The TOP 25 Most Influential Christian Sports Figures
The readers have spoken and Sports Spectrum's commemorative Silver Anniversary: Top 25 Most Influential Christian Sports Figures book is underway -- Pre-Order Now!
(available this spring)
We're going to give you the inside scoop and help you count down to the top 25. Each day we'll reveal another sports figure and you can see where your picks come in at.
And The Top Influential Sports Figures Are:
Thanks to the readers of Sports Spectrum who voted and helped create this list.
#26 Josh Hamilton, Baseball
2x All-Star. Very open about his life, testimony and his recovery from addiction.
#27 Shaun Alexander, Football
3x Pro Bowler and 2005 NFL MVP. He and his wife are very outspoken about their faith and are regular attendees at Federal Way's Christian Faith Center and are firm supporters of abstinence and sexual purity discussing the issue publicly on many occasions.
#28 Tom Osborne, Football
3x National Championship coach, 1994 Coach of the Year at the University of Nebraska and member of the College Football Hall of Fame. Served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, active speaker for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
#30 Darrell Green, Football
7x Pro Bowler, 2x Super Bowl Champion, and 1996 Walter Camp Award Winner. The founder and Executive Director of Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation, and served as the Chair of Presidnet Bush's Council on Service and Civic Participation.
#31 Steve Largent, Football
Pro Football Hall of Fame, 7x Pro Bowler and Walter Payton Man of the Year Award Winner. Served as a U.S. Congressman and often promoted and voted conservative bills.
#32 Lance Berkman, Baseball
5x MLB All-Star. He has been very outspoken about his Christianity throughout his career, has a foundation that gives only to missions, and has helped to lead several Bible studies.
#33 Walter Payton, Football
Pro and College Football Hall of Famer, 9x Pro Bowl selection, 1977 NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion and 1978 Pro Bowl MVP. Established the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation for organ donors, is the namesake of the NFL's Man of the Year Award for character and work outside of football.
#34 Bobby Bowden, Football
2x National Champion in 23 seasons at Florida State University. The namesake of the The National Bobby Bowden Award presented by FCA to the top college athlete making an impact on and off the field.
#35 Anthony Munoz, Football
11 consecutive Pro Bowls as a lineman. Founded the Anthony Munoz Foundation and Impact for Eternity Camp.
#36 Julius Erving, Basketball
NBA Hall of Famer, NBA MVP, NBA Champion, and 11x All-Star. 2x ABA Champion and 3x ABA MVP. Influential in the history of Sports Spectrum.
#37 Derrick Brooks, Football
11x Pro Bowler, Super Bowl Champion, 2000 Walter Camp Award Winner and 2002 Defensive Player of the Year. Avid philanthropist and founder of the Brooks Bunch, a Christian youth charity.
#38 Curt Schilling, Baseball
7x All-Star, 3x World Series Champion, and World Series MVP. Has extenisive charities and charity work with his wife in the New England area.
#39 David Thompson, Basketball
2x All-Star Game MVP, 1975 Naismith Player of the Year, 1975 NCAA Champion, and NBA Hall-of-Famer. Co-founder of 2XSALT Sports Ministry and activate motivational and faith speaker.
#40 Mary Lou Retton, Gymnastics
Olympic Gold Medalist, first non-European all-around winner. Grounded mother, who says experience and spiritual maturity is leading her to speak about her faith.
#41 Bobby Richardson, Baseball
1960 World Series MVP, 7x All-Star, 3x World Series champion. A national leader within the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
#43 Michael Chang, Tennis
ITF Hall of Fame and French Open Champion. Serves on the board of Biola University, and first spoke outwardly of his faith after his French Open victory.
#44 Darrell Waltrip, Racing
3x Cup Series Champion, 84x race winner. The focus of Jay Carty's One-on-One 60 day devotional series.
#46 Charlie Ward, Basketball
1993 Heisman Trophy Winner, NCAA National Champion and 1st Round pick in the 1994 NBA Draft where he spent 12 seasons playing basketball. Founded a Bible study for the N.Y. Knicks.
#47 Joe Girardi, Baseball
4x World Series Champion (3 as a player and 1 as manager) and current Yankees manager. Active in his community and youth organizations.
#50 Jerry Lucas, Basketball
NBA All-Star, 1964 NBA Rookie of the Year, and NBA Hall-of-Famer. Known for his memory skills, Lucas wrote Remember the Word, a book teaching people how to memorize the Bible.
#51 Chris Paul, Basketball
2x All-Star and Olympic gold medalist. Started the CP3 Foundation aiding victims of Hurrican Katrina
#52 Kyle Petty, Racing
8x race winner. The founder of the Victory Junction Camp, a camp for terminally ill children.
#54 Clark Kellogg, Broadcast
1982 Big Ten Basketball MVP. Currenlty the lead announcer for NCAA basketball on CBS.
#55 Frank Reich, Football
Held records for largest comebacks in both the NFL (Buffalo Bills) and the NCAA (Univ. of Maryland). Served as a Pastor and works as the Quaterbacks Coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
#56 Lou Brock, Basbeall
6x All-Star and 2x World Series Champion. An ordained minister and serves a church in St. Louis with his wife.
#57 Pat Summerall, Broadcast
Former NFL placekicker, but renown as a sports broadcaster. Pat was led to the Lord by his former coach, Tom Landry, and was baptized at the age of 69.
#58 Wayman Tisdale, Basketball
Olympic gold medalist, was the 2nd overall pick in the 1985 NBA draft and had a 12-year NBA career. The son of a pastor and is outspoken about his faith and his strength from God through his battle with cancer and the loss of a limb.
#59 Allyson Felix, Track
Olympic gold medalist. 2x Olympic silver medalist. 4x World Champion; 5x U.S. Champion; First woman to win 3 straight 200 meter World Championships. On her website she says, "My faith is definitely the most important aspect of my life…My running is an amazing gift from God and I want to use it to the best of my ability to glorify Him. I'm thankful that I have been given this platform so that I can share my faith with the world."
#60 Matt Holliday, Baseball
3x MLB All-Star, 2007 NLCS MVP. Led to the Lord by teammates and credits his success to living his life for Christ, not himself.
#61 Michelle Akers, Soccer
National Soccer Hall of Fame, 2x FIFA Women's World Cup champion, Olympic gold medalist, FIFA Women's Player of the Century. Has leaned and spoken on her faith for years, is a very popular speaker.
#62 Trent Dilfer, Football
Super Bowl champion. Very active philanthropically, involved with several charities and is a fan favorite in Baltimore for the work he does.
#63 Heath Shuler, Football
1993 Heisman Trophy Runner-up and 3rd overall pick in 1994 NFL Draft. Serves as Representative for the state of North Carolina, is a member of "The Family" and was instrumental in fighting the NFL to allow churches to host Super Bowl parties.
#64 Barry Sanders, Football
10x Pro Bowler, 1997 NFL MVP, and 1988 Heisman Trophy winner. He holds 10 rushing records for the Detroit Lions
#65 Zach Johnson, Golf
2007 Master's champion, 6 victories on the PGA Tour. A member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
#66 Kyle Korver, Basketball
Member of the NBA's Utah Jazz. The son of a pastor, an outspoken Christian, and is very active through several missions in Africa.
#67 Mark Schlereth, Football
3x Super Bowl champion and 2x Pro Bowler. Father of 3, and public speaker crediting God for pushing him past the long odds to his success.
#69 Gary Carter, Baseball
11x MLB All-Star, World Series Champion and 1989 Roberto Clemente Award Winner. Created the Gary Carter Foundation.
#70 Kyle Rote Jr., Soccer
Former professional soccer player, and 3x winner of ABC's Superstars. Currently runs an athletes representation firm. One of the first publishers of Sports Spectrum, and a popular motivational speaker on faith and life.
#71 Paul Azinger, Golf
1993 PGA Championship winner and has 17 professional event victories. Lifelong friend of Payne Stewart and soft-spoken"good guy" of golf.
#73 Tim Howard, Soccer
U.S. men's national team goalkeeper and 2008 U.S. soccer Athlete of the Year. Credits his faith for his continued battle with Tourette's Syndrome and works with youth who have the affliction, and is an active leader in Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action.
#74 Bernhard Langer, Golf
Won the Masters twice. He was appointed as an honorary Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
#75 Bobby Jones, Basketball
NBA World Champion, 1983 6th Man of the Year, Olympic silver medalist. Co-founder of 2XSALT Sports Ministries.
#78 Jim "Catfish" Hunter, Baseball
8x MLB All-Star, 5x World Series Champion, and 1974 AL Cy Young Winner.
#79 Joe Carter, Baseball
2x World Series Champion and 5x All-Star. Continues to be very active in the community and has been honored by the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.
#80 Tamika Catchings, Basketball
2x Olympic gold medalist, WNBA Rookie of the Year, 6x WNBA All-Star and NCAA Champion. Credits her fatih in God for keeping her grounded, and is highly active with youth in the Indianapolis area.
#82 Lorena Ochoa, Golf
Currently, No. 1 ranked women's golfer. Womens British Open Champion and 35x LPGA Tour winner. Founded a school in her native Mexico for underprivileged youth.
#83 Betsy King, Golf
6x Major Championship winner and has 34 LPGA Tour victories. Works with Habitat for Humanity and orphan groups in the old Soviet bloc countries.
#53 Randall Cunningham, Football
4x NFL Pro Bowler. Active in the Gospel music business as owner of a recording company, as well as being an ordained minister and pastor of a church he planted in Las Vegas.
#86 Mike Gartner, Hockey
Hockey Hall of Fame. Chaired the NHLPA Goals & Dreams Foundation and was led to the Lord by a former teammate while playing for Washington.
#87 John Vanbiesbrouck, Hockey
US Hockey Hall of Fame, Vezina Trophy Winner and 4x All-Star. Credits his faith and his wife for his success and his ability to raise three sons.
#88 Ryan Hall, Track
Olympic marathoner, U.S. marathon champion and America record holder in the half marathon. He and his wife, Sara, are members of Tema World Vision.
#89 Aaron Baddeley, Golf
Credits his fatih for staying on the PGA Tour through all of his struggles.
#90 Asafa Powell, Track
Olympic gold medalist and World Champion. Credits his mother and father for his strong faith.
#91 Jennifer Azzi, Basketball
Olympic Gold Medalist, 1990 NCAA Champion and Naismith Award Winner at Stanford University.
#95 Hersey Hawkins, Basketball
1988 NCAA Player of the Year and 1999 NBA Sportsmanship Award Winner.
#97 Lee Janzen, Golf
2x US Open Champion and 8x PGA event winner. He frequently speaks about his Christian beliefs.
#98 Larry Mize, Golf
1987 Master's Champion. Very active on behalf of cystic fibrosis and several charities.
#99 Rob Pelinka, Misc
Member of Michigan's two Final Four teams of the 1990s, and now an NBA player agent. Worked to share his faith with college teammates, now with clients.