Thursday’s List of 13: Athletes who later became politicians

1) Bill Bradley— Great college player at Princeton, scored 12.4 ppg in his NBA career, winning two NBA titles with the Knicks. Served three terms in the US Senate; he ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 2000, but because he is smart/boring, he didn’t win- our country is no longer sharp enough to elect someone who is as smart as Bradley.

2) Jack Kemp— Went to Occidental College with Jim Mora Sr; played QB for the Chargers, Bills for 10 years in the AFL, after he threw 18 passes for the ’57 Steelers.

Kemp served 18 years in the House of Representatives; he tried for the Republican nomination in 1988, but obviously didn’t win. Kemp’s son Jeff played QB for 11 years in the NFL.

3) Gerald Ford— Played center for Michigan’s football team, was in the House of Representatives for 24 years, became Vice President when Spiro Agnew quit, then became our 38th President when Richard Nixon resigned.

4) Tom McMillen— Played ball for Lefty Driesell at Maryland; their ’74 team is probably the best team that never made the NCAA tournament, back when you had to win your league to make the tournament. McMillen played 11 years in the NBA, mostly for the Atlanta Hawks, but he finished with Washington, a bit of foreshadowing.

A Rhodes Scholar who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated when he was in high school, McMillen served six years in the House of Representatives.

5) JC Watts— Julius Caesar Watts ran the Wishbone offense at Oklahoma under Barry Switzer, then played in the CFL, for Ottawa/Toronto. He is an ordained Baptist minister, and also served four terms in Congress, representing Oklahoma.

6) Jim Bunning— Won 224 games in a 17-year major league career; he was a 7-time All-Star, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996. Bunning threw a perfect game against the Mets in June of 1964.

He then served 28 years in public office, representing Kentucky. He is the only person ever to be both a US Senator and a baseball Hall of Famer.

7) Kevin Johnson— Went to college at California, then scored 17.9 ppg in a 13-year NBA career, just about all of it with the Phoenix Suns— he played part of his rookie season with Cleveland.

He served two terms as the mayor of Sacramento; without him, the Kings would be playing home games in Seattle or Las Vegas or somewhere else.

8) Alan Page was a really good defensive tackle, mostly for the Minnesota Vikings; he finished up with the Bears. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988.

After his playing days, Page was elected as a justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, where he served for 24 years.

9) Heath Shuler— Played QB for the Tennessee Vols, then struggled in four years in the NFL, with the Redskins, Saints, starting 22 games.

Shuler served six years in the House of Representatives, from North Carolina.

10) Steve Largent— Scored 100 TD’s in 200 NFL games, catching 819 passes in a 14-year career that put him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Largent represented Oklahoma in the House of Representatives for eight years.

11) Dave Bing— Played college ball at Syracuse with Jim Boeheim, then scored 20.3 ppg in a 12-year NBA career, mostly with the Detroit Pistons. He was a very good guard.

Bing was later the mayor of Detroit for four years, from 2009-13.

12) Jon Runyan— Played 14 years in the NFL, mostly for the Philadelphia Eagles; he started out with the Oilers/Titans, finished up with the Chargers.

Runyan served four years in Congress from 2011-15, representing New Jersey.

13) Tom Osborne— Nebraska’s longtime football coach (255-49-3) also played in the NFL for a couple years with the Washington Redskins, catching 29 passes in 24 career games.

Osborne served six years in Congress from 2001-07, representing Nebraska. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.