Have you ever watched a professional game and witnessed a player that clearly looks like they should be playing a different sport? The guy that is freakishly taller than everyone else standing next to him. Or the guy who looks like he ate a no.7 from McDonald's right before he stepped on the court and now is a packing a few too many pounds to be wearing his extremely tight jersey. Either way, we have all seen someone who looks out of place in their current sport.
However this is not necessarily a bad thing.
Many professional athletes have been know for being multi-sport stand outs before playing the sport that they are now paid to play. NFL tight end Antonio Gates was a former Division One basketball player, retired NBA legend Steve Nash was a very skilled soccer player, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick were both drafted to the MLB before playing in the NFL, and NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III was a world class track and field hurdler in college. So it is not uncommon to see athletes than can play multiple sports.
As someone who covers the NBA on a daily basis, I have noticed a few players, 15 to be exact, that look like they have the potential to dominant in a another sport.
To kick this thing off, it must be made clear that anyone playing in the National Basketball Association is doing pretty damn well for themselves. To make the NBA, a player must be one of the best basketball players in world and must have overcome the terrifically low odds of making it far enough to become a professional basketball player.
That being said, it is still worth to imagine what these 15 NBA players would be doing had they never picked up a basketball.
15 Steven Adams
At 7'0 tall and freakishly strong and athletic, Adams reminds me of a great shot putter. As someone who knows a few things about the sport myself, Adams fits the mold perfectly. Broad shoulders, long levers, and the ability to contort his body with ease would make him a Olympic shot putter candidate with ease. Not to mention, shot put runs in his family. Adam's sister Valerie Adams in a TWO TIME GOLD MEDAL Olympic shot putter for New Zealand-so I guess you can say it runs in the family.
14 Glen Davis
When I watch Glen Davis, I see a world class WWE wrestler. Don't get me wrong, Big Baby had some very good years in the NBA, but 300 pounds is a lot of weight for a human regardless of their height. I imagine Davis would be the undisputed heavyweight champion and give Roman Reigns and Triple H some problems in the ring. The WWE tends to look at former football players who could make great wrestlers, but given The Undertaker and Kevin Nash were basketball players, maybe WWE should give Davis a look.
13 Derrick Rose
Given his health history, I would doubt he would hold up more than a season, but can't you just see Rose being a lock down corner in the NFL? At 6'3 and with more explosion than any one man would ever need, Rose reminds me of Arizona Cardinals' Patrick Peterson in terms of freaky athleticism and size. Rose could probably start for the Bears today. The corner position is changing in the NFL, as DBs are expected to be a little taller than before and have a longer wingspan.
12 T11. Gerald Green
Everyone knows that Gerald Green is a dunking machine. He was the 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Champion simply because he can jump out of the gym. Remember when he blew a candle out from a cupcake that was sitting on the back of the rim? That takes serious hops. With a reported vertical leap of 39 inches, Green would need little coaching to be a stud track and field high jumper.
11 T11. Aaron Gordon
Another high jumper. According to thescore.com, during this years NBA slam dunk competition, Gordon leaped at least 7 feet and 7 inches in the air before completing his under the legs dunk-a height that would put him in contention to medal during any Olympic games. Gordon may not have quite mastered the NBA game yet, but he has indeed mastered the craft of making NBA crowds go "ooh" and "ah" on a nightly basis.
10 Kirk Hinrich
There is nothing uncharacteristic of Hinrich in the NBA. He plays the game very similar to other players at his position, however every time I watch him I see a top 10 golfer in the PGA tour. Maybe it is his methodical approach to the game, or his precise and (slow but) technical defense that makes me think he can be a great golfer. Whatever the case may be, move over Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, and pretty boy Dustin Johnson-Captain Kirk is joining the tour.
9 Zach Randolph
Randolph has made a living in the NBA as a big bruiser that also has soft touch finishing around the rim. With limited ability to jump, Randolph relies on his size and his hands to keep his production levels high. His big frame and long arms reminds me of an old school heavyweight boxer. Randolph would be a perfect hay-maker throwing south paw. A young George Foreman vs Randolph is a fight I would pay to see.
8 Tim Duncan
It's no secret, and I am not taking too much of a risk with this one, Duncan would be a great professional swimmer. It is well known that Duncan did not play basketball until he was a teenager, as a young boy in the Virgin Islands, Duncan became one of the top 400 meter freestylers in his age group. Duncan is highly regarded as the best Power Forward to ever play in the NBA, however we can always day dream of a race between Michael Phelps and Duncan when we need to pass some time.
7 Draymond Green
J.J. Watt and Michael Bennett are two of the NFL's best defensive ends, and surprisingly Draymond Green fits a very similar physique. Watt is 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds as compared to Green who is 6-foot-7 and 230 pounds. Sure there is a large weight discrepancy, but Green is freaky fast for someone his size and with a wingspan of 7-foot-1, batting down balls would be a piece of cake.
6 Dwight Howard
Dwight Howard will always have his glory years in Orlando, but it looks like he left his magic there (pun intended.) Howard will still go down as one of the best defensive centers of all time, but similar to Steven Adams, Howard was born for track and field, specifically the discus. Finally free from the shadows of Shaquille O'Neil and with no contact being made by anyone in the discuss ring, Howard could finally put his wide shoulders and long arms to good use as he flings discusses to record breaking distances. It might also sit Howard a lot better to play an individual sport.
5 Russell Westbrook
Westbrook would be a star playing any sport that he desired. There is not a single more energetic and explosive player in the NBA, and because of this his sports options are limitless. If I had to pick an alternate sport for Westbrook it would be the sport "Slam Ball." Not because I don't see him playing football or running track and field, but there is something about watching Westbrook jump even higher than usual by using trampolines that would make me want to watch on a nightly basis.
4 Eric Bledsoe
If you haven't had a chance to watch Bledsoe, you are missing out on the guy many refer to as "the miniature Lebron James." At only 6-foot-1, Bledsoe uses muscle and power to dominate bigger guards in the NBA. Bledsoe has NFL wide receiver written all over him. My NFL comparison is Anquan Boldin who has made a career in the NFL making tough physical catches. With explosion like Bledsoe has, I have no doubt that he could be a Pro-Bowl receiver somewhere in the NFL.
3 John Wall
Baseline to baseline, Wall may be the fastest guard in the NBA. We can safely assume that even with years of training, he could never outrun the freak of nature that is Usain Bolt in an 100 meter dash, however I bet Wall could run a freaky fast 400 meter hurdle race. Wall is known for his acrobatic finishes on fast break so I imagine hurdling wouldn't be too hard for him to learn. Maybe if Wall tried hurdling, I wouldn't have to watch him destroy my hometown Chicago Bulls every time they play.
2 Klay Thompson
Thompson may be one of the best shooting guards in the NBA, but he sure doesn't look the part just by looking at him. Thompson instead fits the profile of a tremendous baseball player: Long, slim, and athletic. It wouldn't be a stretch for Thompson to play major league baseball as his younger brother Trayce Thompson currently plays for the Chicago White Sox. I can't decide whether he would be a high powered pitcher or a tremendous outfielder, but his athleticism would make him extremely versatile either way.
1 LeBron James
LeBron is still the most overall athletic man on the planet. He can do it all. Run with the fastest runners, jump with the highest jumpers, out muscle the toughest players, all while being extremely skilled on the basketball court. There is no doubt in my mind that LeBron could excel in many track and field events, play baseball, or even be a phenomenal golfer, but at the end of the day football is where most people believe LeBron would have been a real star. He was already one of Ohio's best football players as a freshman in high school, and had he not stopped playing football to pursue a career in basketball, James may very well be just as big a NFL superstar as he is in the NBA. A 6-foot-8 tight end or wide receiver with Lebron's athleticism would be simply un-guardable. It would be similar to watching a mash up of Calvin Johnson or Jimmy Graham. LeBron truly would be the ultimate NFL receiving weapon.
If Michael Jordan taught us anything, its that just because someone is dominant in one sport, it doesn't mean they will automatically be great at another- but it's fun to dream right?
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