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
1,214 767
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
qzsp added Tom Brady age 40 - University of Michigan

2
996 534
Jeremy Lin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Jeremy Lin age 29 - Harvard University

3
1,247 781
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Peyton Manning age 41 - University of Tennessee

4
707 389
Ryan Fitzpatrick is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Ryan Fitzpatrick age 33 - Harvard University

5
712 387
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Wayne Gretzky age 56

6
525 205
Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Drew Brees age 38 - Purdue University

7
342 196
Ranker Video
zxray added Jack Nicklaus age 77 - Ohio State University

8
693 275
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Steve Nash age 43 - Santa Clara University

9
295 136
Annika Sörenstam is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Annika Sörenstam age 47 - University of Arizona

10
246 150
Michelle Kwan is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Michelle Kwan age 37 - University of Denver

11
290 176
Carolina Klüft is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Carolina Klüft age 34 - Linnaeus University

12
598 312
Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Grant Hill age 45 - Duke University

13
259 147
Paula Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Paula Radcliffe age 44 - Loughborough University

14
242 122
Kajsa Bergqvist is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Kajsa Bergqvist age 41 - Southern Methodist University

America's Most Attractive Female Athletes

15
234 103
Nastia Liukin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Nastia Liukin age 28 - Southern Methodist University 

16
143 95
Max Schmeling is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
bfrank53 added Max Schmeling Died at 100 (1905-2005)

17
209 95
Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Jenny Thompson age 44 - Stanford University

18
317 241
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Pau Gasol age 37 - University of Barcelona

19
239 155
Greg Maddux is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Greg Maddux age 51

20
149 137
Dan Fouts is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
DavidBrands added Dan Fouts age 66 - University of Oregon 

21
202 57
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
zxray added Bruce Lee Died at 33 (1940-1973) - University of Washington

The Top Family Restaurant Chains

22
193 100
Věra Čáslavská is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Věra Čáslavská age 75

23
136 103
Julius Erving is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
charlieup2 added Julius Erving age 67 - University of Massachusetts

24
195 91
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
username001 added David Robinson age 52 - United States Naval Academy  

25
408 330
Shane Battier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Shane Battier age 39 - Duke University

26
120 60
Dana Vollmer is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Dana Vollmer age 30 - UC Berkeley; University of Florida

27
154 142
Mike Marshall is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Rat Calabrese added Mike Marshall age 72 - Michigan State University

28
126 40
Steve Young is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
RobLein added Steve Young age 56 -  Brigham Young University

The Dumbest Professional Athletes

29
185 176
Matt Birk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Matt Birk age 41 - Harvard University

30
174 90
Tanja Frieden is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Tanja Frieden age 41

31
115 53
Missy Franklin is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Missy Franklin age 20 - UC Berkeley; University of Georgia

32
109 50
Suzy Favor Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Suzy Favor Hamilton age 49 - University of Wisconsin–Madison

33
99 52
Julianne McNamara is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Julianne McNamara age 52

34
85 44
Ellen van Dijk is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Ellen van Dijk age 30 - Minkema College, Woerden; rije Universiteit Amsterdam

35
107 41
Natalie Coughlin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Natalie Coughlin age 35 - UC Berkeley

The Creepiest Sports Mascots

36
96 46
Maggie Vessey is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Maggie Vessey age 36 - Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

37
151 88
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
BenjaminFarias added Tim Duncan age 41 - Wake Forest 

38
189 211
Alex Smith is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Alex Smith age 33 - University of Utah

39
31 22
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Gianni Grimaldi added John McEnroe age 58 - Stanford University

40
74 39
Bill Bradley is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
ryanmcw added Bill Bradley age 72 - Princeton; Oxford

41
80 43
Inbee Park is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Inbee Park age 27 - Kwangwoon University

42
80 37
Amy Acuff is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Amy Acuff age 42

The Top NBA Players Of All Time

43
43 24
Bjørn Dæhlie is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Pixie81 added Bjørn Dæhlie age 50

44
47 21
Christine Theiss is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Christine Theiss Ludwig-Maximilians University

45
114 149
Ranker Video
zxray added George Foreman age 68

46
84 38
Meredith Kessler is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Meredith Kessler Syracuse University

47
81 126
Ross Ohlendorf is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Ross Ohlendorf age 33 - Princeton University

48
51 18
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
julian-matthias added Dirk Nowitzki age 39

49
114 135
Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Rat Calabrese added Alan Page age 72 - Notre Dame; University of Minnesota

50
109 135
Matt Bonner is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Matt Bonner age 37 - University of Florida