There seems to be a general perception that athletes — or, “jocks” — care more about what happens on the field that they do in the classroom. While the stereotype persists in Hollywood, college and professional athletes have been proving it wrong for decades.
There are a ton of intelligent pros, but these five athletes prove that you can have (serious) brains and brawn:
The first pick here seems pretty obvious. New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is not only known for rocking a mean beard — yes, we’re jealous — but also for being one of the smartest players in the league.
Fitzpatrick earned a degree in economics from Harvard. He also managed to score a 48 (out of 50) on the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test — a score which corresponds to an IQ of 150.
That would put him in the 99th percentile of IQ testers (99.957%).
And genius seems to run in the family. Fitzpatrick’s son, Brady, stole the show at a press conference last season when he multiplied 93 by 97 in his head:
Rolle was a free safety at Florida State University, and was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the sixth round (207th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. While at FSU, Rolle earned AP 3rd Team All-American Honors, Football Writers Association America 2nd team All-ACC and CoSIDA Academic All-America.
However, another award earned by Rolle is even more impressive. In 2008, Rolle was awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. He spent the next year earning an MSc in medical anthropology at Oxford University.
Rolle retired from the NFL in 2013, at age 26, to attend medical school for neurosurgery.
Brewlow has earned the nickname of “the smartest man in baseball” with good reason. A graduate of Yale University, Breslow double-majored in molecular biophysics and biochemistry. He was later accepted to New York University’s medical school. He’s participated in genetic research in the offseason and spearheads his Strike 3 Foundation, which aims to support funding for childhood cancer research.
Breslow was also nominated for the Roberto Clemente Award in 2010, and was a 2010 finalist for the Hutch Award.
Hall of Famer and former NBA player Bill Bradley excelled both on and off the court. Bradley, who was offered 75 scholarships out of high school, ultimately graduated magna cum laude from Princeton with a degree in American History. He went on to study at Oxford under a Rhodes Scholarship.
The 6-foot-five Bradley played shooting guard and small forward for the New York Knicks from 1962 to 1965. Bradley entered the political arena following his pro basketball career and successfully ran for Senate, where he remained in office from 1979 to 1997.
Mutombo originally attended the prestigious Georgetown University in 1987 intending to go to medical school. While there, he excelled as a center for the Hoyas and went on to be selected by the Denver Nuggets at fourth overall in the 1991 NBA Draft. He played for 18 seasons, from 1991-2009, and was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 8-time NBA All-Star and 3-time All-NBA.
Mutombo graduated from Georgetown with dual degrees in linguistics and diplomacy. A polyglot, Mutombo is able to speak eight different languages: English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Tshiluba, Swahili, Lingala and two other central African languages. He has piloted a number of humanitarian efforts, many of which focus on improving living conditions within the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2014, Mutombo was elected to the board of directors for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation.
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