From The Rock to Terry Crews, 12 Actors Who Started Out as Athletes

Getty / Dia Dipasupil / NBC

In the world of entertainment, it’s not unusual to see people from different industries dabble in trying something outside of their well-established field of work. While musicians, actors, comedians, and athletes have different careers, they’re all connected by the drive to entertain people. Over the years, many athletes have put their sports careers on hold to pursue work on screen in films and TV shows, and some have arguably become more well-known for their acting résumés than their athletic achievements.

Despite a number of women athletes who have dabbled with acting, most of the athletes-turned-actors who have become successful in their switch from sports to onscreen stardom are men. This imbalance unfortunately reflects the gender-based discrimination women face in both the sports and entertainment world, which leaves little room for women athletes to explore other opportunities outside of their respective careers.

Ranging from WWE stars like John Cena to NBA legends like Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James, here are some of the most successful athletes-turned-actors.

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