And some of them are.
In case you missed it, John Wall recently starred in a video in which he tosses a fullcourt alley-oop to himself. If that sounds fake, you have good reason to be skeptical. The video is most likely aided by visual effects.
But Wall is far from the first sports figure to star in a stunt that bends the limits of reality and perception. In fact, it's become relatively common for athletes to take part in videos that appear authentic but most likely are not. Below is a review of some of the more memorable spots:
The original "Is it real?" video featured Larry Bird and Michael Jordan playing an insane game of hoops. Here it was pretty easy to tell that the shots were fake.
One of the earliest of the recent videos, Bryant's attempt to jump over a speeding car was the subject of much speculation. It certainly appears real, but for a superstar in his prime to attempt a jump like this is downright crazy.
"LeBron's Full Court Shots"
The cheesy acting in this one give it away, but we'll give them creativity points anyway.
"The Airplane Catch
Victor Cruz released this video as part of his campaign for the Pro Bowl, and unfortunately it didn't get him enough votes. You've got to love the top comment on the YouTube page: "Best pass thrown by a jet all year..."
Looking back on it, this Mike Vick video (in which he throws a football 100+ yards) from 2001 looks pretty fake. But, to be fair, we have the advantage of superior digital effects in this day and age. At the time, it was conceivable that the stunt was real.
One of the more authentic-looking videos stars Ronaldinho, the Brazilian soccer star. In the clip (at the 2:00 mark below), Ronaldinho appears to kick a soccer ball at the crossbar of a goal only to have it come right back at him. He repeats the trick several times. Ronaldinho himself has sworn the stunt is real, but there are still plenty of skeptics. Decide for yourself:
In this Gillette spot, Roger Federer appears to knock a water bottle off of a crew member's head. The production value is pretty good and the stunt looks real, but the acting at the beginning is so corny that it's hard to believe that this was not staged.