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!

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Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Wayne Gretzky age 56

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Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Peyton Manning age 39 - University of Tennessee

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Jeremy Lin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Jeremy Lin age 29 - Harvard University

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

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

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Jack Nicklaus age 77

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Annika Sörenstam is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Carolina Klüft is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Michelle Kwan is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Michelle Kwan age 37

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Paula Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Drew Brees age 38 - Purdue University

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Kajsa Bergqvist is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Steve Nash age 43 - Santa Clara University

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Nastia Liukin is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Nastia Liukin age 28

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Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Grant Hill age 43 - Duke University

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Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Max Schmeling is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Max Schmeling Died at 100 (1905-2005) - Became owner of Coca-Cola of Western Europe

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

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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 it was ...

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Mike Marshall is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Mike Marshall age 72

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Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Pau Gasol age 37

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Dana Vollmer is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Dana Vollmer age 30

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Matt Birk is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Matt Birk age 39

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Greg Maddux is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Greg Maddux age 51

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Tanja Frieden is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Tanja Frieden age 39

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Suzy Favor Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Missy Franklin is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Shane Battier is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Shane Battier age 37 - Duke University

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Julianne McNamara is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Ellen van Dijk is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Maggie Vessey is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Maggie Vessey age 36

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Alex Smith is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Alex Smith age 33 - University of Utah

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David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 33 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.

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Bruce Lee Died at 33 (1940-1973)

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Natalie Coughlin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Steve Young is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Steve Young age 56

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Ross Ohlendorf is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Inbee Park is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Inbee Park age 27

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Christine Theiss is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Christine Theiss

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Meredith Kessler is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Meredith Kessler

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Bjørn Dæhlie is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Amy Acuff is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Amy Acuff age 42

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Bill Bradley is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Bill Bradley age 74

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Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Alan Page age 72

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Michael Doleac is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes

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Matt Bonner is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Matt Bonner age 35

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Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Tim Duncan age 41

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Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Dirk Nowitzki age 39

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Christian Laettner is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes