Although being a good athlete and being an actor or musician require very different skills, ultimately both share the same goal of entertaining the masses and mastering your particular craft. Not surprisingly, many popular entertainers got their start as accomplished athletes in high school and college. ‘t. Some of today’s stars leave the game due to injury, while others realize that their acting or singing skills are superior to their dunking or tackling skills. With that in mind, here are 9 famous celebrities who were once high-achieving athletes.
1. Jason Sudeikis
This Saturday Night Live alum is one of the best comedians around, but back in his high school days in Kansas he could really ring! A star player at Shawnee Mission West High School, he actually received a scholarship to play at Fort Scott Community College, but dropped out to pursue a career in comedy.
2. Jason Statham
Whether or not Statham’s action films have any real artistic merit is debatable (Mechanic: Resurrection (It’s one of the dumbest movies I’ve ever seen at the cinema), but he’s undoubtedly a bankable star, with his films from 2002 to 2017 grossing $1.5 billion in ticket sales. He was also always a natural sportsman, excelling in football, kung fu and kickboxing in his youth. But believe it or not, he is the best sport diving. In fact, he represented England at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Auckland, New Zealand in the 10,3 and 1-metre diving events.
3. Robin Roberts
Host of the top-rated morning news show Good Morning America He started as a sportscaster on local TV channels before working his way up to ESPN Sports Center. But before he started his legendary broadcasting career, he excelled in tennis and basketball. He received a basketball scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana University, where he was their star player. In 2012, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall-of-Fame for her contributions as an athlete and broadcaster.
4. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Not only is The Rock one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time, but he’s also one of the few pro-wrestlers who has pro-wrestled as a movie star (sorry, Hulk Hogan). His movies have grossed over $10.5 billion worldwide and he’s a really likable guy. However, he was a great footballer back in the day. He received a scholarship to the University of Miami, one of the top college football programs at the time. He played defensive tackle on Miami’s 1991 national championship team. Even if he didn’t win in the pros (he was cut by the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League without playing a single game), we don’t think you should feel bad for him.
5. Denzel Washington
Washington is a hell of an actor. He’s won two Oscars and been nominated seven times (though he deserves to win more). He’s a notoriously grumpy interviewer, giving short answers and making it very clear he’d rather be somewhere else. But before all the fame and the annoying hassles that come with it (actually having to promote your movie!), he was a star point guard at Fordham University, playing for future NBA coach PJ Carlesimo. Death by one of his soldiers in practice.
6. John Stewart
Former anchor Daily program Basically created the “Politics as a Comedy” genre. Although you wouldn’t realize it from his skinny frame, he was a great football player. He received a football scholarship to play at the College of William & Mary, helping them win a conference tournament championship in 1983 his senior season.
7. Forest Whitaker
In 2006 Whittaker won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of the ruthless dictator Idi Amin. Last King of ScotlandHe has also acted in some well-received action films including Rogue One: A Star Wars Story And the Marvels Black Panther. Before he got into acting, he received a scholarship to play football at Cal Polytechnic University, but a serious back injury ended his athletic career. He changed his major to music and later transferred to the University of Southern California, where he earned a BFA in acting. Coincidentally (or maybe not), his first film role was as a high school football star Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
8. Sheryl Crow
Crowe has sold more than 50 million albums and been nominated for 32 Grammy Awards, winning nine times. He also appeared in several television shows including Elmo’s Christmas Countdown. Truly breathtaking! Before all the wealth and fame, Crowe was a star athlete on her high school’s track team, medaling in the 75-meter low hurdles and earning all-state honors.
9. Garth Brooks
Brooks is one of the most popular country singers of all time, if not the entire music industry. With 9 albums each selling more than 10 million copies, he is the only artist to surpass the Beatles who managed to do this with 6 albums. His 156 total album sales put him at the top of all solo artists, even surpassing Elvis. But even with all his success in music, he always dreamed of playing baseball. Although he did not play baseball in college, he lettered in track and field at Oklahoma State University. In 1998, he was offered a tryout with the San Diego Padres, though he didn’t make the cut. In the following years he tried again with the New York Mets and Kansas City Royals, but it was not to be. He managed one base hit in spring training, which is one more than most of us can do against big league pitching.