Bryan Altman, CBS Local Sports
We all know from experience that sometimes it’s painful watching our favorite sports stars hit the silver screen (See: Shaquille O’Neal in “Kazaam”), but other times it can be painfully funny. Here are seven other sports stars that actually jumped from the small screen to the silver screen and made us laugh until it hurt.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – “Airplane!”
As the Lakers dynasty of the 1980s was getting set to liftoff so was Abdul-Jabbar’s acting career thanks to “Airplane!.” In the film, he played co-pilot Roger Murdock, although a certain pesky passenger didn’t buy the whole “I’m not Kareem Abdul-Jabbar” thing.
2. Dan Marino – “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”
For many Jets fans who spent their Sundays wishing Dan Marino would get kidnapped, they finally got their wish in 1994. Marino joined Jim Carrey in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” where he was held captive by deranged (fictional) kicker Ray Finkle. Finkle believed that Marino neglected to put the “laces out” when holding the football for a crucial kick in the Super Bowl that Finkle subsequently missed. Even though Marino’s acting career didn’t exactly flourish after the film, the wildly popular line “laces out, Dan” is a permanent reminder of the Hall of Fame quarterbacks acting credentials.
3. Mike Tyson – “The Hangover”
It’s pretty wild to consider that the most important punch Mike Tyson has thrown in recent memory landed squarely on the chin of Zach Galifianakis in “The Hangover.” Tyson was spiraling and his cameo in the comedy revived his public image in a big way. Besides knocking out Galifianakis in the film, Tyson was pretty funny in his own right. From rocking out to Phil Collins and rocking that famous big right hook, Tyson was more than memorable in this one.
4. John McEnroe – “Mr. Deeds”
John McEnroe played right into his bad boy reputation in “Mr. Deeds” by roaming around the city with Adam Sandler’s Longfellow Deeds and getting into all sorts of trouble in New York City. Throwing eggs at cars, drinking and smoking cigars on the streets of New York – sounds about right for a guy that threw enough temper tantrums on the court to turn them into a full-length movie.
5. Brett Favre – “There’s Something About Mary”
Brett Favre mostly played the straight man in this comedy but was still a focal point in this hilarious movie. Favre played the title character, Mary’s, ex-boyfriend who makes a gallant return at the end of the movie to sweep Mary off her feet. His wooing of Mary fails, but his cameo was a massive success.
6. Lance Armstrong – “Dodgeball”
Perhaps knowing what we know about Lance Armstrong now (the lying, cheating, manipulating, ETC…) his speech might not have been as hilarious or motivational as it was in 2004. However, Armstrong’s appearance and subsequent monologue turned the tide for Average Joe’s gym in the movie and paved the way for their glorious victory over Globo Gym.
7. Cam Neely – “Dumb And Dumber”
On the ice Cam Neely was one of the most vicious power forwards in hockey. Off the ice, in the movie “Dumb and Dumber,” Neely was just as fearsome as the truck stop villain nicknamed “Sea Bass.” At various points of the movie, Sea Bass terrorizes the less-than-brilliant protagonists by spitting in their food and cornering one of them in the bathroom in a harrowing moment. Just another day at a different type of office for the imposing power forward.
Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for either of his other three teams.