Here's an interesting story out of India which would have whizzed over my head had I not read this ESPN piece a few months ago; cricket superstar Sachin Tendulkar has been named to the Indian senate (Rajya Sabha). Most of the Rajya Sabha is elected, but the Indian president gets to name 12 dignitaries to the upper house for "special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service." A bit of a stretch, but are you going to be the judge to tell him he can't serve?
Some upper houses, like the House of Lords in the UK or Canada's Senate, have little real-world power other than to slow down legislation they don't like; a Canadian wag called a Senate nod a "taskless thanks." The Rajya Sabha seems to be a cross between one of those more-honorary upper houses and the US senate if my quick read on the Indian legislature is on target.
A North American analogy would be to have Wayne Gretzky get named to the Canadian Senate or for Michael Jordan to get named President Obama's old Senate seat; His Airness could have afforded Blago's price tag;-). Sachin is that kind of sporting god in India, but at 38, he's starting to wind down.
Not too many active athletes are in politics, boxer Manny Pacquiao has served two terms in the Philippine House while still being active in the Sweet Science-he has a date with Floyd Mayweather coming up later this month, which is being billed as one of the bigger matches in years.
The ESPN piece on Sachin is worth a read if you're a North American sports fan who is clueless about cricket; it will show why he's gotten that not-quite-taskless thanks from his country.