From working the ring to working the camera, more sports stars than you’d think have tried their hand at acting. For some, maybe competing in sports wasn’t enough and taking on acting has given them the chance to pursue greater stardom!

To celebrate the release of the hilarious sports-comedy Uncle Drew, coming to cinemas on July 6, we’re taking a look at some of the biggest sports stars who transitioned into acting, including some names that might surprise you...

Uncle Drew hits cinemas on July 6, 2018
Uncle Drew hits cinemas on July 6, 2018

Gina Carano

From mixed martial arts to fighting the bad guys on screen, Gina Carano has certainly got the moves. Born under a Tornado warning in Dallas, she was prepared to be tough from the beginning and took on a range of sports at a young age including gymnastics, ballet and horse riding, before establishing herself as an MMA superstar. Using her skills from the ring in her film roles, she appeared in Steven Soderbergh’s mysterious-thriller Haywire which focused on her fighting abilities, before appearing more recently in Hollywood hits Fast & Furious 6 and Deadpool.

David Beckham 

As one of Britain’s most iconic athletes, it’s hardly a surprise he’s dipped his toe into acting as well. Famous for playing for Manchester Utd, captaining the England squad for 9 years and his signature free-kicks which had the world trying to ‘bend it like Beckham’, David Beckham ended his 21 year-long sporting career when he retired in 2013. His step into acting was helped by being buddies with cult director Guy Ritchie which landed him roles in his films King Arthur and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. 

Jason Statham

Many wouldn’t know that Jason Statham started his career in sport but before he took to the screen! Typecast as the antihero and known for appearing in action-thriller roles, he was first a diver on the British National Diving Team, competing in the World Championships in 1992. From diving into pools to diving into the action, Jason Statham is now seen as one of Hollywood’s resident movie hardmen, appearing in titles including The Expendables and Fast and Furious 8.

Ronda Rousey

Bursting onto the women’s MMA scene in 2010, Ronda Rousey took the ring by storm. After building up her confidence in the sport through years of training and a strong track record, leading to her signing with WWE, Rousey took her skills in the ring onto the silver screen when she landed a role in Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables 3 in 2014. Handling her action scenes with ease lead to a supporting role in Fast & Furious 7, and she even played herself in the star-studded Entourage movie.

Lewis Hamilton

Not ready to give up the driving seat just yet, four-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton took pole position in the animated film Cars 2 alongside his continued success on the track. Seeing as his career in F1 racing began in 2007 when he competed in his first race in the Australian Grand Prix, his role in Cars 2 playing a famously sleek and seriously fast Grand Touring sports champion named after himself is some seriously on-the-nose casting!                           

The Rock

Starting his career in the ring, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson climbed the ladder to become one of the most famous wrestlers of all time. His first stint in acting outside of wrestling came as an appearance on That 70’s Show in 1999, who can be heard in the episode referring to himself as ‘the most electrifying man in sports entertainment’ – talk about humble beginnings! From this small start, his new career built momentum and he’s now seen as one of the most bankable actors in Hollywood solidified by the variety of roles he’s undertaken, from action hero in Fast and Furious to comedic soul in Jumanji and showcasing his vocal talents in Moana. Not only has Dwayne Johnson proven a versatile talent, but he is also one of the highest-grossing actors of all time. 

Kyrie Irving

It’s time to go really old school as Kyrie Irving brings the laughs in Uncle Drew. Starting his basketball career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011 before joining the Boston Celtics in 2017, his professional repudiation has only grown over time, also competing for Team USA in the Olympics. He’s merged his big-time NBA career with starring as everyone’s favourite old man with a twist, Uncle Drew in the famous Pepsi adverts and now in the film, Uncle Drew on the big screen. Kyrie Irving takes his skills from the court, applies some comedy and slam-dunks his role alongside Shaquille O'Neal, Tiffany Haddish and Nick Kroll when he’s convinced to return to the court one last time to help Dax (Lil Rel Howery) defeat his longtime rival.


Uncle Drew comes to cinemas across the UK on Friday July 6, 2018.