As a series that follows the daily life of sportswriter Ray Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond had a surprisingly convenient means of introducing numerous celebrity cameos throughout its run. Though most significant celebrity cameos were only featured in the series’ first season, as it found its footing on CBS, Raymond regularly featured notable names and faces from the world of sports in humorous and unexpected situations.
Since all of these cameos come from the world of sports, it’s rare any of the celebrities are able to interact with characters other than Raymond himself. But even still, Ray always makes the best of these interactions; especially, and even when, the cameos allow him to make a fool of himself as a result.
10 James Worthy
Ray Barone might be good with the written word, but as the series makes abundantly clear in the episode “Ray’s on TV,” he’s not exactly cut out for the world of television. When he is invited to appear on personality Roy Firestone’s talk show, Ray struggles greatly, but the segment is livened considerably by the appearance of panelist and NBA legend James Worthy.
Ray is uncomfortable from the moment he sets foot on the stage, and Worthy’s humorous recommendation of vomiting before the show begins only heightens his anxiety.
9 Pat O’Brien
Though most of the guest stars in Everybody Loves Raymond are athletes themselves, occasionally, the series features other personalities from the sports world, including managers and sportscasters, such as Pat O’Brien. The second season episode “Working Late Again” is a crucial episode in the series, as it features Ray’s transition to working from home.
But before that, Ray and his coworker and friend Andy find themselves caught up in a heated game of paper football at the offices of Newsday, which sportscaster Pat O’Brien is gamely commentating alongside.
8 Katarina Witt
By and large, the celebrity cameos in the world of Everybody Loves Raymond come in the form of male athletes and sportscasters. It’s much rarer, and therefore always a welcome surprise, when a female athlete is included in the ranks. Figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Katarina Witt appears in the season-one episode “Recovering Pessimist.”
Witt appears to express her appreciation of Ray’s writing in a piece on professional Olympic athletes and to wish him luck regarding the award he is up for, Sportswriter of the Year.
7 Marv Albert
The second notable cameo in season one’s “Recovering Pessimist” happens only mere seconds after the first one. Shortly after running into Katarina Witt, Ray and Debra cross paths with Marv Albert, the legendary NBA sportscaster. Debra is more flustered than Ray is for once, imitating Albert’s signature “Yes!” to him, much to Albert’s chagrin.
Much like Witt, it turns out Albert is a fan of Ray’s writing and believes he is the clear favorite to win Sportswriter of the Year; something that only further sets the already anxious Raymond on edge.
6 Barry Bonds
Though he may be one of the more controversial cameos in the series in retrospect, former MLB star Barry Bonds appears in the first season episode “Diamonds.” As the episode eventually goes on to be about Ray being cheap and foolish, this is one of the rare episode openers that actually ties in to the main storyline.
Bonds asks Ray for change for the pay phone, leading to him and Ray getting into a heated but playful debate about the privacy of salaries and whether athletes and sportswriters are paid fairly.
5 Kristi Yamaguchi
In yet another rare female athlete cameo, famous figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi appears in the first season episode “The Dog.” Though Yamaguchi doesn’t do much in her appearance, the scene itself is nevertheless hilarious as Ray makes a complete fool of himself.
On assignment, Ray visits Kristi in the locker room to conduct an interview, and quickly becomes very uncomfortable as she begins to change out of her skating outfit. He comments wryly on the awkward gender dynamics at play before trying to conduct the interview, only to turn into a babbling idiot once she removes her leotard.
4 Art Shamsky
In a rare sports cameo in a later season, stars of the 1969 New York Mets team appear at an event at the Baseball Hall of Fame which Ray and Robert try to attend. Robert grew up as a passionate Mets fan, and a huge fan of player Art Shamsky in particular – so much so that Robert would go on to name his beloved dog Shamsky after the player.
Thanks to Ray’s arrogance and his creating a scene trying to cut in the line, neither Ray nor Robert are able to meet the Mets. But Art Shamsky himself still gets in a hilarious guest bit when Ray loudly declares Robert has a collar for Shamsky to sign – for the dog Shamsky, of course.
3 Terry Bradshaw
Earlier seasons of Raymond place greater focus on the realistic ways in which Ray struggles to balance his work life as a sportswriter with his responsibilities as a father. The episode “Debra’s Sick” perhaps does so to greatest comedic effect, when Ray struggles to take the children to the doctor and also juggle an interview with NFL icon Terry Bradshaw.
As a result, Bradshaw meets Ray for their interview at the pediatrician’s office. Try as he might, Bradshaw can’t take the situation seriously, eventually bursting into hysterical laughter once Ray tries to get him to sit on a children’s giraffe chair.
2 Tommy Lasorda
It’s not every day Ray has the sports stars he writes about and interviews over to his home, but one of the funniest examples finds MLB legend Tommy Lasorda giving Ray some unexpected pointers in the kitchen. Newly retired from managing at the time the season one episode “Neighbors” aired, Lasorda has a bit of fun with his retirement time, claiming that he spends it “go[ing] to friends’ houses and tast[ing] their food.”
After Ray (rather uncharacteristically) offers Lasorda some of the sauce he himself has made, Lasorda once again transitions into managerial mode, telling Raymond to “choke up on” the stirring spoon, “get [his] head down,” and “keep [his] eye on the sauce.” “Rookies,” he scoffs as he looks away, much to the studio audience’s delight.
1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
In perhaps the funniest of all of the series’ sports-related episode opening cameos, basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appears in the first season episode “Frank, the Writer.” Ray has convinced Kareem to accompany him back home to surprise his wife, Debra, who he claims is a huge fan given her past work in sports public relations.
When they arrive home, however, Debra is asleep and grouchy, and despite Ray’s gentle prodding her about who her favorite basketball player of all time is, she says name after name – none of whom are Kareem. Offended, Kareem declares he wants back the book he intended to sign for her, and hilariously storms out of the Barone living room.
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About The Author
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Katerina is a List Writer here at Screen Rant with a background in literary criticism and creative writing. She has been in love with all things film and television since she saw her first movie in theatres at 2.5 years old (Muppet Treasure Island, in case you were wondering). She has a passion for character-driven stories with dynamic but flawed leads, and a special weakness for all things 1980s. If she’s not ranting about characters who deserved better or typing away at one of her many fan fiction epics, she’s probably asleep.
She’s been living in a galaxy far, far away since she was 11 years old, though she makes the occasional stop in Themyscira, Hawkins, and Westeros – and she wouldn’t have it any other way.
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