Gary Oldman Rips Professional Athletes A New One
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Gary Oldman Rips Professional Athletes A New One

By Joanna Robinson | Seriously Random Lists | June 20, 2012 | Comments ()


Trained thespian and all-around delight Gary Oldman appeared on Jimmy Kimmel last night with a very special message for athletes who think they can act:

The highlight has to be the Gatorade joke, yes? Mostly because it reminded me of this 90s gem. Anyway, for those of you who are wondering if Mr. Oldman was perhaps a touch too harsh, here's a little reminder of what it looks like when basketball players try to act. Yeah, not pretty.

Patrick Ewing--The Exorcist III

Kareem Abdul Jabbar--Airplane

Charles Barkley--"SNL"

Larry Bird--Celtic Pride

Wilt Chamberlain--Conan The Detroyer

Michael Jordan--Space Jam

Oh yes, we saved the worst for last.

Shaquille O'Neal--Kazaam

[h/t Warming Glow]

It's worth noting the exception that proves the rule. The amazingly multi-talented Paul Robeson was both a basketball and football player as well as an actor, singer and activist. They don't make anyone like this anymore.

Paul Robeson--Showboat

Joanna Robinson predicts that there will be a drunken hate watch of Kazaam in her future.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Flash

    Just sayin'.

    Carl Weathers played football for the Raiders before acting.

    Alex Karras used to play for the Bears before becoming George motherfreaking Papadapolis.

    Maybe Oldman shouldn't generalize when he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about.

  • Leaf

    Acting (like singing and writing) is something that all of us engage in to some degree pretty much every day of our lives. We all possess a certain minimal level of skill that makes it easier to achieve competency in a far shorter period of time, if we choose to take the "craft" seriously. Basketball, on the other hand, is a very specific set of skills that do not normally get practiced as part of your normal life.

    It seems perfectly reasonable to me that a basketball player could be competent at acting and hold their own with professionals. Not true the other way around.

  • Clitty Magoo

    I loved him as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Kevin Costner's Prince of Thieves.

  • Now now- Kareem was brilliant in Airplane. Surprised You left OJ out of the mix. I am sure you had your reasons, but no one can say he was a bad actor, that is for damn sure.

  • Why has there never been a movie made about Robeson?! He was a total badass. Has anyone snatched up the film rights or written a script? Sheesh. Wikipedia it!

  • BWeaves

    Because it would take 5 different actors to play him.

  • iamjames

    Please take His Airness off this list.

  • POINGjam

    Don't forget Chuck Connors. The Rifleman was awesome.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Wow, I had no idea. Basketball AND baseball.

  • ,

    Shaq was actually pretty good in "Blue Chips" with Nick Nolte, IIRC. Of course, he was playing a basketball player, so it wasn't much of a stretch.

    If you want to see a lot of basketball talent wasted in an absofuckinglutely terrible movie, watch "The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh."

  • PDamian

    Ever see Just Wright? Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard, Rashad Lewis, and a whole bunch of other NBA players playing themselves -- and still wooden as fuck. All the same, I give Patrick Ewing as the Angel of Death in Exorcist III a pass, simply because all he had to do was sit around in a hospital gown and a pair of wings and look ponderous, which he did fairly well. And also because I liked the inside joke of a former Hoya making a cameo in a movie set in D.C. at Georgetown.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Johnny Weismuller & Sonia Henie?

  • dahlia6

    Gary Oldman is the kind of crazy I'd love to have in my family, as opposed to the batshit currently defecating in the gene pool, but seriously, he looked like he's trying to pass a triceratops in that pic.

  • jeannebean

    Then I guess you've never seen him in The Professional - on more than one occasion he looks like he's trying to pass an entire HERD. No one brings the batshit crazy like Gary.

  • Fredo

    How dare anyone insult Kareem's brilliant performance as Roger Murdoch? That reaction to the kid going "...but my dad doesn't think you work hard enough on defense" kills me every time!

  • e jerry powell

    Kareem was BUILT into that part, dammit.

  • Pookie

    Sorry Oldman, but Shaq and Kareem both have NBA titles to their names which is the ultimate prize any athlete strives to achieve. You on the other hand haven’t reached the pinnacle of acting achievement because if you did you’d have an Oscar. So stick that up your ass motherfucker, and by way, you sound like every other asshole actor that takes themselves to serious by using the word “craft” to explain what you do. I would think a motherfucker that had to check himself into an alcohol rehab center would be wise enough to avoid insulting people that never did a goddamn thing to you.

  • jeannebean

    He did Sid and Nancy. The Academy can STUFF their little gold statues. He is BEYOND them.

  • doncorleone

    No shit. Gary Oldman is brilliant in everything he does, and the fact that he didn't even get nominated for Sid and Nancy, much less win, shows that the Oscars are rigged. Julia Fucking Roberts has go one, but not Oldman? Screw that shit.

  • doncorleone


  • Guest

    While an NBA title is cool, I don't think ALL athletes are on the hunt for it, or they are wasting their time playing other sports.

  • Mr.West

    Pookie, I understand your indignation at the skit. It is ostensibly inflammatory. Also the writer commits the fallacy of equating verbosity with intelligence in Oldman's line about players having a hard time grasping English. Yet, there is some merit to the skit. If you noticed after his rant Oldman does the business with his right hand, connotating that the rant was just a "scene." The point being that just as he could never aspire to play one on one against King James or even Jeff Van Gundy they on the same hand cannot hope to reach the heights of theatre that Oldman has demonstrated. Oldman meets us halfway by showing the audience his skyhook at the end. It is simply a jest,although implicitly racial on the surface, speaks on another level about Professional courtesy and respect for "craft" whether it be upstage or at the charity stripe.

  • bbmcrae

    Little...wound tight, are we? Have a snack, Pookie. You are one angry teddy bear.

  • Batkinson

    Wow, you are the worst. Gary Oldman is undoubtedly one of the most talented actors working today. If you disagree, you've obviously never seen "True Romance" or "Leon: The Professional." No one has more range and can make you forget he's acting like Oldman.
    Do everyone a favor and stop commenting if you're going to make completely insane comments like that.
    Also, go back to 4th grade and learn how the English language works. That post was one idiotic grammatical error after the next.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    I suspect he was drunk when he wrote that. Ah, sweet irony.

  • Greedy

    Back the fuck off of Pookie. This time anyway, he's on target. Batkinson and Mr. West, parse this: take your dictionaries, thesauruses, and Revenge of the Nerds IV posters and up your buttholes shove them.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    All the other comments to Pookie and you decided to target mine with "back the fuck off." I'm flattered.

  • Greedy

    Sorry, still getting used to the new comment system f'malDeHyde. 'twas directed towards the others. buttholes.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Pookie - are YOU really calling someone out for being insulting?

  • TheOriginalMRod

    But did Wilt Chamberlain do a better job than Arnold?

    I mean, who's to say really.

  • BWeaves

    True. Arnold is just an athlete who doesn't move. Does posing count?

  • DominaNefret


  • Slash

    What's Oldman's opinion on hot chicks who think they can act? Or know they can't but just don't care?

  • hapl0

    I choked on air watching that.

  • ariadne

    If you didn't play the Paul Robeson clip, you're missing out. That man's voice was fantastic.

  • I want to remake that movie "SHAZAM" where Shaquille plays a genie, and I want to get it right!

  • Mr.West

    That would be "Kazaam", friend.

  • branded_redux

    Gheorghe Muresan's work alongside Billy Crystal in My Giant is much lesser known and rightfully forgotten. If you squint at him, it's almost as if Andre the Giant came back to life.

  • Lauri

    I recently heard an interview with the creators of Airplane...Kareem literally did that part so he could buy an expensive Oriental rug. He is obviously reading off cue cards the entire time.

  • AngelenoEwok

    File under "weird conversations had while clinic escorting": a couple weeks back my fellow volunteers and I decided that if any movie is just crying out for a remake, it's Space Jam. But with a whole new generation of basketball stars! Let's face it, having Lebron interact with cartoon characters may be the only way to make him sympathetic and relatable.

  • PDamian

    Jeebus, Space Jam sucked. But I upvoted you for clinic escorting. Respect.

  • Stephen Nein

    You get a point just for being a clinic escort.

  • googergieger

    Knowing how much the NBA and referees in general protect Lebron though, there won't be any adversity for him to overcome in the movie. It'd be the Aliens versus the refs, Lebron, and the Looney Tunes characters.

  • Uncle Mikey

    Why, do they not like Beethoven?

  • Tinkerville

    I love you Joanna, but BACK OFF SPACE JAM.

  • BobbFrapples

    Rodman's Double Team must be on this list too.

  • Guest

    oooh, that's a guilty pleasure. i actually went to theatre to see it.

  • PaddyDog

    In fairness, a talentless hack won't make it in the NBA by looking cute, having sex with the right people, having a connected parent, and/or pledging ones soul to Xenu. Whereas one cannot say the same for Hollywood. I'd rather watch Shaq deliver a few lines badly and laugh at himself than watch James Caan's son strut around the place embarrassing himself by thinking he's actually acting.

  • $27019454

    Rosie Greer! Roman Gabriel!

  • thaneofmemphis

    And Fred Dryer. Ed Marinaro. Jim Brown. Merlin Olsen. Alex Karras.

  • coveredinbees

    Bas. Ket. Ball.

  • thaneofmemphis

    Chuck Conners.

  • googergieger

    Abdul Jabaar was also in that Bruce Lee flick. Game Of Death? What about He Got Game?! Really though just watch any soccer/basketball game for five minutes. You'll see people flopping like epileptic fish after not even being touched by someone a hundred pounds lighter than them. Ahem. Worst. Acting. Ever.

  • branded_redux

    Football players are generally more adept than basketball players because more of the former have experience with blocking.

  • Oh praise God this was wonderful! Gary Oldman's been my inspiration for a few years now; clearly, now that I've seen this video, we belong together.

  • Oh, I've been to Prague

    "I was a medium-level juvenile delinquent from Newark who always dreamed about doing a movie. Someone said, 'Hey, here's $7 million, come in and do this genie movie.' What am I going to say, no? So I did it."

    No shame in that

  • Strand

    I've never held that movie against Shaq. The guy's always been completely transparent about taking the paycheque and doesn't pretend to be an artist. If you're going to sell out as shamelessly as Metallica, the least you could do is embrace it.

    Also, Space Jam rules.

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