Big Lead Sports Bar

10/29/2008

THE 10 MOST INTERESTING ATHLETE/POLITICIANS

We've got a little election coming up in a few days...maybe you've heard. This year's race has not been as athletically-charged as some in years past, although we did have such moments as Sarah Palin getting booed at a Philadelphia Flyers game...



...and Barack Obama "bowling".


Luckily, there's been plenty of others better suited for the sports/politics crossover in years gone by. And today we'll look at 10 of the more interesting examples of the sports/politics "Slashes" that history has given us:

THE 10 MOST INTERESTING ATHLETE/POLITICIANS

10. LYNN SWANN

The Terrible Towel-waving Hall of Fame wide receiver came up short in his bid to become Pennsylvania's Governor in 2006 by a 60-40 count. Could it be as a result of these pictures of Lynn playing beer pong that we uncovered in the days leading up to the vote?



9. JACK KEMP

The longtime NFL quarterback (and member of the 1957 Steelers) ran for President in 1988 and Vice President in 1996 (both unsuccessfully, if you haven't figured that out). But he did have a solid run as a New York Congressman from 1971-1989, and he did father an 11-year NFL veteran quarterback.



8. STEVE LARGENT

The Hall of Fame Seahawk receiver was a member of the House of Representatives from 1994-2002, resigning his seat for a losing campaign for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002. Luckily, all those years playing for Seattle had him prepared for the letdown.



7. JC WATTS


Normally, this wouldn't be a spot reserved for a Canadian Football League star. But Watts twice quarterbacked the Oklahoma Sooners to Orange Bowl victories in 1980 and 1981, and he followed up his football career with an eight-year term as a member of the House of Representatives. So we'll place him right about here.



6. JIM BUNNING

We've had two Steelers on the list, so it's about time we've had a Pirate. And Bunning only played in Pittsburgh a short time, but that's good enough to qualify. In the bigs, he threw a no-hitter AND a perfect game, winning 224 games and gaining admission to the Hall in 1996. After six consecutive winning races for Congress between 1986-1996, Bunning became a U.S. Senator in 1998, representing Kentucky to this day. Not a bad life, if I do say so myself.



5. BILL BRADLEY

He's a Rhodes scholar, he won an Olympic gold medal in 1964, he helped the Knicks win their first NBA Championship in 1969-70, he was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, and he even dated Diane Sawyer. Yes, Bill Bradley has seen and done it all. And that was before I mentioned his duties as U.S. Senator and his aspirations for the 2000 Democratic VP nomination. See, good things can come from the Knicks organization.




4. JESSE "THE BODY" VENTURA

Even if he becomes President some day, to me he'll always be the colorful WWF wrestler/commentator from my days as a young wrestling fan. After his time in the squared circle, Ventura moved to the silver screen, with turns in action flicks such as Predator, Demolition Man, and Batman and Robin, among others. He became Governor of Minnesota in 1998, but decided not to run in 2002, citing undue media scrutiny into the lives of his family. These days, he spends his days writing books and talking about 9/11 conspiracy theories.



3. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

Before everyone cries foul, don't forget that The Governator originally came to the United States as a bodybuilder, hence his inclusion. I know, it's easier to remember Ahnold for Predator (alongside athlete/politician #4 on our list), Terminator, Conan the Barbarian, Twins, Eraser, Kindergarten Cop, True Lies, etc., but in 1970 he became the youngest Mr. Olympia ever at the age of 23.

His career in California led him to the post of Governor, winning in 2003 after announcing his candidacy on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. There's even talk of running for Senate in 2010, or even President (if the Constitution can get amended). But you shouldn't be too surprised with his political aspirations...he did marry into the Kennedy family, after all.



2. THE GEORGE BUSHES

Father was a Yale baseball captain and went on to be President of the United States after eight years as Ronald Reagan's Veep. Son G.W. also played at Yale, owned the Texas Rangers, and outdid pops with two terms as President. I would say that qualifies as a solid athlete/politician resume for one family, no?



1. GERALD FORD

The 38th President of the United States was a center and linebacker for not one, but two Michigan Wolverines national championship teams (1932 and 1933). He remained a huge football fan throughout his life, to the point of asking to be awakened to find out the score of an Ohio State-Michigan football game while attending a summit in the Soviet Union as President. Now that's dedication.



"Others receiving votes":

This list focused on some unscientific formula of athletic prowess, political success, and personality. And the nature of a top 10 list means I had to leave a lot of deserving candidates off. So for one reason or another, here are a few others who merit consideration:

Heath Shuler, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, Tom Osborne, Paul Krause, Whizzer White, Bob Mathias, Peter Boulware, Kevin Johnson, Jim Ryun, Richard Petty, Terry Dehere, Tom McMillen, Ralph Metcalfe, Bob Thomas, Wilmer "Vinegar Bend" Mizell, Alan Page, and Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

And don't forget Charles Barkley, who might rocket towards the top of this list very soon.


More Lists:
16 Reasons Why the Pirates' Streak Won't End in 2008
20 Questions Fans Are Asking About the 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers
27 Years of Steelers vs Pirates
50 Reasons Why I Love the Steelers
79 Reasons Why It's Hard to be a Pirate Fan
Pittsburgh Pirates: The Movie (2006)
Pittsburgh Pirates: The Movie II (2007)
Pittsburgh Pirates: The Movie III (2008)

5 comments:

RedHawks Hockey said...

I definitely think Heath Shuler should be in the top 10. He's a damn fine representative and was a damn fine quarterback... in college...

johnny said...

Screw all those jokes. John Glenn and Bill Nelson are ten times the men of all those douchebags. I defy you to name any profession more badass than astronaut?

Runhigh said...

What? No video of Obama stroking a 3 pointer? At least basketball is a real sport.

vinnie said...

Hey, where's my Congressman Jason Altmire? Believe it or not, he played wide receiver at FSU.

Brett said...

Truly a Master Piece Addition!
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