The Knicks retired Bradley's #24 in 1984 ©GettyImages.

When athletes do politics, the top five sports stars turned politicians (6)

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1. Former U.S. Senator and 2000 Presidential Candidate Bill Bradley

If you just looked at the numbers, Bill Bradley's NBA career wouldn't appear to be destined for the Hall of Fame, but his big playoff performances for the New York Knicks during championship runs in 1970 and '73 put him in the class with the all-time greats.

Bradley was destined for greatness long before he got to Madison Square Garden though.

He was the top high school basketball player in the country, and turned down over 70 basketball scholarships to attend Princeton, where he became the only Ivy League player ever to win the AP national player of the year award, in 1965.

He then accepted a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, delaying his NBA career for two years.

After winning titles with the Knicks, Bradley turned to politics, where he was a democratic senator from New Jersey for 20 years, starting in 1977. 

Bradley unsuccessfully challenged Al Gore in the 2000 Democratic Presidential primary, but was the closest pro athlete has ever come to holding the highest office in the land. 

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