Current Athletes Who Can Do No Wrong (off the Field)
Do athletes screw up?
Obviously. We've seen some really dumb arrests over the years.
Are athletes overpaid?
The general consensus is that they probably are.
But just because some pro athletes choose to spend money like crazy and make some bad choices at times, there are others who know that having fortune and fame can be used in a positive way and who use their celebrity to help others.
That's what these athletes have done, proving they succeed at both their sport and in the community.
As goalie of the New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist has quite the responsibility of stopping pucks from going through the pipes.
While he's done a good job in the crease, he's done just as much with his charity work. Lundqvist raised $35,000 by auctioning off his goalie mask following the Winter Classic last season, along with other various activities he does away from the ice.
Jeff Gordon is one of the most popular NASCAR racers to ever race in the sport, so it's fair to say that he's a pretty recognizable figure around racing fans.
Thanks to his career accomplishments and endorsements, Gordon became the first NASCAR driver to ever surpass the $100 million mark in career winnings, meaning he has plenty to blow on other things.
Luckily, he finds pleasure in charity work, starting the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation after finding out a member of his crew's child had leukemia.
The organization spends about $1.5 million a year on cancer research and treatment.
While it's easy to like gold medal-winning snowboarder Hannah Teter for her looks and laid-back attitude, her involvement in the community shows that she's more than just a pretty face.
Back in 2008, Teter founded her own charity, Hannah's Gold, which partners with World Vision to raise money for a village in Kenya for new schools and fresh water wells.
If that's not enough, the boarder also started Sweet Cheeks, which is an exclusive underwear line that donates proceeds to children living in extreme poverty.
With her athletic and community success, it's not surprising she's earned praise for it all.
Bet you wouldn't have guessed you'd see current free-agent quarterback Tim Tebow on here, right?
Save the sarcasm...
On top of a couple national titles and a Heisman Trophy from football, Tebow's faith has helped him become an even bigger figure than he already had been because of football.
Some of his support includes an orphanage in the Philippines, as well as schooling in Colorado and Gainesville. Tebow also founded the Tim Tebow Foundation, which earned more than $4 million in its first year.
As a 15-year MLB vet, Lance Berkman has pretty much seen it all.
Top-five league MVP finishes.
And, of course, a World Series title.
With all his baseball success, he's been fortunate to earn some serious cash, which he doesn't just spend on himself.
Berkman proved that last year when he donated $2.5 million through his foundation, The Lord's Fund, to a variety of faith-based organizations in Eastern Europe and Africa to support work with children in need.
Davis Love III
Establishing himself as one of the most consistent golfers on the PGA tour thanks to a top-four finish in each Major tournament over his career—including winning the 1997 PGA Championship—Davis Love III seems to be one of the nicer guys on tour, no matter how quiet he is.
Founder of the Davis Love III Foundation, whose goal is to build a better future for children in poor educational, economic, social and health situations, DL3 earned praise for the over $400,000 donation he made in 2012.
Talk about some serious prize money—well, for the charity, that is.
He's the greatest closer of the generation, if not in history, and he's also one of the most respectful and respected athletes ever.
But as great as Mariano Rivera has been on the mound, he's been as equally as great in the community. In 1998, Rivera and his wife started the Mariano Rivera Foundation, which helps underprivileged kids in areas similar to the one Mo grew up in in his native Panama as a youngster.
Seems like Rivera really should be a unanimous Hall of Famer for his work both in and out of the clubhouse.
He's a two-time NBA champ, a multiple All-Star and one of the good guys in the league when it comes to work outside of basketball.
Some of Dwyane Wade's charitable contributions include his own organization, Wade's World Foundation, which helps give kids the opportunity to succeed in life, regardless of their upbringing.
Phil Mickelson honestly might just be the nicest guy to walk the face of the earth.
Besides just being a fan favorite for his game, charisma and generosity when on the golf course, he has started his own non-profit, the Phil Mickelson Foundation, which focuses on supporting both family and youth initiatives.
Mickelson even went as far as chipping a 100-yard shot for $1 million during halftime of a Monday Night Football game last season in his hometown San Diego, which, unfortunately, ended up having a bit too much muscle.
A bit of honesty: Before compiling this list, we never would have thought Carmelo Anthony would end up on it.
While we know he's a hell of a basketball player and seems like a solid dude, we never really see or hear about him making a big impact on other people.
After winning 15 Grand Slam singles titles, you'd think all Serena Williams did was focus on tennis and maybe some other small projects she had going on.
Earning praise for her work in fighting breast cancer and her support for Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Williams has also been named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for all of her charitable work.
She has done it all as a tennis player, but she does even more when it comes to helping others it seems.
A two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback and MVP, Eli Manning has already proven to be an elite signal-caller.
But besides all of his football success, young Eli is quite active within the community as well. He volunteered in relief of Hurricane Katrina and also donated $1 million to the scholarship fund of his alma mater, Ole Miss.
Manning and his wife, Abby, helped donate money for a new birthing center in NYC as well.
He's the greatest men's tennis player to ever play the game—just look at his Grand Slam titles—but Roger Federer has shown that tennis isn't the only thing important in his life.
Federer said last week that he wants to focus on his charity work following retirement. Some of those charitable contributions include helping kids both in educational and athletic goals, and he was also named a Goodwill Ambassador by UNICEF.
Want to know why David Beckham is one of only a few athletes who has transcended his sport? Look no further than all of his community service in helping spread the game.
As a longtime UNICEF supporter, Becks joins the aforementioned Roger Federer as a Goodwill Ambassador. He was also entered into the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children's (NSPCC) Hall of Fame for his work with the organization.
With his own charity, the Victoria and David Beckham Charitable Trust, as successful as it is, it's safe to say Beckham is the most powerful name in soccer right now.
It seems that there's more to Michael Phelps than just his Olympic medals record.
We don't doubt that he'll be best remembered for his performances in the pool, but Phelps is also trying to remind everyone that he's got some good will to do too—which he did when using a $1 million swimming bonus to start his own charity.
Through his organization, the Michael Phelps Foundation, which encourages both better health and fitness and positive outreach, the recently retired swimmer seems to be living up to his goal to help others succeed.
Besides being the best basketball player on the planet, LeBron James has proved that he has a big heart thanks to his love for charitable work.
Though he got serious heat—no pun intended—for the way he made his decision to leave the Cavs for South Beach in 2010, James' TV special did have an underlying meaning to it, as he raised millions for the Boys And Girls Clubs.
On the court, James has proven to be the most versatile athlete going right now, making his teammates better while carrying the weight of winning on his shoulders.
Looks like he does the same thing with numerous charities off the hardwood as well.
He may get a bad wrap at times thanks to his on-course cursing, competitiveness and, of course, that whole sex addiction thing from a couple years ago, but Tiger Woods has proven to be just as great to the community as he is on the course.
Donating millions in research to a number of different organizations, Woods' own charity, the Tiger Woods Foundation, has raised over $50 million for underprivileged kids to help them toward college education.
All this, and he still has some time to play a little golf.
Ndamukong Suh might have the reputation of being a headcase on the football field because of his tough—and sometimes dirty—play. But he uses that same head to make some serious decisions when it comes to charitable donations.
Thanks to Suh's donation of $2.6 million to his alma mater, Nebraska, he was named one of the most charitable celebs by Forbes in 2011, taking the top spot for any athlete.
See, there is a soft spot in the defensive tackle.
Besides tossing the pigskin all over the football field for numerous passing records and having a Super Bowl championship, Drew Brees is a winner in the community too.
From his efforts through the Brees Dream Foundation to pledging more than $1 million of his money to aid in the relief of Hurricane Sandy last fall, it's easy to see why he's generally regarded as one of the most charitable players in the NFL.
How in the hell can you not love Kevin Durant?
But what's so cool about KD is that he can separate sports from real life, as he proved when he visited with residents affected by the damaging tornado in Oklahoma City last week, saying he'd pledge millions in relief and then getting his Nike folks to do the same.
At just 24 years old, every aspiring athlete should take notes from Durant to see how things should be done both in professional and personal life.