Pro Athletes Who Are Actually Really Weird People

It's incredibly difficult to play sports full-time. The wear-and-tear on one's body, not to mention the grind of constant travel during the season, is not what the body naturally wants to experience. You'd have to be crazy to put yourself through it, and the following athletes are proof. These are some of the most bizarre athletes to grace the already-weird world of sports.

Clinton Portis

Many press conferences and interviews in sports are as dry as overcooked chicken, with athletes and coaches trying hard to not say the wrong thing or give away any strategies. Unfortunately, they typically do so by saying nothing at all. Then there's Clinton Portis of the Washington Redskins, who kept from screwing up by channeling his inner Saturday Night Live. Seemingly every time someone put a microphone and camera in his face, he was ready with a weird, wacky, crazy character pulled straight from his creative, and highly bizarre, brain.

Over the years, Portis has given us characters like Sheriff Gonna Getcha (Portis in a long wig and glasses with giant eyes on them, wearing his sheriff's badge on his shirt collar like absolutely no sheriffs do), Southeast Jerome (black wig, a Lone Ranger mask, and giant novelty sunglasses), Dolla Bill (spiky purple wig with sunglasses that spell "cool"), Dolemite Jenkins (a Napoleon Dynamite impression), and Choo Choo (the "dance instructor" in the video above). He didn't just give normal interviews while dressed outlandishly, though that would be pretty funny in a dry-humor way. Rather, he'd say things like, "I taught these boys how to dance, they need a little more fun y'know, need a couple more touchdowns" and then pantomime all the crazy dances he taught his teammates. He retired in 2012, but as long as YouTube exists, his weirdness will live forever.

Manny Ramirez

Manny Ramirez acquired a reputation for two things: being an amazing, once-in-a-generation ball player, and being more difficult to manage than a room full of toddlers. Fans and players called it "Manny being Manny," which was code for "damn, this guy's an oddball."

As recapped by MassLive, Ramirez regularly did stuff that made sense in his mind and nowhere else. While on the Red Sox, he would disappear into the Green Monster in the middle of a game — sometimes, he would come out in the middle of a pitch, basically gambling that nobody would hit the ball his way. Then there was an incident in 1997, when a cop pulled him over and he responded by committing attempted bribery: "I don't need any tickets, I can give you tickets." He then drove away, made an illegal U-turn, and got pulled over again.

Sometimes, his head-scratching behavior interfered with baseball, like the time he stole second, bafflingly walked back to first, and was tagged out. (He claimed he thought the ball was foul, but the batter never swung, so that's a pretty silly excuse.) But then he did things that showed how good he was, even while "being Manny," like running after a ball hit at the wall, grabbing it, jumping up the wall to high-five a fan, jumping down, and still throwing in time to get the batter out. When you're among the best at what you do, you can do it strangely and get away with it.

Ricky Williams

Ricky Williams, despite all his talent, is now more famous for putting marijuana before his career. As Sports Illustrated explained, he found himself suspended for using the sweet leaf multiple times over his NFL career, one of which cost him the entire 2006 season. But his preference for pot isn't what makes him weird — it's everything else.

Take, for example, his plan to return to football after his first retirement in 2004. According to SI, while stranded in an airport on his way to Thailand, Williams decided instead to hit the Himalayas and hang with a dude named "Mystic Steve" for six months. That alone would be weird enough, but then he saw the Oakland Raiders on TV and randomly decided he wanted to join them. Since the name "Ricky Williams" had bad vibes in the league, he concocted a plan to change his name to "Rio Don" and join the Raiders as a whole new man. So basically, Guy Incognito if he really was Homer. Thankfully, he abandoned the idea before becoming the laughingstock of the sports world.

These days, Rio Don's into joining cults, apparently. As told by Complex, Williams currently works with a group called Access Consciousness, which operates super-secretly and may well be a Scientology-esque cult. Williams is a "facilitator" with the group, meaning he touches over 30 points on paying customers' heads to supposedly release, as AC's site puts it, "all the limiting thoughts, ideas, attitudes, decisions, and beliefs that you have ever had, about anything." Williams admits he's working with AC, but denies they're a cult, despite it sounding a lot like one. What would Mystic Steve think?

Turk Wendell

Some ball players are superstitious, but unless they're Turk Wendell, they're fighting for second place in the Fred Flintstone Twinkle Toes Memorial Cup.

The journeyman reliever for many a baseball team had superstitions for days, though he preferred to call them "routines." He did them because, in his mind, they worked. As he said in 1991, "If I find something that works for me I stay with it no matter how crazy it may seem. ... Sometimes I would rather not be [driven by routine], but that's the way I am."

And driven he was. He never wanted to step on the foul line, as he did that in high school once and had a terrible game. He would chew black licorice when pitching, then brush his teeth in the dugout, because he didn't chew tobacco but needed something similar to chew. (The teeth-brushing was because he actually hated black licorice's aftertaste.) He would stand when the catcher squatted and squat when he stood, and refused to wear socks because, as he sort-of explained, "they're useless." He demanded umpires roll balls to him rather than throw, which would be understandable in bowling but nowhere else.

Then there was the time he signed with the Mets in 2000, for $9,999,999.99. Apparently he told his agent, "If I could ever get all nines, let's do it." Turk also wore #99, so clearly nine was his lucky number. He wound up playing 11 years, which was probably two more than he would've liked.

Gilbert Arenas

NBA player Gilbert Arenas is probably most famous for a 2010 incident where he and a teammate pulled unloaded guns on each other in the locker room. That's too bad, because Arenas has so many more entertaining, silly bouts of weirdness we'd rather look back upon.

As recapped by Complex, Arenas possessed all sorts of quirks, from yelling "hibachi" after shooting the ball to wearing sneakers 1.5 sizes too small because he was insecure about his feet looking big. The man played in a league where just about everybody's feet are large, remember. He also taught himself to sleep on couches because it annoyed him when women touched him. Apparently couches are a no-touch zone in Arenas's mind.

Then there was what had to be one of the strangest quirks in anyone's history. As reported by the Washington Post in 2006, Arenas apparently arranged for thin, mountain-altitude air to be pumped into his Washington D.C. home so he could work on his endurance without actually having to go to the mountains. The only way he could've been weirder was if he actually moved his home to the top of the Rockies. Gilbert, if you're reading this, don't do that.

Bill Lee

Baseball's Bill Lee was nicknamed "Spaceman," and not because he loved the Moon and stars. Rather, it was because he might as well have been from outer space.

Virtually everything about Lee is unique. In a wonderfully entertaining 2015 interview with Sporting News, Lee called himself a "historian, a mathematician, a physicist, a philosopher/psychologist." He later said he's also like Hannibal Lecter, except he hates fava beans (and human flesh, hopefully). He also claimed he's a locksmith who locked Bob Dylan and Neil Diamond out of their homes at the request of their ex-wives.

Naturally, the only thing left for a man with that many talents to do is run for political office, which he did in 2016. Lee attempted to become governor of Vermont, telling Vice that he wanted the state to secede from the U.S. and join Canada if elected. Strangely, he didn't win over too many people with that campaign promise, ultimately earning less than 3 percent of the vote. At least he'll always have Warren Zevon, who wrote a song about the Spaceman back in 1980. Entitled "Bill Lee," its refrain repeats, "And sometimes I say things I shouldn't." That's a fitting tribute for a guy who, according to Fox Sports, once defended his marijuana use by assuring MLB's commissioner that he didn't smoke pot, just crumbled it onto his pancakes every morning. Not even space could handle the Spaceman.

Brian Wilson

Apparently, if your name is Brian Wilson, you're required to be weird. First was the Beach Boy, and then came baseball's Wilson, a goofy, heavily bearded oddball with as much charisma as he had skills.

His physical appearance is unusual enough, between his hair (which was often a combination mullet/mohawk), his tattoos, and his huge beard that he liked to dye darker than his regular hair. But then he opens his mouth and the true weirdness of Wilson comes out to play. In a post-game interview after winning the World Series in 2010, Wilson commented how he felt like he wanted to "rage ... right now." Appearing on Jim Rome's radio show that same year, he claimed that he was both a certified ninja (which explains the darkened beard) and a mental assassin, which explains nothing at all. He appeared on George Lopez Tonight dressed as a salty old sea captain. He was once fined for wearing all-orange shoes (MLB rules state they must be at least half-black) and described it as him "having too much awesome on my feet." He was just as weird pre-beard: once, he told a reporter he would put tabasco, fish eyes, and Jameson whiskey inside a sushi roll named after him.

Wilson's quotables are endless, and you could seriously spend all afternoon just watching YouTube videos of him saying and doing ridiculous things. According to Yahoo Sports, he wants to return to baseball as a knuckleballer, though this knucklehead really should consider stand-up comedy instead.

Metta World Peace

Basketball star Ron Artest changing his name to "Metta World Peace" in 2011 is weird by itself, but the man is odd regardless of what name graces his jersey.

This is a guy who, after joining the Chicago Bulls as a rookie, applied for a second job at Circuit City because he really wanted the employee discount. According to the man himself, he actually got hired and worked a shift — hopefully he took full advantage of the 50 percent discount while he could. Then, a few years later, as ESPN reported, he got into producing R&B, so he asked the Indiana Pacers if he could take a month off to promote an album. Proving it does sometimes hurt to ask, the Pacers suspended him for two games.

Then there was the time, as told by NBC Los Angeles, that he approached Kobe Bryant as Mamba was stewing in the locker room shower over losing the 2008 NBA Finals. He basically solicited himself to a naked Bryant, telling him "I want to come help you. If I can, I'm going to find a way to come to LA and give you the help you need to win a title." Kobe won four championships without Artest's help, but he did win a fifth in 2010 with Artest, so the man got to help after all.

Apparently though, all his goofiness is in the past. In a 2016 interview, Peace claimed he's no longer weird, saying, "I'm normal now. Call me Tim Duncan." So whether he's Ron Artest, Metta World Peace, or Tim Duncan, he's certainly among the most memorable athletes in basketball history.

Lyoto Machida

Every athlete trains in their own way, but MMA fighter Lyoto Machida takes his preparation to a whole new, totally unique, and pretty disgusting level. We'll just come out and say it: dude drinks his own pee.

During a 2009 interview with Brazilian website Tatame (recapped by Mutineer Magazine), Machida mentioned his taste for urine, saying, "People think it's a joke. I never said it in the United States because I don't know how the fans will react. I drink my urine every morning like a natural medicine." He also said his father, Yoshizo, introduced him to the practice, and in an interview with, Yoshizo confirmed it. He too insists it's for health purposes: "What happens is when you eat and all the food that you eat and you digest, not all of it comes out, but when you drink urine in the morning, it helps flush your system out." At least it saves on the water bill, since you're flushing less.

So should you drink urine? It depends, honestly. explains that, "Because urine is primarily water, drinking it in small amounts is probably harmless unless you've been exposed to medications or environmental toxins that your body is desperately trying to eliminate." That said, there don't appear to be any actual health benefits, aside from the healthy laughter you'll get grossing out your family at Thanksgiving.

Jesper Parnevik

PGA golfer Jesper Parnevik marches to his own drum, though that drum does seem out of tune a lot of times. As recapped by Sports Illustrated, Parnevik is a textbook "eccentric" who will try seemingly anything if he thinks it'll help his life or game improve. He's known to wear beeping, flashing sunglasses on airplanes, supposedly to "unite the left side of his brain with the right." For a three-month span, he ate nothing but fruit and volcanic ash, and decided it was cleansing. Another time, he removed the fillings in his teeth and replaced them with porcelain because apparently that's good for his allergies. He wears super-tight pants, so tight he can't always bend over to pick up his golf ball because "they help my swing. They restrict my hip turn."

He's a great golfer, though, but whether that's because he eats volcano remnants will forever be up for debate.

Adding to his weirdness is how he's basically an absent-minded professor, but for athletes. He has an amazing memory, but has also driven to the wrong town for a golf tourney. He speaks multiple languages, is amazing at math, and reads complex literature about chess and the apocalypse, but missed a spot in a 1996 tournament because he incorrectly thought he missed the cut and just ... left. One time, he lost four plane tickets in four different places, presumably because he was busy calculating quantum mechanics in his head, something else he's incredible at. In short, Parnevik is a fascinating guy and amazing athlete, but don't trust him with your car keys.