The 25 Biggest Nerds in Sports History

Matt MartinezCorrespondent ISeptember 6, 2011

The 25 Biggest Nerds in Sports History

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    Nerds come in all shape and sizes. Some are lumbering Trekkies, some are super-skinny World of Warcraft enthusiasts, and some excel at the nerdiest of all activities: school.

    These guys are a mixed bag. Whether they possess intimidating intelligence, look extremely goofy or engage in dweeby sub-culture, one thing's for sure, they are nerds.

    But these guys mask their nerd styles behind their occupation. It's time to reveal these men for what they really are; it's time for the 25 Biggest Nerds in Sports History.  

25. Tim Lincecum

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    Let's start this countdown off with a nerd whose nerdiness is purely cosmetic. Sure, he's won two Cy Young Awards and only one pitcher (Don Larsen) has piled up more K's in their first five seasons in the bigs, but look at this guy.

    He's got a mane for a hairdo. And it isn't a cool mane. It's the type of mane you see at Magic: The Gathering tournaments. Next, you've got the grill. I guess the Lincecum family never heard of orthodontics. Finally, there's the physique. At 5'11", 160 lbs., he doesn't exactly fit the bill of an "elite athlete."

    Luckily, he throws gas and has one of the game's best change-ups. Otherwise, he would be living in his parents basement without a date every weekend.

24. Tiger Woods

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    Thank God this guy can stroke a little white ball, because he sure is a dork. Forget about the fact that he has spent the majority of his life on the course. Forget about the hundreds of millions of dollars earned between tournament wins and endorsements. Let's focus on the nerd factor.

    First of all, he talks like one of the Gumbel brothers. Though very articulate, his voice screams "sheltered kid from the suburbs." And he may have nabbed more ladies than Wilt Chamberlain, but I'm willing to wager he wouldn't have been as prolific in that area if he didn't have such a Viagra-esque net worth. On top of the voice, Woods went to Stanford, and there are only a handful of places with more nerds than Stanford.

23. Steve Urkel

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    Eddie Winslow made a big mistake when he dropped Steve Urkel from his 2-on-2 basketball team. Sure, Eddie got an opportunity to play with one of the top streetballers in the area: Kenny "The Spider" Jackson, but to make room on his squad, he dumped Urkel.

    So what does Steve do? He recruits Larry Johnson's alter ego "Grandmama" to join his team and the rest, as they say, is history. Urkel proves to be a sick ball-handler and smooth passer. Urkel and Grandmama defeat Eddie and Spider in the finals to teach them a valuable lesson: don't judge a book by it's cover.

22. Patrick Kane

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    One telling sign that you might be a nerd: you look like this in street clothes. The first overall pick of the 2007 NHL draft is a more than capable winger. But when the 22 year-old hits Chi-town in skinny khaki shorts and a tiny hat, we have no choice but to call him a nerd.

    He also looks like he's never touched a baseball before.You'd think the New York native might have played some little league, but judging by his motion, you would be sadly mistaken.

21. Ross Ohlendorf

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    Ross Ohlendorf may look like your run of the mill right-handed starter, but he's a real-life nerd.

    The Princeton grad was honored with the George Mueller Award for combining "high scholarly achievement in the study of engineering with quality performance in intercollegiate athletics." Ohlendorf proved the return on investment on MLB draftees by using sabermetrics. 

    Now, I don't know what any of that means, but it sure sounds dweeby. 

20. Randy Johnson

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    Randy Johnson's haircut would have been pretty rock 'n roll if it were perpetually 1988. Since it isn't, the 300 game winner just looked nerdy during most of his career.

    The intimidating 6'10" lefty would have had the swagger of an IT guy if he were a foot shorter. His facial hair doesn't help his look either. Also, he does horrible commercials.

19. Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko

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    You would think if your job was to absorb blows to the head while dishing out punches of your own, you wouldn't be that smart. Wrong!

    Wladimir speaks five languages and earned a PhD in Sports Science. Vitali earned a doctorate in Sports Science, too, and is a political leader in his native Ukraine.

    Calling these two nerds might bring on a double beating, but it's hard to deny such learned dorks a spot on this countdown.

18. The Hanson Brothers

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    No, I'm not talking about those little girls who pumped out the infectious tune "Mmmbop," I'm talking about the enforcers for the Charlestown Chiefs. David, Steve, and Jeff might look like total spazzoids, but they really brought the pain in Slap Shot.

    Even though they sported thick Coke bottle glasses, the Hansons started fights, hilariously interrupted Coach Dunlop and played with toy cars in their hotel room. Again, these are some nerds that you wouldn't want to cross.

17. Bruce Bowen

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    Hey Bruce, Tucker Carlson called. He wants his terrible look back.

    Nothing says nerd quite like a bow tie. Just ask the cast of Revenge of the Nerds or Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation. Bowen sure didn't play nerdy when he was in the NBA, though. He helped his teams to three championships while making the All-Defensive team eight times.

16. Mark Madsen

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    Mark Madsen gives all white guys a bad name when he dances. The former Stanford standout helped the Lakers to two titles in the early 2000's but his shimmy at the parade in 2001 earns him a rightful spot on this countdown.

    With Shaq pumping up the crowd on the mic, Madsen let the rhythm get a hold of him. It was not a pretty sight. No one was hurt physically, but white people have been trying to live down Madsen's groove for nearly a decade.

15. Larry Bird

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    The "Legend" might be the greatest small forward in the history of the NBA. That being said, he's a major nerd.

    Maybe not in a traditional sense, but Bird's outward appearance says only one thing to me: computer programmer. Sure, he's 6'9" and passes the ball like a magician. Sure, he was a great scorer whose back injury hampered him from collecting even more rings and accolades. But if he wasn't a millionaire and Hall of Famer, his looks surely would have hampered his game with the ladies.

14. Don Mossi

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    Moving on...

13. Dillon Gee

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    Maybe this is just a bad photo of the Met's righty. Let's hope so, because he looks like a cover story for Wired. The stand alone beard, curly hair and the bags under his eyes dont exactly make for a handsome combination. Slap on some bad skin and Gee is the poster child for awkward teens without prom dates. 

12. Myron Rolle

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    Nothing dorky here, right? Think again. Myron Rolle epitomizes nerd-dom. The college safety may have studied at Florida State, but Rolle was pre-med, racked up a 3.75 GPA, and graduated in just two and a half years.

    Rolle also postponed his dreams of playing in the NFL so he could continue his education as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.

11. Gino Odjick

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    Another nerd selected solely on appearance, Odjick looks like a member of the Tri-Lambs. He played, however, like an animal.

    The enforcer put together a nice 12-year NHL career where he spent more than 2,500 minutes in the penalty box. I wonder how many of those minutes came from retaliation after being called a nerd.

10. Kurt Rambis

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    Good God, man. Was this picture taken before Rec-Specs were invented?

    Rambis was a selfless member of the 1980's Lakers. He gave up his body (and his style) and managed to win four titles with Los Angeles. He looked, however, like an overgrown George McFly. 

9. Billy Hoyle

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    If Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane weren't paired together in White Men Can't Jump, then maybe Hoyle wouldn't have come off as such a dork. You see, Deane was slick; he was cool. Deane played with pizzazz and style. Hoyle, on the other hand, played to win. Together, they were a nearly unstoppable hustling force in Southern California.

    Hoyle's ridiculous shorts, backwards hat and floppy socks might have been a ploy to make him look like a chump, but there is no question about it, Hoyle was a nerd.

8. Ryan Fitzpatrick

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    The verdict might still be out in regard to Fitzpatrick's game, but the judge's decision is in when it comes to his nerdiness. The answer? A resounding, deafening "guilty!"

    The Harvard grad (yes, I said Harvard) was taken by the Rams in the seventh and final round of the 2005 NFL draft. As an incoming rookie, Fitzpatrick was subjected to the Wonderlic Test. The Wonderlic assesses one's ability to problem-solve in a variety of occupations. It's fifty questions long and the tester is given 12 minutes to complete it.

    Fitzpatrick scored a 48 in nine minutes. Nerd!

7. Maurice Jones-Drew

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    There's nothing nerdy about being one of the top featured backs in the NFL. Jones-Drew dances and slips past opponents en route to big gains and touchdowns. So, why is he on this list? He's a fantasy dork.

    As much as we all want to deny it, fantasy sports are nerdy. MJD not only drafts several teams a year (like most of us reading this article), but he hosts a show on Sirius satellite radio discussing fantasy. Jones-Drew might be the coolest guy in his leagues, but he's still in the league and that makes him a nerd.

    (P.S. I'm in four fantasy leagues this year, so I am one of you.)

6. Robert Swift

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    Nothing is nerdier than "posing."

    When Robert Swift came into the league, he looked like he could have been a member of The Brady Bunch. Now, he looks like a man destined for laser removal surgery.

    I'm not sure which shot he looks more nerdy in: the "aw, shucks" pose on the right, or the "pseudo-thug" pose on the left. Either way, Swift is a nerd.

5. James Worthy

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    Stereotypes would probably disappear if they didn't hold a speck of truth. For "Big Game James," his goggles tell the story. The '88 Finals MVP and seven-time all-star was one of the most instrumental players for the Lakers during their decade of shared dominance. But Worthy was guarding a nerdy secret.

    Worthy is a self-proclaimed "Trekkie." His allegiance to the Starship Enterprise was awarded when Gene Roddenberry made him a Klingon in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

4. Curt Schilling

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    Curt Schilling might be a hero to the city of Boston, but he is also a closet nerd. The six-time all-star from Alaska won three World Series and a Roberto Clemente Award. He also wins rewards for quests completed while playing World of Warcraft.

    Schilling began dorking it up as a regular participant in the Everquest series. Since then, he has become a prolific WOW participant and even appears on a podcast which discusses strategies and updates. Somebody toss this World Series hero into a dumpster.

3. George Parros

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    George Parros probably would have been compared to Tom Selleck or Burt Reynolds had he been born 20 years ago. As fate would have it, he is a contemporary right winger in the NHL.

    Parros played his college hockey at Princeton. The Ivy League dweeb majored in economics and compiled a thesis discussing labor disputes for west coast longshoremen. In addition to this dorky resume, Parros speaks three languages and enjoys doing crossword puzzles.

2. Tim Duncan

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    Tim Duncan has put together perhaps the best career of any power forward in NBA history. His fundamental game is comprised of angular rebounding and geometric backboard shooting. What a nerd.

    If his game wasn't enough proof for you to call the three-time Finals MVP a nerd, try this on for size: Duncan has been a Dungeons and Dragons enthusiast for years. He also likes to attend Renaissance fairs when he's not playing video games.

    Without his basketball pedigree, Duncan would have been destined to a life of role playing, and not the erotic kind.

1. Craig Breslow

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    Considered by many to be the "Smartest Man in Sports," Breslow is a Yale grad. There, he studied molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Upon graduation, Breslow was accepted to med school but opted to follow his passion between the lines.

    After toiling in the minors for four years, Breslow made an appearance for the San Diego Padres. Since then, he has put up a 3.08 ERA with five major league teams.

    Oh yeah, Breslow also runs a non-profit organization. That's not the nerdy part. He submitted IRS form 1023 to receive deductions for the Strike Three Foundation. So, apparently Breslow's nerdiness isn't limited to biophysics, he is an aspiring CPA, too.