My good friend Brita Belli writes a blog about the greening of sports, and it can seem like every football player and Olympic athlete is going vegetarian and buying local food. Atlanta Falcons fullback Ovie Mughelli operates a foundation with the motto, “Our future is green.” He gets visits from Captain Planet after receiving a “Superhero for the Earth” award, and runs a football camp with recycling bins and reusable totes (“It’s a start!” Brita writes).

Great, but if you want to really know what’s going on underneath the modern athlete’s rippling muscles, take a look in the garage. Without actually peering in the little windows, I can report here the unvarnished truth because Barbara Terry was kind enough to write "How Athletes Roll: 40 Celebrity Athletes & Their Cars" (Comfort Publishing). 

It’s not a pretty sight. For the most part, today’s top-rated athletes go for the gaudy: top-of-the-line customized Mercedes-Benzes, ultra-fast Corvettes, tricked-out Escalades ... in fact, just what you’d expect people to buy once the money started rolling in. They all like hybrids, but let other people drive them. Only one among the 40 shows a green consciousness, and I’m going to make you wait a while before we get to him. Here are a few of the top jocks and their rides:

  • Josh Barnett, pro wrestler and martial arts champ: Shelby Mustang, Dodge Challenger, Mercury Cyclone, etc. “Would you buy a hybrid?” the author asks. “No,” says Barnett, “but I prefer going to cleaner gas [whatever that means], at least.”
  • Amanda Beard, Olympic swimmer and “gorgeous model”: Ducati motorcycle, Lincoln Navigator. Inspirational quote: “My SUVs are real expensive [to refuel]. But gas has gone down, so it’s nice.”
  • Jay Cutler, bodybuilder and three-time Mr. Olympia: Corvette, Hummers, Mercedes-Benzes, assorted BMWs. He’d buy a hybrid “if I lived in L.A. full time, because the traffic is ridiculous, and the price of gas.”
  • Todd Eldredge, six-time national champion figure skater: Ferrari 355 Spyder. He’d buy a hybrid “if they made a cooler/faster model. I would be all over it … You know, they do not make a Corvette hybrid right now (chuckle).”
  • Bill Goldberg, (pictured right) ex-NFL, ex-pro wrestler, “humanitarian”: 20 mostly muscle cars. He needs help giving his many vehicles exercise.
  • Bruce Jenner, Olympic swim champion: Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and a Cadillac Escalade in which he listens to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. 
  • Ricky Johnson, motorcross legend: Toyota Tundra truck. He would buy a hybrid because “I would love to not buy gas every day … That would be my first motivation.”
  • Ed “Too Tall” Jones, ex-Dallas Cowboy: Mercedes G55 SUV. 
  • Shawn Marion, Dallas Maverick: Maserati, Lincoln. Would he buy a hybrid? “I’d go with an SUV hybrid, a Lexus maybe,” he said. “I don’t have room for one now.”
I could go on. It doesn’t get better. And the only sports guy in the book who really seems to get the green thing is … Sugar Ray Leonard. Yes, the former WBC World Welterweight champ drives … a Smart car. He loves it, too. He had the Porsche, the Ferarri, the Maserati. Now he’s over that. “I’m a Smart Car and hybrid type of person now,” he says. I have two cars that I think benefit the environment.” Of course, the hybrid is a huge GMC Tahoe, but nobody’s perfect. 

Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.

Want to know which jocks are really green? Look in the garage
Barbara Terry's book, 'How Athletes Roll' peeks into the garages of modern athletes. (Trust me, it's not pretty.)