By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on June 6, 2014
There are smart athletes, and then there are athletes who are incredibly intelligent. Some would say that they are even surprisingly smarter than they look. As accomplished as these 15 athletes were in their sport, their intelligence is that much more supreme.
Wladimir Klitschko is an Olympic gold medalist who enjoys playing chess in his free time. The former boxer also has a PhD in Sports Science and can speak five languages.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in Economics in just two years. What makes it even more impressive is that he finished school with a 3.74 GPA. Smith hasn’t ruled out law school as his second career once football is done.
Former Atlanta Falcons linebacker/defensive end Tim Green is a graduate of Syracuse University College of Law. Not only has he practiced law in New York City, but he also has written 27 books, including three of which that is non-fiction.
Fans may know Pau Gasol as the big man that has helped the Los Angeles Lakers win two NBA championships. However, many in the scholarly world know him as a medical student with aspirations of curing AIDS. Gasol frequently visits Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles where he has advanced conversations with doctors as if he’s a surgical colleague.
Steve Nash is considered to be one of the greatest point guards of all time. What many may not realize is that he earned a sociology degree from the University of Santa Clara. He puts the degree to good use as his work as a philanthropist has helped countless people through the Steve Nash Foundation. He’s also a filmmaker and producer. In fact, he directed the ESPN 30 for 30 film Into the Wild.
Former USC and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Pat Haden had an accomplished career after retiring from football. He’s earned a B.A. magna cum laude degree from USC, Juris Doctor from Loyola Law School and an economics degree from the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. He’s worked for a private equity firm in Los Angeles and as a commentator for CBS.
Ken Dryden’s career as a goaltender was a successful one at that. However, he retired from hockey early so that he could earn a history degree from Cornell and a law degree from McGill University. He then pursued careers in politics, writing, teaching, and sports commentating.
Former NFL player Marcellus Wiley graduated as a Valedictorian and a member of the National Honor Society in high school. He was also was the 1988 National type-writing champion. He earned a degree in sociology from Columbia, but he mostly makes his money by working as a co-host for several ESPN televisions shows. He’s the cofounder of Prolebrity.com, which is a web site for pro athletes to publicize their business, among other things.
Former pitcher and World Series champion Ron Darling was working on degrees in French and Southeast Asian history at Yale prior to being drafted in 1981. After a thumb injury in ’87, Darling took courses at New York University, which transferred over to Yale so that they could take a step closer to graduation. He’s also a published author who enjoys writing plays and poetry in his spare time.
By now, everyone knows of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s intelligence. However, there’s no denying the surprise of many when learned how smart the quarterback truly is. The graduate of Harvard University (economics major) recorded a reported 48 on the Wonderlic test in just nine minutes, which turned out to be the highest score in the history of the NFL. He also recorded a 1580 on his SAT.
Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf attended Princeton where he studied operations research and financial engineering, which is a combination of economics, mathematics and engineering. He got just one answer wrong on the math portion of the SAT and spent the 2006 offseason as an intern in the System’s Office of Finance at the University of Texas.
All-American halfback Byron White was a Rhodes Scholar, a magna cum laude graduate of Yale Law School, and served time as an intelligence officer in the Navy. What’s even more impressive is that he spent 31 years on the Supreme Court Justice after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy.
Pitcher Craig Breslow is a graduate of Yale where he earned degrees in biochemistry and biophysics. He decided to postpone his acceptance to the NYU School of Medicine in order to pursue his passion for baseball, which worked out well since he helped the Boston Red Sox win the World Series last year. He scored an unheard of 34 on the MCAT exam in preparation for NYU medical school.
Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Bradley is a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and graduated magna cum laude at Princeton University. Since retiring from basketball, he served three terms as a Democratic Senator from New Jersey. He also nearly missed out on the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination in 2000. He has worked as an investment banker, corporate consultant, and he’s a member of the board of directors of Starbucks.
Former NFL player Myron Rolle graduated pre-medical at Florida State University in just two and a half years and was a Rhodes Scholar where he earned a Master of Science in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford.
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