When they’re not at the gym, at practice or competing, a surprising number of professional athletes in the NBA, MLB and NFL hit the bowling alley—and they take it more seriously than you might expect.
The Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, for instance, doesn’t just bowl, and bowl well (he’s chasing a 300 game.) He also owns a professional bowling team in Los Angeles called L.A.X. in the Professional Bowlers Association. Since 2009, Paul has hosted a celebrity bowling tournament every year for his CP3 Foundation.
“This is my other passion,” Paul told L.A. reporter Arash Markazi. “I probably have 20 bowling balls at home. I have this one bowling ball that’s like my baby. I can make that ball dance.”
Paul is hardly alone in making bowling more than just a thing to do on a random night. Retired NFL players Jerome Bettis and Terrell Owens also have stock in teams in the PBA league. Bettis owns Motown Muscle of Detroit, but the former Steelers running back has been bowling for most of his life, with a 200-level average. Owens, who owns the Dallas Strikers, told the Associated Press that his highest scoring game is a 288 and that he has aspirations to bowl professionally.
Many athletes also recognize that bowling is a great way to raise money for a good cause. Last September, the Seattle Seahawks’ Marshawn Lynch and Earl Thomas co-hosted a “bowling celebration party” with Strike for Kids to benefit the Fam 1st Foundation and The Earl Thomas Guardian Angel Foundation. Last summer, the Colorado Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez hosted a similar event, a Stars and Strikes Celebrity Bowling Classic in Denver at Lucky Strike, to support his foundation.
Charity aside, bowling can be useful as a team-building exercise, like the New York Mets, the Phoenix Suns, and Chelsea FC have done in the past. Some even consider it a mental cross-training technique.
Then of course, there are plain old on-court, on-field bowling antics—you know, to celebrate a goal or a win, where the goal is to “be the pin.” (Don’t miss Shaquille O’Neal’s Shaqtastic demonstration here, when he was with the Phoenix Suns. Take that, LeBron.)
Check out the images and videos below to see Pierre Garcon and Denard Robinson make fun of their friends’ gutter balls, Skylar Diggins nail a spare, and Da’Rick Rogers’ sneaky shot of the Colts “bowling it up”—to name a few.
Spoiler alert! You will also see Kevin Durant and his “nae nae” strike. Get ready to roll.
Da’Rick Rogers (& Colts)
Michael Del Zotto
Mike Brown, Sherrod Martin, Cecil Shorts III, Cameron Bradfield, Jordan Todman, Dwayne Jamar
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