While it may be cool to dress like a nerd in professional sports today, (exhibit A: the Wizards’ JaVale McGee), not every player can back up those thick framed glasses and suspenders with... actual brains. Sports smarts is one thing, but it is those athletes who can flex their mental muscles in multiple areas as well as their physical muscles (thanks to their underlying commitment to education) that really separate themselves from the pack.
So here it is, a list of 10 guys who won’t only school you in their respective sport, but who will also outwit you with their crazy intellect. In other words, a truly despicable group of people.
Nicknamed the “Harvard Man” (hey, it’s catching on), the current Buffalo Bills quarterback is actually the 26th alum of the Ivy League institution to play in the NFL. The economics major paved his way to Cambridge with the help of a 1580 SAT score, and went on to finish the infamous Wonderlic Test (an NFL entry exam of sorts) in a record nine minutes! While the Bills season has slipped away, their brainy quarterback can take refuge in the fact that he signed a $59 million million extension when the going was good.
Earning his sociology degree at the University of Santa Clara, Nash went on to be quite the societal figure when Time named him one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2006. The Canadian (by way of South Africa) native is one of the sport’s world’s most renowned philanthropists, putting his knowledge of human issues to good use with the Steve Nash Foundation, which raises funds for disadvantaged youth. The two-time NBA MVP is also a budding filmmaker and producer, having worked on commercials, shorts and the ESPN 30 for 30 doc, Into the Wind.
Born in Honolulu, the former New York Mets pitcher and '86 World Series champ studied French and Southeast Asian history at Yale, before being drafted ninth overall by the Mets in June 1981. Darling went on to play 12 years in the big leagues, and while he wasn’t able to finish up at Yale, a thumb injury during the ‘87 season opened the door for Darling to earn credits towards his degree at NYU. Darling can now be seen on SportsNet New York (SNY) as a commentator for the Mets, and has authored The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound.