Jennifer Lawrence and Basketball
American actress Jennifer Lawrence has been practicing sports her entire life. In high school she played softball, field hockey, cheerleading and basketball, which she played on a boys’ team that was coached by her father.
But in a candid interview, the Oscar winner confessed that she actually really hated high school sports. She had to continue attending classes due to her parents’ demands. She also enjoyed horseback riding. Her main focus now is acting.
Gina Carano and MMA
You may know actress Gina Carano from the super popular Disney+ hit series The Mandalorian. But before she made it big in the entertainment business, she was a fitness model, and former mixed martial artist (MMA).
She started a career in Muay Thai after a boyfriend introduced her to the discipline. That led to her to compete professionally. She appeared in the reality show American Gladiators and also starred in the cult film Ring Girls
Tommy Lee Jones and Football
American actor Tommy Lee Jones attended Harvard University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1969. He played offensive guard at Harvard from 1965 to 1968 and was a member of Harvard’s undefeated 1968 football team.
Ivy League history was made when Harvard beat Yale in the 1968 game. There is even a 2008 documentary about the game called “Harvard beats Yale 29-29”. Jones went from football star to Hollywood star.
Josh Duhamel and Football
American actor Josh Duhamel also has a past playing football. While studying at Minot State University in North Dakota, he played quarterback for the university’s football team. Since this was not a feeder school for the NHL, Duhamel decided to drop out and focus his energy on a career in acting and modelling.
It led him to star in the box office Transformers franchise. Nevertheless, he went back to school and completed his degree in 2005.
Ellen DeGeneres and Tennis
American comedian, television host and actress Ellen DeGeneres has recently announced that The Ellen DeGeneres Show will come to an end in 2022 after 19 years on the air. To cope with the stress of her life, Ellen turns to tennis to burn that extra energy.
Due to her being a big celebrity, she was able to be introduced to major tennis stars such as Serena Williams. Ellen lives in a mansion in Montecito, California.
Kate Hudson and Soccer
American actress Kate Hudson is the daughter of legendary actress Golie Hawn and stepdaughter to iconic actor Kurt Russell. She rose to prominence for her work in the 2000 film Almost Famous, for which she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
But when she was growing up, Kate was very serious about soccer. Nowadays, she’s more of a soccer mom who loves supporting her children’s teams.
Geena Davis and Archery
American actress Geena Davis has a prolific acting career which earned her an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award. She has a bachelor’s degree in drama from Boston University.
Her acting debut was in Tootsie but she became a worldwide sensation with Thelma and Louise. Aside from acting, Geena ranked as a world class archer in the 2000 Olympics. She earned the 24th place out of 300 women who tried out for the competition.
Mahershala Ali and Basketball
American actor and rapper Mahershala Ali has taken the industry by surprise with his incomparable talent. He has won two Academy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, a BAFTA award, a Golden Globe Award and a Primetime Emmy Award.
But acting wasn’t his first career option in mind! He thought he had a long career as a professional basketball player. He played Division I basketball as a member of the St. Mary’s College team.
Kevin James and Wrestling
American comedian and actor Kevin James has made us laugh out loud playing Doug Heffernan on the sitcom The King of Queens. He also made us roar with laughter in Mall Cop and Hitch.
But before he became an actor, James was a member of the wrestling team at Ward Melville High School. While there, he reached the number one spot on the wrestling team, just ahead of friend and future professional wrestler Mick Foley.
Britney Spears and Basketball
American singer and dancer Britney Spears, also known as the Princess of Pop, was a member of the Mickey Mouse Club during the 90s and later launched her music career in her teenage years, gaining unprecedented worldwide popularity.
But before all of this, Briney was very much into sports. She was a point guard of the basketball team at the Parklane Academy in Mississippi. She was a very skilled player and she probably still is.
Nina Dobrev and Rhythmic Gymnastics
Bulgarian-Canadian actress Nina Dobrev is mostly known for her role of Elena Gilbert in The Vampire Diaries and she was a true sports star when she was in high school. She did ballet, jazz classes and rhythmic gymnastics.
In fact, Nina represented Team Canada in a rhythmic gymnastics international competition in 2005. Aside from that, she also enjoyed baseball, basketball, volleyball, soccer and even flag football. She’s fluent in Bulgarian, English and French languages.
Amy Adams and Ballet
American actress Amy Adams is known for both comedic and dramatic roles. But before she went into acting, she trained to be a ballerina.
In a 2008 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Amy said: “I was supposed to stick with track because I was really quick and I could run fast, but I told my family, ‘I want to dance’”.
Dolph Lundgren and Karate
Who could ever forget Doplh Lundgren as the fearful Ivan Drago in Rocky IV? The Swedish actor is also a filmmaker and a martial artist. Somehow he managed to get a degree in chemical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden while acting and competing in martial arts.
He trained in a dojo for five years, attaining the rank of 2nd dan black belt in Kyokushin in 1978. Dolph is still very athletic today.
Jim Gaffigan and Football
American stand-up comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan’s style is self-deprecating humour and the subjects he talks about are fatherhood, observations, laziness, and food. But before pursuing his comedic chops, he was a very talented football player.
He played for Purdue University and later for Georgetown since both schools have good football programs. Once he finished college, he quit football. He fell in love with stand-up and that shaped his career into what we see today.
Matthew Perry and Tennis
We all know Canadian actor Matthew Perry for his role of Chandler Bing in the 90s sitcom Friends. But, did you know that before starting his acting career, Perry gave it a try at becoming a tennis pro?
At age 17, he began competing and managed to get nationally ranked at the single and double level for juniors. For doubles he was ranked at number 3 and for singles he was number 17. Very impressive!
Vinnie Jones and Soccer
British actor Vinnie Jones had his breakout in show business with his role in the 1998 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It made him a big local star in the United Kingdom.
He used to be a professional soccer player for AFC Wimbledon, playing defensive midfielder. As his career in soccer tapered off, he decided to fully pursue acting.
Joe Rogan and the UFC
American podcaster Joe Rogan is also an UFC commentator and actor. But before making his way to Hollywood, Rogan was a professional UFC fighter trained in MMA.
In his early teens, he participated in Little League Baseball but developed an interest in martial arts. At 14 he started training in karate and Taekwondo, for which he won several national competitions.
Emma Watson and Field Hockey
British actress Emma Watson has invested a lot of time and effort on her education. After the Harry Potter series ended, she enrolled at Brown University in 2011 and graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in English literature.
The actress tried out for the field hockey team and made the cut. She played hockey during all her college years. Emma is a world renowned activist and advocate for women’s rights and gender equality.
Terry Crews and Football
There are many actors that started out as professional football players. This is the case of American actor Terry Crews. He had a very successful pro-football career before he decided to use his talent for acting.
During the 90s, Crews played defensive end for the Redskins, the Rams and the Chargers. He has starred in White Chicks and The Expendable series, Today, you can now watch Terry in the hilarious police procedural sitcom Brooklyn 99.
Gwen Stefani and Swimming
American singer Gwen Stefani rose to fame in the 90s as a part of the ska punk band No Doubt and later as a solo artist. The musical icon used to be part of the swim team at the Loara Public High School in California.
Gwen also did synchronized swimming which is incredibly helpful with movement precision and exercises teamwork.
Denzel Washington and Basketball
American legend Denzel Washinton is one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood and it looks like talent is in the family as he is the father of talented actor John David Washington. While at Fordham University, Denzel played basketball as a guard.
He became more involved with acting and lost interest in basketball. Denzel is now an acclaimed director.
Uzo Aduba and Sprinting
American actress Uzo Aduba became quite popular for her role of Crazy Eyes in Netflix’ Orange is the New Black. She won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 2014, an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.
Uzo is a track and field runner, but her true love lies with sprinting.
Steven Seagal and Martial Arts
American actor Steven Segal is known for his epic action movies during the 80s and the 90s. One of his most successful movies was Under Siege.
But before becoming an action hero, he trained in martial arts in Japan. He is a 7th-dan black belt in aikido and became the first foreigner to operate an aikido dojo in the country.
Jon Stewart and Soccer
American actor and TV host Jon Stewart used to be a successful college athlete. He played soccer at The College of William & Mary, where he majored in psychology. His soccer coach regarded him as a “good player” with “high energy”.
He scored the winning goal against the Connecticut Huskies during the ECAC Championship. He might still bend it like Beckham.
Channing Tatum and Football
American dancer, actor and producer Channing Tatum is mostly known for his role in the 2012 film Magic Mike and its sequel Magic Mike XL from 2015.
He attended Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia on a football scholarship, but ended up dropping out. He began working as a model and a stripper before making it big in acting.
Jason Segel and Basketball
American actor, comedian and screenwriter is best known for his role as Marshall Eriksen in the popular sitcom How I Met Your Mother. While in Harvard-Westlake School, Segel played on the basketball team since he was 6 ft 4 in tall.
He participated in the 1996 and 1997 CIF state champion boys’ basketball team. After high school, he switched to acting.
Joel McHale and Football
American actor, comedian and producer Joel McHale is best known for hosting The Soup, a TV show that recapped various popular culture and television moments of the week.
During high school he started rowing for its team, but what got him a full scholarship at the University of Washington was actually football. As he got involved with acting, he quit.
Lou Ferrigno and Bodybuilding
We all know American actor Lou Ferrigno as the original Incredible Hulk from the popular 1970s television series. Before Hulk, Ferrigno had a very successful career as a professional bodybuilder.
Early in his bodybuilder days, he even trained with Arnold Schwarzenegger. His attempt to beat Arnold Schwarzenegger was the subject of the 1977 documentary Pumping Iron. That documentary made Ferrigno famous.
Hailey Bieber and Ballet
American model Hailey Bieber was a classically trained ballet dancer when growing up. She attended several famous ballet academies like the American Ballet Theater and the Miami City Ballet. Hailey starred in a version of the Chaikowski classic “The Nutcracker ”.
Unfortunately at the age of 17, Hailey had an accident which ended her dancing career. She turned to modelling and did major ads for Guess, Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger. She has married Justin Bieber.
Ronda Rousey and MMA
American professional athlete and actress Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey is a professional wrestler, retired mixed martial artist, and judoka. Rousey was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo by winning bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
In 2018, she became the first female fighter to get a spot in the UFC Hall of Fame. In 2014, Rousey co-starred in The Expendables 3 and in 2015, she appeared in the film Furious 7.