Long before Cam Newton won the NFL MVP Award, led the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 regular season record and carried the team to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, he was a five-star prospect being recruited by some of the best college football programs in the country, including Oklahoma, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Florida. In this regard, he is not all that different than Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James.

Rewind the clocks back to 2001 — multiple years before the endorsement deals with Nike, McDonald's, Sprite, and Beats, and a full decade ahead of his first of four NBA Titles — LeBron James too was a five-star prospect being recruited by some of the best college football programs in the country. Of course, LeBron James, for as talented as he was on the gridiron, was never going to take the field in a meaningful college football game. Once-in-a-generation greatness on the hardwood called for him. So since that time, LeBron has scratched his football itch by use of the Madden NFL video game, and now it appears as if a high-profile matchup between a pair of MVP's may be happening (digitally) soon enough.

For additional context, it's worth noting that all of this started when Anthony Davis, during an appearance on the Join The Lobby Pod, shared the story of LeBron James' quest to become one of the top Madden players in the entire world after falling short in multiple Lakers Madden battles during the 2020 NBA Bubble.

“It made him to the point where he was like, ‘I'm locking back in,'” Davis recalled on the pod. “When I say he locked back in, from that time in the bubble till right now, I think now he's maybe top 1000 in the world now. I know, late in the season, he told us he beat the 164th best player in the world, I think.”

Cam Newton may have the actual NFL experience, but I don't think he's ready for what King James is gonna throw at him on the sticks.

Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James plays catch with the Ohio State Buckeyes team before the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium.
© Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James' football background 

It's not just that LeBron James was a five-star recruit during his years in high school. It's that he was the number one ranked football prospect in the state of Ohio as a Junior.

Given his remarkable size, athleticism, and dedication to his craft, it's easy to imagine a world in which LeBron James could've had a successful NFL career. But the question is, just how good could LeBron have been if he chose football instead?

“He’s so big and imposing. Like a taller Antonio Gates. Having a guy like that in the red zone is almost a guaranteed touchdown,” an NFL scout said of LeBron James, per Dan Kadar of SB Nation.

Mark Murphy, a former NFL safety and the current President of the Green Bay Packers, went even further with his assessment of LeBron James, offering this take back in 2010.

“I've been around a lot of great receivers,” Murphy said. “I tell people that I rate my top receivers — coaching, playing or watching — as James Lofton, Jerry Rice, Steve Largent and LeBron James.”

Even with this remarkable upside, considering LeBron James is now a billionaire and arguably the greatest basketball player to ever walk this earth, it's fair to say he made the right choice.