Having an athlete turn up on a TV show in a bit role is nothing new. It’s even a common sitcom trope to introduce a star athlete as a ringer for an episode built around an athletic wager (think Kevin McHale on ‘Cheers’ or Larry Johnson on ‘Family Matters’).

In recent years, ‘Entourage’ walked the line between Hollywood and sports by bringing aboard star players like LeBron James, Alex Rodriguez, Tom Brady, and many others to further blur the lines between that fictional world and reality. New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony became the latest athlete to turn up on the small screen with his cameo on ‘Nurse Jackie’ Sunday night.

Here’s a look at how ‘Melo and others have done in the spotlight recently:


The reviews are in and ‘Melo got two thumbs down from critics for his portrayal of a recovering addict and professional basketball player. The delivery of his lines and his overall acting performance left fans wishing for more. Maybe he could add some more intensity, like we see from him on the court — Anthony dropped 42 points on the Heat on Sunday in the hours leading up to his TV debut.


Victorino had a small role in a February episode of ‘Hawaii Five-O’ where he participates in some team exercises. “This trip’s not about partying, it’s about teambuilding,” he says as he encourages everyone. Victorino’s work ethic and pep talk pay off as the rest of the team stands beside him in the face of opposition. This veteran has the right idea, it seems.


Fellow Phillies sluggers Howard and Utley appeared as themselves in a December episode of ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ where they attended an animal adoption fundraiser along with the gang. Howard was a bit stiff, and Utley didn’t say much at all. They did just enough to pay homage to their Philadelphia-loving fans, but these players didn’t offer much more than that.


The “Shiva Bowl Shuffle” was a highlight of the past season of ‘The League’ when pros Jones-Drew, Rice, and Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes joined Nick Kroll’s character Ruxin for a parody of the famous 1985 Bears’ song and dance ‘Super Bowl Shuffle.’ These brief but memorable cameos delighted fans and made a viral sensation for the FX show. It also left many people wondering who might turn up during the next season of the program. Stay tuned.


Back in September, the much-maligned former Red Sox first baseman played himself on an episode of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm,’ showing a sense of humor about the whole 1986 fiasco that has become his unfortunate calling card. Larry David and company give Buckner the redemption he deserves after 25 years of ridicule, as he saves a baby. Crowds went wild for Buckner’s appearance, and all is finally forgiven.


The Lakers star appeared in the season finale of “Modern Family” in 2010, and he was happy to take on a supporting role. Writers kept Kobe’s role to a minimum and within of his comfort zone. It was a small part of a good ending to a solid season and fans of the show have probably already forgotten that this cameo ever took place, which makes you wonder if it was worth anything at all for Kobe or for the ABC sitcom.


Pippen went “balls deep” in a 2010 episode of ‘The Cleveland Show’ when he joined Cleveland Jr. in a rendition of a special song. In his appearance as himself, Pippen poked fun at his post-retirement job prospects. While the song itself wasn’t anything to write home about, Pippen’s surprise performance left many viewers amused. He made a career out of playing second fiddle, after all.


On rare occasions, an athlete can remake himself as an actor. And that’s something this former NBA player has tried to do in recent years as a guest on ‘The Big Bang Theory, ‘Melrose Place,’ ‘Dirt,’ and several other shows. It was arguably his time as a bookie during a six-episode story arc on ‘One Tree Hill’ that put Fox’s career most front and center, though. Sadly for him, it hasn’t been enough to earn him a prime spot in the game.