It’s a surreal feeling to see our favourite athletes try their hand at a completely different sport.
Whether it’s arguably the greatest basketball player of all time picking up a baseball bat or an Ashes-winning cricketer swapping Lords for a boxing ring, there’s been plenty of crossovers.
But while some have been hugely successful, others really shouldn’t have given up the day job. Here, Sportsmail takes a look at some of the best and not so great times when superstar athletes tried their hand at other sports.
Olympic great Usain Bolt is one of the many sporting icons to have tried another sport
Basketball and baseball
Arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan became a global icon during the 1980s and 90s after guiding the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles.
From winning every single NBA Final he had starred in to dominating the dunk contest, he’s done and won it all.
However, while at the peak of his powers, Jordan stunned the world by quitting basketball to take up baseball, having already won three of his six rings with the Bulls at the time of his decision.
During the 1990s, Michael Jordan stunned the world when he quit basketball to play baseball
Following the horrific murder of his father, James, Jordan retired from basketball and headed to Minor League Baseball after signing with the Chicago White Sox.
While his crossover to another sport made headlines , Jordan never managed to achieve his goal of playing Major League Baseball and returned to basketball after a year out.
Jordan’s love for baseball was unwavering, with it being a sport he and his late father both loved. However, he struggled in the sporting aspect and failed to live up to the hype, understandably so.
American football and baseball
In America, Bo Jackson is arguably considered the greatest athlete to have played multiple sports professionally.
Having become a household name in the NFL, Jackson also excelled at baseball and is the only professional athlete in history to be named as an All-Star in both sports.
Jackson was drafted as the No 1 pick in the 1986 NFL Draft but controversially refused to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following a dispute he had with them about their training facilities.
He opted to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals, the defending World Series champions, who had picked him in the amateur draft that same year.
Bo Jackson played for the LA Raiders in the NFL (left) while also starring in the MLB (right)
However, a year later, having turned down the Buccaneers and forfeiting his right to play for them or anyone else in the NFL, Jackson was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders who allowed him to play baseball alongside American football.
It was a huge success, with Jackson featuring in the 1990 Pro Bowl game as an All-Star after playing in the MLB’s All-Star game the year before.
Jackson’s American football career came to an end in 1991 due to a hip injury while his baseball career lasted three more years due to the sport being low impact.
Unlike Jordan, Jackson proved he could transfer his elite sporting abilities into something completely different and has earned his status as one of the greatest athletes of all time.
MMA and boxing
Say what you want about Conor McGregor but the man knows how to draw in an audience no matter what sport he appears in.
After making a name for himself in the UFC in 2013, where his arrogant promos and uncanny ability to back up what he says helped bring a swathe of new fans to the MMA scene, McGregor decided to take time away from the octagon to try his hand at a different type of combat.
Having risen through the ranks in mixed martial arts, the Irishman’s status saw him land a boxing match against none other than Floyd Mayweather.
McGregor made a name for himself in the UFC after making a meteoric rise through the ranks
The Irishman made the switch to boxing where he lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2017
Mayweather had just retired for a second time from boxing but a fight for the largest purse in the sport’s history, tempted ‘Money’ to step back inside the squared-circle.
Not bad financially for McGregor’s first professional fight as a boxer but the final outcome was never in doubt.
While the Irishman started as the aggressor and believes he won the first two rounds, Mayweather looked in complete control the whole fight before stopping the UFC icon in the 10th.
While he made a ridiculous sum of money from the fight, a record of 0-1 for McGregor can’t exactly be deemed as a success – although it did come against arguably the best boxer of all time, who was 40 years old at the time.
Athletics and football
It is without question that Usain Bolt is one of the greatest Olympic athletes of all time.
The charismatic Jamaican sprinter has won Olympic gold eight times and stole the show at the 2008 Beijing Games by breaking the 100m record before going on the smash the 200m record four years later in London.
What was even more impressive about his 9.69-second 100m record (which he would go on to break a year later) was that he ran it with his shoelaces untied.
Bolt achieved greatness as a sprinter for Jamaica, where he won eight Olympic gold medals
Having achieved everything there was to achieve in athletics, Bolt decided that he wanted to pursue his other dream of becoming a professional footballer.
And he nearly did it.
The fastest man alive was desperate to play for his team, Manchester United, but the contract offer never came after retiring from athletics in 2017.
He did manage to train with a few clubs, most notably Borussia Dortmund, which was deemed by many as a publicity stunt, but the 6ft 5in Jamaican never got to play an actual game for the Bundesliga giants.
After retiring from athletics, Bolt wanted to play football and trained with Borussia Dortmund
He played for Central Coast Mariners in the A-League but couldn’t agree a deal with the club
Bolt then featured in what was his second SoccerAid match and did enough to impress to reignite talk of a potential career in football.
He got somewhat of a half-chance at the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League down under, where he even managed to score a decent goal in a training match for the Aussie side.
This led to Bolt being offered a contract but the two parties couldn’t agree on a deal, which ultimately led to the Olympic superstar call it quits.
Cricket and boxing
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff has shown that he has a lot to offer as not only as a sportsman, but as an on-screen personality.
After enjoying a hugely successful career as a cricket – which saw him win the Ashes with England while becoming a fan favourite in the process – Flintoff has since found further fame for his loveable charm and his relatable personality as a TV celebrity and show host.
Since retiring, he has starred on the Australian version of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, while also becoming a part of the sports-based comedy show A League of Their Own. Even last year he landed himself the role as one of the three presenters of BBC’s Top Gear.
Andrew Flintoff is one of England’s greatest cricketers and has become a TV personality
Flintoff also tried his hand at boxing, where he beat Richard Dawson (right) in his only fight
But all before his gigs in the television industry, Flintoff tried his hand at boxing.
Unlike McGregor, Flintoff actually managed to win his debut bout against American Richard Dawson, which did see him get knocked down in the second but he showed spirit to fight back and win on a points-decision in 2012.
However, like McGregor, it was his only fight inside a boxing ring and will likely stay as his last. While he boasts that unbeaten record, his performance at the Manchester Arena didn’t exactly have boxing enthusiasts begging for more, leaving Flintoff to try TV instead – and he’s doing a pretty good job at that.
Cricket and football
While Flintoff’s venture away from cricket didn’t work out, Ian Botham’s certainly did.
‘Beefy’, as he was affectionately known, was forced to choose between cricket and football as a youngster for a career and as history shows, it seems like he made the right decision.
His career for his country is up there with the very best, while his 149 not out in the third Ashes Test at Headingley in 1981 is still remembered as one of England’s greatest Test innings.
Speaking of Tests, he featured in 102 of them, scoring 5,200 runs and taking 383 wickets in that time.
Ian Botham (right) smiles during his unforgettable innings in the third Ashes Test in 1981
Botham (right) was also a talented footballer and played in the Football league for Scunthorpe
But he wasn’t just known as a fantastic cricketer. He eventually got the chance to play football at a very credible level – in the Football league, no less.
During his time in football, Botham played as a centre-back for both Yeovil Town and Scunthorpe United, with the latter where he would make 11 appearances in the Football league.
While he was without doubt much better at cricket than he was at football, it was still nevertheless impressive that he played at such a high level while still at his peak for England and Somerset.
Rafael van der Vaart
Football and darts
As football careers go, Rafael van der Vaart was very successful and achieved a lot in the beautiful game.
The Dutchman was identified as one of the most promising talents back in the early noughties and was the inaugural winner of the Golden Boy award, which is given to rising star who has had a standout calendar year.
Van der Vaart would later be joined by the likes of Lionel Messi, Wayne Rooney and Kylian Mbappe in landing the prestigious gong while stardom beckoned for him back in 2003.
He won his first titles with Ajax, winning the Eredivisie twice while also landing a KNVB Cup winners’ medal just a year earlier.
Rafael van der Vaart, pictured throwing, made his competitive darts debut last year
His profile as one of the game’s most exciting talents earned him moves to Hamburg and then eventually on to Real Madrid, where he made a name for himself before becoming a fan favourite at Tottenham in 2010.
That summer, before his move to Spurs, also saw him reach the World Cup final with Holland but ended up on the losing side thanks to a extra-time winner from Spain’s Andres Iniesta. His football career slowly waned after leaving Spurs, where he would eventually hang up his boots in 2018.
However, a year on from announcing his retirement, Van der Vaart would begin his journey as a professional darts player and made a winning start to life at the oche last year, as he beat Thomas Anderson 4-2 in the first round at the BDO Denmark Open.
However, his dream start turned to a nightmare after he was humbled by Per Laursen in the next round. There’s not been much more on his move into darts, with many left wondering if they’ll see him back in a BDO tournament anytime soon.