NBA legend Michael Jordan has been the most well-known basketball player to take a dip in the pool of another sport by switching over to Baseball during a short period of his career. However, Miami Heat star LeBron James may be gearing up to follow in Jordan’s footprints and have a short NFL run.
The basketball player-turned-tight end experiment has worked out pretty well for some NFL teams — Drew Brees and Philip Rivers seem to enjoy throwing to Jimmy Graham and Antonio Gates, respectively — so whenever LeBron James mentions his love of football, general managers must let their minds wander and dream about having a 6-8, 250-pound tight end at their disposal.
King James teased them all again late last week, when he said he’d like to play in the NFL “before it’s over.”
James apparently had some time to kill on Friday night, so he engaged his 10 million-plus followers in a Twitter Q&A with interesting results.
He’d like to make a Space Jam-esqe movie (“Think about it a lot”), finds it hard being compared to Michael Jordan (“It’s tough being compared to the greatest but I love challenges.”), enjoys both cookies and cream and cookie dough ice cream and still has the itch to put on pads and a helmet on Sundays.
Asked by a follower, “would you ever consider playing in one pro football game? In any league?” James responded by saying, “I wanna play one NFL game before it’s over.”
Who knows when it’ll be over for the 28-year-old four-time MVP, but he has been vocal about his desire to play pro football. In 2009 he appeared in a commercial for State Farm Insurance where he dreamed of playing for the Cleveland Browns and during the 2011 NBA lockout, James joked with ESPN’s John Clayton on Twitter that he wanted to know if the NFL had a deadline for when a team could sign him. Then, after Joe Theismann said last spring that he’d like to see James play quarterback, the Heat star didn’t exactly extinguish the speculation about his pro football prospects.
“I have the ability,” he said during last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. “I can see and read plays. I study a lot, so I know defenses and things of that nature. So I would have been pretty good if I had decided to go for it.”
A broken wrist between his junior and senior years of high school was what stopped James from going for it. Things obviously worked out fine for him.
Perhaps this is how James makes his return to Cleveland. A two tight end set with James and Jordan Cameron on the Browns could be interesting.
Then again, saying you want to do something and actually doing it are two entirely separate things. Mariano Rivera longed to play one game in center field for the Yankees, but retired last month without ever having has name written into a lineup card with an “8” next to it.