Sports commentators and sports analysts play a vital role in the entertainment that comes with sports today. Whether they’re in the booth, in the studio, or on the sideline, they make the sport more enjoyable for the millions of fans watching from home. They deserve all the credit in the world for what they do.
With that said, we’ve been seeing a major change in the way sports are presented to fans in recent years. One primary example of this is with the rising number of former athletes becoming sports commentators, analysts, reporters, and online personalities – giving fans more valuable insight from personal experience.
By the looks of it, that’s the future of sports media and if you don’t believe me, just look at the contract Tom Brady signed with FOX Sports earlier this year. He hasn’t even retired from football yet, but he has a 10-year, $375 million contract to become the lead NFL analyst at FOX Sports when he decides to retire.
Athletes Today That Would Make Good Sports Commentators Tomorrow
When you watch or listen to a sports game today, a majority of the television personalities you’ll see and hear are former athletes. And not just any former athlete, but some of the biggest names we’ve ever seen in the sports world. Tom Brady might be the next, but it’s something we see in all sports every single year.
Just look at Tony Romo, who’s killing it in the booth as a play-by-play announcer. Shaquille O’Neal, Kenny Smith, and Charles Barkley give us the best NBA halftime report. Baseball stars like David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez are now FOX Sports and ESPN, respectively. Sports media is filled with former superstars.
And things aren’t going to be changing anytime soon, especially when you take a look at some of the unique, bright, and entertaining personalities we have in sports today. That’s why we’re going to break down 15 active athletes we believe would make good sports commentators, analysts, reporters, etc..
Let’s meet the crew!
15. Von Miller
Von Miller has always been praised as one of the coolest guys in the NFL. He’s quick to dish words of wisdom when needed, is always making people laugh, but is also one of the most laid back guys in any room he’s in – all of which are personality traits that are on full display on his video podcast titled Voncast.
Miller is currently playing in his 11th season in the NFL and first season with the Buffalo Bills. In 161 career games played, Miller has 561 tackles, 164 tackles for loss, 123.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 27 forced fumbles, and 2 defensive touchdowns. He’s a future Hall of Famer that still dominates the pass rush.
14. Kelsey Plum
Kelsey Plum is one of the most entertaining and hilarious personalities in the WNBA right now. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind, is quick with the jokes, and has an infectious smile that lights up a room – unless you get on her bad side. She’s the epitome of what we need more of in sports media today.
Plum just finished her fifth season in the WNBA and fourth season with the Las Vegas Aces. She had a career-year in 2022 with 20.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.0 steals per game en route to winning her first title. Not only that, but she won a gold medal for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics.
13. Cam Jordan
Cam Jordan is one of the fiercest NFL players when the ball is snapped, but he’s actually one of the nicest individuals you’ll meet – especially in the NFL. He’s very well-spoken and charismatic, but also brings a lot of knowledge about the game as he boasts a high football IQ. His insight would be A+.
Jordan is currently playing in his 12th season in the NFL – all of which with the New Orleans Saints. In 188 career games played, Jordan has 617 tackles, 216 tackles for loss, 112.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 14 forced fumbles, and 1 defensive touchdowns. He’s a seven-time Pro Bowler and future Hall of Famer.
12. Miguel Cabrera
Miguel Cabrera has a golden personality, even if he doesn’t show it often – many baseball fans would agree that he’s one of the quietest superstars the MLB has ever seen. His humbleness would work well in the booth or in the studio, especially alongside other analysts, such as David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez.
Cabrera just completed his 20th season in the MLB and 15th season with the Detroit Tigers. Despite turning 40 years old soon, Cabrera doesn’t plan on stopping this offseason. In 2,699 games played, he has a .308 batting average with 507 home runs, 1,847 RBIs, 1,530 runs scored, and 3,088 total hits.
11. Chris Paul
Chris Paul has always been a consummate professional ever since he entered the NBA in 2005 – which is evidenced by his serving as President of the National Basketball Players’ Association between 2013 and 2021. He has always been a leader in the locker room and is well-respected around the league.
Paul is currently playing in his 18th season in the NBA and third season with the Phoenix Suns. Through 1,167 games, Paul is averaging 18.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. He’s a 12-time All-Star and future Hall of Famer that led the league in assists five times and steals six times.
10. George Kittle
George Kittle is known as one of the most entertaining players in the league – not just on the field (when healthy, at least), but in general. He has a lot of passion for the game, which he isn’t afraid to display, and gives off the same vibes Rob Gronkowski gave off when he was in the league – just give him a mic!
Kittle is currently playing in his sixth season in the NFL – all with the San Francisco 49ers since being drafted by the team in 2017. In 77 games, he has 373 receptions for 4,961 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has recorded at least 1,000 yards on two occasions, including a career-high 1,377 yards in 2018.
9. Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is arguably the greatest golfer to ever play the game and brings with him a world of knowledge and experience within the golf community – who wouldn’t want to hear him talk about golf when he finally decides to stop playing? I think he would add a lot of valuable insight for the fans.
Woods turned professional in 1996 after two years at Stanford University. During his 26-year career, Woods has accumulated 110 professional wins (82 on the PGA Tour) and 15 major championships. He has spent a total of 683 weeks as the No. 1 golfer in the world. He has been an absolute joy to watch.
8. J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt is another one of those football players who’s universally regarded as a good overall dude. He never hesitates to help his community, is viewed as a leader in the locker room, and isn’t afraid to share his knowledge of the game with those that are willing to listen. I love how he handles himself off the field.
Watt is playing in his 12th season in the NFL and second with the Arizona Cardinals. In 146 career games played, Watt has 568 tackles, 185 tackles for loss, 108.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 26 forced fumbles, and 3 defensive touchdowns. He’s a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year and future Hall of Famer.
7. Mookie Betts
Mookie Betts is a superb athlete in many ways, which would make him an entertaining sports analyst because he can comment on a variety of sports – he’s also a talented bowler and basketball player. He has one of the best personalities in all of baseball and is one of the best MLB players at his position.
Betts just completed his ninth season in the MLB and third with the Dodgers. In 1,113 games played, Betts has a .293 batting average, 1,306 hits, 213 home runs, 649 RBIs, and 870 runs scored. He’s a former MVP, two-time World Series champion, six-time Gold Glove winner, and five-time Silver Slugger.
6. Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby is one of the most iconic and well-known hockey players of his generation. You either love him or hate him, but either way, you respect him because he has earned his status as one of the all-time greats. Not only that, but some would agree that he’s a man of few, carefully-considered words.
Crosby is currently playing in his 18th season in the NHL – all of which with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who drafted him in 2005. In 1,136 career games, he has scored 534 goals and dished 913 assists for 1,447 total points. He’s a three-time Stanley Cup winner, eight-time All-Star, and future first ballot Hall of Famer.
5. Jason Kelce
Jason Kelce is one of the most respected offensive lineman in the NFL. He has that blue-collar attitude that many fans around the country can relate to. He already has a podcast – New Heights – with his younger brother, Travis Kelce (who would also make a good commentator). They’re hilarious together.
Kelce has started in all 171 games he has played in since being drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He hasn’t missed a game since 2014 and is more reliable than most. As for his brother, Travis is one of the best tight ends ever and continues to break receiving records with Patrick Mahomes.
4. Freddie Freeman
Speaking of athletes who are well-respected and beloved league-wide, let’s not forget about Freddie Freeman. He might’ve earned some new haters when he left the Atlanta Braves for the Los Angeles Dodgers, but that shouldn’t overshadow that he’s one of the best locker room presences in the MLB.
Freeman just completed his 13th season in the MLB and first season with the Dodgers. In 1,724 career games played, Freeman has a .298 batting average, 1,903 hits, 292 home runs, 1,041 RBIs, and 1,086 runs scored. He’s a former MVP, World Series champion, three-time Silver Slugger, and six-time All-Star.
3. Joe Burrow
How can you hate Joe Burrow? He’s one of the most innocent quarterbacks in the league, but also has a swag about him that makes you want to root for him. His interviews are always elite as he finds the perfect balance between being sarcastic and cocky, but serious and calculated – it’s a good combination.
Burrow is currently playing in his third season in the NFL since being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals with the No. 1 overall pick in 2020. He has already won Comeback Player of the Year after missing most of his rookie season to injury, leading his team to a Super Bowl appearance when he returned last year.
2. Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is one of the best personalities in the NBA. On the court, there’s no mercy – he will make a fool out of you and then rub it in your face how good he is. Off the court, he’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet – always taking time to connect with fans and always touting his family over everything.
Curry is currently playing in his 13th season in the NBA – all of which with the Golden State Warriors, who drafted him with the No. 7 overall pick in 2009. In 850 games, he averages 24.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He’s a four-time champion, two-time MVP, and two-time scoring champ.
1. Mike Trout
Mike Trout has been one of the best personalities in the MLB for the past decade. He doesn’t have a large personality, rather choosing to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible. At the same time, the spotlight continues to follow him because he’s one of the greatest baseball players of this generation.
Trout recently completed his 12th season in the MLB – all of which with the Los Angeles Angels. In 1,407 career games played, Trout has a .303 batting average, 1,543 hits, 350 home runs, 896 RBIs, and 1,052 runs scored. He’s a three-time MVP, 10-time All-Star, nine-time Silver Slugger, and future Hall of Famer.
Active Athletes Who Are Already Sports Commentators and/or Analysts
There are several athletes we wanted to include in the list above, but felt it wouldn’t be accurate since they’ve technically already started their sports media careers – despite still being an active athlete. They’re proving that you don’t have to wait until retirement to start thinking about their life after sports.
The NBA has seen a huge push in active athletes becoming sports analysts – names like CJ McCollum, Patrick Beverley, and Draymond Green have already built a name for themselves in the media world. McCollum and Beverley have made appearances on ESPN, while Green has a contract with TNT.
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Chiney Ogwumike and Candace Parker are two other athletes who frequently appear in front of the camera – Parker for TNT and Ogwumike for ESPN. It’s always nice to see athletes give their perspective and opinion on the sport they’ve dedicated their entire lives to – it gives fans a different outlook!
Tom Brady Discusses Move to the Booth Once He Retires and 20 Other Athletes Who Became Sports Commentators
Tom Brady is undoubtedly the greatest quarterback to ever live, but could he soon become one of the greatest sports commentators of his generation? While he has yet to end his playing career, despite a 40-day retirement this offseason, Brady already has post-retirement plans.
On May 10th, Tom Brady and FOX Sports announced a 10-year, $375 million contract to be the network’s lead football analyst. Since he’s still under contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the contract won’t start until Brady officially retires from the league – whenever that might be.
In the announcement, FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch noted, “Over the course of this long-term agreement, Tom will not only call our biggest NFL games with Kevin Burkhardt, but will also serve as an ambassador for us, particularly with respect to client and promotional initiatives.”
Famous Athletes Who Became Sports Commentators
Let’s take a quick second to put Tom Brady’s future contract in perspective. Over the past 22 seasons, Brady has earned just shy of $300 million with the Patriots and Buccaneers. When he finally decides to hang ‘em up, he’ll make another $375 million with FOX over the next 10 years.
Not only that, but it’s the richest and largest contract in sportscasting history – which is quite incredible when you see some of the big names in the broadcast booth and studio. When you consider the amount of credibility, the reputation, and the knowledge Brady has, it makes sense.
While Brady is the latest to join the ranks, he’s not the first athlete to enter the booth after they retire. There are a variety of former athletes that now call themselves sports commentators – whether it be an analyst in the studio, on-field reporter, or play-by-play announcer in the booth.
20. Drew Brees
Drew Brees is a retired quarterback that spent 20 seasons in the NFL – 15 with the New Orleans Saints and five with the San Diego Chargers. He threw for 80,358 yards and 571 touchdowns, finishing his career with a 172-114 record, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP.
When he retired after the 2020 season, he immediately signed a one-year contract with NBC Sports to provide commentary for Notre Dame football games and Football Night in America (Sunday Night Football). He’s no longer with the network and is now weighing his options.
19. Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins is a retired center that spent 14 seasons in the NBA – mostly with the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder. He won the 2008 NBA Finals with the Celtics and averaged 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 21.9 minutes per game (782 games).
Since retiring, Perkins has been a mainstay on ESPN, providing commentary on a number of their top shows – including NBA Today, Get Up, First Take, and SportsCenter. He also works for NBC Sports Boston and is known to provide frequent hot takes – which makes for good TV.
18. JJ Redick
JJ Redick is a retired shooting guard that spent 15 seasons in the NBA – mostly with the Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers. He played 940 games and averaged 12.8 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 0.4 steals in 25.5 minutes per game – he loved to shoot threes.
During his playing days, Redick was the first active NBA player to start a podcast – which he did in 2016. He’s known for providing great wisdom and maintaining the integrity of the game with his relatable takes. He’s frequently seen with Perkins as an NBA analyst for ESPN.
17. Jalen Rose
Jalen Rose is a retired small forward that spent 13 seasons in the NBA with six different teams. He was a member of Michigan’s Fab Five, was the Most Improved Player of the Year in 2000, and averaged 14.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 0.8 steals in 923 career games played.
Rose first began his broadcasting career in 2006 when he was a sideline reporter during the NBA playoffs – he was still an active player. Since retiring from the game, he has worked for ABC and ESPN as a commentator and analyst. He currently has his own show on ESPN.
16. Reggie Miller
Reggie Miller is a retired shooting guard that spent 18 seasons in the NBA – all with the Indiana Pacers. He’s one of the greatest shooters of all-time, is a five-time All-Star, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012. He averaged 18.2 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game.
Since retiring from basketball, he has been one of the main analysts and color commentators for TNT – not only calling games on the sideline, but also providing commentary in the pre-game and post-game festivities. He also contributes to a number of sports television and radio shows.
15. Greg Anthony
Greg Anthony is a retired point guard that spent 11 seasons in the NBA with six teams. He helped lead the UNLV Rebels to a National Championship before being drafted in the first round by the Knicks. He had his best season in 1995, when he averaged 14.0 points per game.
Since retiring from the game in 2002, Anthony has become one of the best play-by-play announcers in the NBA. He has had roles with ESPN, ABC, YES (Brooklyn Nets), and CBS Sports (college basketball). He’s also the play-by-play announcer for the NBA 2K video games.
14. Cris Collinsworth
Cris Collinsworth is a retired wide receiver that spent eight seasons in the NFL – all with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was a three-time Pro Bowl player that had 417 receptions for 6,698 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career. He surpassed 1,000 yards on four occasions.
Collinsworth has turned in quite the illustrious sportscasting career since retiring. He has won 17 Sports Emmy Awards and has worked for NBC, NFL Network, and Showtime. He’s a regular announcer for Sunday Night Football and has done play-by-play for five Super Bowls.
13. Chiney Ogwumike
Chiney Ogwumike is an active forward that’s currently playing in her sixth season in the WNBA – her first three with the Connecticut Sun and her last three with the Los Angeles Sparks. She has averaged 12.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.0 steal, and 0.8 blocks per game.
Not only is she an active player, but she was voted as Vice President of the WNBA Players Association and is a full-time basketball analyst for ESPN – three jobs all at the same time. She’s often seen commentating on NBA coverage and is a regular on ESPN’s NBA Today.
12. Candace Parker
Candace Parker is an active forward-center that’s currently playing in her 15th season in the WNBA – 13 with the Los Angeles Sparks and two with the Chicago Sky. She’s a two-time MVP, two-time champion, and six-time All-Star that’s regarded as one of the greatest of all-time.
Much like Ogwumike, Parker often works double-duty as a player and analyst. She signed a multi-year contract with Turner Sports and is a regular on NBA on TNT. She also makes appearances on NBA TV and provides commentary for the NCAA Men’s March Madness.
11. David Ortiz
David Ortiz, also known as Big Papi, is a retired designated hitter that spent 20 seasons in the MLB – six with the Minnesota Twins and 14 with the Boston Red Sox. He’s a Hall of Famer, 10-time All-Star, and three-time World Series champion that hit 541 career home runs.
Since retiring from the game in 2016, Ortiz has started to transition into an analyst role – mostly with FOX Sports. In fact, he first made his sportscasting debut in 2014 as an active player. He’s becoming a mainstay for their regular season, All-Star game, and postseason MLB coverage.
10. Alex Rodriguez
Alex Rodriguez is a retired third baseman that spent 22 seasons in the MLB – mostly with the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners. He’s a 14-time All-Star, three-time MVP, one-time champion, and three-time Major League Player of the Year that hit 696 career home runs.
Since retiring, Rodriguez has made several business ventures and has entered the world of sportscasting. He’s a regular on Fox Sports 1, ABC News, and ESPN – including Sunday Night Baseball coverage. He also hosts a show called Back in the Game and appears on Shark Tank.
9. Nate Burleson
Nate Burleson is a retired wide receiver that spent 11 seasons in the NFL with the Lions, Vikings, and Seahawks. He had his best season in 2004 with 68 catches, 1,006 yards, and nine touchdowns. He finished his career with 457 catches for 5,630 yards and 39 touchdowns.
In 2012, a few years before retiring, Burleson attended a boot camp for broadcasting hosted by the NFL. After retiring, he joined the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football and the NFL on CBS as an analyst. He recently left GMF and joined Paramount, where he has several roles on TV.
8. Terry Bradshaw
Terry Bradshaw is a retired quarterback that spent 14 seasons in the NFL – all of which with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was the No. 1 draft pick in 1970 and won four Super Bowls, two Super Bowl MVPs, one AP MVP, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
Immediately after retiring, Bradshaw signed on with CBS as a football analyst. Since then, he has won three Sports Emmy Awards. After a decade with CBS, he joined the Fox NFL Sunday crew and has earned a reputation as the ‘ol’ redneck’ that isn’t afraid to speak his open mind.
7. Boomer Esiason
Boomer Esiason is a retired quarterback that spent 14 seasons in the NFL – mostly with the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets. He was selected to four Pro Bowls, won the MVP award in 1988, and threw for 37,920 yards, 247 touchdowns, and 184 interceptions in his career.
Esiason began his broadcasting career while he was still playing, appearing as a color analyst for the WLAF. He has broadcast a total of 19 Super Bowls on the radio – from 2000 to 2018. He’s now a mainstay analyst on The NFL Today on CBS and Inside the NFL on Showtime.
6. Kenny Smith
Kenny Smith is a retired point guard that spent 10 years in the NBA – mostly with the Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings. He was a two-time champion and a member of the All-Rookie team in 1988. He finished his career with 12.8 points, 5.5 assists, and 1.0 steals per game.
After retiring from the game in 1997, Smith immediately joined Turner Sports’ Inside the NBA – widely regarded as one of the most ground-breaking sports studio shows of all-time. In addition to Inside the NBA, Smith also works as an analyst for March Madness on Turner and CBS.
5. Charles Barkley
Charles Barkley is a retired power forward that spent 16 seasons in the NBA with the 76ers, Rockets, and Suns. He was an 11-time All-Star and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He ended his career averaging 22.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.5 steals per game.
In 2000, the same year he retired from the NBA, Barkley joined Turner Network Television as an analyst – joining Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith in the Inside the NBA studio. He’s one of the funniest, most outlandish and outspoken sports personalities on TV today, which we love.
4. Shaquille O’Neal
Shaquille O’Neal is a retired center that spent 19 seasons in the NBA – mostly with the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic. He’s a four-time champion, two-time scoring champ, one-time MVP, three-time Finals MVP, and won the Rookie of the Year award in 1993.
Since retiring, O’Neal has done it all – reality television, disc jockey, mixed martial arts, WWE, investments, music, acting, etc. In 2011, he announced his decision to join Ernie, Kenny, and Charles in the Inside the NBA studio. The four have an incredible chemistry with one another.
3. Michael Strahan
Michael Strahan is a retired defensive end that spent 15 seasons in the NFL – all of which with the New York Giants. He was a seven-time Pro Bowl player, one-time Super Bowl champ, 2001 Defensive Player of the Year, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014.
Since retiring, Strahan has become one of the biggest media personalities in the country. Not only does he appear on Fox NFL Sunday with some of the former athletes listed above, but he has also hosted day-time television (Good Morning America) and game shows (Pyramid).
2. Troy Aikman
Troy Aikman is a retired quarterback that spent 12 seasons in the NFL – all of which with the Dallas Cowboys. He was a six-time Pro Bowl player, won three Super Bowl championships, and was the Super Bowl XXVII MVP. He threw for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns.
Upon retiring in 2000, Aikman became the color commentator for the NFL on Fox – a position he held for 20 years. Most recently, in 2022, it was announced that Aikman would become the color commentator for ESPN’s Monday Night Football – one of the most prestigious NFL media roles.
1. Tony Romo
Speaking of Dallas Cowboys’ quarterbacks-turned-sportscasters, let’s not forget about the man himself, Tony Romo. He spent 13 seasons with the Cowboys, was selected to four Pro Bowls, and finished his career with 34,183 yards, 248 touchdowns, and a 78-49 record as a starter.
Romo was hired by CBS Sports as a color commentator when Phil Simms was moved from the booth to the studio. Although he received criticism at first, he has since been named a ‘genius of football commentary’ for his ability to predict plays – putting his extensive knowledge to use.
Sports Commentators Enhance the Experience at Home
Whether you’re watching the pre-game show, enjoying the live game, following the narratives during the post-game show, or catching the highlights the following day on ESPN, sports commentators and analysts are known for enhancing the experience for sports fans at home.
And with the contract Brady signed one month ago, the future is bright for athletes interested in becoming sports commentators post-retirement. In fact, some athletes – such as Draymond Green, CJ McCollum, and Patrick Beverley – are becoming analysts before deciding to retire.
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The former athletes listed above have forged successful careers as sports commentators and helped pave the way for the new generation of analysts. It’ll be interesting to see how networks and broadcasts change with all the new talent they’re bringing in – we’re excited for the potential!
- 0.1 Athletes Today That Would Make Good Sports Commentators Tomorrow
- 0.2 Active Athletes Who Are Already Sports Commentators and/or Analysts
- 1 Tom Brady Discusses Move to the Booth Once He Retires and 20 Other Athletes Who Became Sports Commentators
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