The Best Athletes Who Can Act
We compare Lebron James to Michael Jordan - but on the big screen.
Words by Elliott Layland July 21, 2015

Lebron James as an actor? Hell yes. The man’s got charisma, style, character and more presence than Santa Claus. And whether you rate him or not as one of the NBA’s greatest, even his naysayers agree his debut big screen performance in Amy Schumer’s upcoming movie Trainwreck is nothing short of a slamdunk. Neck up – we had to use that analogy at some stage…

Trainwreck trailer feat Lebron James

So with Trainwreck – courtesy of two of our favourite people, Judd Apatow and Schumer – set to drop in cinemas this weekend, we decided to bring you a list of our top athletes in the movies. And having watched Michael Jordan in Space Jam countless times and Lebron in Trainwreck our verdict is in: Lebron is the better actor.

The Rock

He’s known as franchise viagra and has helped turn the Fast & Furious franchise from a bogan’s wet dream to Oscar-worthy. But our favourite performance from the big man? Be Cool where he plays a gay cowboy. Cooler than the other side of the pillow…

Arnold Schwarzenegger

From world champion body builder to The Terminator. No athlete has become a bigger box office star than this Austrian dream machine. He’s led the way for countless athletes and had more roles than a Biggest Loser casting.

Carl Weathers

A former NFL star, you might remember Weathers from Happy Gilmore – Adam Sandler’s best ever movie – where he played Happy’s handless coach, Chubbs. He also kicked ass in Rocky as none other than Apollo Creed and played a hilarious tight-ass version of himself in Arrested Development.

Vinnie Jones

From Welsh soccer star to cinema’s ultimate hooligan, VJ is best known from his roles in such movies as Snatch, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrells and Mean Machine. But our fav? When he plays a parody of his best known characters in teen comedy Eurotrip.

Jason Lee

If he wasn’t a Scientologist he’d be one our favourite ever humans. A one-time pro skater – who still rips – Lee was coaxed into acting by Kevin Smith and made his debut in cult classic Mallrats. He introduced farting during a blowjob to cinema.

Terry Crews

Another NFL player and another comic genius. Crews has appeared in several films such as White Chicks and The Expendables, but it’s his role in Brooklyn Nine-Nine that has cracking up.

Lou Ferrigno

The original Hulk. Another bodybuilder who came up with Arnie and starred in ‘70s doco Pumping Iron – “just pumping and farking” – Ferrigno is a superhero in every sense of the word – bar the magic powers. But give him some raw chicken and he’ll turn green in real life.

Michael Jordan

Space Jam is a time capsule of the 1990s that brought together two of the biggest icons of the time – Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. It will forever remain in our hearts. But it was also the start and end of MJ’s acting career on the big screen. We thinks Lebron is only getting started.

Kareem Abdul Jabbar

Not to be confused with Paula Abdul – the seemingly always shit-hammered judge on American Idol a few years back – Kareem was the NBA’s original cross-over. His role in 1980 comedy Airplane broke new ground so far as cameos go and he laid the way for MJ, Shaq and Lebron.

Special mentions – cameo quick shots

Mike Tyson – The Hangover
Tom Brady – Ted 2
Brett Farve – There’s Something About Mary
Dan Marino – Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Lance Armstrong – Dodgeball
Shaq – Shazaam
Matthew Johns – Footy Legends/The Final Winter

Editors Pick