It’s tempting to think of athletics and movies as two very distinct professions, but the fact is that both exist to amuse. And it turns out that if you’re excellent at putting on an athletic shoe, you could also be good at acting. Many sports stars have gone on to successful careers in Hollywood thanks to the performance, charisma, and persona-building qualities necessary to become a famous athlete. Athletes have been trying their hand at acting for as long as both have existed. Even in the ancient world, athletic competition functioned as entertainment, with skilled athletes becoming well-known celebrities.

Early on in the film business, astute Hollywood executives attempted to capitalize on athletes’ celebrities, developing entire genres based on the abilities of figure skater Sonja Henie and champion swimmer Esther Williams. Later, wrestlers such as André the Giant opened the path for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and John Cena to launch Hollywood careers as a result of their WWE stardom. And with tremendous star power like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal in the 1990s, it would have been practically hard to resist Hollywood’s hordes of riches to create a few films. Let’s take a more in-depth look at the numerous athletes who have successfully pursued Hollywood professions, from wrestlers to football players to skateboarders to ballerinas.

Dwayne Johnson: While Dwayne Johnson is best known as an actor these days, he was once a successful professional wrestler known as “The Rock,” a moniker that has lasted with him to this day. His wrestling history is well-documented, but it may come as a surprise that he first focused his physical abilities on football.

Shaquille O’Neal: Like Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, or simply “Shaq,” was a popular basketball player in the 1990s. And, like Jordan, he tried his luck in Hollywood. The acting was fun for O’Neal, and he went on to appear in the superhero film “Steel.”

John Cena: Before he became the movie star he is today, John Cena was a professional wrestler. His bodybuilding success eventually led him to wrestle. Cena’s trademark ring attire was denim shorts and shoes; he explained this appearance to James Corden, stating, “My persona was tough, want tobe rapper kid from the bad neighborhood of West Newbury [Massachusetts].” During his illustrious wrestling career, he won the WWE World Championship 16 times and achieved widespread acclaim among wrestling fans all over the world.

Source: nickiswift