Lists

25 Elite Athletes With Unexpected Talents

Darren - November 26, 2019
Lists

25 Elite Athletes With Unexpected Talents

Darren - November 26, 2019

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

14. Usain Bolt – Soccer

For a long time, Bolt was the fastest man on the planet. The Jamaican broke a ridiculous number of world records and won eight Olympic gold medals. For this reason, he’s widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all-time. Bolt is a superstar, but running isn’t his only sporting interest.

Usain Bolt Olympics
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

No, Bolt dreamed of being a professional soccer player. After he retired from professional athletics, he decided to try and achieve this. In 2010, he trained with Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners and played in a friendly for the club. Bolt scored twice in the match but chose not to pursue a career in the sport.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

13. Jerry Stackhouse – Singing

Stackhouse is currently the head coach of the Vanderbilt Commodores. The two-time NBA All-Star had an excellent career, playing for the Dallas Mavericks and the Brooklyn Nets. He spent 18 seasons in the NBA and developed a reputation as a fan favorite.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

One of the reasons for his popularity was because of his sublime singing talent. Stackhouse has a superb voice. He performed the US national anthem multiple times throughout his career. Of course, he got a warm reception each time he sang in front of millions across the globe.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

12. Michael Jordan  – Baseball

Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. But did you forget that he also played baseball? The six-time NBA champion became disillusioned with life on the court after the death of his father. He decided to quit and become a professional baseball player instead, playing in the minor leagues for the Birmingham Barons.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, after a year on the field, he chose to come back to basketball and picked up where he left off. The five-time NBA MVP was always best playing on the court. A 14-time All-Star, Jordan is one of the most iconic NBA players in the history of the sport.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

11. Michael Bisping – DJ

The first British UFC champion, Bisping is incredibly popular with fans. He’s down-to-earth, funny, and never shy to give his honest opinion on any situation. ‘The Count’ was a very solid standup fighter with sublime cardio. Bisping famously knocked out Luke Rockhold on two weeks’ notice to win the UFC middleweight title.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

But it could have been so much different. Bisping actually worked as a DJ as a young man when he was trying to pay his bills. He played a number of underground clubs and raves in the northwest of England before finally going full-time as an MMA fighter.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

10. Karl Malone – Truck Driving

One of the greatest NBA power forwards ever, ‘The Mailman’ is also a trucker. Yes, that’s right, he owns his own logistics company and even gets behind the wheel himself to drive all over the US. We’re talking about the big units too. The Utah Jazz legend drives a 72-foot, 34,000-pound 18-wheeler.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

A 14-time All-Star, if Malone takes his basketball talents to the highways of the USA, he’ll be one of the best in the business. Malone is also a two-time NBA MVP as well as an 11-time NBA First Teamer. The main problem that he faces as a truck driver is actually fitting in the vehicle. At 6′ 9″ and 250lbs, that’s no joke.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

9. Katie Taylor – Soccer

Taylor is the pound-for-pound best women’s boxer on the planet. Soft-spoken and unassuming, the Irishwoman is a different person when she climbs into the ring. Her hand speed and technical speed are as good as any fighter’s on the planet. She’s the unified lightweight champion of the world and also holds the WBO junior welterweight title.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, her talents go further beyond boxing. She’s also played as a soccer player and is a full Irish international. Taylor has won 11 caps for her country, scoring two goals in the process. Finally, she retired because the risk of injury on the playing field was too dangerous for her career as a boxer.

McCulloch playing pinball.

8. Todd McCulloch – Pinball

Moving from the NBA to pinball is totally natural, right? Ok, no, it’s not, but it’s a transition that McCulloch has made easily. It looked like he was on course to have a fantastic career in basketball, but then a neuromuscular disorder in his feet forced him to retire. It was a shame, but McCulloch had a backup plan.

Mandatory Credit: Twitter

This man adores pinball. To sum up, he loves it so much that he has 60 pinball machines in his house. He won the 2011 Pinball Expo in Chicago, beating world champions in the process. According to McCulloch, it gives him the same rush of excitement as playing basketball. We’ll take his word for it.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Eve Muirhead – Bagpipes

This elite curler might be the most Scottish woman on the planet. Muirhead was a bronze medalist in Sochi and the 2013 World Champion. She has represented Team Great Britain at three separate Games. As well as being an experienced Winter Olympian, she’s a brilliant bagpiper.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Muirhead actually owns a set of bagpipes worth close to $5000. She has appeared at four World Championships and plays at teammates’ weddings. This Scottish star is also excellent at golf. She turned down scholarships to two US colleges so that she could continue curling for Team GB.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Tyron Woodley – Rapping

The former UFC welterweight champion is one of the hardest hitters on the roster. If you get punched by ‘T-Wood,’ then the chances are you’re staying down. Furthermore, he’s one of the greatest 170-pound champions of all-time with four successful defenses. In short, Woodley is a bad man.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

But he’s also got some other talents. Woodley has a serious interest in rap music and even released his own album. Unfortunately, the release of ‘Chaos Theory’ came just after losing his belt to Kamaru Usman, so it definitely didn’t help him in terms of sales.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Sean Jones – Stockbroker

Jones is a former NFL defensive end who enjoyed a fantastic career. He won a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers in 1996. The two-time All-Pro also played for the Houston Oilers and the LA Raiders. While he’s definitely not the most famous former football star out there, his post-athletic career is fascinating.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He retired to become a stockbroker and to work in real estate. However, a scandal involving his client Ebenezer Ekuban caused him to go broke. Later he counter-sued and made his money back. Jones also worked as a color commentator on FOX Sports. The man has many talents.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Joe Allen – Raising Chickens

Current Leicester City manager notoriously called Joe Allen ‘the Welsh Xavi.’ Unfortunately, the current Stoke City soccer star was never able to live up to that name. He’s still a very intelligent and tidy player though, with over 50 caps for his country. However, you’d never expect his most curious talent.

Mandatory Credit: Twitter

Obsessed with raising chickens, Allen adopts birds that are no longer able to lay eggs. He first became interested in the birds after his wife Lacey’s work with animal welfare. Chicken & Egg magazine has even featured him on their cover. This is one of the only times where fowl play is a good thing.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

3. Mike Tyson – Pigeon Raising

Tyson is one of combat sport’s most notorious characters. You either love him or hate him, there’s little room for middle ground. The former heavyweight champion was a force of nature in his prime. However, he’s also a convicted rapist and literally bit a chunk out of Evander Holyfield’s ear.

Tyson vs Holyfield
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

But there is a sense that in latter years Tyson is a different man. He doesn’t even hit the bag anymore because he doesn’t want to be the person he was before. One of ‘Iron Mike’s’ most eclectic interests is raising pigeons. His passion for the birds even morphed into a TV show.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

2. Sean Avery – Fashion Designer

One of hockey’s most volatile and divisive personalities, Avery is also a fashion designer. His interest in the industry is so great that he actually did an internship with Vogue. Avery has also worked with a number of creative and advertising companies. This man is truly an artistic soul.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

However, on the ice, he was a different man altogether. Avery could not avoid controversy and regularly put his foot in his mouth. He even has a rule named after him after blatant unsportsmanlike behavior. He finished his 12-year career with a total of 90 goals, 247 points and 1,533 penalty minutes in 580 games.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Manny Pacquaio – Basketball

Pacquaio is one of the most famous boxers on the planet. Revered in his home country, the Filipino is the only eight-weight world champion in the history of the sport. He’s an all-action fighter and has beaten 22 world champions throughout the course of his career. But did you know that he’s also a professional basketball player?

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

That’s right, Pacquaio has played in the Philippines Basketball League, where he was the player-coach of Kia Motors Basketball Team. He used the sport as a form of cross-training to keep fit and played for four years in the PBA. Finally, he retired from professional basketball in 2018. Meanwhile, he’s also serving as a senator in his country.

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