Do you think LeBron James would be able to play in the NFL right now? Maybe. Probably. After all, he is super athletic, huge and very strong. Those are all the hallmarks of a great football player, so it is an understandable stance, if you have it.
But if you don’t think he’d be a football player, there are some guys who agree with you. They play in the NFL, so they know what they’re talking about. From Fox News Ohio:
“It wouldn’t be easy,” Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall said. “I recommend he keep his NBA contract and just play the Madden video games if he misses football.”
And this guy:
“There aren’t many guys with the athleticism and strength LeBron has in any sport,” [Bengals safety Chris] Crocker said. “But I also think guys pick the sports they pick for a reason. Just like (Chad) Ochocinco thinks he’s a soccer player until he gets up close and sees how skilled pro soccer players really are, there’s nothing easy about the NFL.”
And this guy:
[Former NFL linebacker Chris] Spielman said James is the “greatest athlete I’ve ever seen,” but there’s more than just the physical contact he’d worry about in a hypothetical transition.
“He’s the mentally weakest person I’ve ever seen,” Spielman said.
Now all these guys agree that he could physically play in the NBA, what with the giant muscles and insane speed for a 275 pound dude, but they question the adjustment from playing high school football nearly a decade ago to jumping in to the NFL. Considering the fact that guys who play football their entire lives have trouble acclimating to professional football, it’s a pretty safe bet that a guy who has no upper level experience is really going to struggle. There’s no doubt in mind that if LeBron had stuck with football instead of basketball that he’d be an amazing football player, but since he hasn’t, I have doubts.
That’s not to say that teams wouldn’t sign LeBron James, even if he is just a backup tight end who doesn’t play special teams. The marketing dollars alone would surely make up his contract, plus some genius coach would love to try to find a way to use him effectively in the red zone. And after a couple years, he’d probably be Mr. Touchdownbeat and all football fans would hate him because that is just what happens.
But that is not the case, and it is hardly important. LeBron James would struggle mightily in the NFL, but he’s not going to sign up there anyway. He’s the most talented basketball player alive and he’s 26 years old. He’s not going to jeopardize another 15 years of playing basketball because he’s enjoying the attention he gets from Tweeting about the NFL. Let’s just enjoy the video of him in Madden and be done with this nonsense. Agreed? Cool.