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LeBron James

How great would LeBron James have been in the NFL if he chose football over basketball?

Pending on who you ask, LeBron James is the greatest player in NBA history. It’s hard to argue too. The numbers really speak for themselves.

I mean, look at what he was doing this season before the coronavirus outbreak forced the NBA to suspend play.

At age 35, in 60 games James was averaging 25.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Oh, and he was leading the NBA by averaging 10.6 assists per game.

What’s craziest perhaps, is the fact that basketball wasn’t the only sport he could have gone pro in though.

According to ClutchPoints’ own Mike Cruz, James was also an incredible football player in high school. In fact, he was the number one recruit in all of Ohio.

With that in mind, we wondered – just how good would LeBron James have been if he decided to try and go to the NFL?

Okay first off, it should be noted that nothing is guaranteed.

Being a top recruit in a state in high school doesn’t exactly mean you’ll even make it to the NFL, let alone be a superstar.

James would have had to spend at least three years in college. There’s a chance he wouldn’t have produced at all that high of a level. And at that point, would be lucky to even get drafted.

The potential to be next-level great was there though.

Just look at the size. In the Mike Cruz article, he linked an Instagram post from James that showed a newspaper article from when he was in high school. The newspaper has him listed at 6-8, 232 lbs at the time. Oh, and he ran a 4.6.

The 4.6 is nothing super crazy for the NFL. But for his size, that’s pretty incredible.

There’s the other athleticism as well. We’ve seen that LeBron James can jump out of the building and is ridiculously strong. He’s also kept his body in elite shape throughout his career.

Those are all things that would translate perfectly onto the football field. The only real difference being that football might wear the body down a little bit more.

But just imagine 6-8 James lined up at tight end. With that speed, strength, and athleticism. Not many people are going to be able to cover him.

He’ll run past some defenders, then bully and out jump any others on his way to make the catch.

There are a few things that would stop him from being as great as he is in the NBA though.

First, those college years. That’s three fewer years for James to be at the professional level.

Second, career length. NFL careers tend to be much shorter than NFL careers. It’s hard to imagine James would be playing at an elite level in his age-35 season in football. He very well could, but there’s definitely a higher chance for a decline.

Finally, it’s a team sport. Yes, basketball is as well and I personally hate the rings argument because of it. No one does it on their own in any sport.

However, in basketball, you can make your own plays. If the rest of the team is playing bad, James can just start calling his own number and take the ball to the rim or pull up for three, or whatever he has to do.

In football, he would need to rely on his quarterback – who is already relying on his offensive line. So much could go wrong to the point where there would be games where James is barely in the box score without it being his fault.

Sure, we’d get some crazy plays where he mosses someone, but we wouldn’t get those iconic chase down blocks or dunks. We wouldn’t get nearly as many highlights because there’s so much that needs to happen to get the ball in his hands in the first place.

It’s impossible to tell just how good anyone would be in a different sport. Don’t listen to someone if they can “tell you without a doubt” that LeBron James would’ve been the best of all-time or an absolute dud in football.

However, it’s pretty safe to assume he would have been very good and had his absolutely dominating games.

The star power would be so different though. It wouldn’t be the same James we know today – and that’s just weird to think about.