The 20 Worst Athlete Commercials of All Time

K. D. James@KDamanJCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2010

The 20 Worst Athlete Commercials of All Time

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    It is said that athletes and actors are used to sell products in ads because of their mass appeal and popularity.

    When Michael Jordan gulped Gatorade and laced up his Air Jordans, almost everyone went out and bought the energy drink and put on the signature kicks for years to come.

    But did everyone do the same thing when Alex Ovechkin mumbled the Eastern Motors jingle? Or when Isiah Thomas was selling Toyota Celicas?

    I think not, because those two athletes were in two of the 20 Worst Athlete Commercials of All Time!

20. Dwight Howard - Superman on Kryptonite

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    Lovable guy, always smiling. When everyone saw this guy dominate the slam dunk competition (in a cape, mind you) a couple of years ago, you were sure to root for him.

    But when displaying his goofball skills (imitating Arnold Schwarzenegger and Rick James) right here, this may have been the point where you all were convinced that he's more in love with himself as a pitchman than as a superior athlete.

    And you wonder why he hasn't won an NBA title for the Orlando Magic yet. Too much child's play and not enough grown-man delivery on the court, perhaps?

19. Steve Nash - Bad Dream

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    Steve Nash is pretty much one of the best point guards in the NBA. Media types will claim that New Orleans' Chris Paul is far better, but it's the 37-year-old, two-time MVP Nash who's steadily been the catalyst of great fast-break play in Phoenix.

    Yet the Canadian from the province of British Columbia just had to tarnish his "street cred" by starring in this Visa spot.

    Yes, he grew up playing soccer (otherwise known as "football" worldwide), but his dribbling (and acting!) skills I'm sure have gone on the decline for years. Some may differ, but I find the clip atrocious.

18. Julie Foudy & Brandi Chastain - Jive Nerds

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    People like Mia Hamm made little girls in this country want to grow up and dominate the sport of soccer just like her.

    That effect was the same with Hamm's former teammates, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain, who famously took off her soccer jersey and proudly showed her abs and sports bra underneath in 1999.

    But as this Bud Light commercial shows, Foudy and Chastain are bad. Awfully bad, all right!

17. Andre the Giant - Funny Honey

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    Better known as Fezzik in The Princess Bride, as well as a gargantuan menace in the ring during the World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) halcyon days, Andre the Giant will sorely be missed.

    Seventeen years have passed since the imposing Frenchman's death, but he has left us with indelible images of him in classic battles against Hulk Hogan and classic scenes shared with actors such as Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, and Robin Wright-Penn.

    This Honeycomb cereal piece may bring back fuzzy memories for you, too, but to me it seems quite off-base for a 7'4" man to eat in a small bowl that's 10 sizes smaller than the palm of his hand. Don't get it!

16. Karl Malone - The Mailman Doesn't Deliver

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    Karl Malone will probably be regarded as one of the best players ever to put on a Utah Jazz uniform.

    The power forward straight out of Louisiana was the yin to John Stockton's yang in Salt Lake City.

    The way those two effortlessly executed pick-and-roll play after pick-and-roll play was noteworthy.

    But this educational spot for the NBA was incoherent and not that convincing for me. I think a lot of people would ask their parents for advice rather than asking No. 32 at this point in time.

15. Mike Ditka - Da Crap

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    Mike Ditka was both a great player as a tight end and a great head coach for the same team, the Chicago Bears.

    He was even good enough to take his 1985 Bears team to a Super Bowl victory. That team was even famous for its eternal "Super Bowl Shuffle" dance and video. That was pure genius then.

    Well, let's just say that back in 1993, Ditka, Jerry Reinsdorf, and Chicago White Sox ads didn't mix.

14. Andre Agassi - Bad Images Are Everything

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    Andre Agassi was a star who made tennis less boring, unlike his boring counterpart Pete Sampras, who was more concerned about winning multiple Grand Slam events.

    Sans hair and cocksure attitude later on in his career, Agassi redeemed himself to a degree.

    But with his extensions and neon-bright clothes from a decade or two ago, there's no escaping the failure of this Donnay tennis racket clip.

13. Emmitt Smith - Just Wrong For Men

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    Seeing Emmitt Smith in a rocking chair (at a resting place, to boot) and obvious make-up to sell a dyeing product for facial hair is such a crock.

    To ad insult to injury, at the end, he does a cheesy little move with a cheerleader, as if he’s on “Dancing With the Stars” with his former dance partner Cheryl Burke.


12. O. J. Simpson - RC Cola: DOA

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    Years before Orenthal James Simpson became an alleged double murderer and robbed merchandisers in hotels to get his gear back, he was a great running back at USC and later in Buffalo. And a great pitchman.

    From 1971 on, no one could tell O.J. anything; he was Da Man, a spokesman for orange juice companies, and Hertz rental car and Isotoner gloves, too.

    Yet I think his image and his evil ways took a turn for the worse when, here, the RC Cola in the bottle misses his mouth and heads down south on the flaw, er, floor.

11. David Beckham - Sweet = Not Good

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    David Beckham was not able to help the English national team win its second World Cup this summer, leaving the stench of a 44-year drought still intact.

    However, the man's still got tons of female fans and endorsement deals out the wazoo.

    He might want to place this Meiji chocolate wafer commercial down the toilet, though.

10. John McEnroe - Razor Bump

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    John McEnroe was a brat, but a darn good athlete, too.

    He, along with Jimmy Connors and Arthur Ashe, made the bland sport of tennis interesting and downright American in the men's game in the 1970s, 80s.

    But as much as he tried to be a pitchman, he just could not be serious. Take a look at him in this Bic commercial...

9. Isiah Thomas - Car's Out of Whack

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    Wedged after the Magic-Bird days and before the Jordan days were the Isiah days.

    He was the best small point guard (vs. the taller, Magic-sized point guard) of his era, as he led the Bad Boys of Detroit to the NBA title twice in 1989 and 1990.

    Unfortunately, this Toyota Celica spot makes him a Sad Boy.

8. Brock Lesnar - Golden What!?

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    Brock Lesnar is a huge dude who's famous for his Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) feats.

    He has a neck that's probably the size of two football fields, biceps that look like boulders, and a buzzcut-shaped head that looks like an entire golf course.

    But seeing Brock in this commercial, where the product is not entirely self-explanatory (is it an energy booster? Is it extracted from deer testes?), is both frustrating and despicable.

7. Alex Ovechkin - Easterns (European) Motors

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    Alex Ovechkin is probably the best player in the NHL right now (without a Stanley Cup).

    He's one of the most electrifying superstars to make the city of Washington proud to claim No. 8 as one of their own, with over 250 career goals and 520 points.

    Enter Eastern Motors, a local car dealership that has had several, consistently cool commercials with pro basketball and football players in the Washington, D.C.-Baltimore-Northern Virginia area.

    Now enter Comrade Alex and his Easterns spot from last year. Like that 1990s song by OMC goes, "How Bizarre."

6. Magic Johnson - This Ain't "Showtime"!

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    Magic Johnson was a consummate playmaker and one of the best point guards to ever play the game of basketball in the NBA.

    He won several awards and titles during his career with the LA Lakers during the 1980s and, with his and Larry Bird's contributions, made the game exciting beyond all doubt when the league counted on him most.

    Not at this point in time in 1982, where he shared the spotlight with Anne Meyers. 7-Up, you say? I say 7-Down!

5. Pete Rose - Un-Kool-Aid

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    Pete Rose seemed to always be a tough, SOB type who always made people either love him or hate him during his playing days mostly with the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies.

    No. 14 was not only a cog on the Big Red Machine, but he also could not be stopped in breaking Ty Cobb's all-time hits record in 1985, with his 4,192nd knock in left-center field off of San Diego pitcher Eric Show.

    However, he should have been prevented from doing a couple of things: betting on baseball games and starring in a commercial with "Hot Kids" and the Kool-Aid Man!

4. Carson Palmer - Hot Dogs...or Something Else?

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    Carson Palmer has been through hell and back.

    He was a Heisman Award winner at USC, but had season-ending knee ligament tears in his first few years as a Cincinnati Bengal QB.

    Palmer's still one of the NFL's up-and-coming quarterbacks, but along with his eccentric, wideout partner Chad Ochocinco, he has yet to bring ultimate glory to Queen City.

    Except if you want to add this weird John Morrell spot...

3. Jonathan Ogden - No Gebco!

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    Jonathan Ogden, a beast of a left tackle, was a gentle giant whose position was crucial to the success of the Baltimore Ravens, including the Super Bowl XXXV-winning team in 2000.

    There will never be another man of such girth, grace, and guile who could man the gridiron and protect the quarterback like No. 75.

    But of all the major contributions Mr. Ogden made to Charm City, his appearance in this Gebco auto insurance snippet is NOT one of them!

2. Boston Celtics - Lame-O!

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    The Boston Celtics were a team of legends, icons and stalwarts in the 1980s, responsible for the success of three NBA championships in 1981, 1984, and 1986.

    They restored glory to a franchise that had run laps around the league in the 1950s and 1960s, but got stale in the 1970s.

    Red Auerbach created that renaissance in Beantown by drafting and/or trading for stars such as Larry Bird as well as Robert Parish, Kevin McHale, Bill Walton and Danny Ainge.

    Of all the lore the Celts forged 25 years ago, their collective Scotch 'n Sirloin effort was forgettable.

1. Darryl Dawkins - Wheaties Name Game

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    Wheaties, Wheaties bo Beaties Bonana fanna fo Featies Fee fy mo Meaties, Wheaties!

    Yes, this 1981 Wheaties ad with Darryl Dawkins, one of the NBA's most powerful dunkers back in the day, and others (Ron Cey of the LA Dodgers and Ed White of the San Diego Chargers) was just as "catchy" as the 1964 Shirley Ellis "Name Game" song.

    No matter how many creative, neat nicknames Dawkins had for his backboard-breaking dunks though, he couldn't escape the funk of this piece!


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    Just in case you weren't satisfied with those 20, here are five more. Enjoy!