athletes The Smartest Professional Athletes  

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List Rules Vote up the pro athletes you know (or believe) to be the smartest in the leagues

The smartest professional athletes include Rhodes Scholars, 1580 SAT scorers and Ivy League standouts whose book smarts and pure intelligence is equally as impressive as their athletic ability. Smart athletes come from all sports with members of the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB among those who could easily be doctors, lawyers and very successful businessmen.

While typically athletes are stereotyped as meatheads or big dumb animals, these athletes from football, basketball, hockey and baseball have nearly as many accomplishments off the field as they do on. These are not the athletes who skipped college or left early for the promise of big bucks playing professional sports. These are the athletes who made the tough decision to stay in school and earn a degree to carry them once their professional career ended.

Take NFL safety Myron Rolle for example. He didn't just graduate premed from Florida State University in 2 1/2 years but went on to earn a master's from Oxford. He's far from the only smarty pants in the NFL though. Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't just the fifth quarterback to throw for 300-plus yards in his debut but also the 2004 Ivy League MVP while pursuing an economics degree at Harvard.

As if we didn't need another reason to hate be jealous of professional athletes with their fame, fortune and hot wives, these highly successful athletes are also way smarter than us. Some guys have all the luck!
list ordered by

1
+ - 1,106 650
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Peyton Manning age 41 - University of Tennessee

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2
+ - 833 414
Jeremy Lin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Jeremy Lin age 29 - Harvard University

3
+ - 630 309
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Wayne Gretzky age 56

4
+ - 604 312
Ryan Fitzpatrick is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Ryan Fitzpatrick age 35 - Harvard University

5
+ - 989 642
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Tom Brady age 40 - University of Michigan

6
+ - 294 143
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Jack Nicklaus age 77

7
+ - 611 241
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Steve Nash age 43 - Santa Clara University

8
+ - 425 170
Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Drew Brees age 38 - Purdue University

9
+ - 267 105
Annika Sörenstam is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

10
+ - 274 141
Carolina Klüft is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

11
+ - 216 118
Michelle Kwan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Michelle Kwan age 37

12
+ - 247 115
Paula Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

13
+ - 546 281
Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Grant Hill age 43 - Duke University

14
+ - 226 93
Kajsa Bergqvist is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

15
+ - 216 77
Nastia Liukin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Nastia Liukin age 28

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16
+ - 116 71
Max Schmeling is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Max Schmeling Died at 100 (1905-2005) - Became owner of Coca-Cola of Western Europe

17
+ - 187 73
Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

18
+ - 182 79
Věra Čáslavská is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

19
+ - 132 115
Dan Fouts is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Dan Fouts age 66 - For his time there was no quarterback who could read defenses and surgically connect on passes than Dan Fouts. His brains/arm and Don Coryell's offensive genius made for some of the most exciting football in NFL history. Maybe ...

20
+ - 283 217
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Pau Gasol age 37

21
+ - 202 130
Greg Maddux is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Greg Maddux age 51

22
+ - 142 125
Mike Marshall is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Mike Marshall age 72

23
+ - 388 307
Shane Battier is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Shane Battier age 37 - Duke University

24
+ - 103 47
Dana Vollmer is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Dana Vollmer age 30

25
+ - 173 156
Matt Birk is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Matt Birk age 39

26
+ - 163 74
Tanja Frieden is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Tanja Frieden age 39

27
+ - 95 37
Suzy Favor Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

28
+ - 154 78
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
David Robinson age 52 - Widely considered one of the greatest centers in both college and NBA history. Robinson scored a 1320 on the SAT, and chose to go to the United States Naval Academy, where he majored in mathematics.

29
+ - 154 48
Ranker Video v
Bruce Lee Died at 33 (1940-1973)

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30
+ - 97 42
Missy Franklin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

31
+ - 85 40
Julianne McNamara is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

32
+ - 84 28
Steve Young is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Steve Young age 56

33
+ - 72 33
Ellen van Dijk is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

34
+ - 83 34
Maggie Vessey is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Maggie Vessey age 36

35
+ - 173 196
Alex Smith is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Alex Smith age 33 - University of Utah

36
+ - 90 32
Natalie Coughlin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

37
+ - 69 34
Inbee Park is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Inbee Park age 27

38
+ - 34 13
Bjørn Dæhlie is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

39
+ - 117 79
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Tim Duncan age 41

40
+ - 75 114
Ross Ohlendorf is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

41
+ - 52 28
Bill Bradley is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Bill Bradley age 74

42
+ - 67 30
Amy Acuff is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Amy Acuff age 42

43
+ - 73 29
Meredith Kessler is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Meredith Kessler

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44
+ - 35 13
Christine Theiss is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Christine Theiss

45
+ - 117 84
Julius Erving is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Julius Erving age 67

46
+ - 100 139
Ranker Video v

47
+ - 102 122
Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Alan Page age 72

48
+ - 30 8
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Dirk Nowitzki age 39

49
+ - 102 125
Matt Bonner is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Matt Bonner age 35

50
+ - 37 25
Phil Jackson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Phil Jackson age 72