Stereotypically, professional athletes are never really considered to be super intelligent. However, we’ve gathered up some of the smartest athletes to ever play sport proving that some really do have it all. Keep reading to see exactly who are the smartest athletes in sports history.
Spanish basketball player, Pau Gasol could simply earn himself the title of “The Most Interesting Man in the NBA.” Wondering why? Well, in his career so far which has spanned over 19 impressive seasons, Gasol has not just won two NBA titles but he has also been named an All-Star six times. Before going professional, did you know that Gasol was actually a medical student in Spain? He was only 11 years old when he decided to pursue this career after he learned of Magic Johnson’s announcement in 1991 that he had HIV. In addition to all of this, 41-year-old Gasol plays piano and can speak 5 languages, Spanish, English, French, Italian, and Catalan. When the professional basketball player retires from the NBA, he plans to finish his degree and work as a doctor.
36-year-old Marion Bartoli is a French former professional tennis player. Not only did Bartoli win Wimbledon 8 times, but the champion once had her IQ measured at 175, which is a higher score than Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking! Isn’t that truly amazing? After retiring, she began professional tennis coaching. However, in her spare time, she really enjoys painting.
For those who don’t know, Bill Bradley is not just a former professional basketball player but he is an American politician who served three terms as a Democratic Senator from New Jersey too. For starters, just before he completed high school, Bradley turned down approximately 75 scholarship offers to attend Princeton University. At the time he was not just an academic powerhouse but was very much a solid basketball player. During his time at Princeton, Bradley was a member of the gold medal-winning 1964 Olympic basketball team and was the 1965 NCAA Player of the Year. Bradley graduated in 1965 and moved to England to attend Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. It wasn’t long after that he was then drafted into the NBA where he won two NBA Finals.
To set the record straight, no American gymnast has ever earned as many Olympic medals as Shannon Miller. And of course, she did this in style, where she earned 7 medals from 1992 to 1996, including two gold medals. Generally speaking, gymnastics is a sport with a short career span for many of its athletes, so Miller thought ahead and became an equally great student. Not only did she earn her bachelor’s degree in marketing but she then went on to graduate with a law degree from Boston College. Even though after retiring Miller never practiced law, she did write many books and also worked as a motivational speaker. The 44-year-old is currently the president of Shannon Miller Lifestyle and the Shannon Miller Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity.
For some reason or other, this next athlete may come as a shock to some. However, Shaquille O’Neal didn’t nickname himself “The Big Aristotle” for nothing. Otherwise known as “Shaq”, he has always been considered to be a thinking man, even when he was wrecking other NBA players en route to winning four championships and having one of the most incredible careers in basketball history. During his Hall-of-Fame career, O’Neal attended school and managed to earn himself both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees. However, he purposely waited until after his retirement to get his doctorate. That’s right, Dr. O’Neal became his official title in 2012, when he earned the advanced degree in education from Miami’s Barry University. Wow, this is definitely amazing, right?