Athletes The Smartest Professional Athletes  

The Round Mound
Originally by
31.5k votes 4.5k voters 120.9k views 176 items

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
1,145 631
Jeremy Lin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 30 - Harvard University

2
798 445
Ryan Fitzpatrick is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 36 - Harvard University

3
1,351 866
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 42 - University of Tennessee

4
1,374 904
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
qzsp added age 41 - University of Michigan

5
786 442
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added age 57

6
613 244
Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added age 39 - Purdue University

7
766 302
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 44 - Santa Clara University

8
375 232
Ranker Video
zxray added age 78 - Ohio State University

9
648 338
Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 46 - Duke University

10
310 168
Annika Sörenstam is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 48 - University of Arizona

11
267 176
Michelle Kwan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 38 - University of Denver

12
299 206
Carolina Klüft is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 35 - Linnaeus University

13
270 172
Paula Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 45 - Loughborough University

14
250 145
Kajsa Bergqvist is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 42 - Southern Methodist University

15
247 124
Nastia Liukin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 29 - Southern Methodist University 

16
261 75
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
zxray added Died at 33 (1940-1973) - University of Washington

17
235 101
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
username001 added age 53 - United States Naval Academy  

18
348 261
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 38 - University of Barcelona

19
269 173
Greg Maddux is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added age 52

20
228 118
Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 45 - Stanford University

21
153 119
Max Schmeling is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
bfrank53 added Died at 100 (1905-2005)

22
162 49
Steve Young is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
RobLein added age 57 -  Brigham Young University

23
160 154
Dan Fouts is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
DavidBrands added age 67 - University of Oregon 

24
154 119
Julius Erving is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
charlieup2 added age 68 - University of Massachusetts

25
135 69
Dana Vollmer is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 31 - UC Berkeley; University of Florida

26
423 344
Shane Battier is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 40 - Duke University

27
200 115
Věra Čáslavská is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 76

28
156 157
Mike Marshall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Rat Calabrese added age 75 - Michigan State University

29
196 189
Matt Birk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 42 - Harvard University

30
116 58
Suzy Favor Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 50 - University of Wisconsin–Madison

31
178 99
Tanja Frieden is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 42

32
119 62
Missy Franklin is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 23 - UC Berkeley; University of Georgia

33
182 91
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
BenjaminFarias added age 42 - Wake Forest 

34
105 57
Julianne McNamara is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 53

35
114 44
Natalie Coughlin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 36 - UC Berkeley

36
91 49
Ellen van Dijk is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 31 - Minkema College, Woerden; rije Universiteit Amsterdam

37
42 30
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Gianni Grimaldi added age 59 - Stanford University

38
101 51
Maggie Vessey is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 37 - Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

39
91 45
Bill Bradley is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
ryanmcw added age 75 - Princeton; Oxford

40
198 220
Alex Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 34 - University of Utah

41
86 48
Inbee Park is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 30 - Kwangwoon University

42
87 41
Amy Acuff is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added age 43

43
51 28
Bjørn Dæhlie is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Pixie81 added age 51

44
54 24
Christine Theiss is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Christine Theiss Ludwig-Maximilians University

45
87 42
Meredith Kessler is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Meredith Kessler Syracuse University

46
119 159
Ranker Video
zxray added age 69

47
83 130
Ross Ohlendorf is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 36 - Princeton University

48
64 25
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 40

49
123 142
Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Rat Calabrese added age 73 - Notre Dame; University of Minnesota

50
115 143
Matt Bonner is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
age 38 - University of Florida