Glenn Davis, Ben Axelrod, and Dan Fogarty
2:09 pm, July 12th, 2011
Not all athletes are meant to be in front of the camera. SportsGrid recently spent some time combing through the incredibly extensive history of bad athlete commercials, and collected some of the best/worst for your enjoyment/horror. Check ‘em out, and be secure in the knowledge that pro athletes
definitely aren’t superhuman.
1.Bronson Arroyo Plugs Car Dealership, Curses
Bronson Arroyo was new to Cincinnati in 2006, having just come over from the Red Sox that season, so he did what anyone does to makes themselves a part of their new community: he filmed a really weird car commercial.
This has it all - corny "dialogue" and wooden delivery - except for one word that we think must have been ad-libbed. And wouldn't you know it - that word is the best part of the whole ad. And let's also point out: the season Arroyo filmed this was the best of his career. Coincidence?
2.Pete Rose Gets VERY Friendly With Female Reporter
What good is aftershave if you can't use it to pound into everyone's head how much of a man you are?
Pete Rose, and this Aqua Velva commercial, are at a loss on that one...so instead, Rose just gets uncomfortably close to a female member of the "working press."
For some reason, this reporter chooses to ask Rose, while taking batting practice what a man wants in an aftershave. Rose answers, eventually breaking away from his BP session to address the camera. And apparently, this reporter is extremely turned on by fourth-wall-breaking, because then, Rose walks over to her, each very interested in the other. Unprofessional on the part of both of 'em, if you ask us.
3.Ric Flair Teaches A Proper Woooooooo!
From the “Macho Man”
Randy Savage and Slim Jim to Hulk Hogan and Arby’s, there’s no shortage of bad Pro Wrestling commercials out there, but this Ric Flair commercial for the North Carolina State lottery might take the title as the worst pro wrestling commercial out there.
Make sure you stick around for the end, as the tradeoff of “Woo’s” between Flair and the elderly woman is certainly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.
4.Evil Larry Bird Tortures Grant Hill With McDonald's Fries
Larry Bird had a reputation for being serious off the court. But for someone who had a famously stoic demeanor, he certainly starred in his share of goofy commercials. In fact, he’s the only person to appear on this list twice.
In this ad for McDonald’s, Bird, who was the head coach for the Pacers at the time, concocts the downright evil scheme to distract Grant Hill with McDonald's fries (Hill, in addition to being one of the most marketable players in the league at the time, was also apparently nursing a heroin-level fast food addiction). What results is one of the more memorable '90s McDonald's ads.
5.Wayne Gretzky Drinks 7Up, Bench Presses?
Oh my. Look, we know
Wayne Gretzky was one of the greatest players ever, in any sport ( the numbers don't lie, and they're staggering), and we know he was a mild-mannered great, relatively immune to the trappings of fame and international superstardom.
But even for someone averse to the spotlight, someone not eager to prove he was a multimedia crossover sensation, we never imagined he'd have been part of a commercial this bad. It's for 7Up. Its premise is both fantastically corny and unrealistic (for all of Gretzky's incredible talent, he wasn't exactly a bodybuilder). Its execution wouldn't be out of place on a Tim and Eric sketch. And the worst part: the jingle is kind of catchy. We're not sure if we even actually saw this. Look below and confirm for us.
6.The Pittsburgh Penguins Are Bigshots
It's a beautiful thing when the actors in a corny commercial embrace the corniness of said commercial and run with it. Below, you'll see then-Pittsburgh Penguins teammates Colby Armstrong, Max Talbot, Sergei Gonchar and Evgeni Malkin do just that, in a spot that aired a few years ago for an area car dealership (what is it with athletes and ads for local car dealerships?).
Are these guys the greatest actors in the world? Of course not. Do they care? Not at all. Did the dialogue, if anything, encourage the players to embrace the fact that they're not the greatest actors in the world, and just have some fun with it? Sure seems that way, and our lives are all the richer for it.
7.Charles Barkley Plays Begoggled Godzilla
Even when he doesn't have a speaking role in an ad,
Charles Barkley still knows how to be a part of a ridiculous commercial.
In this one for Coke, an oversized Sir. Charles takes on a goggles-wearing Godzilla in a game of one-on-one in the streets of Tokyo, before befriending the giant green lizard. Naturally.
8.Alex Ovechkin Tries His Hand At Singing
Apparently, at Eastern Motors, your job's your credit. How do we know this? Well, they've made it a very prominent feature of an...
interesting ad campaign over the years. And none of their pitchmen performed more...interestingly than Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.
Now, Ovechkin can perform. When you ask him to sing, though? He's stepping outside his comfort zone - not that he seems to mind. And really - we don't either. "It's gonna be on YouTube for sure" - how right you were, Ovie. And we wouldn't change a second.
9.Larry Bird, Dr. J, and Magic Johnson Share A Laugh
In the 80s, Converse was the Nike of today, in that they possessed a stable of the best basketball players in the world. Meaning that there was suitable opportunities to put them in incredibly corny situations.
Take this one, for instance. It features Larry Bird and Julius Erving arguing over a Converse shoe, and Magic Johnson appearing out of thin air (like Magic!). A fun side note: this commercial was shot in 1985. In 1984, Bird and Erving literally tried to kill each other on the basketball court. So...score one for professionalism?
10.The New York Rangers Skate Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day
We've already covered some hockey players not blessed with a ton of natural ability in front of the camera, but when you combine hockey players not blessed with a ton of natural ability in front of the camera with skating - and we're talking closer to figure skating than hockey skating - then you've really got something.
Three decades ago, four new York Rangers starred in an ad for Sasson jeans. One of them, NHL legend Phil Esposito, seemed to have a particular love for making the "A-ok" hand gesture. As for the rest of it...well, just watch.