The Top Hobbies of Sports Stars Revealed

Sports stars are incredibly busy during their season. They have intensive work outs and training schedules that they need to follow alongside all the games that they play in. Getting to all those games involves a lot of travel as well, oftentimes long distance or cross country. Add in publicity events, working with brands on advertising content and the basic business of staying alive and healthy which requires sleeping eating, and regular appointments with doctors and physiotherapists, and sports stars are left with very little time for themselves.

All of this means that sports stars take their relaxation time very seriously. They tend to be very passionate about the hobbies that they do have because that’s the only time they really have for themselves and to decompress from their busy, physically-taxing lives. Being sports stars also means that they have the budget to devote to their hobbies too. 

Here are some of the top hobbies of sports stars:

Sports betting

Now that sports betting has moved online, more people than ever are enjoying betting on their favorite sports. Even those of us who aren’t professional athletes have access to the top sportsbooks and the best odds. Many leading online sportsbooks even have no deposit betting offers that let you get started like a star.

Many sports stars have made their love of sports betting very public. Floyd Mayweather Jr. has a history of placing massive bets on big sporting events like the Super Bowl. Soccer legends Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney both love sports betting and playing other casino games. Golfer Phil Mickelson is also a huge sports betting fan. On the other hand, Charles Barkley had to give up betting on sports once he retired from the NBA because he could no longer afford to place the big bets he loved. 

When sports stars start betting on their own sport, things get a little bit tricky. Most major sports leagues have some regulations that ban their athletes from betting on their own sport, but occasionally, players find a bit of wiggle room, which can lead to problems. There’s currently a debate going on in the soccer world about whether betting on yellow cards should be allowed because it might encourage players to bet on themselves through proxies. 

Video games

Playing video games is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, so it makes sense that many star athletes also love to play video games. One of the reasons we all love video games is because they’re incredibly immersive — they allow us to completely shut off and enter another world. For athletes with a stressful career, this immersion is very helpful while the competitive nature of many video games is appealing to them as well. 

Olympic boxer Anthony Joshua is such a big fan of the FIFA series that EA made him a playable character in FIFA 21. International soccer star Neymar loves to play FPS games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Call of Duty. Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson is one of the greatest flyweight MMA fighters of all time and he’s also a popular Twitch streamer. Johnson plays a range of games on Twitch, including Diablo II, New World and Player Unknown’s: Battleground. 

Max Verstappen isn’t just an elite driver in F1, he’s also a star of the driving simulator circuit. The Belgian Red Bull driver just won his third consecutive FI World Champion title, and in his downtime, he plays F1 2021, Gran Tourismo and iRacing. In fact, he’s become so well known as a player that he now has been offered the opportunity to help create a new racing simulation video game.

Playing other sports

It’s not totally surprising that people who love competitive sports enough to have made it their entire life would enjoy spending their free time playing another sport. Many sports stars play other sports as their primary hobby.

When he initially retired from the NBA, it became a huge joke about how Michael Jordan went from playing basketball to playing baseball out of nowhere. In reality, he was still a relatively young professional athlete at the peak of his physical condition and had grown up playing baseball alongside basketball. 

Other athletes have also attempted to turn their hobby sport into a second career. The most successful of these is Victoria Pendleton, who moved from Olympic cycling to riding as a jockey. She even rode in the Fox Hunter Chase at Cheltenham.

Golf is probably the most popular hobby sport for professional athletes. In fact, Michael Jordan actually moved to playing golf after he retired from the NBA for a third time. Other athletes who play golf as a hobby include Michael Phelps, Ash Barty, Steph Curry, Joe Pavelski, and Ryan Succop.

Art

It’s an outdated stereotype that people must choose between being a jock or being an artist. Being either an athlete or an artist requires dedication and practice. Art can also be a great way to relax and to exercise your fine motor skills. Many athletes make art a hobby, while even more turn to the arts as a second career after they retire from sports. 

Both Larry Johnson and Serena Williams painted in their spare time during their careers. Former NBA player Tyson Chandler discovered a love for photography during a vacation. Aaron Maybin trained as an artist since childhood. He then used his stardom in the NFL to focus on creating art programs for students from underprivileged areas. 

Acting is a hobby that many athletes pursue more seriously once they’ve retired from professional sports. During the 1990s, there was a fad of casting athletes in movies. O.J. Simpson had a recurring role in the Naked Gun trilogy (1988, 1991, 1994), Dennis Rodman and Mickey Rourke starred in Jean-Claud Van Damme’s Double Team (1997), and the original Space Jam (1996) starred Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson.