Shaquille O'Neal

It’s probably quite difficult as a basketball superstar to have a hobby. They’re on the road continually from October to April exciting thousands of fans and testing their bodies to the very limits. But of course they have to do something in their downtime. And boy do they!

Where in soccer you may get a player having a round of golf following a training session, or a boxer doing a bit of lean, mean, fat reducing grilling, you’ll find some of the NBAs biggest stars doing a plethora of weird and wonderful things.

Of course you’d expect that from someone like Dennis Rodman, he recently became BBFs with Kim Jong-Un, as you would Ron Artest (aka Metta World Peace) who’s broken the peace to have a box with fans in the stands, but even the sanest ballers down the years have some pretty interesting past times.

Basketball? Get A Real Job…

Karl Malone

For Karl Malone, scoring the second most career points in NBA history wasn’t enough. The Utah Jazz man wanted to feel the breeze on his head, the open road. And so he did. Setting a trucking business in the early 1990s, he was not only driving the ball forward at the EnergySolutions Arena but logs across country too.

The venture only lasted a few years, but his love of trucking continued and following the devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Mailman used his skills to haul away the debris left behind.

Although he’s not the only former NBA superstar to be doing good in the community, and it wouldn’t be hard to spot 7ft 1in Shaq on the beat in Miami Beach.

In fact, after witnessing a hate crime in Miami, the sworn in reserve officer tracked the offender, resulting in two arrests. Where once he was a sheriff on the court, off it he was made an honorary deputy in Bedford County, Virginia, as well as later going through training to become a special deputy in Ohio, and has kept up his involvement in ensuring the law is met.

Of course, he’s renowned for his early 1990s rapping too. But the less said about that the better.

Receive And Collect

Mikki Moore

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, well it turns out dog isn’t man’s best friend, but rather snake. That’s certainly the case for former New Jersey Nets center Mikki Moore. With five snakes and an alligator(!) he’s become quite the reptile hoarder.

We have to say, it’s not something we’d be collecting, and we’d perhaps rather follow in the footsteps of NBA legend, and greatest Lakers player of all-time Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who would rather fill his homes with luxury oriental rugs.

A fire in 1983 ripped out much of his collection, and the 3,000 jazz albums Jabbar was also a collector of. He would later go bankrupt, with the fire contributing greatly to that. If only he’d been collecting magic lamps too…

Today, the NBA’s star hoarders are a little less extravagant, with Joe Johnson channelling his inner Sex and the City. The Nets shooting guard has more shoes than Foot Locker ranging from Air Jordan’s to classic Adidas Originals, and they all sit comfortably in a 500-square foot shoe cupboard.

He claims to have over 436 pairs, mostly unworn, but don’t think you’ll get close to them, the door to enter has fingerprint security.

Taking Up A Whole New Ball Game

Rajon Rondo rollerskating

As athletes, it’s in their nature to be competitive. It’s partly what separates them from the millions who play on the street around the globe. So as you’d expect some players like to put their killer instinct to the test off the court too. Albeit not quite as you’d imagine.

Calvin Murphy is a prime example. The Basketball Hall of Famer actually started live as a world-class baton twirler, winning the 1963 national championships, and became so renowned he performed at the New York World’s Fair and the Texas State Men’s Twirling Championship – an event in which he won.

He’s not the only man however to become a popular name on more than one circuit, in fact there are plenty making their name in the poker scene. Like basketball, it’s a game where you need to be mentally tough and the likes of Gilbert Arenas and Paul Pierce are often on the high-stakes tables.

Although perhaps none have yet to get to the heights of former Slovenian basketball superstar and face of European basketball Dani Bavec, who recently picked up $32,000 in a PokerStars event, even carrying the mantle for his country when it comes to the game according to a recent interview.

Of course, that’s a relatively normal hobby, after all millions around the world play poker, far fewer people are roller-skating gods like Dallas Mavericks point guard Rajon Rondo.

Spending much of the off-season on four wheels, he has become quite the skater, practicing with real skaters in his home town of Louisville, and says it’s the perfect way to zone out. Not that his coaches haven’t been worried about it, especially with a man who once broke his arm slipping in the shower singing to Luther Vandross.

But like Luther, it seems basketball players can do never too much, and hobbies are the perfect way for them to keep the excitement flowing right throughout the year. They dedicate so much of their lives to the sport, spending months away from family and the likes of baton twirling, poker, and trucking seems like the perfect escape.

You’ll find soccer stars such as Andriy Shevchenko and Wayne Rooney on the golf course. It’s safe. It’s sophisticated. It perhaps sheds players in a much better like than collecting snakes would. But where on earth is the fun in that?