Professional athletes can have very short-lived careers. Nothing is gauranteed. So, the smart thing for them to do is to cash out while they can. That comes in the form of contracts and endorsement deals. While every athlete aspires to be on a Wheaties box, not all athletes get those kind of endorsements, so they take what they can get. Many companies, especially ones that manufacture not so glamorous household items, love to have huge names who everyone knows, recognizes and trusts, endorsing things like roach traps, shoe polish and energy drinks. However, there is a fine line between not glamorous and money hungry fame. These ten endorsements cross that line and prove that athletes will do anything for a buck.
10. Joe Namath for Hanes Beautymist Pantyhose
What screams, “I’m a manly man” less than endorsing pantyhose? The answer is endorsing pantyhose called “Hanes Beautymist.” You can’t even make this stuff up. In 1974, “Broadway” Joe Namath shot a now infamous commercial endorsing these neat nylons. And he hasn’t been able to live it down since. In the commercial, he actually wears the product, but then says he doesn’t wear pantyhose. It clearly doesn’t make any sense. He even had his own talk show because if there’s one thing football players are great at, other than playing football, it’s hosting a talk show. Currently, Namath has his own line of steaks and grills. Not to be outdone by George Foreman…
9. Pete Rose for Kool Aid
Athletes generally endorse health products, but Pete Rose went the other way entirely, when he endorsed what could be one of the least healthy products ever, Kool Aid. Rose slugged the sugary beverage in a 1986 commercial. I have no idea how this product can improve athletic performance or even hydration, for that matter. Most recently, Pete Rose was selling his own reality show called Pete Rose: Hits & Mrs, about his relationship with his much younger fiance, who is vying to be his Mrs. Four of the six episodes produced aired on TLC, but the ratings were so low that the final two were shown on the Destination America channel instead.
8. Wilt Chamberlain for Fletcher’s Laxative
What is stranger than Wilt Chamberlain starring in a commercial for laxatives with his mom? Wilt Chamberlain starring in a commercial for laxatives with his mom, that are made especially for children. Isn’t Chamberlain not a child anymore? This whole endorsement is all sorts of bizarre and slightly creepy. Constipation is a pretty embarrassing problem, so at least, a big strong athlete can bring some mainstream attention to the issue.
7. Hulk Hogan for Pastamania
When professional wrestlers want to look good in the ring with their shirts off, the first thing they want to put in their bodies is plenty of pasta. So Pastamania, which was a restaurant that Hulk Hogan opened up inside the Mall of America in Minnesota, during the mid 90’s, was a sure bet. Or was it? The restaurant closed within a year of its opening. The Hulkster said he kept his rockin’ body strong, by eating there because they had a fat free and low fat selection. Apparently, Hulk Hogan also spread his love of food nationally when he endorsed the “Hulkster Cheeseburger” a frozen microwavable cheeseburger, available at Wal-Mart.
6. Manny Ramirez for Sum Poosie
You read that right. This is not a joke. In 2010, Manny Ramirez endorsed an energy drink called Sum Poosie. Not surprisingly, this drink, with a cleverly inappropriate name, fizzed out later that year. Supposedly, the beverage tasted like Cherry 7-Up, but perhaps the packaging with cartoon cats and half naked girls wasn’t appealing to customers in the long term. The strange thing about this endorsement is that you can’t find one picture online of Manny Ramirez with the actual product. So maybe he wasn’t into Sum Poosie after all?
5. Muhammad Ali for D-con Roach Traps
Athletes have so many problems in life, such as bad knees, waiting in line at the DMV and of course, roaches! And who better to tell you how to punch out these lingering pests, than Muhammad Ali, right? In the 70’s, the Greatest did a series of commercials and print ads for D-Con that were downright hysterical. Ali also appeared on the actual boxes, so in case you missed the commercial, you could make the right decision at the store. In addition to bug spray, Ali also endorsed other useful products like Wheaties and had his own line of shoe polish.
4. Emmitt Smith for Just For Men
“Keep your edge,” is the slogan for Just For Men, a hair dye that, you guessed it, is just for men. So, who better to endorse hair dye than someone who’s completely bald? Enter running back Emmitt Smith, who has no hair on his head, but enough hair on his face that was apparently grey enough to warrant hair dye, made for for men only! Although, this endorsement wasn’t nearly as tough as Smith’s stint on the third season of Dancing With The Stars, in 2006. He won and took home the mirror ball trophy, along with partner Cheryl Burke. I wonder if it’s next to the three Superbowl rings on his mantle…
3. Charles Barkley for Weight Watchers
When Charles Barkley gained 100 lbs in 2012, Weight Watchers offered him an endorsement deal. Sounds pretty standard, right? Well, not quite. To prove to men that being on Weight Watchers doesn’t make you any less masculine, Barkley did the commercial in a dress, with a wig and told the viewers to not look at his chest. He later called his endorsement a “scam” because he was being paid to lose weight. Weight Watchers laughed it off in the press and Barkley later made an absurd statement, stating that “scam” was the wrong word choice. Perhaps Weight Watchers was also the wrong endorsement choice…
2. Rafael Palmeiro for Viagra
In 2002, at the tender age of 37, Rafael Palmeiro became the pitchman for a product for men who, well, can’t pitch a tent. The now retired baseball player endorsed Viagra, the original prescription erection pill. He was reportedly paid $45 million for a five year contract. For that price, it’s totally worth it to say your man part doesn’t work. And judging from the steroids that Palmeiro tested positive for in 2005, maybe Viagra was not such a crazy idea.
1. Jimmy Johnson: Extenze
What man wants to advertise his small penis? None do. Well, except for Jimmy Johnson (yes his last name is Johnson, seriously) who is the pitchman for Eztenze. Extenze is a nutritional supplement for “male enhancement,” which is a nicer way of saying “penis enlargement.” Johnson, when he isn’t endorsing pills for his johnson, is currently on air, on Fox’s NFL Sunday. Johnson has also dipped his feet in the acting world on the television shows, Coach and The Shield, as well as the Adam Sandler movie, The Waterboy. I wonder if Johnson knows that water causes shrinkage…