The 23 Most Ill-Conceived Athlete Endorsements of All-Time

#1 — Buster Douglas for SafeAuto

Mike Tyson's loss to Buster Douglas was humiliating. But it got exponentially worse when Douglas' commercial for SafeAuto came out.

Douglas' two claims to fame will forever be: 1) Upsetting Mike Tyson; 2) Being featured in the only TV commercial ever filmed on flip phone.

#2 — Pete Rose's SUPERCHARG'R Energy Bar

Don't have the necessary energy to call in a bet on the baseball team you're managing? You know what you need? Carob! In the late 70s and early 80s Charlie Hustle endorsed the SUPERCHARG'R Energy Bar, a snack that was so cram-packed with energy that it didn't even have time for all of its vowels.
Of course, since we're talking about Rose, there was a bit of sleazy misdirection at play. The bar's wrapper touted the carob-coated treat as "nature's answer to candy," but it also listed the snack's ingredients. First on the list? That most natural of ingredients: high fructose corn syrup. Candy historians have speculated that the bar finally died off after a disastrous "Send in 10 Wrappers, Get a Free Pete Rose Haircut" promotion.


As part of Rose's continuing commitment to serving children healthy snacks, he also endorsed Kool-Aid:

And Nestle Crunch:

#3 — Hulk Hogan's Pastamania

At the height of his fame in 1995, Hulk Hogan decided it was time to start a new world order of family pasta restaurants, apparently banking on the notion that people like their marinara with a side of leg drops. Sure, it sounds like an awful idea, but least Hogan had the good sense to open his pasta joint in an Italian-American hotbed like … the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota?
Despite offering dishes with names like Hulk-U's and Hulk-A-Roos (and we can only assume Hulk-A-Ccine Hulk-fredo), Pastamania couldn't even stay in business for a year. The restaurant's failure no doubt freed up time for Hogan to get back to work on what was really important to him: having orange skin and finally (we hope) writing a prequel to Suburban Commando.

Is this the greatest promo photo ever? (The answer is "yes".)

#4 — Michael Jordan's Slam Bowling Ball

His crossover into baseball was such a smashing success, why wouldn't Michael Jordan try to branch out into even more sports? Sports he never even played? First stop: bowling. In 1998, Jordan partnered with AMF Bowling to produce the Michael Jordan Slam bowling ball, possibly as part of a six-figure bet with Charles Oakley that fans would buy literally any crap Jordan endorsed. The ball was orange, had grooves like a basketball, and was embossed with "23." (Someone must have stayed up all night coming up with such an inspired idea. Michael Jordan has a bowling ball that looks like a basketball, the sport he plays professionally!)
Astute readers are saying to themselves: "Wait, bowling balls don't have grooves!" The American Bowling Conference thought the same thing and refused to sanction Jordan's grooved ball. Since league bowlers – the only people who really buy bowling balls – couldn't use Jordan's orange monstrosity, the product quickly tanked and fell out of the market. Today, the MJ Slam is remembered as "the Kwame Brown of bowling equipment."

#5 — Joe Namath for Beautymist Pantyhose

In 1974 Joe Namath decided to use his considerable fame to endorse Beautymist pantyhose in a stomach-churning commercial that showcased Broadway Joe's legs in the stockings. Even for a man who was known for wearing gigantic fur coats, these spots felt disturbing. Go ahead, try watching this without getting just a little uncomfortable. We dare you:

See? Horrendous. Now you know what each and every one of Suzy Kolber's nightmares looks like.

#6 — Carson Palmer for John Morrell Smoked Sausages

When you're an affable NFL QB with a Heisman trophy, product endorsement opportunities are going to pile up on your doorstep. With the money at stake, it's probably hard for these guys to turn down these offers. We don't begrudge them that. However, when the director of a photo shoot says: "Okay, Carson, now we need for you to act like you're about to fellate this bigger-than-the-bun smoked sausage for a print advertisement," you should probably take at least a few seconds to reconsider whether or not you really need that endorsement check.

The over/under on "Times Chad Ochocinco Photoshopped This Picture and Hung It in the Locker Room" is 4,000. Bet the over. You'll win so much money you'll never be forced to blow hot dogs for money.

#7 — Bret Boone for Brandt Beef Jerky

Bret Boone was a three-time All-Star, won four Gold Gloves and made $48.8 million during his career. But eventually the money dries up and you need an influx of cash to keep up with your expensive hair frosting bills. That's when you return a call from Brandt Beef Jerky and film this:

So the women of Cincinnati and Seattle are apparently seduced by spicy meat breath. Good to know.

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