Athletes are most commonly associated with physical strength, blinding speed, and insane leaping ability. They are not usually thought to be the smartest people in the room. This may be true in some cases, but there are plenty of smart athletes playing professional sports today. After all, someone has to go to Notre Dame and Duke, right? Don’t let the following 5 people fall into the dumb jock stereotype; they are some of the smartest people in all of sports.
Steve Young is definitely known for being a success on the field. The quarterback led the San Francisco 49ers to three Super Bowl wins after waiting patiently for his time to shine on the bench behind Joe Montana for years. He continued to show his intelligence and effort in the classroom after he retired in 1999. Young graduated from BYU’s law school in 2005, and he also received an honorary doctorate from Utah State University. ESPN hired him for his intelligent commentary on NFL as well as his insight on the game.
Fitzpatrick may be more highly regarded for his beard than his playing ability in the NFL right now. But, there is no doubt that he can get it done in the classroom. Fitzpatrick got an almost perfect score on the SAT. One his way to the NFL he picked an economics degree from Harvard. Fitzpatrick also got one of the highest scores in history on the Wonderlic exam given to college players while they are being scouted for the draft. Fitzpatrick is certainly one of the smartest players playing in the NFL today.
Bill Bradley is easily the most successful politician to come out of professional sports. Bradley graduated from Princeton. He also won an Olympic gold medal in basketball before making the jump to the pros with the New York Knicks. Bradley had a strong career in the NBA. He played for the Knicks from 1967 to 1977. The Knicks won two championships during that span with Bradley’s help. Bradley then moved on to a career in politics after his basketball career was over winning a seat in the Senate representing the state of New Jersey. Bradley also found time for many other endeavors including investment banking and even non-fiction writing.
You could make a case that Moe Berg is the most intelligent professional athlete of all time. Berg played catcher in Major League Baseball in the 20s and 30s. He mostly bounced around the league. It has been said that Berg would read ten newspapers a day. He could speak multiple languages fluently. Berg impressively graduated from both Princeton University and Harvard Law. The most interesting thing about him may be that he was hired during World War II by the US government to be a spy.
Alan Page is a champion, a Hall of Famer, and a scholar. He went to college at Notre Dame where he won a national championship. Page then was part of one of the most dominating defensive lines in history “The Purple People Eaters”. His efforts on the field led to him being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. After his NFL career he got a law degree and later became the Assistant Attorney General for the state of Minnesota. Page is also the first African-American to serve on the state supreme court in Minnesota.
These five examples show that you can judge a book by its cover. There are many athletes in the pros that possess the brains as well as brawn. It is always refreshing to see athletes who don’t let their athletic careers define them as a person.
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Bradley Turner is a sports enthusiast and physical education instructor. He also has contributed to and written many articles on the subject of sports and athletes, such as, “10 Champion Boxers Who Are Actually Smart“.