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7 famous athletes who became politicians

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famous athletes who became politicians
Kevin Johnson is one of the famous athletes who became politicians. Photo/SBNation.com
  • You could think that building a name for themselves through sports was enough but it isn’t
  • It only fuels their ambition to serve their country in different capacities – the most dominant being politics
  • Common names such as Philippines famed boxer Manny Pacquiao is among revered athletes who ditched the sports for politics
  • He, however, lost his bid for the presidency to Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son to a former Filipino dictator

Life is one interesting twist and sportsmen know it too well which is why there are famous athletes who became politicians. Politics rivals the business interest many athletes harbour.

You could think that building a name for themselves through sports was enough but it isn’t. It only fuels their ambition to serve their country in different capacities – the most dominant being politics.

While only a few athletes successfully transitioned from the sports world to the political arena, there are definitely those who made it. They have gone on to play significant roles in local, state, and federal politics.

But who are these famous athletes who became politicians? Sportsleo highlights them.

MANNY PACQUIAO

Famous Athletes who became politicians

Famous Athletes who became politicians. Photo/The Economic Times

At 42, world boxing icon Filipino Manny Pacquiao quit the sport in 2021 to venture into politics. The 12-time world titleholder in eight divisions was eyeing the presidency in the Philippines.

However, he served his people as a Senator since 2016 but hoped to serve as the president in 2022. He, however, lost to Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Popularly known as ‘PacMan’ in boxing quarters, politics is his new love after 26 years of professional boxing.

The Southpaw maintains boxing is something he had a passion for and is glad that he got a chance to bring honour to the Philippines through it.

KEVIN JOHNSON

Kevin Johnson, a three-time NBA star was Mayor of Sacramento in California between 2008 and 2016.  He made history by becoming the first African-American Mayor of Sacramento. He is one of the famous athletes who became politicians.

Many of his efforts as mayor focused on the reduction of homelessness and the promotion of arts and culture.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

The athlete-cum-movie star was Governor of California from 2003 to 2011. Schwarzenegger is among the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He won numerous awards, including the title of “Mr. Universe,” and was also named “Mr. Olympia” on seven separate occasions.

Over one million people voted for him in the notorious 2003 recall election. Schwarzenegger’s greatest achievement was passing the United States’ first greenhouse gas emissions cap.

JON RUNYAN

Runyan was an offensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles in the National Football League for most of his career. He was a member of one Pro Bowl and a member of one Super Bowl team.

He joined politics and became a republican which booked him a ticket to the US Congress representing New Jersey 3rd District. That’s he ended up being one of the famous athletes who became politicians.

In his first election in 2010, he upset Democratic incumbent John Adler, who had been in office since 2000.

DAVE BING

Former NBA player Dave Bing played for the Detroit Pistons. Dave, a former professional basketball player who played for a decade in the NBA, just announced his intention to run for mayor of Detroit in 2009.

He went on to win the elections as the Mayor of Detroit after 12 years in NBA. However, Detroit became the most bankrupt city in the United States during his tenure as mayor.

JIM RYUN

JIM RYUN

JIM RYUN. Photo/Newsweek

During the 90s, Jim Ryun won every sprint race! He’s a real cheetah who set four U.S. records for outdoor miles run in a single season.

In addition, during his sporting career, he was the recipient of gold and silver medals.

As a Republican candidate in 1996, he won the 2nd District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in Kansas by a wide margin. His on-track success shaped the history of famous athletes who became politicians.

IMRAN KHAN

As a former cricketer, Imran Khan became the most famous politician in the world. In the 1992 World Cup, he led his country to victory.

Khan was and still is in politics for over two decades now, and he hasn’t had much success. He became Prime Minister of Pakistan but was ousted after a vote of no confidence.

He accuses the US of enslaving Pakistan for years.

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