The Best Athlete Actors

Believe it or not, there are actually some athletes who are pretty good at acting!

1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem tops the list for his remarkable turn in Airplane, which consists of him staunchly denying that he is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar until a little kid’s criticism forces him to his own defense. But he’s also up here for his excellent turn in one of the greatest martial-arts movies of all time, Game of Death, in which he takes on legendary actor/warrior Bruce Lee.

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2. Arnold Schwarzenegger

A former and incredibly successful bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger places #2 on our list not for his acting chops, which, though passable, aren’t exactly Oscar-worthy. Instead, he charts because of his role in multiple emblematic and hugely profitable movies, including the Terminator series, Total Recall, and a bunch of others.

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3. Ray Allen

Again, Allen’s starring role in He Got Game wasn’t exactly Oscar-worthy. But it was entirely capable. And the fact that he took on a leading-man character named Jesus Shuttleworth in a Spike Lee joint opposite Denzel Washington at the age of 23? That takes incredible guts.

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4. Jim Brown

Jim Brown was in The Dirty Dozen. That should sum it up.

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5. Brett Favre

Before we came to hate him, Brett Favre was awesome in There’s Something About Mary. How do you pronounce “Favre” again?

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6. Vinnie Jones

Former footballer Vinnie Jones became a menacing dude in the hands of Guy Ritchie, who cast him in a bunch of his movies, including Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch. Out of those, he’s made a pretty impressive film career for himself, and he’s probably the most viable current actor on this list, along with Jason Lee.

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7. Jason Lee

Speaking of which, little known fact: before he was Kevin Smith’s muse, Jason Lee used to be a professional skateboarder. Now he’s a pretty frequent TV actor, even though My Name is Earl and Memphis Beat are no more.

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8. Andre the Giant

The larger-than-the-world Andre the Giant helped make the goofy and fun The Princess Bride into a cult classic. He made some other TV appearances as well, but that film stands as his best out-of-ring work by a large margin.

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9. Carl Weathers

Carl Weathers is one of the few professional athletes who is probably better known for his acting than for his on-field accomplishments. As Apollo Creed in the Rocky series, Weathers created an iconic character of American film, and he also has a healthy and ongoing career in TV.

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10. Dan Marino

In Ace Ventura: Nature Calls, Dan Marino was game to serve as an object of obsession and a weird piece of an even weirder movie. Kudos, Dan.

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