With Election Day quickly approaching, we thought it’d be interesting to look at some politicians who were gifted and accomplished athletes in their younger years.
Of course, the list wouldn’t be complete without two well-known Minnesota-related connections, so check them out below!
No. 10 – J.C. Watts
Watts was the Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Oklahoma’s 4th congressional district from 1995 to 2003.
In his earlier years, he was an accomplished University of Oklahoma quarterback, was drafted by the New York Jets as a running back but ultimately played quarterback in Canada where he lead the Ottawa Rough Riders to a championship game in 1981.
No. 9 – Dave Bing
Bing holds the not-so-pleasant recognition of being the mayor of Detroit when it became the largest city in U.S. history to declare bankruptcy.
But in his NBA years, he earned Rookie of the Year for the 1975 season and was a seven-time All-Star guard. So there’s that?
No. 8 – Heath Shuler
Taken third overall by the Washington Redskins in the 1994 NFL Draft, Shuler is considered one of the biggest busts in the league’s history. He played with the Redskins, Saints and Raiders before retiring in 1998.
However, he took a more successful turn when he went into politics. In 2007, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for North Carolina’s 11th congressional district and held the position until 2013.
No. 7 – Bill Bradley
Bradley has earned an Olympic gold medal, a first-tier European club championship and an NBA title. That’s impressive.
What’s more impressive is that he also held a U.S. Senator spot for New Jersey from 1979 to 1997.
No. 6 – Steve Largent
Largent, a Republican, served four terms in the U.S. House representing the 1st District of Oklahoma.
Oh, and he’s also considered the best Seattle Seahawks player of all-time as a wide receiver.
No. 5 – Jack Kemp
Kemp, a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, was most notably Bob Dole’s vice president candidate in 1996. He was also a nine-term congressman for Western New York, from 1971 to 1989 – as well as the Housing Secretary in George H. W. Bush administration.
No. 4 – Kevin Johnson
Johnson will go down in history for being the first African-American to be elected Mayor of Sacramento. He was also an NBA All-Star three times and holds a few Phoenix Suns franchise records. No big deal.
No. 3 – Jesse Ventura
Between 1999 and 2003, Minnesota was governed by a former professional wrestler and mini-gun toting commando in the 1987 movie “Predator.” It happened. He won numerous championships in his time as “The Body.”
He was also elected mayor of Brooklyn Park in 1991.
No. 2 – Alan Page
Page certainly has an amazing story. The NFL Hall of Famer was a member of the Minnesota Vikings’ legendary “Purple People Eaters” defensive line. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame for his work with the University of Notre Dame.
Athletics wasn’t Page’s only passion, of course. After graduating from the University of Minnesota Law School (which he attended while playing for the Vikes), Page worked for a law firm and was eventually elected an Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court. He was the first African-American to serve at the position.
No. 1 – Arnold Schwarzenegger
Well, this list wouldn’t be complete without “Mr. Universe” himself. Technically a “pro athlete turned action film star turned politician”, this Austrian-born man moved to America, became arguably the most famous bodybuilder ever, turned to acting and became arguably the biggest action film hero ever and then became California’s governor for two terms. Whether or not you agree with his politics, it’s pretty amazing.