The Funniest Athletes Of All Time

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin

Professional athletes are often seen as one-dimensional people, singularly focused on their sport. But when given the opportunity, players can display an amusing personality.

Whether they star in a hilarious commercial, poke fun at themselves in a film cameo, or crack a joke in an interview, American athletes have shown to be some of the funniest people in the public eye.

Most of the funniest athletes of all time are typically stars of their sport. Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks and NBA legends are instantly recognizable to most fans, so they are more likely to appear in a funny commercial or host Saturday Night Live.

Many of these athletes have shown enough personality during their careers that they are now making a living by acting or hosting TV shows. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have terrific comedic chemistry on “Inside the NBA,” TNT’s basketball analysis show. Other athletes on this list have gone on to host their own podcasts, become social media sensations for their unique posts, and even become bonafide actors, starring in films and television shows.

Edmonton Gazette reviewed media stories about American pro athletes to determine the funniest athletes of all time.

Humor is subjective, so there is no way to objectively rank the funniest athletes. A player’s brand of comedy may not amuse everyone especially if that player just beat a favorite team. But many athletes have consistently shown their lighter side, and those are the players we selected as the funniest of all time.

 

The Funniest Athletes Of All Time

 

10. Rickey Henderson

Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson

> League: MLB
> Team: Oakland Athletics

Rickey Henderson holds the all-time MLB record for stolen bases — and maybe also for the most hilarious quotes and stories. He reportedly used to check in to hotels under aliases like Richard Pryor and Luther Vandross. Another story tells that after Henderson was told he could sit wherever he wanted on the bus because he had tenure, he replied ” Ten years? Rickey’s been playing at least 16, 17 years.” Henderson was known to refer to himself in the third person, and before each game, he reportedly would stand nude in front of a mirror for several minutes, saying “Rickey’s the best” over and over.

 

9. Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers

> League: NFL
> Team: Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers is well known for his commercial work with State Farm. His amusing spots with the insurance company have run during football games for years. But before he was even a starter, Rodgers got in front of the camera by photobombing teammates on the sidelines of Packers games. Rodgers is also quite amusing online, razzing teammates, and showing his appreciation for a good mid-range jumper via his Twitter account.

 

8. Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal

> League: NBA
> Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Even after his retirement from the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal has remained a fixture on TV screens. Along with his ubiquitous work as a commercial pitchman, Shaq has made several cameos in films and shows, while hosting the entertaining “Inside the NBA” show on TNT. Along with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Ernie Johnson, O’Neal breaks down NBA action with plenty of laughs, including his “Shaqtin’ a Fool” segment, which highlights the worst blunders in the league.

 

7. Patrick Sharp

Patrick Sharp
Patrick Sharp

> League: NHL
> Team: Chicago Blackhawks

Patrick Sharp will always be remembered by fans as a three-time Stanley Cup winner for the Chicago Blackhawks. But his teammates may be more familiar with his impish pranks. The left winger has soaked teammates with buckets of water, had room service send absurd breakfast orders to others, and messed with rookies by relocating their luggage — and those are just the gags we know about.

 

6. Bob Uecker

Bob Uecker

> League: MLB
> Team: Milwaukee Braves

Bob Uecker had a short-lived MLB career, but his time as a broadcaster who’s known for his quick wit has stretched nearly 50 years. Uecker broke into acting as well. Baseball and comedy fans will no doubt remember him as the incredulous radio broadcaster Harry Doyle in the “Major League” movie franchise, telling listeners at home that pitches nowhere close to the plate were “just a bit outside.” He also starred in the family sitcom “Mr. Belvedere,” as well as a series of entertaining beer commercials.

 

5. Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin

> League: NBA
> Team: Detroit Pistons

After his time in the NBA is over, former first overall pick Blake Griffin may have a career as a standup comic. Griffin worked the world-famous Just For Laughs festival in Montreal and went toe-to-toe with top insult comic Jeff Ross in a roast battle. His acting skills are top-notch as well, as proven by his memorable appearance on the Comedy Central show “Broad City.”

 

4. Pat McAfee

Pat McAfee
Pat McAfee

> League: NFL
> Team: Indianapolis Colts

Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee made headlines when he was arrested for public intoxication after swimming in an Indianapolis canal in 2010. As embarrassed as he was by the experience, he made it part of his burgeoning comedy career, talking about that and his time in the NFL in a comedy tour across Indiana. McAfee also used to host his own sports and comedy podcast. He’s still having fun on the field — he recently pranked Colts fans when he put on an old man disguise and kicked field goals during a game.

 

3. Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley

> League: NBA
> Team: Philadelphia 76ers

Charles Barkley is instant entertainment. Whether he’s playing basketball, starring in a movie, or appearing as a guest on a talk show. “The Round Mound of Rebound” is always good for a laugh. Barkley has hosted SNL four times, each episode is funnier than the last. He’s also won two Emmys for outstanding sports personality for “Inside the NBA.” His scenes in “Space Jam” are still classic movie moments, especially when he promises to “never go out with Madonna again.” Though the funniest thing about Barkley may be his infamously bad golf swing.

 

2. Peyton Manning

> League: NFL
> Team: Indianapolis Colts

During his career, Peyton Manning may have spent more time on television screens as a commercial pitchman than as a quarterback. The former Colt and Bronco appeared in comical spots for Nationwide insurance, Papa John’s pizza, and Mastercard, among many others. Manning proved he could make people laugh on stage as well. Manning roasted Rob Lowe and drew rave reviews as the host of the 2017 ESPY awards on ESPN, and his episode on “Saturday Night Live” remains an all-time classic, named by “Rolling Stone” as the best SNL episode hosted by an athlete.

 

1. Yogi Berra

Peyton Manning
Peyton Manning

> League: MLB
> Team: New York Yankees

Yogi Berra may be one of the most quotable athletes — if not the most quotable person — in history. The former New York Yankees catcher gave out sage advice like “when you come to a fork in the road, take it” and “always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.” His famous Yogi-isms are still among the most well-known quotations, like “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore” and “no one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.” His quotes drew so much attention, people may have forgotten he was a three-time MVP and 10-time World Series champion.