Manny Pacquiao serves as a member of the Filipino House of Representatives in addition to be well known as one of the world's greatest boxers. Pacquiao, who represents his wife's hometown of the Sarangani province, officially took office in June 2010. But Manny's political career hasn't stopped his boxing career -- the fighter continues to take on professional bouts while serving in politics.
What is it about politics that draws so many athletes in? Is it the competition of Election Day? The value of their name recognition? Republican Jon Runyan, who played 14 years as an NFL lineman, is among those to make the transition. He won a tight race in New Jersey for a House of Representatives seat in 2010 and won re-election in 2012 for a second term. Here are a few of our other favorite athletic politicians.
Former Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints quarterback Heath Shuler was re-elected in 2010 to his House seat in an important win for the Democratic party. After redistricting in North Carolina, however, he chose not to run in 2012. Several other former athletes failed in their attempts to keep up the jock presence in the Capitol. Former UNLV point guard Danny Tarkanian (R-Nev.), former Florida A&M basketball player Al Lawson (D-Fla.) and former NFL player Jimmy Farris (D-Idaho) lost 2012 bids for the House.
Kevin Johnson, or K.J., played 12 seasons in the NBA, almost exclusively as a member of the Phoenix Suns, for whom he was a three-time All-Star. He took office in his hometown of Sacramento in 2008, becoming the city's first African American mayor. He won re-election in the 2012 primary, garnering more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a November run-off election.
Chris Dudley, Shawn Bradley
In Oregon, former NBA player Chris Dudley was the 2010 Republican nominee running for governor. And in Utah, another former NBA player, Shawn Bradley, ran as a Republican for a seat in the state House of Representatives. Both were defeated.
The Minnesota Vikings legend serves as an associate judge on the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Bill Bradley played basketball professionally for 10 seasons with the New York Knicks. He retired in 1977, and was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982. In 1979, Bradley took office as a senator representing New Jersey. Bradley left the Senate in 1997, and unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 2000.
J.C. Watts (right) starred as a quarterback at Oklahoma, where he was twice named Orange Bowl MVP. After he graduated in 1981, Watts played in the CFL, spending time with both the Ottawa Rough Riders and the Toronto Argonauts before retiring in 1986. In 1994, Watts ran for Congress as a Republican from Oklahoma and took office in 1995, serving until 2003.
Gerald Ford played center and linebacker for the Michigan Wolverines, winning two national titles in 1932 and 1933. After a lengthy stint in Congress, Ford became vice president after Spiro Agnew's resignation in 1973. He later became president following Richard Nixon's resignation in 1974. Ford died in December 2006.
Arnold Schwarzenegger became the youngest Mr. Olympia at age 23, a record that still stands, and won the title seven times. Schwarzenegger parlayed his body-building career into an acting career — and ultimately a political career. He became California's governor in November 2003 and was sworn in for a second term in 2007. He left public office when that term expired in 2011.
Steve Largent spent 13 seasons in the NFL, all with the Seattle Seahawks. The wide receiver went to the Pro Bowl seven times and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. Largent represented Oklahoma in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1994 to 2002, when he resigned to run for governor, a race he eventually lost.
Tom Osborne was the head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team for 25 years, his last season being in 1997. Osborne never won fewer than nine games in a season, retiring with a 255-49-3 record. He was elected to Congress in 2000, serving three terms as a Republican representing Nebraska.
Jack Kemp played quarterback professionally for 13 years, playing in the NFL, CFL and AFL. Kemp took the Buffalo Bills to the AFL championship in 1964 and again in 1965, when he was named the league's MVP. He served as a New York congressman before serving as housing secretary under President George H.W. Bush from 1989-1993. In 1996, he was the GOP's vice presidential nominee. Kemp died in May 2009.
Jim Bunning began his 17-year MLB career with the Detroit Tigers and also starred with the Philadelphia Phillies. He is one of six players to pitch both a no-hitter and a perfect game, and one of five to throw a no-hitter in both the NL and AL. Bunning was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998 and won again to represent Kentucky in November 2004. He did not seek a third term in 2010.
Dave Bing's NBA career spanned 12 seasons, starting in 1966. Bing, a shooting guard, played most of his career with the Detroit Pistons and was a seven-time All-Star. In May 2009, he became Detroit's oldest mayor at age 65 after winning a special election. He was re-elected in November that year.