Election 2012: 25 Athletes We Want as President
It's Election Day, and unless some uniquely terrifying, 2012 version of the "hanging chad" keeps the results in doubt long past election night, America will likely know whether President Obama or Governor Romney is victorious by midnight.
No matter who the victor is, a lot of people are going to be thrilled, and nearly as many will be disappointed. Sound familiar? Elections are a lot like sports—we love the competition, we love teams and individual athletes, but we hate to lose.
Unfortunately, when there is a winner, there has to be a loser. That's just how the world operates.
What better way to both celebrate the democratic process and soothe the wounds of those who came up short than by imagining what athletes we would love to see in the Oval Office? This is an election where everybody wins, because it's pure fantasy, and our brains aren't being pulverized by political ads.
So, exercise your right and vote. Then come back here and join me in looking at the 25 athletes we want as president.
Matt Bonner, San Antonio Spurs
OK, so San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner has several obvious strengths to go with what could be a few fatal weaknesses as Commander-in-Chief.
His strengths? Bonner has been called one of "the smartest guys in pro sports," graduating from the University of Florida with a business degree and summa cum laude honors. Also, he was born in New Hampshire, which loves its psychotic grip on the Presidential primaries.
Mia Hamm, Retired Soccer
If elected president, Mia Hamm might not just be the first woman ever elected to the nation's highest office; she'd be following in the footsteps of other great athletes turned chief executive.
The World Cup champ, two-time gold medalist and unquestioned leader would join the late Michigan Wolverines legend (and solid pro) Gerald Ford and Harvard University boxing terror Teddy Roosevelt as presidents who excelled in sports before taking on the world stage.
Matt Birk, Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk recently made headlines totally unrelated to his play on the field when he weighed in on several hot-button political issues.
This unabashed conservative certainly has the will to take on the pressure of being "The Most Powerful Man on Earth," and with a degree in economics from Harvard University, he clearly has the brains as well.
Myron Rolle, NFL Free Agent
Free-agent safety Myron Rolle drew praise as well as criticism for his decision to forgo the 2009 NFL draft to continue his post-graduate education at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar.
A standout player at Florida State University, the man obviously possesses some major smarts, earning a masters in medical anthropology.
Rolle embraced his academic path rather than a pro career, and that means he is a man who not only values the power of an education, but looks at the big picture as well. He sounds like a perfect fit for the Oval Office.
Ross Ohlendorf, MLB Free Agent
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf's resume is quite unique for a pro baseball player. The Princeton University graduate got his degree while in the Arizona Diamondbacks' farm system and worked as a federal intern at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The guy wrote his senior thesis about a team's return on its investment when signing a major league prospect—seriously.
President Ohlendorf would likely take the mantle as "wonkiest" president to ever crunch numbers in the White House.
Jamal Mashburn, Retired NBA
For all the tales of athletes who burned through millions of dollars and retired penniless, it's more than refreshing to learn about the successes of retired NBA player Jamal Mashburn.
His story is cut from the cloth from which great presidents are made. A Bronx native, Mashburn moved on from basketball and became a wildly successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. He's a man who worked hard and embraced the opportunities afforded him but never lost sight of what matters most—community.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
A future NFL Hall of Famer, consummate teammate, locker room leader and all-around nice guy, why wouldn't Arizona Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald's portrait be a perfect addition to the Hall of Presidents?
If for no other reason, we need someone to be the first Commander-in-Chief with sweet dreads.
Shane Battier, Miami Heat
Shane Battier is handsome, smart and a good human being. Most critically, he's a Duke University alumnus from Detroit, Mich.
Why are these two facts so significant? Because one "Dick" Nixon is the only president to ever graduate from Duke, so Battier needs to clear the Duke name. And Detroit just needs one of its own to make history in a good way.
Craig Breslow, Boston Red Sox
Graduating from an Ivy League school is like entering a raffle to become the next U.S. president in the modern era. So, by virtue of being a Yale guy, Boston Red Sox pitcher Craig Breslow already has a better shot at attaining the highest office than most athletes.
He would also be the first Jewish president, and America loves a man who forges a path for others to follow. We are a country founded by pioneers.
Warrick Dunn, Retired NFL
Retired NFL running back Warrick Dunn had an impressive career in the league, but off the field he's been even more impressive.
Dunn has his own charity, Warrick Dunn Charities, and established Homes for the Holidays, another charity, in 1997. This kind of philanthropic-minded person is exactly what we need more of in public service.
Ron Hextall, Retired NHL
If you're looking for a liberal peacenik diplomat, retired Philadelphia Flyers hothead Ron Hextall probably isn't your guy.
But frankly, I like a little bit more intensity in my politicians—especially when that intensity means that a fight could break out at any moment. Hextall would bring some brass balls to the Oval Office.
Chris Young, New York Mets
New York Mets pitcher Chris Young was the first athlete to be named All-Ivy League in both baseball and basketball. I'm not sure how prestigious of an accomplishment that is, but it sounds pretty impressive.
Young is a Princeton University graduate who majored in politics! Finally, someone can put their political science degree to use. I know I certainly have yet to do so.
Dhani Jones, Retired NFL
Former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones retired early in his NFL career and has gone on to pursue a number of charitable endeavors. He's even turned his passion for the bow tie into a non-profit foundation.
Jones is a smart and well-spoken guy who could finally bring the bow tie back into the White House—assuming it was ever there to begin with.
Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning is one of the more likable athletes in professional sports. He's humble and polite, and he almost always says the right thing. Could anyone else have pulled that (forced) exit from the Indianapolis Colts with more grace and dignity? Plus this guy is hilarious.
The Rock, Wrestling
Listen, over the last decade, has there been anything that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has proved he can't do? He can wrestle, sing, dance and act, and he looks like a million bucks in a minuscule pair of wrestling undies. The presidency should be no sweat after all that.
Bill Bradley, Retired NBA
Maybe electing Bill Bradley as president would be both a consolation prize and do-over for the 2000 election mess—a prospect that probably makes half of you happy and the other half angry.
But seriously, Bradley was a Rhodes Scholar, Hall of Fame basketball player and long-serving politician with a lot of legislative achievements under his belt—a rarity these days.
Jeremy Lin, Houston Rockets
Not to be a pessimist, but I have serious doubts that the Houston Rockets point guard is going to make a go at a serious career in the NBA. I think he'll give it everything he has, but dude just doesn't have staying power.
What he does have, though, is a Harvard education and a way of bringing people together. Perhaps politics is his true path.
Metta World Peace, Los Angeles Lakers
L.A. Lakers sideshow Metta World Peace may be an outside-the-box choice for president, but I really like the element of unpredictability that he'd bring to the office.
Sure, I'd probably move to the Czech Republic or something, but I'd really enjoy seeing what the Metta World Peace agenda would be in Washington.
Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
The Heisman-winning quarterback of the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III, can really do it all. After four years at Baylor University, RG3 was weighing a lot of options: training for the Olympics, applying to law school and entering the NFL draft.
I think he made the right decision, but you can bet he has some big things in store for him post-football too.
Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
San Antonio Spurs superstar Tim Duncan is approaching the end of a very long and legendary career in the NBA. For over a decade he's been one of the league's preeminent nice guys.
Don't expect him to retire and fall into bankruptcy. Duncan is an intellectual and a philanthropist, which would be a nice change compared to a lot of people currently running for office.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick may be in danger of losing his starting job in Buffalo, but at least he has that Harvard University degree (in something) to fall back on.
Most of our presidents in recent years have been Ivy League-educated, so I suppose that automatically qualifies Fitzpatrick. He can't be any worse than (insert some politician you don't like).
Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is the ultimate do-gooder. After signing in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Brees took on an aura of the city's savior. Not too long after that, he delivered a Super Bowl to the city he helped save.
The fact is, everybody likes Drew Brees. He'd be the ultimate bridge-builder in government.
Chris Kluwe, Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe is never one to shy away from the controversial. He's publicly berated a former wide receiver who suggested a punter has no business opening his mouth…ever. And he's taken a very firm stance in favor of gay marriage. A president has to be fearless.
Tim Tebow, New York Jets
There's already been plenty of discussion about holy roller Tim Tebow running for president, and he's only two years into his NFL career. Something tells me Tebowmania is going to last forever and that a run for political office is nearly an absolute certainty.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Even if you hate New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, as I do, there's no doubt that he has some presidential qualities. He's well spoken, possesses those Kennedy good looks and is obviously already interested in politics; remember when he attended the State of the Union?