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Top 10 Smartest Athletes in Professional Sports

Just when you thought it was safe to think you’re smarter than a jock, these guys had to be born.

Bill Bradley

Known just as much for his career in politics as his career on the court, Bradley served a three-term stint as a U.S. Senator from New Jersey, after 12 years as a member of the New York Knicks. Before his pro career, Bradley nerded it up big time at school; he graduated magna cum laude at Princeton followed by a Rhodes Scholarship at the University of Oxford. Bradley almost became the first professional athlete to become President when he ran for the Democratic Primary in 2000, but lost out to Al Gore. He has since moved on to several endeavors, which include being on the Board of Directors for Starbucks.

Pau Gasol

While trade rumors involving his name are swirling, the Los Angeles Lakers forward can always fall back on his aspiring career in medicine, if this whole basketball thing gets tired, of course. Prior to joining F.C. Barcelona in ’98, Gasol was enrolled at the University of Barcelona medical school, with the lofty goals of helping cure diseases like AIDS. Gasol even sat in on a spinal surgery at the Childrens Hospital in Los Angeles, where he regularly visits young patients. Gasol is also self-taught in Italian and French, and speaks five total languages (along with English, Spanish and Catalan). In fact, he’s been known to speak in foreign tongues with teammate Kobe Bryant on the court, to throw off opponents. Couple of showoffs, if you ask me.

Shane Battier

If you wanted to find the truest definition of a geek in the landscape of professional sports, look no further than Battier. After an illustrious school career, in which he was a two-time Academic All-American (and the Academic All-American of the Year in 2001) at Duke, Battier went on to the NBA where he played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets (and is now set to sign with the Miami Heat). While he graduated with a 3.5 GPA majoring in religion, Battier is better known throughout the league as the NBA’s biggest tech and gadget geek, as evidenced by his old gig with HOOP Magazine as a reviewer of new products.

Marcellus Wiley

While he had a tough upbringing in Compton, California, Wiley attributed his “humble roots” in helping fight the adversity and negative influences around him. Wiley thrived in football at Saint Monica Catholic High School, but also excelled as a student; he was class Valedictorian his senior year and a member of the National Honor Society. (He was also the 1998 National type-writing champion with 82 words per minute!) Wiley went on to attend Columbia University before his nine-year NFL career, and is now a successful businessman and ESPN TV host. We’ll just skip the part about him being on the Millionaire Matchmaker this past season. Oops, too late.

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