5 Favorite Good-Guy Pro Athletes

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Drew Brees nicest guys in sports
Pro athletes aren't just money-hungry winning machines. Let's meet some of the nice ones.

LeBron James

It's not easy carrying the hopes and dreams of an entire state on your shoulders, even for homegrown Ohio superstar LeBron James. The 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year, 2008 Olympic gold medalist, and current NBA East MVP failed to lead his Cleveland Cavaliers to a title this year, losing last night to the Boston Celtics, but we still love him (hear that, Cleveland? Chill out). Despite growing up without a father, LeBron is a dedicated dad to his two sons, LeBron Jr., 5, and Bryce, who's almost 3, and a committed partner to his high school sweetheart, Savannah Brinson, who runs the LeBron James Family Foundation. There's something earnest and almost nerdy about LeBron, who is thoughtfully building himself quite the empire, surrounded by guys he grew up with. And when he's on his game, he's awesome.

 

Roger Federer

There's a lot to love about Roger Federer, one of the winningest tennis players of all time: His game is singular in its power and beauty, his rivalry with Rafael Nadal is the most exciting thing tennis has seen in a decade, and no one looks better in Wimbledon white. But we love Roger's love story. The sixteen-time Grand Slam winner met Slovakian-born Mirka Vavrinek while they were competing for Switzerland at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Neither had a particularly great Olympics—Mirka would retire from tennis two years later after a foot injury, and Roger had to wait for his gold medal till 2008—but they’ve been together ever since. The couple married in April 2009 and welcomed twin daughters three months later, and we awarded Mirka our official YourTango Best Wife Ever award for sitting through Roger's epic 77-game Wimbledon final against Andy Roddick while gigantically pregnant. Pregnant Olympian Shows Off Her Baby Bump

Ray Allen

Here's how you know Celtics guard Ray Allen is a stand-up guy: When he'd only been in the NBA a few years, The Onion satirized his squeaky-clean image and reputation as a bit of a goody two-shoes. But what wasn't a joke was Ray's work ethic and dedication to his teammates. He and Boston buddies Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce brought home the Celtics' 17th NBA championship in 2008, and are in the hunt for an 18th this year. Along with his wife, Shannon, Ray is an active supporter of diabetes research; their younger son, Walker, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes last year. The Allens also have two other kids, Walter and Tierra, and through the Ray of Hope Foundation have helped kids in low-income areas succeed since 1997. We've mentioned how much we love athletes helping kids, right? We do. We love it.

Photo of Drew Brees via Bauer-Griffin.