Sport relies on physical skill, while music has more to do with mental ability. It is extremely rare to find someone who is acclaimed in both industries, as getting to the top level in each is notoriously hard. But there are some people who have managed it and shown that athletes can display musical talent. Who are the standout stars to have achieved this?
Shaquille O’Neal is one of the best-known basketball players of all time, and the man mountain used his success on the court as a springboard for his other ventures. Throughout his entire 19-year career as an NBA player, Shaq was creating rap music in his free time. He was pretty good at it as well.
To date, the 47-year-old has released five studio albums and one compilation album. Shaq Diesel, his 1993 release, received platinum certification from the RIAA. In addition to rapping, O’Neal has also done some djing and has created his own music festival, SHAQ’s Fun House.
Kobe Bryant is another hugely successful basketball player, known for being the all-time leading scorer in Los Angeles Lakers history. During his spell with the Lakers, Bryant was a five-time NBA Champion and a two-time NBA finals MVP. He retired from the NBA in 2016, and his old franchise has been struggling to replicate the same success without him. Bryant was known for his hip hop during his playing days and was a member of the rap group CHEIZAW.
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John McEnroe was known for being a larger than life character on the tennis court who frequently got in outrageous disputes with umpires and tennis authorities. He was also one of the best players of all time, picking up seven Grand Slam singles titles and nine men’s Grand Slam doubles titles in his glittering career.
McEnroe’s expressive personality is perfect for release in music and off the court, the tennis player enjoys picking at strings on his guitar. The 60-year-old is known to be friends with Eric Clapton and Eddie Van Halen, who helped him learn to play. Since then, he has done various stage performances as a hobby.
These athletes have gone from sport to music, but there are others who have taken the other route. For example, Serge Pizzorno from Kasabian has shown silky soccer skills in the past, and Jack Johnson nearly became a pro surfer at one point in his career. It goes to show that music and sport have a stronger relationship than some may have expected.