June 23, 2011
Over the weekend, Jeff Gordon made a big-screen appearance as the voice of "Jeff Gorvette" in "Cars 2." He joins the ranks of athletes who've tried — tried really, really hard, in some cases — to jump from the stadium to the cineplex. In honor of Gordon's cinematic debut, we present the 10 greatest athlete cameos of all time. Sometimes they appear as themselves, and sometimes they try to be someone else, which is so much more fun to watch. Check out these actors in their roles (the ones we can show you, of course) and have your say below on the best of the best:
10. Wilt Chamberlain, "Conan The Destroyer": Wilt the Stilt knew his way around a basketball court, but in front of the camera, he showed all the acting range of a hardwood floor. Still, when you're in a sword-and-sorcery fantasy, your character's name is "Bombaata," and your one big line is "Thieves should be hanged," we're not expecting Oscar-worthy material out of you. Here's hoping they lined up Dwight Howard for this summer's remake.
9. Derek Jeter, "The Other Guys": An unwitting victim of the itchy trigger finger of Mark Wahlberg's character, Jeter can always blame this shooting for this year's hitting woes. Best line: "You shoulda shot A-Rod!" (Sadly, no video, as Jeter does not respond in a family friendly way to being shot.)
8. Lawrence Taylor, "The Waterboy": The unintentional comedy is off the charts with this cameo, as a lively Lawrence Taylor speaks to kids (bad idea) and gives them some good, if ironic, advice: "Don't smoke crack!"
7. Lee Trevino, "Happy Gilmore": Trevino, a notorious prankster -- he once threw a rubber snake at Jack Nicklaus before a critical U.S. Open playoff -- was one of the grounding forces in the otherwise off-the-rails golf scenes in "Happy Gilmore." He dispensed wisdom like this:
6. Lance Armstrong, "Dodgeball": Armstrong's speech on quitting somehow manages to both make light of cancer and motivate you to get up off your couch, all at once. Nice work.
5. Brett Favre, "There's Something About Mary": Expertly foreshadowed throughout, this was an example of a perfect reveal at the end of the movie -- and it marked the last time anybody was genuinely excited to see Favre's face again.
4. Mike Tyson, "The Hangover": A killer cameo for three reasons: It totally reclaims "In the Air Tonight" from "Miami Vice," it turns Tyson into a lovable menace, and it answers once and for all the question of whether you'd be willing to take one punch, just one, from Tyson for a million bucks.
3. Reggie Jackson, "The Naked Gun": Reggie Jackson played a mind-controlled ballplayer sent to assassinate the queen. If George Steinbrenner had known Jackson could do that, he'd have put him to better use.
2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, "Airplane": Sure, he says he's Roger Murdock, but why would he be wearing Laker shorts to fly a plane?
1. Cam Neely, "Dumb and Dumber": Simply the greatest athlete cameo ever. No more needs to be said except for Sea Bass' catchphrase.
Honorable mentions: Dale Earnhardt, "BASEketball"; Roger Clemens, "Kingpin"; Dan Marino, "Ace Ventura"; Jamie McMurray, "Talladega Nights"; Mike Ditka, "Kicking and Screaming"; Andre the Giant, "The Princess Bride"; Pele, "Victory"; Alex Karras, "Blazing Saddles"; Bob Uecker, "Major League"; John McEnroe, "Mr. Deeds"; Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt Jr., "Cars."
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Posted Jun 23 2012