The Top 10 Most Athletic Presidents in U.S. History

A taller, more liberal Avery Johnson?
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Obama vs. McCain?

Let’s see, McCain is a Phoenix Suns fan who played junior varsity football in high school and boxed in the Navy. Eh.

Obama is a White Sox fan who threw out the first pitch in Chicago before Game 2 of the ’05 ALCS. He led Occidental College’s basketball team in scoring. He recently played hoops with North Carolina All-American Tyler Hansbrough and ESPN’s Stuart Scott and can, for some reason, ID former Celtics’ towel-waver M.L. Carr. He can make 3-pointers. He’s been on HBO’s Real Sports. Dude even has his own signature sneaker.

Though it’s difficult to trust a man who bowls a 37, Barack Obama could/should/will? become one of the most athletic Presidents in U.S. history.

Watched ESPN’s Redskins-Steelers last night and Chris Berman asked both candidates what they’d change about sports. Obama: College football playoff. McCain: Steroid legislation.

Translation: Obama is a sports fan; McCain a politician familiar with sports.

Got me thinking. We see former athletes like Bill Bradley and Steve Largent and Thomas Lott become senators and such, but will there a be a day when a player becomes Prez? Tiger Woods maybe? Tom Brady? Roger Staubach will always have my vote. Ditto for Nolan Ryan.

For now we’ll have to settle on a President who loves sports. Obama, who’s risen to stardom without any assists from Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, says his first amendment to the White House would be a hoop over the garage. In the hours before he'll make history, the guy is going to play some basketball. Good enough for me.

Assuming the BCS projections aren’t too askew, Obama will win tonight and immediately jump near the top of the list of Most Athletic Presidents in U.S. History:

10. George W. Bush His first-pitch strike – in a bullet-proof vest -- before Game 1 of ’01 World Series at Yankee Stadium is best sports moment ever for a U.S. President

9. Woodrow Wilson Played center field for Davidson College

8. Richard Nixon Scrappy linebacker at tiny Whittier College

7. Jimmy Carter Played baseball and ran cross country in the Navy

6. Teddy Roosevelt Boxed at Harvard and played tennis on the White House front lawn

5. Ronald Reagan Played football at Eureka College and portrayed “The Gipper” in Knute Rockne

4. George H. Bush Left-handed first baseman led Yale to baseball’s College World Series in ‘48

3. Dwight Eisenhower A linebacker/running back at Army, the “Kansas Cyclone” hurt a knee tackling Jim Thorpe in 1912

2. Barack Obama Lanky lefty led Occidental College’s basketball team in scoring in ‘79

1. Gerald Ford All-American center led Michigan’s football team to National Championship in ’33 – Richie Whitt

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.