LeBron James, the iconic All-NBA small forward for the Los Angeles Lakers, has always been a larger-than-life figure in basketball. However, many may need to learn that LeBron’s athletic talents extend beyond the hardwood. In various instances during his illustrious NBA career, LeBron flirted with the idea of exploring a football career. While he never made the switch, there are intriguing insights into what could have been if he had pursued his passion for football. One such glimpse comes from an offer he received from the Dallas Cowboys during the 2011 NBA strike, coupled with the perspective of NFL legend Calvin Johnson.
High School Days and Transition to Basketball
Standing at an imposing 6’9″, LeBron James is not just a basketball phenom. During his high school days in Akron, Ohio, he was a standout wide receiver on the football field. His size, speed, and athleticism made him a formidable force on the gridiron. However, as he began solidifying his status as a basketball prodigy, he made the tough decision to transition to full-time, year-round basketball. This choice ultimately led him to become one of the greatest basketball players in history.
The Dallas Cowboys Offer
During the 2011 NBA strike, LeBron James received an offer of some level from none other than Jerry Jones, the owner of the Dallas Cowboys. While the offer’s specifics remain undisclosed, it’s a testament to LeBron’s athleticism and potential that an NFL team was interested in securing his services. Although LeBron never seriously considered the offer, it raises intriguing questions about what could have happened if he had ventured into professional football.
Calvin Johnson’s Assessment
In a recent interview on The Scoop B Radio Podcast with Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, Hall of Fame former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, he shared his thoughts on LeBron James’ potential as a football player, particularly as a tight end. Johnson, known for his incredible skills on the football field, offered a unique perspective.
Johnson acknowledged that LeBron James’ size and strength make him a prime candidate for the tight end position, especially in today’s NFL. He noted that he could have been great if LeBron had pursued football in the last decade. This observation reflects the evolution of the tight end position in recent years, with many players taking on hybrid roles, often resembling wide receivers.
“Well it depends. I mean, if LeBron come like nowadays, like… in the last 10 years, he could’ve been GREAT,” Johnson told Robinson. “Now if would’ve came in like maybe 20 years ago when that tight end position exactly wasn’t that hybrid/receiver position, he might’ve been a buck at tight end [laughs]… but there are a few guys that can make the transition and just off the way that LeBron is built maybe he can make that transition but, a lot of guys ain’t built to get up and down off the ground and get hit like that all the time. ”
However, Johnson also pointed out that if LeBron had attempted a football career about two decades ago when the tight end position was more traditional and less focused on receiving abilities, he might have thrived as a “buck at tight end.” In other words, LeBron’s physicality and build suited the demands of the position at that time.
LeBron James’ flirtations with a football career remain a tantalizing “what if” scenario in sports. While he chose to dedicate his talents to basketball, glimpses of his football prowess and the offers he received from NFL teams indicate his incredible potential on the gridiron. With the changing nature of the NFL, where versatile tight ends are highly valued, it’s easy to imagine LeBron excelling in such a role if he had pursued football. Nevertheless, we can only appreciate LeBron’s greatness in basketball while acknowledging the intriguing possibility of what might have been in the football world.
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