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25 Notable Athlete Musicians

by: Esteban On  Monday, February 11, 2013
Tags:  Athletes   Music   Pele   Rap  

athlete musicians

As we told you about last week, ESPN the Magazine recently released a music-themed issue in which they had famous (and not-so-famous) pro athletes dress up as musicians and recreate iconic photos and album covers. It’s a pretty fun idea, and I’m sure the athletes involved had a great time pretending to be musicians. However, not every athlete has to pretend to be a musician. Some of them are musicians, whether amateur or professional. Are they all great? No. Definitely not. But because they’re already rich and famous, people take note.

Anyway, here’s rundown of notable athlete musicians who don’t have to dress up for an ESPN photoshoot to feel musical. Enjoy.


25. Alexi Lalas


Retired soccer player Alexi Lalas was one of the most popular American internationals during his career thanks to his trademark red goatee and long locks. It’s fitting, therefore, that he also like to rock the electric guitar.

Of course, these days he’s clean-shaven and working behind an ESPN desk. So now he probably prefers an acoustic.


24. Trevor Pryce

24 trevor pryce playing guitar - athletes who were musicians

Travor Pryce won back-to-back Super Bowls with the Broncos, all while teaching himself to play the bass and piano. Of course, now that the DE is retired, he’s turned his attention to the movie business, having written a couple of screenplays and pitched numerous TV shows.


23. Denny McLain

23 denny mclain playing keyboards - athletes who were musicians

I’m sure this outfit was totally hip in the 1960s. However, I can’t help but think 2x AL Cy Young winner Denny McLain looks a little like a cult leader here. A cult leader who happens to play keyboard in a Vegas lounge.


22. Carl Edwards

22 carl edwards playing guitar with zac brown band - athletes who were musicians

Apparently Carl Edwards’s responsibilities to his sponsor, Aflac, goes beyond the race track. Here he is jamming on stage with the Zac Brown Band, and there on his sleeve is the company’s logo.

How long do you think it is until actual professional musicians get sponsors and have to wear their gear on stage?


21. Darren McCarty

21 darren mccarty singing in band grinder - athletes who were musicians

Former Red Wings tough buy Darren McCarty has his own hard rock band, for which he is the lead singer. The band’s name? Yep, it’s a hockey term: Grinder.


20. Jack McDowell

20 jack mcdowell with guitar - athletes who were musicians

Jack McDowell is another former pro athlete with a rock band. The 1993 AL Cy Young winner rocks with an alternative group called Stickfigure. However, even during his career he was into music, playing with a band called V.I.E.W. that apparently toured with and opened for The Smithereens at one point.


19. Bob and Matt Bryan

19 bob bryan keyboard and matt bryan guitar - athletes who were musicians

You may not have heard of these guys, but twin brothers Bob and Matt Bryan are actually one of the most prolific tennis doubles teams of all time, having won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and spent over 300 weeks ranked #1 in the world. Of course, tennis isn’t their only genetic gift. The two also dabble in music, as you can clearly see here.


18. Drew Gooden

18 drew gooden playing piano - athletes who were musicians

Milwaukee Bucks center Drew Gooden plays an instrument. Can you guess which one?

Seriously, though, he’s apparently even played in some hotel lounges here and there.


17. Brandon Webb

17 brandon webb playing guitar - athletes who were musicians

As you can see, 2006 NL Cy Young winner Brandon Webb likes to play him some gee-tar in his spare time. Of course, after his career was ruined by shoulder injuries, he’s probably gone from playing Dave Matthews to playing Elliott Smith.


16. Nick Swisher

16 nick swisher with guitar - athletes who were musicians

I have no idea whether Nick Swisher actually plays guitar. To be honest, he seems like the kind of guy who would keep an acoustic guitar at his place just to impress chicks. (And I’m not knocking that—it works.) But I guess I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt since he does have a 90s alt-rock goatee in this photo.


15. Wayman Tisdale

15 wayman tisdale playing bass - athletes who were musicians

If your name is Wayman, the only kind of music you’re going to be playing is smooth jazz. Such is the case for former NBA power forward Wayman Tisdale. After handing up his sneakers, the guy has turned into a full-on recording artist with albums titled “Power Forward,” “Face to Face,” and “Rebound.”


14. Barry Zito

14 barry zito playing guitar - athletes who were musicians

I’ve recently become a Barry Zito fan. The guy was vilified by some after signing a crazy huge deal with the San Francisco Giants (based largely on his stellar performance with the A’s) and then sucking. Then, this year, he saved the Giants’ season when, San Fran trailing St. Louis 3-1 in the NLCS, he took the mound and pitched 7.2 scoreless innings.

Of course, the Giants went on to win the World Series. Talk about redemption.

Anyway, now that I find out he also plays guitar and regularly organized charity celebrity music jams? Yeah, he seems even cooler. Here’s a video featuring Barry talking about his musical background:

See what I mean? Who knew the guy was this interesting?



13. Bronson Arroyo

13 bronson arroyo playing guitar - athletes who were musicians

From a guy who seems cool as hell to a guy who seems…well, not as cool. Here we have Reds pitcher Bronson Arroyo—yes, the guy who used to have the dreds while pitching for the Red Sox.


12. Doug Flutie

12 doug flutie playing drums - athletes who were musicians

Can Doug Flutie play the drums? Man, he’s wearing a badass beaded nacklace, aint he?


11. Mike Piazza

11 mike piazza playing drums - athletes who were musicians

Mike Piazza: also plays the drums. I wonder if he’s ever hopped up on stage with Belle and Sebastian and joined them for their song, “Piazza, New York Catcher”? I hope so, because that would be so weird.


10. Hector Camacho


The late Hector “Macho” Camacho played a litte guitar. Of course, the dude was Puerto Rican, not Mexican, so I don’t know why he’s here playing with a mariachi band. I guess he just liked perpetuating ethnic stereotypes.


9. Oscar De La Hoya

No, really. Oscar released a self-titled album of Latin Pop back in 2000. It’s pretty incredible, don’t you think?


8. John McEnroe

8 john mcenroe playing guitar - athletes who were musicians

For a while legendary Tennis hot-head Johnny Mac had a band called The Johnny Smyth Band that would play gigs in towns where he happened to be playing on the senior tour. Apparently they weren’t so great.


7. Wilt Chamberlain

7 wilt chamberlain playing bongos - athletes who were musicians

Just as with #16 Nick Swisher, I feel like Wilt just had musical instruments around the house to he could pick up chicks. After all, I’ve never heard of his musical abilities, but I have heard of his claims about having slept with 20,000 women. So…


6. Henrik Lundqvist

6 henrik lundqvist playing guitar - athletes who were musicians

So not only is Hank Ludqvist (a) one of the world’s greatest goalies, (b) one of the best-dressed athletes of all time, and (c) married to a gorgeous blonde Swede. He’s also an accomplished musician.

I want to be him, and yet I also hate him.


5. John Daly

Wow. John Daly is surprisingly not awful the way his jacket would suggest.



4. Bernie Williams

4 bernie williams album cover - athletes who were musicians

Bernie Williams is probably the most famous recent musician to make a legit career for himself as a musician. The former Yankee center fielder is a classically trained guitarist and released two jazz albums after retiring.


3. Shaq

3 shaq album - athletes who were musicians

Is it fair to everyone else on this list to call Shaq a “musician”? Absolutely not. But the guy made 5 albums, the first of which (Shaq Diesel) was certified platinum. So you have to include him on the list, no matter how comical his abilities.


2. Pele

2 pele playing guitar - athletes who were musicians

Regarded as one of if not the best soccer players of all time, Pele also has one album to his credit. In 1969, the guy recorded Tabelinha, on which he sings and plays guitar. Heck, he even wrote two of the songs.


1. Manny Pacquiao

1 manny pacquiao album cover - athletes who were musicians

Manny Pacquiao is a renaissance man. The guy boxes, acts, sings, and is a Member of Congress in his native Philippines.

The music? Well, in 2006 he released an album in Tagalog called Lagan Nating Nahat Ito, which I presume went quadruple platinum because every single man, woman, and child in the Philippines bought it 6 times. Then in 2007 he released a single on MCA called “Pac-Man Punch.”

Want to here it? Of course you do:

Yeah, we laugh, but the guy probably made like $10 million on this.