“Good-Guy” Professional Athletes: Ranking the Top 15
Top 15 "Good Guy" Pro Athletes
Much of the news that comes out and surrounds professional sports that comes out and leaves the sports-watching community talking is shrouded with negativity. For some reason that some psychologist could probably explain to me in great detail, we as a population gravitate toward the bad news and feast on it.
In sports, this past summer contained one of the most horrible and unsettling pieces of news than we’ve seen in quite a while with the breaking news and murder charge involving former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. Many people were rightfully disgusted with the situation, but people were also watching and clicking on the every bit of information that they could find on the story as it continued (and really still continues) to develop.
There are certainly instances of negativity to a lesser degree than Hernandez that sports fans hone in on. The prima-donna antics of Dwight Howard, the Tiger Woods affairs, and so on all made us cringe, but also kept us unable to look away, whenever they were occurring, along with many other times.
However, one of the things this draws to my attention is how the role models in sports don’t get nearly the attention or the credit that they deserve. Making charitable contributions, staying out of trouble, staying relatively humble and just being likable as a whole are something that deserves recognition as well. In light of that, let’s give the guys that aren’t a part of the negativity their due. Let’s take a look at the best of the best when it comes to the “good guys” in professional sports.
15. R.A. Dickey
Toronto Blue Jays hurler R.A. Dickey is often talked about because of his knuckleball, but his perseverance through life and the good deeds he’s done throughout deserve their own merits. Weathering through being sexually abused as a child which led to suicidal thoughts as an adult, Dickey has become an advocate for many good causes and has been a stand-up individual in doing so.
14. Drew Brees
Obviously Drew Brees has accomplished quite a bit as the New Orleans Saints quarterback, becoming one of the most prolific passers ever. However, what can’t be overlooked is the manner that he’s achieved everything with. He’s always poised, humble, and never shies away from giving back to the community and the world. Even off the field, Brees delivers in a way that you have to give credit to.
13. Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is one of the most underappreciated players in the history of the NBA, largely because you never hear much from him. Much like when he’s on the court, Duncan has been the same person off of the court as he has been on—full of both grace and humility in almost everything that he does. “The Big Fundamental” is certainly more than just one of the greatest big men to ever play in the Association.
12. Bryce Harper
Though his confidence that bursts at the seams may hide it, Bryce Harper deserves to mentioned among the good guys in sports. The youngster in his short time in Major League Baseball has made it a point to always reach out to the fans and the community, including the touching story this season of the relationship that he developed with a terminally ill child. He may be cocky on the diamond, but the kid has a good heart and it shows.
11. Brian Waters
Over his long career in the NFL, offensive lineman Brian Waters has been one of the most charitable athletes in sports. He’s founded a scholarship program, given school supplies and health care to children in need, and made countless other contributions to the community over his years in football. Waters may not be a flashy name, but he certainly deserves a tip of the cap for what he’s given off of the grid-iron.
10. Robert Griffin III
Though he’s only been in the league for a year and a half at this point, Robert Griffin III has been everything you could want from a role model athlete. He’s persevered through a big injury, remaining positive all the while, and has always shown dedication to his craft, his team and his community.
9. Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose’s public perception took a hit (on the Internet at least) after his knee injury kept him out for longer than expected, meaning all of last season. However, Rose has shown that beneath his fiery competitiveness is a humble and likable human being that is committed to his team, the city of Chicago, and to trying to make the city a better place.
8. Steve Nash
Who knows how much longer Steve Nash will be among the ranks of professional athletes, but he’s one of the best guys that still qualifies. Nash has consistently given back through various charitable ventures over his long and illustrious NBA career, even holding a charity soccer match this summer that featured NBA players. His skills may be declining, but his character is still as admirable as ever.
7. Kevin Durant
A recent ad campaign may say that he’s “not nice” and he may be showing more fire on the court, but Kevin Durant has been a great model thus far through his NBA career. Durant, for all of his incredible ability in the game of basketball, has been a leader that has stayed out of trouble and hasn’t ruffled feathers of too many people along the way. That may seem small, but for a player in his position, that’s definitely a tall order that he has delivered upon.
6. Eli Manning
He may not be Peyton on the football field, but Eli Manning deserves a ton of credit for how he behaves off of the turf. Manning has steered clear of trouble over his entire career, which is certainly an admirable trait. More than that, though, Manning has always been a player that is involved with numerous organizations with the goal of giving back to various parts and areas in the community.
5. Jeremy Lin
With his rapid rise to stardom in the NBA, Jeremy Lin remained humble and respectful off of the court. Possibly the most impressive part in how he’s handled himself, though, was that he kept the same demeanor and poise last season when he started to come under a great deal of scrutiny. After all of the adversity that Lin has had to overcome in sports, for him to handle himself the way he does definitely qualifies him as one of the good guys.
4. Roger Federer
Roger Federer may be on the back end of his tennis career, but he’s certainly done enough with the racket to deserve everyone’s respect. However, you should also respect how he’s always been a professional throughout all of his successes and how he’s always made a point to give back to the world on both small and large scales.
3. Derek Jeter
There’s a reason that Derek Jeter is near-unanimously respected by the sports community and it has more to do with just how productive he’s been in the game of baseball. Jeter has always been a pro’s pro since he first took the field and, more than that, has always been one of the most uplifting and charitable athletes in baseball and in professional sports in general.
2. Tim Tebow
Maybe Tim Tebow doesn’t have a quarterback job in the NFL right now and maybe he’s not the most skilled player to ever play the position, but that doesn’t take away from his character in the slightest. Despite massive pressure, intense scrutiny, and the brightest of spotlights, Tebow has remained infallible in his faith and morality since joining the NFL. Love him or hate him, you have to respect a man with the intestinal fortitude to remain as true as Tebow has.
1. J.J. Watt
J.J. Watt has shown many times that he’s one of the kindest and warmest players in the NFL, despite what opposing offensive linemen will say about him. If you need one story to show Watt’s good-guy qualifications, look no further than this past January. A six-year-old girl and fan had been shown in a YouTube video crying that she wasn’t old enough to marry Watt. What did Watt do? Watt surprised the girl with a ring pop and a proposal. Talk about a do-gooder.