Sunday night's TV lineup featured "SNL 40," a special celebration of 40 years of the NBC late-night comedy mainstay "Saturday Night Live." "SNL" and athletes have always intertwined, and the big celebration was no exception, with Peyton Manning and Derek Jeter taking the stage to introduce a sports-themed montage.
The piece showcased some hallmark instances of athletes hosting the show, including Manning and Jeter themselves. Among the many athletes who appeared in the montage were Joe Montana, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps and Nancy Kerrigan.
Jeter joked that an athlete being invited to embarrass himself on "SNL" meant he had made it. In a way that’s true. The list of athletes who have appeared on the show is a who’s who of the sports world in the last 40 years.
Writer Ed Sherman posted a list of the 35 athletes (or sports figures) who have hosted the show and it is a truly impressive collection.
Some of the best athlete "SNL" sketches have had staying power. Tracy Morgan playing Shaq’s father and giving the 7-footer a spanking over his knee remains a hilarious moment. Manning chucking footballs at 8-year-olds still gets laughs.
Jordan’s most memorable sketch is still great. It features the basketball great staring into a mirror and, at the urging of Al Franken's Stuart Smalley, saying his self-empowering daily affirmation: “Because I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
"Saturday Night Live" is moving into the second half of its 40th season. There won't be an athlete hosting for the rest of the season.
Watch the clip of the sports-themed "SNL" sketches below: