10 Star Athletes Who Were Caught Smoking!

OMG December 21, 2017 By Hugo

In today's world, star athletes are bona fide A-list celebrities, with the money from television rights alone making some richer than pop stars and Hollywood actors. Unlike film stars and musicians, however, smoking is not a good look if you're an athlete because you are expected to perform at a high level each week and are typically heralded as a role model to young children.

Shutterstock/ Ostancov Vladislav

That said, it's understandable that some, many of whom happen to be young and incredibly rich, give into temptations on a night out and light up. Unfortunately, their fame means that even the odd cigarette will likely be caught by pesky photographers, as these 10 athletes found out.

1. Michael Jordan

America's most esteemed basketball player and athlete is also the richest after he pipped Tiger Woods to the much-anticipated title of sports' first billionaire athlete. With such wealth in mind, it seems only fitting then that Jordan has developed a penchant for cigars over the years and is regularly pictured enjoying a good old puff, especially when enjoying a round of golf with his buddies.

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However, Jordan's love for cigars started when he was still playing in the NBA, and there are countless photos online of Jordan smoking after crucial victories. According to some, Jordan would even smoke one at every home game to help him relax before a match.

2. Ashley Cole

Nicknamed Cashley for his desire to move from North London outfit Arsenal in favour of a big money move to Chelsea, the English soccer player attracted more criticism when he was caught on camera smoking in Los Angeles.

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The photos were unsurprisingly released to the press and angered the-then manager of Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, and it wasn't long before the Spanish full-back Cesar Azpilicueta took his place in the starting line-up.

3. Jack Wilshere

Another soccer player on this list (what are they like, ey?) is the perennial underachiever Jack Wilshere. Unlike Cole, Wilshere is still at Arsenal, but it seems they both share a love for lighting up.

Shutterstock/ Mitch Gunn

In Jack's case, the married man and father was pictured outside a trendy London nightclub, which didn't exactly endear him to the Arsenal faithful, many of whom are fed up with his injury record and inability to change games in important encounters. 

4. Ricardo Mayorga

Ricardo Mayorga's boxing exploits have attracted many fans over the course of his career, but his hedonistic lifestyle away from the ring draws as much attention. Famed for his excessive drinking and smoking, Ring Magazine described the champion boxer in 2003 as "the craziest man in sport. Mayorga lights up boxing."

YouTube/Wall Street Journal

Such an apt and witty description was illustrated once more when he hung up his gloves for a shot at an MMA career. Just like the trash talk that characterized a large chunk of his appeal as a boxer, Mayorga was equally as brash in MMA circles, with the showman regularly irking his opponents by blowing smoke in their faces. 

5. Dion Phaneuf

Ice hockey is a game where physical strength plays a pivotal role in the outcome of a match, and smoking won't exactly help your cause, so a lot of criticism was heaped on the Ottawa Senators and ex-Maple Leafs defenceman and captain after he was pictured smoking at a party during his time there.

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Some were of the opinion that the media were making a big deal out of the situation, as before 1990 ice hockey players smoking was almost the norm and few took umbrage. 

However, in an era where athletes are paid millions, you can make a case that fans have every right to voice their annoyance for any athlete who doesn't take the utmost care in their health and profession, and this put increased pressure on Phaneuf to stop altogether.

6. Shane Warne

Cricket's number one bad boy couldn't help but be enamoured by the vices that came from a lucrative career as a professional athlete, and as well as cozying up to various models and partying 'til the early hours, Warne loved smoking, and even after being offered £84,000 by a company to quit, he was pictured shortly after the deal lighting one up during Australia's tour of the West Indies.

Shutterstock/ Featureflash Photo Agency

Funnily enough, the company let Warne keep the money, believing he had done well to last as 'long' as he did, and Warne even commented on the matter by saying, "It had been quite a stressful 10-week period and unfortunately I had a night out with the lads, it was quite late at night, and I gave into temptation once.”

7. Lionel Messi

It's hard to imagine Lionel Messi putting a foot wrong, such is the awe-inspiring brilliance this guy displays on a soccer field each week, but even people who possess freakish talents are seemingly prone to the odd vice now and then and in Messi's case that came in the form of a cigarette.


In all honesty, this guy could probably go on a 12-hour bender and still turn up for a game the following afternoon and tear rings around the opposition's defence, so we don't think Messi gave a rat's ass about the release of said photos that just happened to be taken when he was on a family holiday.

8. Alex Rodriguez

Much like the legendary baseball player Babe Ruth, A-Rod enjoys the celebrity that has been spawned from being one of the sports' greatest ever short stoppers and as well as dating a string of famous women and partying it up at some of New York's hottest venues, he's made no secret of his love for cigars.

Shutterstock/ Aspen Photo

Of course, the maverick star's unashamed habit should come as little surprise if you're aware of the performing enhancing drug scandal he was involved in, but with countless accolades and titles to his name, we're sure the Yankees legend couldn't care less about what others think. 

9. Randy Moss

Just like soccer players, you'll find that many NFL players have also been caught smoking but a special mention has to go to the former wide receiver and persistent tobacco offender, Randy Moss.


Even worse, Moss has candidly confessed to smoking marijuana during his NFL career, and as such, he divided opinion and was continually criticized towards the latter end of his career for his lack of effort and tendency to give up mid-game. 

10. Zinedine Zidane

The retired soccer player is one of the game's all-time greats, and after a successful spell at Real Madrid, the Frenchman now manages the club. Though while Zidane may now be incredibly wealthy and famous, he has never forgotten where he came from having been raised in the notoriously violent and poverty-ridden suburbs of Paris.


An example of this is, of course, his infamous headbutt on Italian central defender Walter Materazzi during the 2006 FIFA World Cup final, but before all that blew up, the 1998 World Cup winner was pictured throughout the tournament smoking by himself with a litheness more befitting of a movie star than an athlete. 

According to some reports, one of the photos was even taken the night before the final! But hey, he'd already announced his retirement following the conclusion of the tournament, so we don't think the soccer superstar cared.

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