A lot of great NBA players were stars in other sports in high school and college. But only the best could play in any of the major sports on the professional level. Possibly the greatest athlete in NBA history, Wilt Chamberlain was offered a spot on the Kansas City Cheifs. LeBron James joined that club and gave it serious consideration during the 2011 lockdown.
James was often referred to as the best athlete in all of sports, in his athletic prime. 6’9”, 250lb, with an insane combination of speed, strength, and agility – you’d be hard-pressed to find a better athlete. He stepped away from football during his senior year in high school to focus on basketball, but the football bug never left James. Actually, his friends made him drop football not to get injured and told LeBron they would “jump(kick my a**) me every day of practice until I had enough!“
Then the 2011 lockout happened, and the best athlete in the US was sitting at home. Two teams saw their chance and made a call to LeBron, offering him contracts to play in the NFL. James shared the details on Monday Night Football with Payton and Eli Manning.
“Jerry Jones offered me a contract, Pete Carroll did as well in Seattle. It definitely got my blood flowing again, got my mind racing again thinking about the game of football. But, we were able to get a deal done in the NBA and I was back on the court in no time. But I definitely thought about it.”LeBron James, NFL
I suspect it was never a serious consideration. The lockout began on July 1, 2011 meaning LeBron was recovering from a dramatic loss to the Mavericks at the time. He was still without an NBA ring and putting that in jeopardy to play some football was out of the question. Still, doesn’t mean the teams didn’t try.
“I still have the jerseys that Jerry and Pete Carroll sent me in 2011.”LeBron James, NFL
The position both teams had in mind was tight end – makes sense given LeBron’s size. James said he wanted to be a Gronk-like red-zone specialist, and Payton Manning agreed that would’ve been the right decision. LeBron out wide running a fade route would’ve been unstoppable. Still, we’re happy he stayed on the court and left the football field to other players. The NBA is better for it.