Sports

The Smartest Professional Athletes 

The Round Mound
Originally by
Updated August 24, 2019 35.8k votes 4.9k voters 125.4k views 179 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
Jeremy Lin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Age: 31
Harvard University
2
Peyton Manning is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Age: 43
University of Tennessee
3
Ryan Fitzpatrick is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Age: 37
Harvard University
4
Tom Brady is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
qzsp added Age: 42
University of Michigan
5
Wayne Gretzky is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Age: 58
6
Ranker Video
zxray added Age: 79

Ohio State University

7
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Age: 45
Santa Clara University
8
Annika Sörenstam is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 49

University of Arizona

9
Drew Brees is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Age: 40
Purdue University
10
Grant Hill is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Age: 47
Duke University
11
Nastia Liukin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 30

Southern Methodist University 

12
Kajsa Bergqvist is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Kajsa Bergqvist Age: 43

Southern Methodist University

13
Carolina Klüft is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 36

Linnaeus University

14
Jenny Thompson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 46

Stanford University

15
Paula Radcliffe is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 46

Loughborough University

16
Michelle Kwan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 39

University of Denver

17
David Robinson is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
username001 added Age: 54
18
Bruce Lee is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
zxray added Dec. at 33 (1940-1973)

University of Washington

19
Věra Čáslavsk&aac... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 77
20
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
21
Dana Vollmer is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 32

UC Berkeley; University of Florida

22
Tanja Frieden is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 43
23
Greg Maddux is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
hookstyler added Age: 53
24
Suzy Favor Hamilton is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
Argos66 added Age: 51

University of Wisconsin–Madison

25
Steve Young is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Smartest Professional Athletes
RobLein added Age: 58

 Brigham Young University