An athlete does not reach the professional level without hard work and natural talent. Unfortunately, all that time practicing their sport didn't leave much time for acting classes. While most people know of the awesomely bad movie acting roles by sports stars like Shaquille O'Neal in Kazaam or Dennis Rodman in the forgettable Double Team opposite Jean-Claude Van Damme, it's the acting performances in local television commercials that reach a whole different level of suck.
By no means is this affliction with bad commercial acting isolated to one sport; athletes from pretty much every sport are equally bad. Luckily for everyone, YouTube was invented and immortalized these gag-inducing commercials for generations to come. Here are a few of my favorites for your viewing pleasure (or displeasure, depending on how you look at it).
Let me start this one off with a disclaimer: I'm a Red Sox fan. I don't like Alex Rodriguez. So to be fair, he could have been Tom Hanks and I would have thought he was terrible, but you can be the judge. This commercial comes from his Mariners days, before he became the highest paid player in baseball and needed the money from helping to sell hardware. It's speculated that he used money from this ad to buy steroids… I kid, I kid.
Ok, this one may be the worst of all the commercials I found, and by quite a margin. The way he delivers the line, "Ladies, let's have a party" is epically bad. I guess that’s what happens when you don't have Michael Jordan there to make you look better than you actually are. You can disagree with me if you want, but that 6-foot sub acted circles around Pippen.
I propose we pass a law that says Jonathan Ogden is no longer allowed to dance in public. I'll give him a break, though, because I have never paid for car insurance and felt so good about the amount I was paying that I felt like dancing, so he was doomed from the start. Also, do you think the choreographer that put those dance moves together denies having anything to do with it? Truly awful, this may be the most cringe-worthy commercial of them all.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, Larry Legend made $1.8 million in salary in 1985, so I tend to doubt that he drove a Ford Escort and his acting performance did little to change my mind about that. If you ever saw Larry Legend in his minor role in the classic movie Blue Chips, you know his acting didn't improve over the years. Side note: Did you see what is included in that amazing deal? AM-FM stereo! Power brakes! Digital clock! Where do I sign up?!
This commercial comes from quarterback Jason Campbell's days with the Washington Redskins and it is a doozy. You are immediately drawn in by the lack of emotion from Campbell, and then shocked to see a man sitting across from him in full Native American attire, all before it concludes in a ridiculous dance number. Is it just me or could this be construed as a tad racist? There is actually a whole series of commercials for this dealership on YouTube, I suggest you check it out.
Do you know of any other local commercials from athletes that I left out? Let me know in the comments, so I can enjoy even more awful acting performances.