Sport and Fitness
10 athletes that tried more than one pro sport
Words by Nathan Irvine
With news that Spurs and England star, Harry Kane fancies a spell in the NFL in the future, we look at the athletes that tried more than one pro sport. So in no particular order, let's go...
Let’s kick off with one of the most high profile switches in decades. Conor McGregor took the world of MMA and the UFC by storm and is the sports very first “champ, champ” (holder of two belts at different weightclasses at the same time).
But it was the Irishman’s trash talking rather than his accurate punches that earned him a shot at the undefeated Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather. After months of goading the boxing legend, the two sports agreed to a prizefight of epic proportions.
Although McGregor put up a decent display again Mayweather, it was the pro boxer who came out on top. However, pretty much every boxer in Conor’s weight division still call him out for an exhibition match because they know just how much a McGregor match could earn them.
Hastings (left) was one of the star names that tried, and failed, to create an NFL equivalent in Europe during the 90s.
The former Scotland and British Lions rugby captain was a placekicker for the Scottish Claymores. He posted a rather impressive 24 out of 27 conversions during a season that saw the team scoop the World Bowl in 1996.
But despite this positive run, Hastings was left kicking rocks rather than pigskin, as the Claymores released him.
What you might know about Chris Chelios is that he’s rightly inducted into the NHL Hall of Fame. What you might not know is that he – and we can’t quite believe we’re typing this – is that he once tried out for Greece’s 2006 Winter Olympic bobsleigh team.
Yup, that’s right. The Detroit Redwings defenseman, of Greek descent, decided to briefly swap skates for a bobsled. However, his and the Greece’s dreams of making it slipped away. But Chelios still ended up at the games as captain of Team USA’s ice hockey team.
Quite possibly the greatest sports person in living memory.
Bo Jackson didn’t just cross over into another discipline, he also dominated it. Jackson is the only athlete of all time to be named an all-star in both pro baseball and American football.
And as if this wasn’t enough, Bo Jackson could’ve taken up track and field, too. He once posted a 100m sprint time of an astonishing 10.39 seconds. We bet he was brilliant at darts as well.
Fair play to Michael Jordan. The basketball legend took a hiatus from dominating the NBA to take a swing at baseball.
Although originally signed to the MLB’s Chicago White Sox, Jordan played his one and only season with its minor league team, Birmingham Barons. He didn’t do too badly, but his outfield mistakes often rang louder than others because of who he was.
Jordan was also struck out a mighty 118 times. However, if it hadn’t been for the MLB strike, Jordan just may have continued his career. Instead, he made a high profile return to the Chicago Bulls and began to dominate like he’d never been away.
‘Beefy’ was, and still is, a giant of a man. Whatever he did on a sports field was done with power, which is why he terrified opposition cricketers throughout his career.
With these domineering attributes, it’s only right that he played centre-back for a pro football teams Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe United. Oh, and did we say he did this while still playing professional cricket?
Even in his pomp, the fastest man alive was making noises about becoming a footballer. Bolt is a big Manchester United fan and often made tongue-in-cheek statements to the press about his desire to play for the Red Devils.
Although his move to the Premier League giants never came off, Bolt did get a chance to show what he can do for Aussie side Central Coast Mariners. The then 32 year old bagged a brace on his debut and it seemed like, yes, Bolt can play.
But his early promise dipped, and soon his fellow league pros were in a huff about Bolt’s presence making a mockery of their profession. Upon his release, the Jamaican decided that his dream of a career in football had run its race, and hung up his boots.
Arguably the greatest NFL wide receiver of all time, Jerry Rice holds a number of records that are unlikely to be broken soon. So where does the legend look to make his mark next? Golf, of course.
Sadly, this late foray into a new sport didn’t turn out how he might’ve hoped. Rice’s pro debut took place in 2010, long after his NFL career had finished. He was given special dispensation to compete in the Fresh Express Classic, but failed to make the cut spectacularly as he finished 151st of 152 players. Ouch.
When you’re built as big and athletic as Brock Lesnar, you can pretty much turn your hand to any sport. He entered the world of sports entertainment with the WWE and quickly made a name for himself. Though his time with the organisation wouldn’t last long.
Lesnar then upped sticks to pursue a career in the NFL. And although he was initially signed by the Minnesota Vikings, he failed to make the cut and was soon back to flinging folk over turnbuckles.
Brock then found himself as a man in demand as the UFC came knocking with bundles of cash. He responded by signing and smashing up the top heavyweights on his way to snatching the belt.
He might not be the biggest star name on the list, but Woodhouse’s sport switching is right up there with the rest.
An accomplished footballer with Sheffield United, the Englishman started to train at boxing against his manager’s wishes. Eventually he fell out of love with football and decided to punch men for a living instead. It worked out well.
Woodhouse became British light-welterweight champion. He’s returned back to the world of football to become manager at number of non-league sides.
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