Getting to the big leagues in America as a young athlete is an incredibly challenging task that is, in most cases, more of a dream than a reality. The statistics show how slim the odds of an athlete making the NBA, NFL, and MLB are. That being said, it is implied that only the cream of the crop manages to make it out, as you have to be elite to get to the top of your sport. But what is incredible, some multi-sport athletes managed to go pro in more than one sport.
Just think of some iconic names like Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, Danny Ainge, and others who successfully competed in two sports at the highest level. But most of those connections are related between basketball and baseball or football and baseball. Only two players in history managed to play in the NBA and the NFL. That is logical because the skills required to play basketball and football are polar opposites, as these two sports don’t mix well together.
The proof can be found in the fact that only two athletes we mentioned earlier that played both sports were active in the mid-1940s and early 1950s. Otto Graham and Bud Grant were the only two names to achieve this impressive feat until recently. Mark Vital is a name you probably only heard of if you watch college basketball, but his name will go down in history.
Growing up in Louisiana, Mark was a freak athlete from his childhood days, showing flashes of raw athleticism already in middle school. That alone propelled him to be one of his generation’s best high school basketball players, eventually signing with the prestigious basketball program at Baylor University. There Vital became a legend, being a crucial part of Baylor winning the 2021 NCAA Championship. The next step was imminent as Vital declared for the NBA Draft.
Unforutenaley Mark went undrafted but got signed shortly after to the Blazer Summer League roster. It wasn’t a smooth ride for Vital, as he just played in three games without too much production. So with not much prosperity on the horizon, Vital did the unthinkable and went a completely different route, signing with the Seattle Seahawks as a tight end. An NFL team. A shocking turn of events, considering the last time Vital played football was in middle school at 13 years old.
That made Vital the first athlete in 70 years to sign a contract and suit up in both the NBA and NFL. Even though he hasn’t played for that long, the 6’5”, 255 lbs frame will allow him to fit in perfectly. Even on the basketball court, Vital looked more like a football player. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed optimism about Vital, saying how his mental and psychical ability will make the transition smooth and help him learn the game again. If he manages to pull it off and actually build a decent NFL career, this will be one of the most impressive feats an athlete has ever done. Hopefully, he manages to make it work since the NBA wasn’t his calling.