two football players

Did Bernie Mac Play Football?

As a beloved comedy legend and film star, Bernie Mac always surrounded his material with sports. He played as a homeless person in the basketball film Above the Rim in 1994. In 2004, Mac starred in the movie Mr. 3000 as a retired baseball player who tries to make a comeback at the age of 47.

With a 6’3” height and a large frame, playing a professional athlete was a pretty good fitting role for Mac. He‘s similar to the size of a modern-day NFL tight end, and looks like he played football based on the references in The Bernie Mac Show.

The Bernie Mac Show and Football

The iconic career of Bernie Mac was solidified when he starred in his critically acclaimed The Bernie Mac Show. Since it’s debut 2002, Mac went on to win several awards such as Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series (Comedy).

Even in the show, sports were always incorporated, like when Mac supported his nephew Jordan’s desire to play football. Later in Season 5, Bernie and Jordan participated in a fantasy football league even though they did poorly.

During scenes with football references Bernie Mac seemed to show his deep-rooted knowledge of the sport. In the Fantasy Football episode, Mac has his Chicago Bears jersey on while he and Jordan watch the game at a local bar. But while his fictional character on The Bernie Mac Show was a fan of the sport, did the real-life Bernie Mac actually play football?


Mac grew up poor and frequently ran into issues that led him to do anything necessary to make ends meet. As a person not afraid to try anything, Mac did miscellaneous jobs like working as a janitor and bus driver.

He grew up in the infamous neighborhood of Englewood in Chicago and turned to comedy. While Mac’s mother was often sad, he would use comedy to lift her spirits. During the 1960’s and 70’s of Chicago, Mac was influenced by several professional sports teams such as the Chicago Bulls, Bears, and White Sox.

It wasn’t until 2007 that Bernie Mac finally revealed his athletic background to the public. During an ESPN SportsNation chat, Mac answered fan questions about his personal life. A fan asked the question, “What kind of sports did you play growing up? What sport did you wish you played but maybe never had the opportunity to?

Mac showed his love of sports with the following reply. “I wish I started playing golf earlier. But I played baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, and I boxed. In high school, I played baseball, but I wish I played golf in high school.”.

Mac’s Football Experience

While the extent of Mac’s football experience is unknown, he most likely played with neighborhood friends or in junior leagues before high school. If he would have played football in high school, he would have mentioned it along with baseball when replying to the fan question on SportsNation.

Mac definitely could have used his large size for a physical advantage in high school football, but probably just loved playing baseball more at the time.


During the iconic film, television, and comedy career of Bernie Mac, he always showed his love of sports and particularly football. His material showcased well-rounded knowledge of sports and found great success. While he appeared to be a lifelong fan of various sports, Mac actually played them as well.

No, Bernie Mac did not play football at the high school level or beyond. He did play some football as a youth, before ultimately choosing to just play baseball in high school.

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  • Rob is a blogger and podcaster of Bois & Bar Talk and tries a new beer every week. He loves to talk about gaming, sports, music, and all kinds of pop-culture things. He tries to learn something new about the world and himself everyday!

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