LeBron James is an absolute specimen of an athlete. At 6-foot-9, 250 pounds, he can play at least four positions on a basketball court at an elite level, gravitating towards small forward and point guard.
Basketball wasn’t the only sport he excelled at as a high schooler. James used to play football. As a high school junior, before he had to give the sport up to focus on hoops, he says he caught 60 passes for 1,200 yards and 16 touchdowns as a wide receiver.
Had LeBron gone down the football path, he would’ve had plenty of major college opportunities. It isn’t crazy to think he would’ve been a very good NFL player, given his size, physicality, and mind-blowing athleticism. One of the NBA’s top coaches thinks he could’ve been even better than that.
In a new interview on his son Austin Rivers’ “Go Off” podcast on LeBron James’ “Uninterrupted” platform, Doc Rivers said he think the Los Angeles Lakers star could’ve been one of the greatest football players ever. Austin Rivers, who has gone up against LeBron plenty over his career, agreed without a doubt. We’ll never know, but it may not be as far fetched as some think.
Austin Rivers & Doc Rivers agree on LeBron James being the greatest athlete of all-time
“I really believe if LeBron James had to play football, he may have been the greatest football player ever.”
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) May 13, 2020
“I don’t know if there’s ever been an athlete in our league like LeBron James,” Doc Rivers says in the clip. Austin took it to the next level. “I don’t think it’s sports…” indicating he thinks James may be the greatest pure athlete ever.
“You’re right,” Doc responded. “I really believe if LeBron James had played football, he may have been the greatest football player ever, at whatever position.”
After Austin Rivers responded about James’ acclaimed high school career, Doc expounded about LeBron’s incredible talent.
“Could you imagine as a high school kid, as a senior, LeBron James with a helmet on? That’s dangerous. I would’ve given him the ball… Here’s the thing when someone asks me about LeBron. ‘Explain to me why he’s so dominant.’ I said okay. He weighs 10 pounds more than Karl Malone. Karl Malone was a power forward, and was looked upon as the biggest, strongest guy in the league. LeBron James weighs 10 pounds more than him as a small forward, moving at the speed that he moves at. That explains LeBron James in a nutshell.”
Unfortunately we’ll never know for sure, but it isn’t hard to imagine LeBron as a receiver or tight end giving every defender absolute fits.