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5 Favorite Good-Guy Pro Athletes

Drew Brees nicest guys in sports
Contributor
Self

Pro athletes aren't just money-hungry winning machines. Let's meet some of the nice ones.

Pro athletes have been having a rough time of it in the media lately. We hear a lot about guys behaving badly: roughing up women, breaking the law, going to jail. Just this year we've seen far too much of alleged rapist Ben Roethlisberger, serial cheater Tiger Woods, and wife-abandoner Tiki Barber. But they are the exceptions, really. Most pro athletes are good guys who work hard and take care of their families. And some really go above and beyond the call of duty. Here, we'll take a look at five of the nicest guys in pro sports.

Drew Brees

There's a reason the New Orleans faithful call him "Breesus." The Super Bowl­–winning quarterback has been the heart of the city's recovery since coming to the Saints in 2006. Drew and his wife, Brittany, run a charitable foundation that raises money for cancer research and also rebuilds sports facilities, parks, and playgrounds that were affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. Drew was named the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2006 for his charity work. And, as if being the savior of an entire city and leading a team to its first-ever Super Bowl wasn't enough, Drew is a father to the most adorable little boy with Brittany, wee Baylen. And they're expecting a second child in October. Honestly, we can't help ourselves. He is basically the cutest man in the NFL. Super Bowl vs. World Cup

Scott Fujita

Except for this guy! Drew's former teammate, linebacker Scott Fujita, is now a Cleveland Brown, but even that ugly uniform doesn't make him any less awesome. Scott was adopted as a baby by a Japanese-American father and a Caucasian mother, and has said he considers himself Japanese, which makes pictures of 6'5" Scott with his family both hilarious and touching. He's an outspoken liberal in a league that more often than not leads toward the conservative, making statements in support of a woman’s right to choose as well as gay marriage. He's married to his college sweetheart, Jaclyn, and they have super adorable two-year-old twin daughters. Our crush on this guy is as big as he is.

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.

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