When it comes to producing music videos, hype is the name of game. The more buzz that a music video generates, the more people will view it and the more it can promote a record (e.g. Miley Cyrus‘s Wrecking Ball). Not surprisingly, some music artists have resorted to creating hype for their videos by convincing celebrities to make cameos in them. And of course, it cannot be denied that top athletes have the recognition and the fan base to attract considerable attention.
The success that music artists have enjoyed in directing attention to their music videos by incorporating athlete appearances in them are varied. Some of these videos largely went unnoticed, but many others, such as the ten featured in the list that follows, went viral and helped make their songs massive hits.
10. Rafael Nadal in Shakira’s Gypsy
In Gypsy, Shakira sings that she “might steal your clothes and wear them” if they fit her. Well, in the music video for the song, it seems like someone stole both Shakira’s and Rafael Nadal‘s clothes instead. They appear close to naked throughout most of the steamy clip, which features a scene where the Colombian siren dances seductively as the topless Spaniard does his best to keep cool in his seat.
Of the experience, World #1 tennis player Nadal shared,
Shakira, as always, was spectacular. Working with a woman as charming as her, well, it makes it a lot easier, to tell the truth. It was great, very easy; she’s really sweet and that always makes the hours go by faster.
We’re pretty sure, though, that it wasn’t only time that Rafa felt was going faster during the video shoot.
9. LeBron James in Jay-Z’s D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)
Jay-Z‘s D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune), released in 2009, is actually what it seems to be from its title: an indictment of the musical trickery that is auto-tune. That’s a pretty strong statement from an artist who’s worked with “the king of auto-tune” himself — Kanye West. Well, what better way for Jay-Z to send the message that he’s not afraid of taking on anyone in the world than to engage arguably the best basketball player in the world in a game of one-on-one?
4:10 into the video, none other than now four-time MVP and two-time NBA champion LeBron James is shown defending Jay-Z as the rapper dribbles the ball in between his legs and subsequently takes a step-back jump shot over James. Quite anti-climactically, the video doesn’t show whether or not the shot goes in.
8. Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in Colt Ford’s Drivin’ Around Song (feat. Jason Aldean)
Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. are among the hottest athlete couples in sports, so they certainly helped call attention to Colt Ford’s 2013 single, appropriately titled Drivin’ Around Song when they appeared in his music video. Patrick plays a mischievous small-town girl, while Stenhouse, Jr. portrays a mechanic who has to deal with Danica’s flirting. Later, Patrick gets bored and takes country rapper Ford, who also happens to be a former professional golfer, on a joyride.
Describing her experience shooting the video, Danica reminisces,
It was a lot of fun to do. It was a beautiful day in Mooresville that day and those are the fun things that you get to do outside of the car. So, I enjoyed that. That was good fun. And obviously, I had a pretty hot mechanic working on the car.
Notably, in 2006, Patrick made an appearance with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in the following Jay-Z music video:
She also had a prominent role as a car thief in this 2012 music video by country superstar Miranda Lambert:
7. Magic Johnson in Michael Jackson’s Remember the Time
It’s not often mentioned that five-time NBA champion Magic Johnson was good friends with the late Michael Jackson. Actually, Johnson was close to all of the Jackson brothers, even going on tour with them and engaging them in pillow and balloon fights at their hotel rooms.
That’s probably why Michael was able to convince Magic to make a cameo on his Remember the Time video from 1992. At that time, it had been less than two months since Johnson publicly announced that he was living with HIV, and even though his role as an Egyptian guard was a minor one, it still created considerable buzz.
6. Professional Wresters in Cyndi Lauper’s Videos
Multi-awarded singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper had a strong connection to the WWE from the very the start of her career. In fact, during the inaugural WrestleMania event in 1985, Lauper appeared as the manager of legendary female wrestler Wendi Richter. But even before that, Cyndi had risen to fame with the help of wrestlers.
In 1983, her first major single, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, was accompanied by a quirky music video featuring wrestler “Captain” Lou Albano as Lauper’s father. The video went on to be among the greatest of all time and won Cyndi the 1984 MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video.
The following year, Lauper released She Bop as a single, and the music video featured Richter as a waitress.
A year later, in 1985, Cyndi contributed The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough for the movie The Goonies, and in its music video were numerous wrestlers, including Randy Savage, “Captain” Lou Albano, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Wendi Richter, The Fabulous Moolah, The Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff, and Freddie Blassie.
5. Various Athletes in Hootie and the Blowfish’s Only Wanna Be With You
Hootie and the Blowfish are huge Miami Dolphins fans. In fact, a line from their 1995 smash Only Wanna Be With You that goes “I’m such a baby ’cause The Dolphins make me cry” is a reference to how Darius Rucker felt in the years that the team often struggled to make the playoffs. Quite appropriately, the music video from the song is sports-themed, with the members of the band shown failing in their attempts at various sports. Witnessing their misery were former Dolphin Dan Marino, golfer Fred Couples, and the NBA’s Alonzo Mourning, Muggsy Bogues, Alex English, Walt Williams, and Charles Smith.
4. Baron Davis, Shaquille O’Neal, and Mike Tyson in P. Diddy’s Bad Boy for Life (feat. Black Rob & Mark Curry)
What better way for Diddy to prove that he’s a Bad Boy for Life than to portray him living in the midst of huge celebrities? Well that’s exactly the lifestyle that he shows off in the music video for his 2001 hit. In fictional Perfectown, USA, Diddy is featured rubbing elbows with former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro, Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, actors Ben Stiller and Richard Dunn, rappers Xzibit, Ice Cube, and Snoop Dogg, rap rock band Crazy Town, basketball players Baron Davis and Shaquille O’Neal, and boxer Mike Tyson.
This is how Diddy described the music video:
You’ve got this perfect middle-American town. They keep their doors open and everybody gets along with everybody. There ain’t no parties thrown. Everybody goes to bed at 9 o’clock. Then P. Diddy and the Bad Boy Family move in. You see how the cultures mix and we’re all able to get along.
3. Anna Kournikova in Enrique Iglesias’s Escape
When you come up with a music video that features universal heartthrob Anna Kournikova making out with Spanish-American singer Enrique Iglesias in various hot settings, the song is more than likely to be a huge hit. However, even Iglesias probably didn’t foresee that it would reflect so much on how his love life would turn out.
It was through the 2002 music video for Escape that Iglesias and Kournikova met, and more than twelve years later, the two still find themselves in an on-off relationship, similar to the kind of love affair the song’s lyrics describe. Very recently, however, Enrique has been talking about how he’s considering marrying the title-less former tennis star. Well, if the now 38-year-old crooner ever decides not to put a ring on it, there’s sure to be a long line of men waiting to take his place.
2. Various Athletes in Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit
The 1991 music video for Hammer’s 2 Legit 2 Quit has been labeled among “the worst music videos of all time,” but sports fans are still likely to remember it fondly mainly for the huge number of big-name athletes it featured delivering the silly “2L2Q” hand gesture. They include baseball’s José Canseco, Kirby Puckett, Rickey Henderson, and Roger Clemens, basketball’s Isiah Thomas, Chris Mullin, David Robinson, and Lynette Woodard, and American football’s Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Andre Rison, Roger Craig, and Ronnie Lott. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and former Atlanta Falcons coach Jerry Glanville also make cameos.
Partly because of the huge appearance fees charged by these athlete-celebrities, the music video turned out to be one of the most expensive videos ever produced.
1. Michael Jordan in Michael Jackson’s Jam
Take two MJ’s, both giants in their fields, and put them in a music video where they’re shown teaching each other their expertise, and you’ve got a recipe for one of the most memorable music videos of all time. Surprisingly, however, Michael Jordan wasn’t so sure he wanted to appear in the 1992 Jam music video with Michael Jackson.
First I said, “I don’t know if I want to do this, because this guy’s going to try to get me out there to dance, and that’s going to be really embarrassing.” But then I said, “Well, shoot, it’s Michael Jackson. When would you ever get an opportunity to get to know him socially for a little bit, and yet at the same time, get to do his video?” So I changed my mind and went on and did it.
Good decision, Mike!