NFL

How LeBron James Almost Joined the NFL

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 08: LeBron James on the sidelines before a game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on September 8, 2013 in Arlington, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Giants 36-31.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

In 2011, LeBron James was considering an NFL route due to issues within the NBA.

Just nine years ago, the NBA went into lockout, sending players and basketball fans worldwide into a panic. The previous season finished with LeBron James and the Miami Heat losing in the finals to the Dallas Mavericks. The NBA didn’t start its season until December 8th, 2011, after lasting 161 days. The Atlantic phrased it, saying, “The players want the NBA to be more like Major League Baseball. They want huge player salaries that are guaranteed to payout, even if the player under-performs. The owners want the NBA to be more like the NFL. They want smaller player salaries, more ‘revenue sharing,’ and the ability to let players go if they don’t perform.”

During the lockout, many players dealt with it in different ways. Fox Sports covered the various ways NBA Players kept themselves busy at this time of no basketball. James Harden and Kevin Durant participated in the Drew League over the summer along with other NBA stars. Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace and went on Dancing With the Stars. 

One player, in particular, changed something significantly different when he heard about the lockout.

LeBron James in the NFL?

LeBron James was thinking ahead of the game and had no idea how long the lockout would last. He decided that it was best to start training for a sport that wasn’t basketball. In a recent episode of “The Uninterrupted” with longtime business partner Maverick Carter and host Paul Rivera, James discussed his plans to make a football appearance.

I had no idea how long the lockout was going to be, and myself and my trainer Mike Mancias, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to October, November. We started to clock our times in the 40, we started to add a little bit more in our bench presses and things of that nature. We started to add more sled to our agenda with our workouts.

LeBron James on “The Uninterrupted”

Outside of his high school hoops stardom, James was also a standout receiver at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s high school. Per NFL.com, LeBron put up 57 receptions for 1,160 yards and 16 touchdowns while earning all-state honors in his junior year. Going into his senior year, LeBron suffered a wrist injury in an AAU game over the summer. This would lead him to only focus on basketball.

LeBron didn’t just train to become an NFL player and never get there. He had everything he needed to become one, including a contract. In the interview on The Interrupted LeBron’s business partner Carter said “I know he got a contract from Jerry Jones that he framed and put in his office.”

We don’t know if Jerry Jones was serious here, but one can speculate.

Could LeBron Actually Have Done It?

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 12: LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on after the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated the Oregon Ducks 42 to 20 in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium on January 12, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The world of sports has not seen many players play in different leagues and at a high level in both. Many players in the NFL have contracts with the MLB. However, they only play in a few Spring Training games a year. The most recent player to be active in two separate sports was Kyler Murray. Murray was the first-ever player taken in the first round of both the NFL and MLB drafts. He stuck with football, as maintaining football shape while playing 162 games of baseball would be tough. 

When one former NFL player heard the news of LeBron’s possible signing back in 2011, he wasn’t amused. Andrew Siciliano of ESPN asked him if LeBron could have blocked him. He immediately responded, “no way in hell LeBron would have blocked me.” This was Ex-Cowboy Demarcus Ware, who retired in 2011. Ware followed up about LeBron by saying “But I think he would’ve made a really good tight end, especially because [of] his athleticism.”

LeBron has solidified himself as one of the greatest NBA players of all time. But would he be as dominant in the NFL? He has the height and weight standing at 6’9” and weighing 250 pounds. James also ran a 40 yard dash time of 4.4 seconds. There is no doubt LeBron could wreak havoc in the league. Sadly, it is one of those many what if’s that will come up in YouTube videos and talk shows, yet never be answered.

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