NFL Players’ Advice to LeBron James: Stick to Basketball

by October 14, 2011

To be fair, some NFL players believe that LeBron James could be a hell of a pro football player, but most who’ve been asked about his chances so far would advise him to stay off the gridiron. From Fox Sports: “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.’ … Like [LeBron] James, Bengals safety Chris Crocker also was drafted by Cleveland in 2003. Crocker was picked by the Browns, and he spent many evenings courtside at Quicken Loans Arena watching James up close. ‘There aren’t many guys with the athleticism and strength LeBron has in any sport,’ 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.’ … [former Ohio State and 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. … Perennial Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates was a college basketball player who never played a down of college football but still caught on — and caught fire — after signing with the San Diego Chargers. Spielman said James ‘has surpassed Bo Jackson’ on his list of greatest pure athletes and would have a chance to join Gates in the club of rare athletes who make successful transitions from one sport to another. If he’d be willing to take the punishment, of course. ‘I think LeBron has a better chance of making the NFL and being an impact player than Michael Jordan had of making it in Double-A baseball,’ Spielman said. ‘I’d pay money to see him run routes. There’s no doubt, physically, that he has the skills.'”