Although they got famous through sports, some athletes pursue interests outside of their chosen profession as well. Most of them went for a musical career, although sometimes the results can be hilarious or awful. However, some did actually pull it off surprisingly well – whether it’s singing, playing jazz guitar or tearing it up on a drum kit.
Certain athletes have played sets in lounge bars or for fun at events, while others have taken it a step or two further by actually putting out albums. Now, that’s not necessarily a good idea; but, you have to commend these athletes for going for a music career regardless of whether or not you think it’s anywhere near as good as their athletic talents. Check them out!
10. Worst: Shaquille O’Neal
His first album Shaq Diesel sold more than 800,000 copies when it was released. Not only does he not rap particularly well, but his career in rap music in general is hard to take seriously. If anything, it goes to show that just because you can win multiple NBA titles and go to the All-Star Game 15 times doesn’t mean you’re king of the world.
9. Worst: Oscar de la Hoya
Oscar de la Hoya’s attempts at making music range from hilariously awful to just straight up horrible. More than anything, it’s just cheesy: in 2000, de la Hoya released an album of Latin pop songs – one of which was co-written by famous pop songwriter Diane Warren – and a cover of the Bee Gees’ “Run to Me”.
8. Worst: Manny Pacquiao
Manny Pacquiao’s foray into a music career is so bad that, when listening to his cover of Dan Hill’s schlocky ballad “Sometimes When We Touch” (with Hill himself accompanying him on backup vocals), you can’t tell if he’s being serious or doing it for a laugh. His first album went platinum in the Philippines, which probably has more to do with his star power in his home country than anything else.
7. Worst: Bronson Arroyo
A member of the curse-breaking 2004 Boston Red Sox team, former pitcher Bronson Arroyo’s accomplishments in baseball aren’t exactly matched by his foray into music. Releasing an album in 2005 titled Covering the Bases (we wonder how long it took for him to come up with that one), Arroyo’s repertoire comprises mostly of ‘90s alternative rock hits, and his covers are as mediocre as some of the album’s source material.
6. Worst: Deion Sanders
Deion Sanders, as successful as he was in the NFL and MLB ,didn’t translate to his attempt at a music career. Instead, the end result was disastrous: his rapping style was gimmicky, and his debut album Prime Time was a commercial failure. This is all before acknowledging the fact that one of his songs was called “Y U NV ME?”.
5. Best: Bernie Williams
If there’s anything baseball players can do a decently good job of pulling off away from the game, it’s music. The best example of this is probably former Yankee center fielder Bernie Williams: a classically-trained guitarist, the Puerto Rican plays with a Latin style and does so extremely well. He’s released two albums that have not only made the Billboard Jazz charts, but have nominated him for Latin Grammys, too.
4. Best: Mike Piazza
Former New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza has ties to music. In fact, he’s a fairly talented drummer: he got lessons from a drummer who’s played with David Lee Roth and Santana, and YouTube videos prove that he got a lot out of his lessons. Not only that, but he’s got some fairly significant ties to metal: he counts Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde as one of his friends.
3. Best: Barry Zito
Having come from a musical family – his late father composed music for legendary jazz singer Nat King Cole, and his mother was also a musician – it’s hardly a surprise to see Barry Zito follow in his family’s footsteps by being musically talented himself. Currently playing for the minor league affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, the former A’s and Giants pitcher has played his own concerts singing and he once even got a chance to jam with Metallica a couple of years ago.
2. Best: Clint Dempsey
Current Seattle Sounders midfielder/forward Clint Dempsey released a rap track in 2006 as part of a Nike campaign under the nickname of Deuce called “Don’t Tread” with Texas rappers Big Hawk (who sadly passed away that same year) and XO just ahead of that year’s World Cup in Germany. Dempsey jumps between spitting rhymes with a surprising amount of swagger and conviction and dribbling a ball just like he does in his day job.
1. Best: Wayman Tisdale
Prior to his passing in 2009, former NBA player Wayman Tisdale was known for his musical talents off the court in addition to his abilities on it. In fact, the power forward for the Pacers, Kings and Suns was one of the athletes to have truly embraced making music. Having started as a bass player as a child, he ended up using his musical talents to his advantage and recorded eight jazz albums – one of which (2001’s Face to Face) made it all the way to number one on Billboard’s contemporary jazz chart.