From Sport to Screen

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By: Josh Axelrod > University of Maryland > Freshman > Journalism, Photo by: Clint M Chilcott

When an athlete attempts to make the jump into Hollywood, their success is anything but guaranteed. They might end up with a whole new lucrative career like that of Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger. On the other hand, their “career” might crash and burn like Terry “My Butt was Featured in Failure to Launch” Bradshaw. Judging an athlete’s acting skills can be completely arbitrary, so it is only fair to give each athlete his own criteria scale. Let us be honest: when discussing would-be thespians like Shaquille O’Neal (Kazaam) and Wilt Chamberlain (Conan the Destroyer), we need special scales of “talent.”

Ray Allen: 4 “Jesus Shuttlesworths” out of 5
Allen not only had one of the greatest names of any character in movie history, but he proved his acting chops opposite two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington in He Got Game. 

Michael Jordan (among others): 2 “Full Court Dunks” out of 5
I saw Space Jam three times when it was in theaters. This crossover of classic Looney Tunes characters with Jordan and other NBA stars like Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing will always have a spot in my heart. That spot has more to do with animated shenanigans than the acting abilities of all NBA talent involved.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: 3 “Roger Murdocks” out of 5
The former Lew Alcindor may not be the reason for the 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating of Airplane, but he did make a valid point: “I’m out there busting my buns every night. Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.”
Carl Weathers: 5 “Eye of the Tigers” out of 5
If playing Apollo Creed in the Rocky Movies was not impressive enough, the former Oakland Raiders linebacker also played significant roles in Happy Gilmore, Predator, and Action Jackson.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson: 3 “Tooth Fairies” out of 5
The Rock has had an interesting filmography since he made the transition from wrestling to acting (admittedly two not so different professions). He has gone from action movies (Scorpion King) to family films (The Game Plan) to comedies (The Other Guys) in a blink of an eye while still maintaining an unexplainable but apparent on-screen charisma.
Peyton Manning: 4 “Spend Time with your Kids so Peyton Manning Doesn’ts” out of 5
Other superstar athletes like Tom Brady and Lebron James have had success on Saturday Night Live, but Peyton’s performance trumps them all. His United Way sketch is arguably one of SNL’s greatest sketches of all time. On a similar note, Michael Phelps’s SNL appearance gets 1 “Stick to What You’re Good Ats” out of 5.
Lance Armstrong: 5 “What Are You Dying Froms” out of 5
Forget about the fact that he is a seven-time Tour de France champion.  This might be the funniest film cameo by anyone ever, let alone just an athlete. Armstrong’s Dodgeball appearance saw him shaming Vince Vaughn’s Peter La Fleur into not quitting on his team with lines like: “Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn’t have anything to regret for the rest of their life. But good luck to you Peter. I’m sure this decision won’t haunt you forever.” Genius.  



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