There is a certain lifespan, they say, to being an athlete. Sports stars may be the best at soccer, track and field or boxing but once their age catches up with them or they never recover from a severe sports injury, their careers could be over.
That’s why the most popular athletes capitalize on their fame as much as they can so they could cross over to other fields once their time in playing sports is up. And for most of them, acting is the second step.
From Arnold Schwarzenegger to Dwayne Johnson, here are 10 incredible athletes who later on became actors.
- Mike Tyson
Former undisputed heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson was a controversial sports star in his time. Remember when he got disqualified for biting off a chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear? This tough guy exterior makes him a perfect actor for intimidating roles. His more popular and recent role, however, was when he played as himself in The Hangover.
- Bubba Smith
Before his death in 2011 due to an overdose of a weight-loss drug, Bubba Smith led a stellar sports career. He was an All-Pro defensive end in the National Football League (NFL). His popularity in the sport paved way for his acting career. Before he died, Bubba (Charles in real life) was already suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that could be caused by repeated head trauma as well as heart disease.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger
The kids may only know him as former governor of California or the lead star of The Terminator but years before that, Schwarzenegger was a pro bodybuilder. He broke into Hollywood in 1970, as the title character in Hercules in New York.
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
“The Rock” has made millions of dollars from a lot of his box office hit movies, including Furious 7, Fast Five, The Scorpion King, The Mummy Returns The Game Plan and the recent record-breaking animated film, Moana. But before he became an actor, Johnson was a pro wrestler with the WWE and before that, a pro football player for the Canadian Football League’s Calgary Stampeders.
- Shaquille O’Neal
After an incredible career as a pro basketball player, Shaquille O’Neal just had to try acting. In the 90s, Shaquille O’Neal made a few movies, including Blue Chips and Kazaam, which kind of flopped. But that doesn’t matter because the athlete-turned-actor had other things in his resume, including musician and entrepreneur. It seems like there’s nothing Shaq won’t do!
- Michael Jordan
Another pro baller who came knocking on Hollywood’s door was Michael Jordan. In the 90s, Jordan snagged a hit film, starring alongside Bugs Bunny in Space Jam. After that, his acting career kind of quieted down. Guess he figured he was more cut out for the court than the camera.