Great Athletes That Switched Sports!

Reading Time: 7 minutes read

Athletes don’t get enough adrenaline from one sport and many seek more excitement in other sports. After spending most of their time excelling in one game, a lot of sportspersons went on to pursue a career in an entirely different sport. 

However, some of them also started their careers in the wrong sport, ended up changing specialties, and finally achieved glory.

Let’s find out more about some of these athletes that switched sports, listed from 10 to 1.

 Fabien Barthez / From Football ⚽ to Motorsport 🏎

Fabien Barthez was a goalkeeper that played for Manchester United and Marseille. He retired at 36 and then went on to pursue a career in motorsports. There, he trained and competed in prestigious events like Porsche Carrera Cup and GT Championships. Barthez even won the GT Championship in France. He later went on to race in the Le Mans 24.

  Paolo Maldini / From Football ⚽to Tennis🎾

Talk of the greatest football defenders of all time and not talk about Paolo Maldini? The Italian’s fantastic football career has helped him win 25 trophies with AC Milan and even 126 caps for his national team. Maldini moved on to tennis to stay fit and even participated in a few ATP challenger events.

 ⑧   Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff / From Cricket 🏏to Boxing 🥊

Andrew Flintoff was a fighter on the cricket field. His glittering cricket career speaks for itself. He left cricket for boxing. However, none knew that his boxing career would last only a single four-round fight against Richard Dawson. The fight was too much for him to take and later he quit boxing.

 ⑦  Dwain Chambers / From Athletics 👟to Rugby 🏉

Dwain was suspended from athletics for two years when he was exposed to a drug cheat. Chambers was even banned from the Olympics for life. So, he moved on to other sports.

He entered the German NFL Europa side with Hamburg Sea Devils, but he got injured while playing. No other team signed him up after the injury. Later, he played rugby for Castleford Tigers. However, in between these different disciplines, he continued to do some athletics.

  Sonny Bill Williams / From Rugby 🏉to Boxing 🥊

Sonny Bill Williams was in two World Cup-winning rugby teams and even won a Super Rugby Championship. He had an impressive career in rugby where he also won two NRL Premiership titles. However, Sonny was not done. He later turned to professional boxing and went on to win the NZPBA heavyweight title!

⑤   Bo Jackson / From American Football 🏈to Baseball⚾

Jackson is one of the greatest all-around athletes of all time. He played for the NFL rushing spectaculars touchdowns and after in the MLB smashing prodigious home runs. Bo is the only athlete ever to be both an MLB All-Star and an NFL Pro Bowler.


④   Connor McGregor / From Football ⚽to MMA 🥊

Football is very popular in Ireland, and Conor McGregor was passionate about the ball and Manchester United. After playing for several teams, he joined Stanaway Celtic Football Club as a striker and in his first year was the top scorer. 

But then his interest in mixed martial arts began to enter the fighter’s head. In his second season with the Irish team, the MMA training was so hard and demanding that McGregor gradually pushed football out of his life. Mixed martial arts deprived us of a promising football striker, but left us with an excellent MMA fighter.

③  Eric Cantona / From Football ⚽ to Beach Football ⚽

The Manchester United legend under Sir Alex Ferguson, Cantona,  retired from football in 1997. But he did not spend long without a ball at his feet after. From 2002 onwards, he started to play for the France national beach football side. He later became the coach and guided the team to glory at the World Cup in 2005.

② Usain Bolt / From Athletics 👟 to Football ⚽

Bolt retired from athletics in 2017 and tried then with football, his dream, having a trial to Australian football club Central Coast Mariners. He made his debut for the Mariners in September 2018 scoring twice in his second trial match. But he could not agree to a contract with the club and left after 8 months. 

Bolt turned down an offer from Maltese club Valletta, reportedly because the club could not afford his wage demands, and also spent time training with Norwegian team Stromsgodset and German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund. Finally, the king of athletes retired definitely from sports life.

①  Michael Jordan / From Basketball🏀 to Baseball⚾

Michael Jordan hung his basketball shoes back in 1993, which critics claim to be one of the most shocking decisions ever in sports history. Jordan went on to change his sport from basketball to baseball and signed by the Chicago White Sox.

However, it was a short baseball career. After a brief stint with Scottsdale Scorpions, he returned to basketball with the Chicago Bulls and kept on winning even more Championships and MVPs.

For good or for bad, the above-mentioned athletes are an inspiration in all their sports disciplines! 

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