uses his second-favorite game as a means for good, too, with his foundation hosting a celebrity game each year.

    What makes this cool is the fact any fan can suit up and bowl too. Put enough time in and who knows, maybe one could match CP3's scores. The same can't be said in the basketball realm.

Michelle Wie, LPGA

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    The Hobby: Painting

    Professional athletes need an outlet away from work, too.

    For Michelle Wie, the job is golf and the release is painting. As the above shows, painting isn't just a hobby for Wie—she's incredible at it.

    "I don't know how to explain them. But they release some dark feelings in me, and to me, they make me happy," Wie said, according to USA Today's Steve DiMeglio.

    Some of us can hardly draw stick figures with any consistency, so the fact Wie can express herself via one of her favorite hobbies is cool to see. Her social media accounts usually show off some of her work.

    The nice part about this hobby? It's not a competition. Anyone can pick up a pencil and paper and get to work the same way.

Jason Hammel, P, Chicago Cubs

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The Hobby: Legos collector

    There's no such thing as being too old for something, especially when we're talking about LEGOs (typed with one hand while petting LEGO Star Wars Death Star).

    So says 34-year-old Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel, who has told interviewers in the past he loves the connectable blocks and even has it plastered in his Twitter bio.

    We're talking about Hammel going from 90 mph fastballs and 104 strikeouts or more in three seasons and running to slowly putting together pieces of LEGOs themed anywhere from a Disney movie to Lord of the Rings to Batman.

    It's frankly hilarious and something any fan can pick up and do, so hat's off to one of the guys in sports telling us it's not bad to never grow up.

Joe Johnson, G, Utah Jazz

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    The Hobby: Kicks Collection

    Look, most of us won't do a shoe collection like a professional athlete. But Utah Jazz guard Joe Johnson is worth a mention because his collection is downright dizzying.

    We're talking about a fingerprint sensor like an episode of 24 and a closet that could be an official museum. Just look at all these shoes.

    The official number? Just 436, no big deal.

    Oh, and he said that number to ESPN The Magazine's Stacey Pressman in 2011:

    I wanted to display all of my shoes, so I had this 500-square-foot closet made. I just thought this would be a cool idea, and it would almost look like a museum. I had a fingerprint sensor put on the door to make sure I'm the only one who can get in here. I mostly wear Air Jordans. All of the Jordan guys are selected by Michael Jordan himself. It's kind of hard to tell MJ no. I have 436 pairs of sneakers in here, and they're mostly unworn. I'll wear all of them eventually.

    How man pairs can a guy buy in five years?

    Hard to say, but Johnson has few equals in the sneakers collection game considering he's a 35-year-old veteran who has been paid like one of the best players in the league, because he was.

Jimmy Graham, TE, Seattle Seahawks

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    The Hobby: Stunt Pilot

    Look, flying isn't for everyone. Some of us get sweaty palms and try to remember where they said the sick bag was as soon as the plane backs away from the terminal.

    Others, like Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham, takes his own flight and flips the plane around for fun while recording tricks for his social media accounts.

    The idea of a plane flipping is downright horror-movie stuff for most, or at least a prelude to being stuck in a terrible Lost adventure. For Graham it's just a day in his life, a hobby taking him well away from the day-to-day of life.

    So hat's off to Graham, because apparently he doesn't lose his while zooming around up there.

Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers

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    The Hobby: Rapping

    Yeah, yeah, your favorite athlete dabbles in rapping.

    Not like Dame D.O.L.L.A.

    Otherwise known as Damian Lillard, what sets him apart from other athletes who try to rap and fail miserably (coughLanceStephensoncough) is the fact Dame could only rap as his career choice and make quite the living.

    He's that good. There's a reason guys like Lil' Wayne have hopped on a track with Lillard. There's a reason Wade and LeBron took to social media to praise his first album, The Letter O, chronicled by Bleacher Report.

    Lillard has an incredibly bright future on and off the court. His skill and pursuit of a hobby to a professional degree is not only inspirational, it sets the bar, which happens to be Lillard's to raise even higher, by the way.

    Follow Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) on Twitter.