Ohio State Celebrities: Most Famous Fans and Alumni

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Apparently every college fan has them. Celebrity fans. Matthew McConaughey seems to be at almost every Texas Longhorns’ football game, Ashley Judd watched her Kentucky Wildcats cheer from the stands, and Will Ferrell is known to be a huge USC fan.

It’s the same with the state of Ohio too. As an iconic brand and with the rich tradition of football and basketball programs, there are also a ton of famous Buckeye fans and alumni. But who are they? Some, like LeBron James, you know, while others may raise a human eyebrow or two.

Here are some of the most recognizable celebrity fans and alumni who also happen to be huge Ohio State fans (in no particular order).

Kelly Pavlik

Credit: USA TODAY Sports

best known for

boxing champion

Ohio State Ties

The former WBC, WBO, Ring Magazine boxing champion and lineal middleweight actually wore his Buckeye pride to the ring in many instances. He was from the same hometown of Jim Tressel and Maurice Clarett (Akron) and had special trunks that display OSU colors.

Richard Lewis

HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 06: Actor/comedian Richard Lewis attends the AFI’s 41st Life Achievement Award Tribute to Mel Brooks at Dolby Theater on June 6, 2013 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for AFI)

best known for

Comedian/actor

Ohio State Ties

The famous comedian-turned-actor — still a comedian — has been seen in several movies and TV shows. He graduated from Ohio State in 1969 and was a huge Ohio State fan, even allegedly canceling a show once to attend a comeback game in Columbus.

George Steinbrenner

June 14, 1997; Miami, Florida, USA; FILE PICTURE; New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner signs autographs before their game with the Florida Marlins at Dolphin Stadium. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

best known for

Yankees owner

Ohio State Ties

“The boss.” The late and great George Steinbrenner was the longtime owner of the New York Yankees, but also an alumnus and fan of Ohio State. He was an OSU donor and had a luxury candy at the ‘Shoe for years. He hails from Ohio and has made no secret of his rooting interests for the Buckeyes. Heck, the Yankees Triple-A affiliate was in Columbus for years.

Gary Levox

June 6, 2019; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts performs during CMA Fest 2019 on Thursday, June 6, 2019 at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee Credit: Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via USA TODAY NETWORK

best known for

Singer and songwriter of country pop band Rascal Flatts

Ohio State Ties

The Rascal Flatts singer graduated from Olentangy High School, a suburb of Columbus, and loves his Ohio State Buckeyes. He’s an alum and often asks his bandmates to do OHIO training, especially when he’s back in Buckeye State. If you’ve ever attended the band’s shows in Ohio, there’s no doubt about their priorities.

JK Simmons

March 7, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; JK Simmons, who won the Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in ‘Being the Ricardos,’ arrives at the 94th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon Monday, March 7, 2022 at the Fairmont Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Credit: Dan MacMedan-USA TODAY

best known for

Film, commercial and television actor

Ohio State Ties

The well-known actor from Law & Order, Spiderman, and other blockbuster movies is also a huge Ohio State fan. He was seen gloating over famous Michigan alum Rich Eisen on sports radio shows after nearly every Ohio State win over TTUN.

Vince Vaughn

February 22, 2015; Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; Film actor Vince Vaughn before the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

best known for

Film and television actor

Ohio State Ties

The actor is known for wearing Notre Dame and Chicago Cubs gear, but many don’t know that this Midwesterner is also an Ohio State fan. His parents and extended family are from Ohio and he was born to be a huge Buckeye fan.

Kirk Herbstreit

Ohio State jumps into Kirk Herbstreit's top 4 opinion rankings

Kirk Herbstreit tapes a segment of College GameDay on Saturday, November 2, 2019 on Beale Street in downtown Memphis. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network

best known for

ESPN analyst/commentator

Ohio State Ties

Herbie might get a lot of heartbreak from Buckeye Nation for not being a homer, but he bleeds scarlet and gray through and through, having played quarterback and graduated from Ohio State in 1993. He may have moved to Nashville now and has a few sons who went to Clemson (one transferred to OSU), but he’s still a huge OSU fan. He is one of the best in the business as a senior analyst for ESPN and the modern voice of college football.

Bryce Harper

September 4, 2019; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) stands in the dugout as he wears an Ohio State football headband before the game against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Credit: Aaron Doster – USA TODAY Sports

best known for

ESPN analyst/commentator

Ohio State Ties

I’ll admit it, I didn’t know the Phillies slugger was a Buckeye fan until I saw him as a celebrity guest pick on ESPN College Game Day. He didn’t grow up as an Ohio State fan, but married into the fandom when he married former Ohio State football player, Kayla Varner. Now, he’s an integral part of the Buckeye Nation and isn’t afraid to flaunt all things scarlet and gray.

john legend

John Legend is performing at the St. Augustine Amphitheater this summer, in a show postponed from 2020.
Credit: News Democratic National Convention

best known for

American singer, songwriter, actor and producer

Ohio State Ties

The extremely talented singer-songwriter grew up in Springfield, Ohio and is also a huge fan of Ohio State. The ‘caption’ has it that he has Buckeye stickers all over his piano in his apartment. He doesn’t attend many games, but make no mistake about his allegiances.

Jack Nicklaus

October 28, 2006; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes golfer Jack Nicklaus dots the ‘i’ for ‘Script Ohio’ at halftime against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports © copyright Matthew Emmons

best known for

Yeah, he’s a very good golfer

Ohio State Ties

Nicklaus is a huge Ohio State fan. He grew up in Columbus and was a member of the Buckeye golf team from 1957 to 1961 before turning pro. His Memorial Tournament is still in central Ohio on an annual basis, and he’s even one of the few non-band members to “Dot the I” in Script Ohio. He’s even been known to take a hit at Michigan from time to time.

james lebron

November 26, 2016; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James plays with the Ohio State Buckeyes before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium. Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

best known for

He can shoot (and dunk) a basketball pretty well

Ohio State Ties

Perhaps Ohio State’s most famous celebrity and/or fan, the world’s best basketball player never attended college, but said he would have if he hadn’t. allowed to go straight to the NBA after high school. He has a locker in the Ohio State locker room and frequently sends his shoes to the team. The program has a Lebron wall of those same shoes in his honor.

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