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The Greatest Athlete Cameos in Movie History

Cameos are exciting in movies. First, you have an already exciting story, and then someone completely off-the-wall comes in and excites the audience with their presence. There are too many cameos in movies to count, but there is a specific kind of cameo that’s a little different from the rest—the athlete cameo. Read on to learn more about the greatest athlete cameos in movie history.

Space Jam
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Billy West, Dee Bradley Baker, Danny DeVito (Actors)

Michael Jordan in Space Jam

Hollywood advertised Space Jam and Space Jam: A New Legacy as an incredible crossover between NBA great Michael Jordan and the entire Looney Tunes squad, both near the height of their fame. Viewers weren’t expecting other basketball legends like Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, and Larry Bird to lend their talents to the film.

Many other basketball players also have brief cameos in the movie as cartoon aliens steal their basketball prowess.

Game of Death
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Bruce Lee, Cheung Lak, Le Hai San (Actors)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in The Game of Death

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest basketball players ever to touch the game, leading the NBA in all-time points scored. In addition to being a monster on the court, Kareem has also shown off his acting chops in several films, including Airplane! and The Game of Death.

While he’s known more for Airplane!, his role in the Hong Kong martial arts film is one of the best as he acts against Bruce Lee in his iconic yellow-and-black jumpsuit.

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Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor (Actors)

Lance Armstrong in Dodgeball

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is one of the weirdest, most human films about an esoteric sport like dodgeball. It’s full of ups and downs, and in the main character’s lowest moment, as he runs away from the dodgeball finals, he encounters the—at the time—cycling great Lance Armstrong in the airport.

Through a small conversation, Armstrong convinces the main character to return and rejoin the team that’s counting on him. In The Armstrong Lie, this documentary follows cyclist Lance Armstrong from his 2009 comeback effort through his shocking 2012 confession of performance-enhancing drug use. Starring: Lance Armstrong. | Stream on Netflix.

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Kicking & Screaming
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Will Ferrell, Robert Duvall, Mike Ditka (Actors)

Mike Ditka in Kicking and Screaming

Will Ferrell’s soccer coach film is fantastic for all ages, as it shows off little-league soccer and contains some nods and jokes that older fans will enjoy. One of those nods is the inclusion of neighbor Mike Ditka, a legendary NFL coach who helps Ferrell whip his team into shape. Of course, Ditka plays himself in the film, but he shows off much more range than he did when screaming on the NFL sidelines.

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The most excellent athlete cameos in movie history are too numerous to name, but these are some of the most memorable ones that have stuck out in recent memory. As celebrity lines continue to blur as time goes on, we’ll likely see many more athletes lend their talents to the big screen when they’re not on the court or field.

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