10 Athletes Who Might Not Be Total Douchebags

derek_jeterHow hard is it to find likable athletes? Harder than you would think. I’m sure there are many out there, but the best of the best usually end up making headlines off the field for all the wrong reason. To the players’ credit, the media and readers would seemingly rather read about a sex scandal or weapons charge than they would about a player’s hobbies or charitable works, but nonetheless, the guys on this list stand out as people you would want to hang out with even if they weren’t star athletes. Well, maybe not Tim Duncan, but he seems like a really nice guy anyway.

10. Tony Romo
Tony-Romo-150x150While he was castigated in the public eye during his relationship with Jessica Simpson, all evidence points to Romo being a pretty decent guy. He handled the whole relationship with about as much poise and class as anyone can be expected to during the tabloid era, and was even able to keep his cool during TO’s temper tantrums in Dallas. He even manages to pull off the whole backwards hat/”just havin’ fun out there” attitude without being too corny about it. He’s the kind of guy you’d grab drinks with, if only to get him drunk and ask him how Jessica is in the sack.

9. Chris Paul
Chris-Paul-Trade-150x150Carrying the weight of a team in a distressed city is a tall order for anyone, let alone a 22 year-old, but Chris Paul has been comfortable as a representative of New Orleans both on and off the court. Nowadays it looks like his future there might be up in the air, but the work he’s done in the Big Easy, along with his family values demonstrate that Paul seems to have zigged everywhere LeBron zagged, which has seemed to work out pretty well for him, especially in light of recent events.

8. Steve Nash
steve-nashThe fact that Nash is one of the few athletes that gets an annual request from David Letterman to appear on the Late Show (Dave apparently isn’t a fan of interviewing athletes) should tell you that not only does this guy have good character, but he’s one of the most interesting players in the NBA, equally comfortable discussing Nietzsche or banging Nelly Furtado and Elizabeth Hurley (sadly, not at the same time.) A true renaissance man.

7. Josh Hamilton
josh-hamiltonClearly this is a guy who hasn’t always been constructed from the best moral fiber. A few years back he was robbing his family for crack money after squandering away an extremely promising baseball career, he has clearly turned his life around despite a couple high profile relapses in recent years. Even those he handled with dignity and did not skirt. He may go a little heavy on the Jesus talk every now and again, but it clearly helped him get to where he is today and away from who he was in the past, so we’re willing to cut him some slack. I’d say this is a guy you would want to grab a beer with, but…you know.

6. Dwyane Wade
dwyane-wade-heat-20081009_jac_p34_679-150x150Unlike a teammate that will go unnamed, Wade never seemed to interested in developing a larger-than-life persona around himself. While he clearly remains the leader of the Heat, he does so with a quiet confidence that doesn’t reek of desperation like that same unnamed teammate. He gets on the court, gets his job done, maybe has time to swing by the studio and tape a T-Mobile ad with Barkley, then goes on with his life. It shouldn’t be such a big deal that Wade remains more leader than showman, but it is something of a rarity today. As for results, he was able to lead the Heat to the 2006 title (with a little help from the refs), and we’ll see if he can do it this year with LeBron’s huge personality and, um…Chris Bosh’s nonexistent one.

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Tags: Baron Davis, Chris Paul, Derek Jeter, Dwyane Wade, Josh Hamilton, Lance Armstrong, Roger Federer, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, tony romo,