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
1,091 599
Jeremy Lin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Jeremy Lin age 30 - Harvard University

2
1,322 861
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
qzsp added Tom Brady age 41 - University of Michigan

3
1,314 838
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Peyton Manning age 42 - University of Tennessee

4
763 419
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Wayne Gretzky age 57

5
754 434
Ryan Fitzpatrick is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Ryan Fitzpatrick age 36 - Harvard University

6
588 230
Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Drew Brees age 39 - Purdue University

7
745 292
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Steve Nash age 44 - Santa Clara University

8
363 219
Ranker Video
zxray added Jack Nicklaus age 78 - Ohio State University

9
301 155
Annika Sörenstam is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Annika Sörenstam age 48 - University of Arizona

10
624 329
Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Grant Hill age 46 - Duke University

11
255 166
Michelle Kwan is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Michelle Kwan age 38 - University of Denver

12
295 191
Carolina Klüft is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Carolina Klüft age 35 - Linnaeus University

13
265 161
Paula Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Paula Radcliffe age 45 - Loughborough University

14
246 135
Kajsa Bergqvist is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Kajsa Bergqvist age 42 - Southern Methodist University

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15
239 119
Nastia Liukin is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Nastia Liukin age 29 - Southern Methodist University 

16
237 67
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
zxray added Bruce Lee Died at 33 (1940-1973) - University of Washington

17
148 110
Max Schmeling is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
bfrank53 added Max Schmeling Died at 100 (1905-2005)

18
258 166
Greg Maddux is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Greg Maddux age 52

19
336 255
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Pau Gasol age 38 - University of Barcelona

20
217 109
Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Jenny Thompson age 45 - Stanford University

21
216 96
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
username001 added David Robinson age 53 - United States Naval Academy  

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22
155 145
Dan Fouts is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
DavidBrands added Dan Fouts age 67 - University of Oregon 

23
148 45
Steve Young is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
RobLein added Steve Young age 57 -  Brigham Young University

24
145 112
Julius Erving is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
charlieup2 added Julius Erving age 68 - University of Massachusetts

25
418 336
Shane Battier is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Shane Battier age 40 - Duke University

26
197 108
Věra Čáslavská is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Věra Čáslavská age 76

27
127 65
Dana Vollmer is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Dana Vollmer age 31 - UC Berkeley; University of Florida

28
155 151
Mike Marshall is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Rat Calabrese added Mike Marshall age 75 - Michigan State University

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29
190 182
Matt Birk is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Matt Birk age 42 - Harvard University

30
176 93
Tanja Frieden is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Tanja Frieden age 42

31
111 53
Suzy Favor Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Suzy Favor Hamilton age 50 - University of Wisconsin–Madison

32
116 56
Missy Franklin is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Missy Franklin age 23 - UC Berkeley; University of Georgia

33
173 89
Tim Duncan is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
BenjaminFarias added Tim Duncan age 42 - Wake Forest 

34
101 54
Julianne McNamara is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Julianne McNamara age 53

35
88 46
Ellen van Dijk is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Ellen van Dijk age 31 - Minkema College, Woerden; rije Universiteit Amsterdam

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36
109 42
Natalie Coughlin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Natalie Coughlin age 36 - UC Berkeley

37
99 48
Maggie Vessey is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Maggie Vessey age 37 - Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

38
37 27
John McEnroe is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Gianni Grimaldi added John McEnroe age 59 - Stanford University

39
194 217
Alex Smith is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Alex Smith age 34 - University of Utah

40
84 42
Bill Bradley is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
ryanmcw added Bill Bradley age 75 - Princeton; Oxford

41
82 46
Inbee Park is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Inbee Park age 30 - Kwangwoon University

42
85 39
Amy Acuff is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Amy Acuff age 43

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43
51 23
Christine Theiss is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Christine Theiss Ludwig-Maximilians University

44
47 27
Bjørn Dæhlie is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Pixie81 added Bjørn Dæhlie age 51

45
117 152
Ranker Video
zxray added George Foreman age 69

46
85 39
Meredith Kessler is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Meredith Kessler Syracuse University

47
81 128
Ross Ohlendorf is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Ross Ohlendorf age 36 - Princeton University

48
59 21
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Dirk Nowitzki age 40

49
121 137
Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Rat Calabrese added Alan Page age 73 - Notre Dame; University of Minnesota

50
55 38
Phil Jackson is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
RobLein added Phil Jackson age 73