It's hard to imagine a scenario where Jamal Crawford is more well-known than NFL icon Tom Brady. But that happened more than two decades ago. Appearing in a recent episode of Draymond Green's podcast, the three-time Sixth Man of the Year discussed NIL (name, image, and likeness). This recent policy change has allowed collegiate athletes to profit off themselves. During the discussion, Crawford mentioned how popular he was with students - more so than Brady was.
"I was at school with Tom Brady," the former guard said. "I was more popular on campus than he was at that time because Drew Henson was the quarterback there, and he was kind of like the guy."
Was J Crossover capping?
Of course, it's hard to dispute or verify Crawford's story without some corroboration from other Michigan students at the time.
But looking at the timeline, the 42-year-old spent only one season (1999-00) with the Wolverines. The school's basketball program was a bit unsuccessful during those times. On the other hand, Michigan has always been a football school. So, its football athletes were probably more famous on campus.
In addition, what Crawford said about Brady and Henson could have been more accurate. Even though Brady wasn't the football star yet that he is today, he was still the starting quarterback for the Wolverines for two seasons despite some tough competition from a highly revered Henson.
However, in the 1999 campaign, the two players were called to platoon the quarterback duties, with Brady playing the first quarter and Henson the second frame. Whoever had the hot hand would take the field in the second half. But later in the season, Brady eventually became QB1 because of his relatively strong performance.
So, it's unclear if Crawford had a memory lapse about Brady's situation or was simply tooting his own horn.
Unlikely HOF candidate
Still, the legendary quarterback didn't have an outstanding college career. In fact, he wasn't even a highly touted prospect when he entered the 2000 NFL Draft. Many teams passed on him before the New England Patriots took him with the 199th selection in the sixth round. Who knew that the seventh quarterback chosen in that year's draft would turn out to be arguably the best player in football history?
Crawford is still well-liked in his own right. But his and Brady's popularity levels are so far apart, even if "J Crossover" believed that he had the upper hand in that department during their time on campus.