Sports
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24 Famous Athletes Who Are Dyslexic

Updated November 6, 2017 111.7k views24 items

The dumb jock stereotype might be a struggle for athletic students, but it’s even tougher when all-star athletes have to battle dyslexia. The learning disability affects the ability to read and understand texts, making it tough to get good grades, pass important tests, and even read playbooks. Here are also celebrities with dyslexia and athletes with ADHD.  

Still, these famous boxers, NBA stars, football players, and other world-class athletes have been able to thrive. Although many were labeled dumb in school, they developed coping mechanisms and other outlets that allowed them to shine.

Some of these athletes were diagnosed with the disorder when they were young, while others did not know that they were dyslexics until adulthood. One famous basketball player says that dyslexia cause him to push harder to prove himself.

Who is the most famous dyslexic athlete? Muhammad Ali tops our list. As a teen, Cassius Clay struggled with high school. "Many of my teachers labeled me dumb," he said. "I could barely read my textbooks."

Tim Tebow also has dyslexia. He says, "You can be extremely bright and still have dyslexia. You just have to understand how you learn and how you process information. When you know that, you can overcome a lot of the obstacles that come with dyslexia."

Is your favorite sports star among these famous athletes with dyslexia? Find out below!

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  • Muhammad Ali
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    As a teen, world champion boxer Cassius Clay (aka Muhammed Ali) struggled with high school. "Many of my teachers labeled me dumb," he said. "I could barely read my textbooks." He was later found to be dyslexic.
    • Age: 78
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky, United States of America

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  • Tim Tebow
    Photo: flickr / CC0

    NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has struggled with dyslexia on and off the field. "You can be extremely bright and still have dyslexia. You just have to understand how you learn and how you process information," he said. "When you know that, you can overcome a lot of the obstacles that come with dyslexia."

    Tebow discovered that he learns best with flash cards. Instead of attempting to read his playbook over and over, he makes the cards as a way to learn and quiz himself.
    • Age: 33
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Birthplace: Makati, Philippines
    • Teams: New England Patriots, Denver Broncos, New York Jets, Florida Gators football

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  • Pete Rose
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
    Baseball Hall-of-Famer Pete Rose overcame dyslexia to win three World Series rings, three batting titles, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Gold Gloves, and a Rookie of the Year Award.
    • Age: 79
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America
    • Teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Reds, Montreal Expos

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  • Magic Johnson
    Photo: flickr / CC0
    "The looks, the stares, the giggles... I wanted to show everybody that I could do better and also that I could read," said former Laker Magic Johnson said of growing up with dyslexia.
    • Age: 61
    • Nationality: United States of America
    • Birthplace: Lansing, Michigan, United States of America
    • Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Lakers

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