6 People in Sports Who Became Politicians


STICK TO SPORTS! Unless you are directly involved in sports and politics, as a handful of people are.

There are many people that have been involved with both, but I wanted to point out a small group of well-known athletes, coaches, and Hall of Famers who have held office following a sports career or cameo.

Tommy Tuberville (college football coach)

Tommy Tuberville is a former, long-time college football head coach. He compiled a 159-99 career record at Ole Miss, Auburn, Texas Tech, and Cincinnati. His biggest success was a 13-0 season at Auburn in 2004, but because of how the old BCS system worked, they did not play for the championship.

After getting fired by Cincinnati, following a 4-8 season in 2016, Tuberville transitioned from football to politics.

Tuberville is representing the Republican Party in the race for US Senate in Alabama. Tuberville has a big supporter in Donald Trump and is battling Democrat Doug Jones.

Bill Bradley (NY Knicks) 

Bill Bradley is a legend. He is a member of the basketball Hall of Fame, College basketball Hall of Fame, Olympic Gold medal winner (1964), and 2x NBA champion with the New York Knicks (1970, 1973). Considering the Knicks only have 2 championships, that’s a big accomplishment!

Following his career, Bradley, who attended Princeton, returned to New Jersey as US Senator from 1979-1997.

Anthony Gonzalez (football player)

In the 2007 BCS National Championship Game, Ohio State lost 41-14 to Florida. In that game, WR Anthony Gonzalez led Ohio State with 2 catches, for 11 years. That season, he had 51 catches for 734 yards and 8 TDs, and finished his career with 13 TD catches in three seasons playing for Ohio State.

He only caught 7 TDs in the NFL (first and second seasons) after the Indianapolis Colts drafted him #32 in the first round 2007 Draft. His career was derailed by injuries.

Now, with his football career long behind him, Gonzalez is Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 16th district.

Gonzalez’s (arguably) most memorable moment (certainly his first) with the Buckeyes came in 2005 against Michigan, when he made “the catch”.

Kevin Johnson (Phoenix Suns)

Kevin Johnson is a former Phoenix Suns legend. He was always under-appreciated throughout his NBA career. Johnson made 3 All Star teams, named All-NBA 5x, Most Improved Player in 1988-89, and had 4 straight seasons of 20+ ppg, 10+ apg, Johnson saved basketball in Sacramento.

Keeping the Kings in Sacramento and building the Golden 1 Center could have happened without Ranadive – it almost did – but it would not have happened without Mayor Kevin Johnson and former NBA Commissioner David Stern. It was Johnson and Stern – and they alone – who were indispensable in the years-long saga resulting in the new arena.
Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/marcos-breton/article110479617.html#storylink=cpy

Johnson served in office from 2008-2016.

Steve Largent (Seattle Seahawks)

Largent is a Football Hall of Fame and 7x NFL Pro Bowler. His #80 is retired by the Seattle Seahawks and he is among the best players in the franchise’s history. Largent played with Seahawks from 1976-1989.

Following his retirement, he went into politics and was a member of US House of Representatives from Oklahoma’s 1st district from 1994-2002.

Check out the hit Largent delivers here. After an interception, Largent makes a tackle, forces a fumble, stares down the defender, and recovers the fumble himself.

Kane (WWE)

Those into wrestling, are familiar with the “Big Red Machine” Kane. Kane is a former 2-time world heavyweight champion and the current Mayor of Knox County in Tennessee.

Phrased another way – the Mayor of Knox County once threw a lighter onto a casket that his “brother” was in, lighting him on fire.

BONUS – Donald Trump (WWE)

This one is a fun bonus. Obviously Trump was never an athlete or coach, but he is a member of the WWE Hall of Fame. In 2007, at Wrestlemania 23, Trump was stunned. Not figuratively, literally.

How can anyone not love Stone Cold Steve Austin?

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