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Hollywood Calls: 10 Athletes Who Have Survived Reality Shows [VIDEOS]

Athletes on Reality Shows
Bravo/E!/NBC

Reports recently surfaced that Tim Tebow was being courted by ABC to star on an upcoming season of ‘The Bachelor.’ Tebow has denied it. Over the past few years, professional players have entered the entertainment world more openly with stints on popular shows like ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ among others. Some of the most provocative athletes have even earned themselves their own reality shows, with camera following them around wherever they go. Here’s a look at 10 athletes who have made the most of the Hollywood spotlight:

SHAQUILLE O’NEAL

The attention-seeking center never could pass up an opportunity to stay on TV. In 2007, he starred in ‘Shaq’s Big Challenge’ where he and a team of medical experts tried to get six obese Florida kids into shape. The show promoted healthier living and dieting. Now 40 and retired, Shaq can still be found on TV as an NBA analyst on TNT.

LAMAR ODOM

More used to spin moves than spinoffs, Lamar Odom got his shot at TV stardom last year with ‘Khloe and Lamar’ that documents his life and marriage to one of the Kardashian sisters. The couple played well before the cameras and earned their own shot at primetime. “Khloe and Lamar are actually kind of cutesy and loving together,” said one critic. But with Odom leaving Los Angeles for Dallas this past offseason, what does that mean for his place in the Hollywood game? Stay tuned.

JESSE PALMER

Tebow wouldn’t be the first quarterback at the helm of ‘The Bachelor.’ That distinction belongs to former Giants backup Jesse Palmer who in 2004 chose Jessica Bowlin in the finale, only to announce a month later that the couple had split. Looking back on his ‘Bachelor’ run, Palmer told Parade magazine last year, “It’s a great experience. I mean, it’s a fantasy, but I wouldn’t do it a second time.” Fans who want to see more of Palmer can find him on ESPN and ABC these days as a commentator.

DENNIS RODMAN

In 2004, Rodman walked away with a cool $222,000 for winning the CBS’s ‘Celebrity Mole Yucatan.’ “No one was more surprised by this than Dennis Rodman. But you couldn’t tell, because he’s pretty inscrutable,” protested one blogger.  Rodman, never one to back down from criticism, was back on TV in 2009 as part of ‘The Celebrity Apprentice.’ That time, though, he was fired.

JOSE CANSECO

For his brief time on VH1′s ‘Surreal Life 5,’ Canseco reportedly took home $50,000 in 2005. But lately the former slugger can’t seem to keep out of trouble, most notably sending his brother, Ozzie, to a celebrity boxing match instead of him. While he tries to mount a comeback, he’s been known to go off on Twitter.

MARK PHILIPPOUSSIS

The tennis heartthrob chose Amanda Salinas as the winner of his affection on ‘Age of Love,’ but the couple couldn’t make it last in the long run, breaking up in 2007. Two years later, ex-tennis player found love in actress Jennifer Esposito. But in 2010 it seemed that he was single again.

GARY HOGEBOOM

Hogeboom lied to the others on the island for ‘Survivor: Guatemala,’ saying he was a landscaper named Gary Hawkinsa. In reality, Hogeboom is a former quarterback who played 11 seasons in the NFL. He finished in seventh on the show. “Gary provided us with tons of entertainment that I will always remember,” said one blogger.

CHRISTIAN OKOYE

Okoye was voted off the 2007 CBS show ‘Pirate Master’ during the second episode. “The best part of the show was being on the ship. That is something you don’t get to do everyday,” he told an interviewer. Still, the former Kansas City Chiefs running back couldn’t help but be the subject of some ridicule from sports fans who wondered whether dressing up like a pirate was really the right look for a former All-Pro.

RULON GARDNER

The wrestling great, who won gold in the 2000 Olympics, made the wrong kind of headlines last year when he prematurely exited ‘The Biggest Loser,’ saying that reality TV wasn’t as helpful to his career and fitness regimen as he’d hoped for. It wasn’t a waste for Gardner, though. In his 17 weeks, he dropped 188 pounds. Today, at 40, he continues to chase his goal of participating at this summer’s London Olympic Games.

FREDDIE MITCHELL

Hardly a star receiver when he played for the Eagles, Freddie Mitchell appeared in one episode of ‘Millionaire Matchmaker’ earlier this year as he tries to catch the love of his life. His critics came out of the woodwork to flag Mitchell for signing up for the show: “Apparently, Mr. Mitchell not only lost his football skills in the last few years but his common sense as well,” said one blogger. Alas, Patti Stanger couldn’t find Mitchell a good match and he was sent back to the sidelines.

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