SNL's best athlete hosts

Will Ronda Rousey join this list after hosting 'Saturday Night Live' this weekend?

Here’s a surprising fact: When Ronda Rousey hosts Saturday Night Livethis weekend, she’ll be only the third female athlete to do so. The other two were tennis star Chris Everett and ice skater Nancy Kerrigan. Even though the hosting duties by a female athlete are long overdue, there’s been no shortage of athletesin general to pass through Studio 8H. Pros who’ve played with the Not Ready For Primetime Players include everyone from elite athletes like Tom Brady to legends such as Derek Jeter and Wayne Gretzky. Some were good at showing off their comedy chops, others…were not. Below, we take a look at the top five (in our opinion) athlete hosts of SNL. Will Rousey crack the top of the list? We’ll see how the UFC star fares after Saturday night.

the rock

Before becoming a movie star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a pro wrestler, and along the way, made many stops at Saturday Night Live. His most recent appearance was last spring, which marked his fourth time as host. That episode memorably featured him as an angry Obama (“The Rock Obama,” if you will) and as Bambi in a violent, reimagined live-action revamp of the classic cartoon. Prediction: The Rock will joining the "Five-Timers Club” sooner rather than later.
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michael jordan

Jordan hosted back in 1991—a year before co-starring with Bugs Bunny in Space Jam. Back then, Stuart Smalley (Remember his daily affirmations?) was a big recurring character on the show, so it was a no-brainer for the Bulls star to share screen time with him. Turns out, watching Jordan recite Smalley’s classic catchphrase ("I am good enough, I am smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me”) is pretty damn hilarious.
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lebron james

If you saw the movie Trainwreck, then you know King James has some comedic chops. He no doubt honed those skills during his SNL hosting stint in 2007, where he was brave enough to don a spandex get-up as an ‘80s Solid Gold dancer. In fact, Amy Poehler recently referenced Lebron when she told Jimmy Kimmel that athletes often make the best SNL hosts.
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peyton manning

When Manning hosted in 2007, it was right after he helped the Indianapolis Colts win the Super Bowl that year. That episode’s highlight was the hilarious digital short, “United Way,” which shows Manning mentoring underprivileged youth. The clip starts off innocently, but quickly escalates to the quarterback showing his “true colors,” yelling and throwing footballs at the kids’ heads for not catching them.
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charles barkley

The former NBA player has hosted SNLthree times, proving he has the comedic skills to keep coming back. On his most recent stint—in 2012—Barkley impersonated Shaquille O’Neal (alongside Kenan Thompson who, talk about meta, was portraying Sir Charles). That’s also the episode where Barkley dressed in drag to play a lesbian coming out of the closet.
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