Star athletes are often spotted driving the world’s most luxurious and expensive cars. Whether it’s Floyd Mayweather cruising by in a Rolls Royce Phantom or Justin Verlander in his Mercedes AMG rocket ship, athletes are part of that 1 percent with a taste for automobiles carrying price tags of six figures or more.
Then there is the green team of professional sports. In a recent New York Times article, the old Grey Lady tackled the topic of rich and famous athletes who prefer to make the rounds in hybrids and all-electric vehicles. Why would LaMarcus Aldridge be spied in a Tesla when he could be flying past you in a Lamborghini? For one thing, Tesla and other high-end electric car makers have shattered the notion that green cars are dull and unattractive.
Another point is cultural. Aldridge plays in the very eco-friendly city of Portland, where the environment gets more respect than it does in, say, New Jersey or Alabama. At the Moda Center where the Trail Blazers play, electric vehicle chargers are available in the parking facility so fans, players, media, and staff can charge up while the home team drives the action on the basketball court, the Times reports.
As role models of the day, athletes offer the EV industry a helping hand when they drive hybrid and electric cars. In fact, some even eschew the sexy Tesla Model S for the famously bland Toyota Prius. Here are five hybrid or all-electric vehicles driven by famous athletes in U.S. professional sports.
1. Tesla Model S: Steve Nash, Lakers
Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash is not your typical hoops star. Nash can be seen skateboarding around town, playing pickup soccer on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and pitching for Toyota in Prius ads in the course of his free time. In fact, Nash’s affinity for electric vehicles goes beyond paid endorsements.
Tesla fan club enthusiasts pointed out footage of the Lakers point guard driving a Model S on video. What gave away the Tesla Nash drove? It was the unmistakable seventeen-inch touch screen in the central console. Nash is green both on the job in a hybrid Prius and off the job in his all-electric Tesla, which can get over 250 miles on a full charge.
In one of the most hilarious tabloid episodes of 2013, former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson allegedly drove to Justin Bieber’s house to chastise the pop star for his reckless driving in a Ferrari. TMZ reported Johnson was irate about Bieber’s dangerous antics in the area where the ex-football player was driving his young son home from a birthday party.
To express his anger in person, Johnson dropped off his son and drove over to Bieber’s place in his Prius, which he used to block the Bieb’s driveway. Luckily for the singer, Bieber was able to hustle inside the house before Johnson had a chance to say anything. In an event bordering on the absurd, the fact Johnson drove a Prius to Bieber’s house may have stood out the most. It wasn’t clear whether it was a plug-in or the standard hybrid Prius.
3. Fisker Karma: Andrew Ference, Edmonton Oilers
Andrew Ference is the captain of the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers as well as the owner of a Fisker Karma luxury hybrid. In the YouTube video explaining his journey with the green car, Ference says he fell in love with the Karma after seeing it in a magazine. Once a long wait for his Fisker ended, the Oilers defenseman became enamored with features like the solar panels on the roof (good for an extra 200 miles of battery power) and the 40-50 miles of all-electric range the plug-in gives him before relying on gas engine power.
4. Chevy Volt: Jeremy Guthrie, Kansas City Royals
Kansas City Royals hurler Jeremy Guthrie is a true connoisseur when it comes to electric vehicles. According to The New York Times, one of Guthrie’s teammates heckled him in recent years for driving a Toyota Prius. Every tenured baseball player is a millionaire, so why would he drive such a boring car? Guthrie, who hails from Oregon, reportedly told his teammate to stop being so shallow about automobiles and image.
Since his days in a Prius, Guthrie has come to prefer the sportiness and handling of the Chevy Volt, so the Royals pitcher has made the GM EV his main ride. The Volt gets approximately 35 miles of electric range before switching to gas power. Guthrie still needs a utility vehicle for the family, so the pitcher (like so many other EV enthusiasts) has put down a deposit on the forthcoming Tesla Model X SUV, the Times reports.
5. Tesla Model S: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
It’s hard to be more respected than Drew Brees on or off a football field, and the Saints quarterback has been seen in a ride with major green credentials: the all-electric Tesla Model S. Brees, like many of the athletes out there driving electric or hybrid vehicles, doesn’t make a big show of his Model S, but was spotted on New Orleans streets one day by local fans. Reports of the future Hall of Famer’s green performance car quickly went viral.
The Model S has been the most stylish electric car with performance cred on the market, so it makes sense dominating the list of athletes driving green cars. With the arrival of the Cadillac ELR, BMW i8, and Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid, the world of luxury EVs has gotten considerably bigger in 2014. Expect athletes to make room in their garages for these models soon.