Athletes have pretty dangerous jobs, though people don’t often recognize just how dangerous, since it is out of mind until someone gets hurt. The worst thing is when an athlete has a promising career ahead of them, only for it to be cut short by some horrific injury. Here are some amazing athletes who could have led much longer, more illustrious careers if only they hadn’t been cut short by some injury or another.
This rookie running back for the Patriots NFL team rushed more than 1,100 yards in his first year after being drafted. Unfortunately, a freak accident during the Beach Bowl led to an injury so severe his left leg nearly required amputation.
His career didn’t end there: he came back to the NFL in 2002, but only managed 20 rushes across a total of 12 games. Then he played a few years in the Canadian Football League before permanently calling it quits.
In the early 2000s, Culpepper looked like he was going to become the next big quarterback name in football. He went to the Pro Bowl in 2000 and 2003, and was at the head of the league with 4,717 passing yards in 2004, on top of astounding stats in completed passes, touchdown passes, and interceptions.
But just a year after that, he absolutely demolished his knee, tearing three major parts of it. Over the next four seasons of his career, he only managed to play 24 more games. Whereas Peyton Manning and Tom Brady went on to become legends, Culpepper’s career faded away due to his injury.
When Hardaway first started playing in the NBA alongside the likes of Shaq, it seemed like he was destined to enter the Hall of Fame. He was excellent as a point guard and always a threat for the triple-double, and he even had his own advertisements.
But in the 1997-1998 season, he injured his left knee, which led to him being benched. He would be forced to endure four more surgeries after the initial one before his career met a tragic end.
An avid hockey player, Savard made waves in 2006 as a top-line center, averaging just shy of 90 points per season between 2005 to 2009. Unfortunately, he suffered a severe concussion at the hands of Matt Cooke in 2010.
He returned for the 2010 postseason, only to suffer another concussion in 2011, which forced him out of the season. Since then, he has not been able to play, forcing his career to take a dramatic and tragic end.
Grant Hill was the third overall pick in the NBA draft of 1994 and was considered one of the best overall players in basketball at the time. Unfortunately, multiple ankle surgeries put an end to that.
With chronic ankle issues created by his many surgeries, Hill went on to play 200 games or so, but that was over the course of seven years. Considering that he had been considered one of the best at some point, it was a poor downhill spiral.
Bo Jackson is so famous that he comes up in pretty much every conversation about the world’s best athletes. He was the first athlete ever to become an All-Star in both the MLB and NFL, and he even ran track.
He went on to accomplish many great feats in both baseball and football, undoubtedly making him a legend, but his hip was dislocated in a freak injury during a football game in 1990. He only played a few more seasons afterward, due to never fully recovering from his injury.
Mark Prior is another example of the terrible luck the Chicago Cubs went through for over a century. This blue-chip ace, at the age of 22, went 18-6 with a 2.42 ERA in 2003. He was one of the top strikeout pitchers, fanning 266 batters.
Thing is, there wasn’t just one injury that crippled Prior’s career. By 2007, he was out of the major leagues due to a plethora of regular, chronic injury cases, ranging from elbows to shoulders and everything in-between.
Remember when we said the Cubs were cursed? Well, Kerry Wood was another blue-chip ace from the same team as Mark Prior, and he pretty much suffered the same fate. Wood went 14-11 with a 3.20 ERA, and Wood fanned 245 batters.
But Wood was also out of the game by 2007, thanks to the same problems as Mark Prior. Thanks to a plethora of injuries and chronic conditions that he just couldn’t best, his career was cut short of what it could have been.
Bill Walton is arguably one of the greatest college basketball players ever. At one point, his UCLA teams won 88 games in a row. He won the Naismith Trophy three times due to his astounding abilities.
Unfortunately, foot and ankle injuries gradually reduced how many games Walton was able to play with until he was just wasn’t getting enough time on the court to justify being there, and he soon retired.
When one thinks of tragic sports injuries, Tony Conigliaro is often at forefront of one’s thoughts. This Red Sox slugger his 32 home runs when he was just 20 and had 104 by the age of 22.
But unfortunately, he was hit in the face by a pitch, just below his eye in 1967. His vision started deteriorating from that point onwards, and his once guaranteed career of fame went down the drain.
Unlike some of the other athletes on this list, at least Kypreos got to play hockey for at least a decade before he was forced to bow out due to injuries. Ultimately, it’s less that he suffered one major injury and more that he racked up chronic issues due to multiple concussions over the years.
The worst thing is the final concussion that forced him to quit as a result of an impact from his own teammate, Ryan VanderBussche. People often look at football as the sport with the most injured athletes, but you’ll be surprised by how many hockey players are on this list.
Unfortunately for Alvin Williams, he spent most of his five seasons in the NBA being injured, in no small part due to a major knee injury that he suffered during his third season. Like many basketball players, this guard had a tough time coming back from it.
He actually made two attempts to return to his former glory after that injury, but he just never managed to do it, which led to a less than illustrious career, especially compared to what could have been.
This English soccer player was a force to be reckoned with in his heyday, being a player for the England national team, as well as West Ham United. Unfortunately, he broke his ankle in 2006, and that was the beginning of the end.
He actually managed to play one more season after recovering from his injury, but unfortunately, lingering pain and complications from the broken ankle prevented Ashton from really getting back into the game, and he had to retire at the early age of 26.
Here we have another athlete who actually got to play his sport for a long time: fifteen years in the NFL. However, he could have played much longer, if only Matt Johnson hadn’t seriously rattled his brain cage in 1998.
After the impact, Beukeboom suffered from many ailments related to post-concussion syndrome, including confusion, nausea, headaches, and memory loss. With all of those things plaguing him, he had no choice but to retire from the sport.
He may have played a total of ten years in the NFL, but Chris Spielman spent the last few of them battling serious neck injuries. An injury in 1997 seriously hampered his playing ability, as it was bad enough to result in neck surgery.
Spielman almost made a comeback in 1999, but when he once again suffered another neck injury before the regular season even started, he was forced to retire before any more serious injuries could be endured.
Scott Stevens is another example of a player who had a pretty great career, and it wasn’t a singular injury that forced him out of the game, as opposed to many injuries over the years taking their toll on him. With multiple concussions over his two decades of playing, he announced his retirement after the 2003 to 2004 season.
Not that he actually managed to finish that season, since he was diagnosed with the post-concussion in November of that year, forcing him to stay out of the game. Concussions remain one of the most dangerous hazards for football players, even today.
Steve Young is notable for the way he managed to successfully fill the illustrious shoes of Joe Montana. Unfortunately, his Hall of Fame career was filled to the brim with concussions: he had seven confirmed head injuries prior to 1999.
He suffered an eighth head injury that year, and after going through all of that, Steve Young pulled the plug on his career for his own safety. Smart move, in our books.
Cam Neely actually managed to play in all 13 seasons of his NHL career, prior to his retirement in 1996. Fans would have liked for that career to be even longer, but honestly, it was several seasons longer than it should have been in the first place.
Suffering a crippling knee injury during Game 3 of the Wales Conference Finals, Neely tried to return to form after the fact, but only managed to play in 162 games in the last five years of his NHL career, and he was never quite as amazing as he had been before.
Concussions are a serious threat in all contact sports, not just football. Keith Primeau had a career in the NHL that lasted sixteen years, but he faced numerous head injuries along the way. Nine games into the 2005-200 season, the captain of the Philadelphia Flyers sustained yet another concussion.
Following that injury, he was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, and Primeau decided to retire mere days afterward, putting his health above any more glory on the ice.
After just two seasons in Buffalo, Kevin Everett’s NFL career was cut seriously short. During the 2007-2008 season, Everett suffered a terrible spinal cord injury, coming very close to paralyzing him. Needless to say, playing the NFL again was impossible.
Ultimately, he was able to regain some control of his legs and walk under his own power again, but never to an extent that would allow him to play contact sports. Thus ended Everett’s once illustrious career.
Joe Theisman managed to play his entire career in the NFL with the Redskins, and in that time, he managed to help the team win two Super Bowls. Unfortunately, his career, which could have been even longer and more illustrious, ended due to a catastrophic injury in 1985.
Taking a hit from Giants linebackers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson, Theisman suffered a devastating injury when both bones in his lower right leg were broken. After that, he would never be able to play again.
Leg fractures are a common hazard for soccer players: with everything throwing their legs around with all their might, it is bound to happen sometime. Luc Nilis had a very successful career as a striker for both Belgium and the Netherlands, but one injury was enough to cut it short.
In September of 2000, he directly clashed with goalkeeper Richard Wright, and the result was a double compound fracture in his right shin. Even worse, that injury became infected at one point, and a possible amputation was in the cards. Needless to say, his career was over.
Michael Irvin was one of the most popular players in the league during his time as a wide receiver for the Cowboys. He was flashy and fun and knew how to make his presence known. Unfortunately, he suffered a career-ending injury in 1999 against the Eagles.
The sad part is that the Eagles fans were quite happy about the outcome, cheering as Irvin was carried out on a stretcher. We know it was technically a good thing for them, but that’s pretty messed up.
Kirby Puckett managed to play his entire eleven years in the MLB in Minnesota. Unfortunately, he took a fastball to the jaw in 1995, which broke it. He tried to recover from the injury in the Minors, but that was not to be.
In 1996, he woke up one night without vision in his right eye, and he was diagnosed with Glaucoma. Even after three surgeries, the issue was unable to be resolved, and he had no choice but to retire from the sport.
Mike Utley’s career with the Lions of the NFL seemed very promising at first, but in a game against the Rams in his third season, that career came to a very sudden end. The cause? A spinal injury that affected his sixth and seventh vertebrae.
As he was being carted away from the field, Utley gave fans a thumbs up, trying to tell them that everything would be alright. But unfortunately, it was later determined that he was paralyzed from the chest down.
LaFontaine had a very long career in the NHL, spanning fifteen years. However, one of those years was played against the advice of his physicians. He suffered a concussion in 1997 and was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Afterward, the Sabres refused to let him play again.
The Rangers, on the other hand, had no such qualms, allowing LaFontaine to play one more season, though he suffered another concussion in that time. Once that happened, he didn’t come back to the ice.
This professional English soccer player was playing against Manchester United in 1996 when he suffered his career-ending injury. Much like another soccer player on this list, he suffered two compound fractures in both bones of his lower right leg.
The injury was so bad, his leg almost had to be amputated, and he even contracted the MRSA virus while in the hospital. With 26 operations related to his injury after that, Busst did not manage to return to the game.
Steve Moore had a noteworthy, but brief run in the NHL that only lasted three seasons, all thanks to a super cheap shot from the Canucks’ resident jerkwad, Todd Bertuzzi. The hit gave Moore a concussion and three cracked vertebra, permanently taking him out of the game.
For his violent offense, Bertuzzi was formally charged with assault, a crime that he ultimately plead guilty to. Hopefully, that lawsuit included a great deal of money.
This NFL athlete played out his whole career in Seattle, but that means it ended there as well. In the 2007 to 2008 season, Mack endured a herniated disk during a game against the Steelers. Unfortunately, that trauma led to spinal cord damage.
Fortunately, that damage didn’t paralyze Strong in any way, but considering the close call to his physical health, he decided to call it quits on the sport afterward.
McCleary’s case is unfortunate: in his first season playing hockey, he suffered a major eye injury, but he ultimately managed to recover from it and play again. A year later though, he was hit in the throat by a hockey puck.
The impact resulted in a fractured larynx and a collapsed lung, and even though he tried to come back to the game later, the shortness of breath he suffered from the injury made it impossible to properly condition himself for the sport.
It’s hard to know how far Reggie Brown may have gone in the NFL, after being drafted by the Lions in 1996. He was only able to play 32 games before suffering a career-ending injury in a match against the Jets: a spinal cord contusion.
He was fading in and out of consciousness for a whopping seventeen minutes before medics were actually able to stabilize his condition and safely remove him from the field. Unfortunately, they weren’t able to save his career along with that.
Stingley only played four years in the NFL, with all of them being as a wide receiver for the Patriots. Unfortunately, a collision with Raiders player Jack Tatum resulted in two broken vertebrae and a compressed spinal cord.
Unfortunately, the injury paralyzed him. He was able to regain some feeling in his arms over time but spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. It just goes to show that players are taking truly great risks for the game and the entertainment of the masses.
Unfortunately, LeGrand never even got to play in the NFL. He was a defensive tackle for the Rutgers but suffered a catastrophic spinal injury in a game against the Navy in 2010. When he was taken off the field, he was only able to move his head and nothing else.
Doctors later determined that he was paralyzed from the neck down. Considering risks like this, we have to applaud players for facing it head-on, though perhaps science should find some better ways to keep players safe from things like this.
Roy was a three-time All-Star by the time he had played just four NBA seasons, so he had established himself as an amazing player in no time. Unfortunately, his identity as one of the top guards in the game was compromised when knee issues forced early retirement at age 29.
His unfortunate fate was this: he had surgery to remove some cartilage from his left knee, then tore part of his right knee soon after. Lacking cartilage in both knees led to a degenerative knee condition that forced his retirement.
Weishuhn had a very brief NFL career, but in 1983, he made the record for the Patriots’ single-season tackles, with 229. That amazing record was something he set in his second season of playing, but unfortunately, that was his last season as well.
A knee injury took him out of the 1984 season, and the persisting complications cost him the 1985 season as well. He injured his groin and hamstring in 1986, which led to a stunted season, not to mention his last in the NFL. It’s amazing how hard he hit the record books, despite his brief career.
30+ Random Athlete Endorsements We Totally Forgot About
It’s definitely not uncommon for athletes to take advantage of different opportunities that come their way as they rise to fame. With that being said, many of these top celebrities are hired to represent various types of brands. And although some fans are quick to call their favorite athletes a sellout for becoming the face of a certain company, it’s hard to turn down a bigger income. Some of the endorsements on this list make perfect sense, others are hilariously amusing, and then there are those that couldn’t be any weirder…
David Beckham — Fish Sticks
Although he’s now retired, there’s no denying that David Beckham made a name for himself in the world of soccer. Regarded as a British cultural icon, Beckham is one of the greatest and most recognizable midfielders of his generation.
Aside from his time on the field, Beckham has also spent his years modeling for different brands including Calvin Klein. And we’re not at all surprised considering his hunky appearance. Still, we have to admit that seeing Beckham’s face on a box of Young’s fish sticks was a bit out of left field.
Cristiano Ronaldo — Facial Fitness
Let’s be real — Portuguese powerhouse Cristiano Ronaldo is quite easy on the eyes. With that being said, we’re not surprised that he’s been chosen as the face of many different brands such as Nike and Herbalife Nutrition. Of course, those aren’t the only companies that Ronaldo has endorsed throughout the years.
Facial Fitness Pao, a Japanese device designed to strengthen the face muscles, is probably one of the stranger products that we’ve seen Ronaldo advertise. Not only does the device itself look quite odd but you never actually see Ronaldo use it in the commercial.
Hulk Hogan — Thunder Mixer
There’s no doubt that Hulk Hogan was and will always be the king of the wrestling ring. Still, when it comes to the brands he chooses to endorse, we can’t exactly say the same thing.
Don’t worry — you’ll see it for yourselves as Hogan pops up quite a few times throughout this list. The first product we’re discussing, though, is the Thunder Mixer. While Hogan has found great success throughout his life as a musician and wrestler, he may not have made the best business deals.
Tom Brady — Ugg Boots
When football star Tom Brady became the face of Ugg footwear, the internet wouldn’t let him forget it. While he can’t get enough of his Ugg slippers, fans had trouble wrapping their heads around the fact that this macho quarterback now endorses an Australian shoe brand.
Still, Brady couldn’t care less what people think. During an interview with USA Today, ‘California Cool’ revealed that he’s “been wearing the slippers since I was 13 or 14 years old when I got my first pair that my mom bought me. And I’ve been wearing them ever since.”
Muhammad Ali — d-CON Roach Traps
Nicknamed ‘The Greatest,” the late Muhammad Ali is still — to this very day — known as one of the most significant athletes of the 20th century, as well as one of the greatest boxers of all time. Still, Ali’s matches with opponents didn’t only stay in the ring.
In fact, by 1979, the legendary athlete had started fighting off roaches when he became the face of d-Con roach traps and bug spray. And while the whole thing is quite strange, we have to admit that this advertisement has us feeling pretty nostalgic.
Conor McGregor — Burger King
Also known as ‘The Notorious,’ Conor McGregor is a former UFC featherweight and lightweight champion. Throughout his career in the Octagon, this Irishman has undoubtedly made a name for himself. Still, after getting defeated by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the infamous boxing match — The Money Fight — McGregor wasn’t so quick to return to the ring.
Instead, he signed with Burger King to promote their Spicy Chicken Sandwich and although the commercial is quite amusing, fans weren’t too thrilled. Some even calling the athlete a chicken for not defending his title.
Ray Lewis — RL52 Style
Now 45 years old, Ray Lewis is a former professional football player who was a linebacker with the Baltimore Ravens for his entire 17-year career in the NFL. Considering the number of accolades he has received throughout his years on the field, it’s no wonder why Lewis is considered to be one of the greatest middle linebackers in NFL history.
After his retirement in 2013, Lewis decided to keep busy with different business ventures including creating a rip-off version of the Snuggie, called RL52 Style. And while everyone loves getting cozy in an oversized blanket on a cold night, perhaps Lewis should have thought of his own idea.
Brian Urlacher — RESTORE
Brian Urlacher was considered to be one of the most fearsome linebackers in the NFL during his career. After 13 years on the field, Urlacher threw the towel in to start the next chapter of his life, which in this case was RESTORE Hair.
That’s right — fans got the shock of their lives when the man known for making bald look good appeared as the face of an advertising campaign for this product. Now, while we don’t see anything wrong with hair transplants, it’s hard to get used to Urlacher with a full head of hair…
Cristiano Ronaldo — KFC
Here we have Cristiano Ronaldo yet again! Considering that he’s one of the greatest players in the history of soccer, not to mention that he’s beloved by all, it’s no surprise that so many different brands want him as the face of their products.
And while we can understand the hype, we’re not entirely sure why Ronaldo signed a deal with KFC. We mean, it doesn’t take much for us to imagine how intense Ronaldo’s training and diet must be. With that being said, we can only assume that this all-star player had never tasted anything fried in his life before he began doing these advertisements.
Brock Lesnar — Scent Killer
Born and raised in South Dakota, Brock Lesnar is a professional wrestler and former mixed martial artist. Although his career as an MMA fighter was quite brief, Lesnar is one of the biggest attractions in the industry, and his popularity as a wrestler is even more prominent.
With that being said, we really couldn’t have thought of a better person to help market Super Charged Scent Killer — a hunting product used to mask human scent. While some would think it’s a bit random, Lesnar himself is an avid hunter so it does make sense.
Rob Gronkowski — Tide Pods
Anyone that uses the internet knows about the TidePod Challenge craze that went viral back in 2018. In order to stop people from essentially poisoning themselves, Tide recruited everyone’s favorite football tight end, Rob Gronkowski, to explain that TidePods should only be used for doing laundry.
And while the commercial was quite brief, we do believe ‘Gronk’ was pretty compelling as he stood in his own laundry room and screamed “NO!” repeatedly before saying, “What the heck is going on people? Use TidePods for washing, not eating…”
Ric Flair — Ric Flair Finance
Considered by many as the greatest wrestler of all time, Ric Flair has had an indisputably successful career in the ring. If you’re not an avid WWE viewer, you may recognize Flair as the man behind the infamous “WOO!” GIFs that have flooded the internet.
With this kind of firey personality, it doesn’t come as a shock that Flair has been chosen to represent many different brands. Still, we have to admit that Ric Flair Finance was nothing more than a disastrous online business. After all, would you trust to get a quote from a beef head that wears shimmery robes?
Manchester United — Kagome Tomato Juice
We’re not entirely sure what the creator behind this advertisement was thinking but if they had a special vision of presenting the most uncomfortable 30 seconds imaginable, then this whole video was a total success. In this commercial, Kagome — a Japanese manufacturer and distributor known for making tomato-based foods — is advertising tomato juice using four Manchester United stars.
And while this might have been a great marketing idea, they executed the video all wrong. Rather than doing a quick cut to the players taking a sip of the juice, the camera keeps rolling as the soccer players chug…and chug away.
Lamar Odom — ‘Unbreakable Bond’ Perfume
Ah, yes — Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom. We all remember how brief and dramatic that relationship was, and we wouldn’t be lying if we said the same thing about ‘Unbreakable Bond by Khloe and Lamar.’ Our first question is whether or not this perfume actually meets NBA standards, just because it’s getting backed by two celebrities.
Now, another obvious problem about the fragrance is that it’s literally endorsed by a couple that broke up. Aside from all of that, though, don’t you guys feel like the design of the box is just a tad bit racy?
Nick Cummins — Head and Shoulders
Nicknamed ‘The Honey Badger,’ Nick Cummins is a former Australian professional rugby union player. While he spent quite a few years on the field, though, Cummins has also done his fair share of television work. In fact, some of you may even recognize him from the sixth season of The Bachelor Australia.
Aside from that, Cummins has also been featured in several ad campaigns for brands such as Tradie. One of his more memorable advertisements, however, was for Head & Shoulders in which he shows off his gorgeous locks of hair and thick Australian accent.
David Warner — OLED TV
David Warner is an Australian international cricketer and former captain of the Australian national team. While he’s been playing nationally since 2009, though, we believe that this athlete loves something a bit more than cricket — OLED televisions. Seriously!
The guy can’t stop raving about just how much he and his family enjoy the TV. In any event, this ad instantly became one of the most meme-able sports endorsements and frankly, the subject of much social media banter. At that point, LG got the exact attention they were looking for.
Charles Barkley — Weight Watchers
Nicknamed ‘The Round Mound of Rebound,’ former basketball player Charles Barkley established himself as one of the NBA’s most dominant power forwards. Aside from his indisputable talent, though, Barkley is also known for his outspoken personality, which could be why Weight Watchers decided to make this Hall of Famer the face of their ad campaign.
Still, while we can understand the intention behind it, this whole advert is pretty weird and we’re not referring to his attention-grabbing outfit. In reality, what we’re talking about is the fact that Barkley trash-talked Weight Watchers after his feature, calling the brand a scam.
Maria Sharapova — Canon
Former tennis star Maria Sharapova is easily one of the most influential athletes around. Aside from her obvious talent, though, Sharapova has also turned heads for her looks. With that being said, it makes sense as to why she’s appeared in several advertisements for brands including Nike, Cole Haan, and Canon.
Easily the most quoted slogan by the superstar athlete, “Make every shot a Powershot,” Sharapova signed with Canon by the time she was 17 years old. And although it’s not the most common endorsement we can think of for an athlete, we have to admit that each and every commercial she appears in is gold.
Brett Favre — Wrangler Jeans
A former professional NFL player, Brett Favre spent the majority of his athletic career as a quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Although the Mississipi native retired from playing back in 2008, he was still very much in the spotlight as he continued to be the spokesperson for many different brands including Wrangler, a well-known clothing manufacturer. After a 20-year relationship, though, Favre stunned the denim world when he retired as the face of Wrangler in 2009.
Vince Young — Vince Young Foods
A former football quarterback, Vince Young never really found the same kind of success in the NFL as he found playing in college. Still, his NCAA career with the Texas Longhorns was more than enough to make him an icon. He used this fame to his advantage by opening up a fine dining steakhouse in Austin, which has enjoyed a great deal of business.
Unfortunately, we can’t really say the same for Vince Young Foods — the athlete’s line of food products. Despite Young’s best attempt, these processed meats just didn’t do it for his fans.
Shawn Johnson — Ortega
Born and raised in Iowa, Shawn Johnson is a former artistic gymnast who not only competed in the Olympics but also won multiple titles and medals throughout her career. Still, Olympians essentially make nothing for competing so it makes sense to cash in on any success that comes their way, which is potentially why Johnson signed a deal with Ortega.
While we can understand why Johnson, along with two other gymnasts, was chosen to endorse the brand, Ortega promoted their food products in the most awkward way imaginable.
O.J. Simpson — Hertz
Alright, let’s just skip the whole introduction on this one — we all know who O.J. Simpson is. While there’s nothing necessarily strange about a bigtime athlete promoting a rental car service, we can’t help but feel like this is somewhat of a special case.
After all, the whole advertisement is now masked in irony. Ya know, because ‘The Juice’ was chosen to be the ambassador of a rental car company that’s specifically aimed at people who are always on the run. Need we say more?
Lionel Messi — Scalp D Face Wash
It’s no secret that Lionel Messi is one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Hailing all the way from Argentina, Messi captains both Spanish club Barcelona and the national team for his home country. Considering that he’s been named one of the most influential people in the world, it doesn’t come as much of a shock that he’s been chosen to endorse many different brands.
In 2012, Scalp D Face Wash — a Japanese company — hired Messi to represent their products. But, although Messi is beloved by many, we have to say that even he can’t make this facewash look any less ridiculous.
Manny Pacquiao — Datu Puti
Often called “Pac Man,” Manny Pacquiao is not only one of boxing’s most decorated competitors but he’s also the pride and joy of the Phillippines — his home country. With this kind of fame, it would be silly not to hire Pacquiao as a brand representative.
Still, we can’t help but feel that teaming up with Datu Puti is a wee bit strange. Then again, considering that Pacquiao is now the Senator of the Phillippines, we’re sure that his fans get quite a kick out of seeing his face plastered on soy sauce and vinegar pouches.
Steph Curry — Brita
Alright, we have to admit that this next one isn’t as strange as it is hilarious. A six-time NBA All-Star, the great Stephen Curry has been making waves in the world of basketball since his first draft pick in 2009. When he’s not busy scoring baskets on the court, Curry keeps himself busy with other endeavors.
Back in 2018, he became the face of Brita when he teamed up with comedian Rudy Manusco to make one of the most interesting commercials of that year. With the catchy song that the ad features, along with Curry’s deadpan facial expressions, we think it’s safe to say that this commercial couldn’t have been cast any better.
Michael Owen — Dubai Tourism
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — we completely understand why hiring athletes to endorse certain brands is such a hot trend. And while English former soccer player Michael Owen has endorsed everything from pizza to watches, it still came as a surprise to see the retired Brit as the face of Dubai tourism.
Although anyone and everyone would die for an opportunity to travel to Dubai, we have to say that Owen just isn’t persuasive enough. His deadpan expressions and monotone voice had us falling asleep within the first 10 seconds of the commercial.
Ben Roethlisberger — Big Ben’s Beef Jerky
What is it about athletes and meat? They seriously can’t get enough of it. First, we had Vince Young. Now, we’re onto Ben Roethlisberger, a.k.a. ‘Big Ben’ — a football quarterback and two-time Super Bowl champion for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
While we can all admit that Big Ben’s Beef Jerky sounds like an old-timey, local brand full of nostalgia and mouthwatering goodness, seeing Ben’s silly face on the packaging takes away from the product altogether. In any event, Ben here ultimately lost his sponsor and the jerky was discontinued after a certain controversy followed the athlete.
Akinori Otsuka — Corky’s Pest Control
This is by far one of the most entertaining albeit cheesy commercials an athlete has ever done. A retired Japanese baseball pitcher, Akinori Otsuka was featured in a local ad for Corky’s Pest Control and man, did he nail it or what?
As the former San Diego Padres relief pitcher sits down for a picnic of one, he notices some ants roll in. So, what does he do? Well, naturally, he grabs the nearest baseball bat and goes to town smashing these little critters. The best part? The advert finishes with a jingle that was probably written seconds before filming.
Michael Jordan — Hanes
The legendary Michael Jordan is no stranger to the screen. Throughout his career as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, MJ was called on to represent many brands, one of them being Hanes — who the star has been endorsing for over 30 years.
Now, there’s nothing weird about supporting comfy cotton clothes, but these Hanes commercials have everyone scratching their heads. All of them feature Jordan flying first class next to some overly talkative looney who can’t stop talking about collars and underwear, not to mention the fact you can barely understand MJ over his mumbles. Also, what’s up with that mustache?
Hulk Hogan — Pastamania
You didn’t actually think we were done talking about Hulk Hogan, did you? At this point in the list, we think it’s safe to say that Hogan has endorsed quite a few products, each one more random than the next.
Cue Pastamania — a restaurant created and founded by Hogan that met its demise in less than a year. Pastamania was opened in Minnesota’s Mall of America on Labor Day weekend of ’95. While the restaurant was heavily promoted, it didn’t stand a chance.
NFL Players — Eastern Motors
Easterns Automotive Group is a family-owned used car dealership that first opened in 1988. Throughout the years, this company has been known to create funny commercials with NFL Redskins and Ravens players.
So, while it may seem a bit random to see a car full of football players getting jiggy with it, we have to admit that these adverts have been perfectly orchestrated up until this point. After all, what fan doesn’t love seeing their favorite athlete show off their goofy side?
Rob Bironas — Copier Pros
Although his athletic career was brief compared to others, the late Rob Bironas certainly made a name for himself as one of the best football placekickers. Being that Bironas spent part of his time playing for the Tennessee Titans, it makes sense as to why RJ Young — an IT company based out of Nashville — hired the pro-athlete to endorse their copy machine.
In the advert, a group of employees stands around slamming a broken copier. That’s when Bironas comes in to save the day…and throws the machine out of an office window. All in all, this local commercial is advertising at its finest.
Dustin Pedroia & Jim Rice — Sullivan Tire
Despite the fact that they didn’t play during the same period of time, there’s no denying that Dustin Pedroia and Jim Rice are two of the most iconic baseball players to ever grace the MLB. Unfortunately, according to this Sullivan Tire commercial, we can’t really say the same for their acting abilities.
In fact, the little girl is easily the best actor in this whole advert. All in all, this local advertisement is not only poorly scripted but it’s also full of discontinuity considering that Mr. Sullivan appears out of nowhere to talk about his tires.
Mickey Mantle — MP-27 Spray
Mickey Mantle — also known as The Commerce Comet — is yet another New York Yankees legend that paved the way for many to come. A few years after his retirement in 1968, Mantle was chosen to endorse MP-27, a spray that prevents and aids in getting rid of athlete’s foot.
Despite his older age, as it was 1975 at this point, it does make that this iconic player was chosen to represent the product. Still, we can’t get used to the fact that there’s a huge pair of feet surrounding Mickey throughout the whole commercial.
Roger Clemens — Zest
Often referred to as ‘The Rocket,’ Roger Clemens is a former professional baseball pitcher who played 24 seasons in the MLB for four different teams, most memorably the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
In 1987, a few years after his MLB debut, Clemens appeared in a commercial for Zest. The advert features Clemens, in all of his youthful glory, singing songs about body wash with a bunch of women — “you’re not fully clean unless you’re Zestfully clean!”
Joe DiMaggio — Mr. Coffee
Often called ‘The Yankee Clipper,’ the late Joe DiMaggio was a legendary baseball player who spent his entire 13-year career in the MLB playing for the New York Yankees.
Now, while we can understand why companies love using iconic athletes to represent their products, this is DiMaggio at 55 years old, endorsing none other than a coffee filter. This Mr. Coffee commercial from the late ’70s is really by no means bad but we can’t help but feel like DiMaggio looks a tad out of place. After all, how eager can you really be about a coffee filter?
Hulk Hogan — Hitachi Bigflow Air Conditioner
Hulk Hogan is back, people, and this time he’s endorsing Japanese brand Hitachi’s Bigflow Air Conditioner. Now, considering Hogan’s background in music, it makes sense as to why this commercial features the iconic wrestler singing over the Japanese narration.
With that being said, though, there’s no denying that this whole advert is quite random. Then again, we can’t say that we’re at all surprised. After all, let’s take a moment to think about the other business ventures Hogan has taken part in over the years…
Wilt Chamberlain — Fletcher’s Castoria for Children
Wilt Chamberlain was yet another incredible NBA player who made a name for himself on the court playing center from 1958 to 1973. Throughout his career, Wilt became so popular that anyone and everyone wanted his face on their product.
With that being said, of all the things he could have endorsed, Chamberlain went with a laxative — Fletcher’s Castoria for Children, to be exact. Still, although it was a strange business deal, Wilt was such an icon that even this kind of commercial couldn’t make a dent in his stardom.
Joe Namath — Beautymist Pantyhose
Often referred to as ‘Broadway Joe,’ Joe Namath is a former professional football player and quarterback who played for the American Football League (AFL) as well as the National Football League (NFL) during the ’60s and ’70s. Now, although he was one of the biggest celebrities of that time, we honestly can’t understand why Namath was hired as the face of Beautymist Pantyhose.
While there’s no denying that the commercial starts off clever enough, we can’t say that Namath was the right guy for the part. After all, saying “I don’t wear pantyhose” kind of takes away from the endorsement, don’t you think?
Pete Rose — Kool-Aid
Also known as ‘Charlie Hustle,’ Pete Rose was undoubtedly one of the most iconic baseball players around in his day. He was not only a legend on the field and at the plate, though — he also happened to be one in television commercials. Throughout the course of his career, Rose has been featured in several advertisements including this throwback Kool-Aid commercial from the mid-’80s.
Rose is up to bat so naturally, he hits one out of the park. That’s when Kool-Aid Man busts through the scoreboard whilst screaming, “OH YEAH” and robbing Rose’s home run.