LeBron James may already be the GOAT in one sport, but in an alternate reality, he could have been the GOAT in another. Long-time coach Doc Rivers says James is such a good athlete he could have gone down as the greatest NFL player of all time.
Rivers made that comment while appearing on “Go Off with Austin Rivers.”
Austin Rivers & Doc Rivers agree on LeBron James being the greatest athlete of all-time— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) May 13, 2020
“I really believe if LeBron James had to play football, he may have been the greatest football player ever.”
(🎥 @uninterrupted ) pic.twitter.com/T48KRneg0z
Here’s the relevant part of the conversation:
Doc Rivers: “I don’t know if there’s ever been an athlete in our league like LeBron James.”
Austin Rivers: “I don’t think in sports. I don’t think in sports there’s been anything like LeBron James.”
Doc Rivers: “It’s funny. You’re right. I really believe if LeBron James played football, he may have been the greatest football player ever.”
Doc Rivers’ connection drops out briefly, but then he adds, “If he can catch, I don’t know. Or defense.”
That last line is important because it tells fans Rivers wasn’t definitively saying James would be better than Tom Brady or Jerry Rice had James picked football over basketball. Rivers is saying James is so athletic that it would not have surprised Rivers if James could have also been a tremendous football player.
That’s not exactly an original thought. Prior to becoming a basketball star, James was also considered a strong football prospect. Many have speculated whether James could have excelled as a Cleveland Browns tight end. Making that transition wouldn’t be impossible. Antonio Gates played basketball in college before dominating with the Chargers.
In the end, whether Rivers is correct doesn’t matter. James has zero incentive to play football. We’ll just have to settle for appreciating James as one of the best — if not the best — basketball player of all time.
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