Athletes, like most people, often play an aspirational game called, 'If I could change my career, what would I do?' As they're already living in the A-list spotlight, many athletes consider acting to be an easy alternative.
While very few athletes succeed, some at least manage to get a break on the small screen; like Mark Harmon, former UCLA football player and son of a Heisman Trophy winner, who leads an NCIS cast on one of the world's most popular dramas.
Regardless of WWE star and former Miami Hurricane, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson's questionable acting skills, the fact that his films make money sets him apart from most athletes-turned-actors. With a filmography that includes over twenty films and a box office performance hovering around the two billion dollar mark, The Rock stands in an athlete-actor class of his own.
Michael Jordan's potential breakout role in Space Jam left much to be desired, in the eyes of both sports and acting critics. Nonetheless, close to twenty years after its first release, Space Jam still stands relatively strong in terms of box office numbers. The same cannot be said for the highest of the high profile sports stars listed here, who fell hard when they tried to dabble in Hollywood. They failed both critically and at the box office, making them certifiable flops.
10 Lawrence Taylor
9 Wilt Chamberlain
Due largely to his size, Wilt Chamberlain changed the way professional basketball was played. A career member of the league's double-double club, averaging 30.1 points and 22.5 rebounds per game, Chamberlain also pulled a double-double after his professional sports career ended.
8 Roger Clemens
7 Shaquille O'Neal
Four National Basketball Association (NBA) championships and recognition in fifteen All Star ballots are just a few of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal's accomplishments. It's no surprise that the large sized and large personality known as Shaquille (Shaq) O'Neal wanted to leverage his professional sports fame for some big screen fame.
6 Dan Marino
First round draft pick by the Miami Dolphins, and the National Football League (NFL) all time passing yardage record holder when he retired seventeen seasons later, Dan Marino built quite a football career for himself.
Small and very unimpressive cameo roles in movies such as Ace Ventura, Holy Man and Bad Boys II highlight - or lowlight - his film career.
5 Bruce Jenner
4 Julius Erving
Julius Erving, better known as Dr. J for his then flamboyant style in an otherwise staid sport, traveled a long road from the American Basketball Association (ABA) to the heights of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
3 Joe Namath
In 1965, the fashionable and talented Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback, Joe Namath cast his lot with the New York Jets of the then upstart American Football League. Five years later, Namath won the Jets a Super Bowl along with respect from the entire league.
2 Howie Long
1 Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman, the man who played second fiddle to Michael Jordan during the long Chicago Bulls championship run, also tried his hand at acting on the big screen. Two of his attempts at movie making - Double Team, a 1997 action movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme, and Simon Sez, a 1999 thriller - bombed at the box office and with critics. Rodman's colorful personality and unusual PR choices keep him in the public eye, but Hollywood is no longer interested; after all, there was never any indication that the public wanted to open their wallets to catch a glimpse of his big screen antics.
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