It's been said that the only difference between the eccentric and the crazy are the digits in their bank account. That being said, when you see Antonio Garay's Hello Kitty smart car that looks like it came from a 10-year-old girl's nightmare after watching Mad Max or Mario Balotelli's Camouflaged Bentley Continental that Pablo Escobar would undoubtedly admire for pragmatic luxury, one can't help but wonder which side of the mental fence these athletes are on. Some of them seem to own the most outlandish and loud eyesores ever seen on four wheels. Maybe it's just because they can, or maybe their celebrity status has made them hunger for publicity.
I once considered adding Texas Longhorns on the hood of my black 94 Cadillac DeVille for no other reason than the "what the hell?" reaction. Like adding spinning rims on an Impala Police Interceptor, perhaps, such behavior is an artistic expression meant to violate social norms and not only think outside the box but question the concept of the box altogether.
The following athletes have pushed the very definition of eccentric, leaving us no choice but to suspect their state of mental health in acquiring these following 20 cars. Some are aesthetically appealing (if only for a moment), and some are downright visually painful to process. "Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder," said Plato. Of course, ancient Greece didn't have these automotive centaurs—half automobile, half human—expressions of self. Nevertheless, you be the judge of these one-of-a-kind, high-priced vehicles that have garnered attention worldwide.
19 Darren Mcfadden's '72 Buick Centurion
The first impression one might get from the custom vehicle of former Dallas Cowboys running back Darren Mcfadden is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles vibe or just a pure purple and green Joker nightmare one had involving Jack Nicholson that one would rather not remember.
With 32" lime green wheels, an interior to match, and a 15" raised suspension, there's thankfully only one of these in the world.
Once you get past the impressively absurd nature of the height, one has to wonder what drive-thrus, car-washes, gas mileage, and even parking in a garage must be like for him—not to mention, the reaction of police officers he encounters on the public roads. Surely, these aren't issues for the retired athlete, but for us regular folk, they would be. It would be interesting to see what tropical storm winds do to this vehicle's higher-than-normal center of balance. One can only hope—no harm intended, Mcfadden.
18 James Harrison's "Smart" Car
Only Robert De Niro can get away with wearing a pink suit and tie, and perhaps, only the New England Patriots linebacker can drive a Smart Car. This thing is really a car, though, right? I mean, does it actually get on the freeway alongside large 3-ton vehicles going over 60 MPH? It's actually smaller than some golf carts and appears to be just as safe as a motorcycle. One can't help but think he chose this car for humor. Hopefully, a rolling cage is built into the frame, as anyone in this car would bounce around continuously after an accident. With a sticker price under $15,000 and an average of about 35 mpg, the only other benefit than cost may be the priceless laughter one would be the object of upon being seen in this. But maybe, if men with confidence issues purchase large vehicles, could this be an expression of his confidence in his masculinity? What would Freud think?
17 William Gallas's Reflective Mercedes
After the Silver Surfer retired, reports were received that he traded his old surfboard in for a more comfortable automobile. With a price of 450,000 euros (about $563,000 U.S.), this isn't a cheap self-expression for the world-famous French soccer player. The custom McLaren Mercedes SLR may be an unrivaled reflective road hazard, but with a 0-60 of 3.6 seconds and a top speed of 207 MPH, this is no laughing matter under the hood. One can't help but wonder that if at those speeds, this thing may create some U.F.O conspiracies. The real conspiracy is, who will repair this thing if it ever needs body work? Will the auto insurance cover other accidents caused by the blinding reflection of our sun? Will it cover the countless confused birds that plow into it thinking as they do with screen doors? Will heat-guided weapons be thwarted by this ingenuity? Anyone's guess is as good as mine.
16 Chad Ochocinco's Not-So-Semi Semi
From the moment NBC filmed Chad Ochocinco pulling into Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati on his birthday in 2010 to play the New York Jets, the world has been captivated by this Leviathan of a truck. There's very little information about this monstrosity. His publicist failed to respond to my inquiries, which leads one to believe Mr. Ochocinco wants the details kept a mystery. Maybe the thing is a damn Decepticon.
According to NBC, this thing took 6 months to custom build.
It appears to drive like a heavy-duty truck yet has the appearance of a Semi. Us men will be men, I suppose. He has the biggest noncommercial vehicle known to man. I can't help but admire this one, guys, but this beautifully crafted Ochocinco truck still makes the list for the sheer shock value.
15 Joe Johnson's 24 Karat Eyesore
In 2008, when Joe Johnson, a guard for the Atlanta Hawks, was seen driving this golden Panzer-sized F-650, the world wondered what he was thinking. The F-650s are usually for commercial vehicles like dump trucks and such—not for this man, though. When his agent said "commercialize" his brand, Johnson took it too far. Not only is thing packing over 300 horses, but Johnson also had a custom karaoke system installed by Cartunes Atlanta. Johnson can access I-tunes Karaoke and sing with the two professional-quality microphones.
Hopefully, he can carry a tune, for his passengers' sake.
If you see this rolling down the street, don't be surprised if Johnson and teammates are singing Queen's "We Are the Champions" after a Hawks victory or T.I.'s "Get Back Up" after a defeat in Atlanta. This one definitely gets points in my book for sheer creativity and strength.
14 Alfred Morris's '91 Mazda
Though not the most absurd, this one's my personal favorite.
The Dallas Cowboys running back still drives his '91 Mazda 626 that he purchased from his pastor for a reported $2.
Mazda took notice and decided to fully restore and slightly upgrade his humble automobile. In a profession of players who seem to compete on who can own the most expensive and outlandish vehicle, Alfred Morris has shown us he hasn't forgotten where he came from and that neither should any of us, for that matter. A kid from humble beginnings hasn't changed who he is. How many of us Americans working 60-hour weeks to pay the note on a shiny new car would give it up in a heartbeat for the first car we ever had? Me neither. Maybe this is a shining example of keeping things simple in an increasingly complicated world.
13 Jermaine Pennant's New MI6 Luxury
It seems we have a difference of opinion, Mr. Bond. This isn't an MI-6 vehicle (that we know of), but it has a heavy dose of British espionage characteristics. Soccer player Jermaine Pennant turned a lot of heads back in 2010 when he had this Aston Martin DBS custom vinyl-wrapped in solid chrome. Although similar to William Gallas's Mercedes, this is an Aston Martin, with all the James Bond anecdotes that follow. This a DBS, the same DBS Daniel Craig rolled seven times at the end of Casino Royale and an offspring to Sean Connery's DB5 with ejecting seats and torpedoes. To top it off, Pennant is English. Shaken Martini, Mr. Pennant?
12 Chris Johnson's Donk
The sheer pain I feel for anyone living in the house where this thing is parked is beyond words. Chris Johnson, a former cornerback for the Green Bay Packers, rode high in this '60s era Impala with Packers colors. It's reported that he changes the color scheme every time he signs on with another team, most notably the silver and black when he was with the Raiders. One wonders how the homeowners association feels about this monolithic Cheesehead icon being parked outside. And how do the neighbors feel? Do they call out to their children to come in from outside earlier than usual? Do they call their governor asking them to please send out the National Guard to detain or eliminate this horribly ugly sight? No, that only worked in Ohio for student protesters. They quite possibly marvel at the absurdity and ingenuity of this strange machine. I can't say I don't.
11 Mario Balotelli's Jungle-Ready Bentley
Balotelli's Bentley Continental GT seems more designed for perusing South American jungles around a drug lord's ranch than city driving. Maybe he has friends in Columbia or in the C.I.A. we don't know about. Either way, this Bentley leaves a lasting impression with its camouflaged exterior. It would be interesting to find out if it was being used in South American business affairs because it has the power to outrun rivals or Green Berets, depending on the situation.
With a 6.0-liter engine that roars with over 500 HP, this thing can get lost fast real quick.
There's no information on bulletproofing, so Mario may have to duck if the firefight ever starts. Or better yet, he should go ahead and take the final step of adding the turret machine guns to the side. If you're gonna do something, I say go all in.
10 El Hadji Diouf’s Golden Hotwheels Truck
With Diouf's volatile reputation for spitting on players and laughing at the injured on the field, it comes as no surprise he exhibits the same behavior in customization. Not much can be said about the Escalade, a standard of Cadillac for luxury, power, and space. However, his "special edition" is absolutely disgusting (in the true spirit of the word).
Like a 2-inch thick rope chain on a hairy chest in the 1970s, this thing is trying to be an extra on the set of Shaft.
It appears a time-space continuum science experiment mixed 1976 with 2012 and converged in a massive subatomic convergence on this poor Escalade. This thing looks like it belongs to a Saudi prince who has a strange taste for American luxury. Thumbs down, and shame on this mad, mad experiment! Like Diouf on the field, we're going to laugh at this injured, pained vehicle.
9 Devin Hester's Chevy Donk
What's the easiest way to annoy the authorities, piss off your neighbors, and make people question your sanity all at once? Hester must've watched the '80s flick Maximum Overdrive religiously as a child because this thing belongs in it. Like the wide receiver, perhaps this car, too, is an angry reptilian marauder. As if it's not enough that this yellowish lizard already appears as if it'll climb on the back of a car and sink its fangs into it, aesthetically, it's almost physically painful. Put a boot on this car to prevent any more psychological damage from occurring to anyone who encounters it. Put bulletins in the newspaper of when you plan on taking it for a drive to warn the public. Shock value accomplished, Devin, but at least, get that thing rabies-tested and put a leash on her.
8 Djibril Cisse’s Heavy-Metal Vehicle
This Chrysler 300 C looks like it came straight out of the video game Heavy Metal. For those of the right age—and Cisse fits this group—they remember the ever-popular video game where multiple vehicles, equipped with rocket launchers, machine guns, and various other weapons, battled one another for victory. The iron cross on the grille could've been pulled off of a top-secret war machine from the Third Reich, and the image of the girl's face on the hood may have just as easily been seen tattooed on someone's back. But much respect is deserved by this special lady and the personalized symbol of devotion to her. If for no other reason than this outward gesture of affection, I like this particular road monster.
7 Stephen Ireland's Juxtaposed Range Rover
He drove through a pharmacy, straight through a Pepto-Bismol display. That's the appearance of this vehicle at first glance. One can only surmise the reasons, but to see this powerful and beautiful SUV have that element of anti-masculinity to it seems like a crime. Until the international court of the male gender brings Ireland to justice, all we can do is watch in horror as this bubblegum-themed truck visually pollutes any area around it and makes fathers cover their son's eyes lest they make a similar mistake one day. Thumbs down, Ireland. For shame, for shame...
6 Shaquille O'Neal's Super-Mobile
Okay, much respect to the master on the basketball court. He's uncanny in his abilities and for most of what's reported, has a humble personality and way of living. So, what in the name of our good Lord were you thinking when you did this? Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you breed a Lamborghini and an Escalade. Just like the man that thought it would be a good idea to breed a Rottweiler and a Chihuahua, this was a horrible personal choice, and the only way forward is forgiving yourself first, Shaq. Here's a good idea: put doors that are next to impossible to open after a serious collision on a vehicle with a higher center of balance that has a higher likelihood of doing just that. Then, slap the famous Superman logo all over it as if telling yourself it'll never happen. This vehicle is a life-insurance claim on four wheels and with an ugly day-old blood burgundy to match. This is definitely a different version of Shaq attack—to the eyes.
5 Shaun Wright-Phillips' Bad Tricycle
Okay, it was for charity, folks. But how does a man, shorter than average, put himself on a large ridiculous Harley-Tricycle with Hofit Golan, a model with above-average height, and drive around London? Like an urban small person motorcycle bandit, he purveys streets with a menacing Tricycle ready for battle. He was born with a 6 gun in hand people and his back to a corner. It's reported that he packs a Nerf gun on this bike, so beware, honest citizens of England. Well, yes, ladies and gentlemen, he did this, and were it not for charity, then I may go all in. However, almost anything is forgivable in the name of charity, folks. Godspeed, Tricycle man.
4 Carmelo Anthony's Red Scare
Warning! Nuclear testing has created a strange four-wheeled red wasp. They're easily noticeable by their bright red color and menacing features. Even the designer Will Castro didn't think the color scheme looked pleasing.
This was originally done for Carmelo's wife, Lala Vazquez, but reportedly, she isn't allowed to drive it anymore.
Everyone loves a Jeep—take the doors off, stick your leg outside the car like rules or rational color schemes don't apply to you. But fire-engine red, Carmello? You won't miss this mutant coming, and you won't hear me complain a lot about it, mainly because it's a Jeep and not some exotic overpriced personal expression of compensation.
3 Chad Ochocinco's Smart Fortwo
Yes, ladies and gentlemen—he made the list once again. This time, I cut no slack. A big angry dinosaur ate a few mouthfuls of car parts, and after digestion, this droplet of S#$@ came out.
This thing looks like an RC car that hit a puddle of tar.
Interestingly, it's almost exactly the polar opposite of his mysterious semi-Semi truck mentioned earlier. One can only come to the conclusion that he's messing with us, folks. He must be a rather indulgent practical joker to have the largest street-legal vehicle custom made, then own probably the smallest at the same time.
Well, touche', mon frere. Touche'.
2 Antonio Brown's Rolls-Royce Wraith (Out Of What Galaxy?)
Well, the only conclusion I can reach after regaining my bearings from this visual assault is drugs. Lots and lots of drugs are responsible for this man taking a Rolls-Royce and painting a school-bus yellow stripe down the center and slapping a galaxy of his imagination on each side. I'm sure even he has regrets—or maybe not. Many men live without them. But good luck on the resale, brother; you're gonna need it. Better yet, just crash it at your earliest opportunity to receive a check from the insurance company and take this nausea-inducing freakshow off of public roads.
1 Antonio Garay's Purrrfect Mistake
Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the worst possible mistake one can make with regard to automobile customization. No, it wasn't drugs—it's too well crafted for that. The only conclusion I can think of is maybe brain injury. He's always played tackle after all. Repeated hits to the cerebral cortex have been known to result in such symptoms. Maybe he just wanted to make everyone around him laugh wherever he went. Mission accomplished, sir, and not in the Bush sense. Who knows? Maybe he wanted to be number one in the Top 20 Ridiculous Cars of Athletes list. Well, my friend, you take the trophy.
Sources: roadandtrack.com; celebritycarz.com; thesportster.com