Linda McMahon and the Top 10 Sports Politicians
Her husband, Vince McMahon, is the boss of World Wrestling Entertainment, but last night it was his wife Linda who made big national headlines. Linda McMahon landed a big win in the Connecticut Republican primary, setting the stage for her run toward an open U.S. Senate seat.
Now, while McMahon isn't a former athlete herself, her presence is a crossover from sports (or at least sports entertainment) to politics. She isn't the first and likely isn't the last to try and make the jump, but can she compete with the 10 best athletes-to-politicians in recent memory?
10. Kevin Johnson
Former Phoenix Suns point guard Kevin Johnson made his trade of sneakers for budgetary meetings official when he won the runoff election for the mayor of Sacramento in 2008.
9. Heath Shuler
The former Washington Redskins quarterback showed that if you fail at one thing go ahead and try something else. The third overall pick in the 1994 NFL Draft went down as one of the biggest quarterback busts in league history, but he made his comeback complete by winning a House seat in North Carolina during the 2006 midterm elections.
In fact, it was Shuler's seat that once again gave the Democrats control of the House of Representatives.
8. Jesse Ventura
Maybe Linda McMahon got her cue from "The Body" who served as a one-term governor in Minnesota as an independent candidate. It's too bad Ventura didn't go on tour as governor in his infamous outfits.
7. J.C. Watts
Watts led the Oklahoma Sooners to two Orange Bowl victories in 1980 and 1981 before spending five seasons in the Canadian Football League where he helped the Ottawa Rough Riders reach the Grey Cup in 1981.
In 1995, Watts won a seat representing Oklahoma in the House of Representative where he served four terms.
6. Jim Bunning
Bunning is a Hall of Fame pitcher who won 224 games in his career including a perfect game. He was a 7-time All-Star, but in 1999 Bunning became the junior senator from Kentucky. He has remained in office since then though he announced last summer he would not seek re-election.
5. Steve Largent
The former Seahawks wide receiver was the holder of many NFL receiving records before Jerry Rice blew them all out of the water. Following his Hall of Fame career, Largent represented Oklahoma in the House of Representatives from 1994-2002 before losing his bid for governor of the state by one half of one percent.
4. Jack Kemp
Kemp may be the defining athlete-to-politician story. The 13-year AFL quarterback won two AFL championships, the 1965 AFL MVP award, and was a 7-time AFL All-Star.
That was all before he spent 25 years in government including representing the greater Buffalo area (where he played his ball) for nearly two decades before running Housing and Urban Development and making a run at Vice President of the United States on Bob Dole's ticket in 1996.
3. Tom Osborne
In between leading the Nebraska football team to three national championships and returning to Lincoln as athletic director, Nebraska legend Tom Osborne served six years in the House of Representatives for Nebraska's third district which includes his hometown of Hastings.
2. Gerald Ford
The man in the picture is the 38th President of the United States back when he suited up for the Michigan Wolverines in the early 1930s. Ford was actually offered NFL contracts by the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers but instead chose to attend Yale Law School where he was an assistant football coach.
1. Bill Bradley
Bradley, a Rhodes scholar, did something few have done--he won two titles with the New York Knicks. Then in 1979 he won his first of three terms as a senator from New Jersey. Bradley was a heavyweight on the 2000 Democratic ticket for President of the United States but lost to Al Gore in the primaries.