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Could the best player in the NBA have been just as good in the NFL?

By Jason Duaine Hahn
May 19, 2020 01:34 PM
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LeBron James Once Received a Contract from Jerry Jones to Play for the Dallas Cowboys
Credit: Atiba Jefferson/NBAE via Getty; Albert Pena/CSM/Shutterstock

Could LeBron James have made it in the NFL? Nearly 10 years ago, the world was close to finding out an answer.

During a recent episode of Uninterrupted’s WRTS: After Party, the Los Angeles Lakers star revealed that he started training to play football when the NBA went into a lockout before the start of the 2011-2012 season.

“I had no idea how long the lockout was going to be and myself and my trainer, [Mike] Mancias, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to October and November,” James, 35, said on the show.

“We started to clock our times with the 40s," he continued. "We started to add a little bit more with the bench press and things of that nature. We started to add a little more sled to our agenda with our workouts.”

While football and basketball couldn't be more different, for James, the jump between the two sports wouldn't have been crazy. That's because he previously played football for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Ohio.

James played wide receiver and made first-team all-state as a sophomore, according to NFL.com. A year later, James amassed 57 receptions for 1,160 yards and 16 touchdowns.

The team went 10-4 that year, and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer even tried — unsuccessfully — to recruit James. But the talented high schooler ultimately pulled the plug on playing football during his senior year after he injured his hand in a basketball game.

With the NBA season on hiatus, James was focused on making one last run at football — something that had remained on his mind since his high school career did not end the way he envisioned.

“Never having the ability to finish my high school career of playing my senior year, I have dreams all the time about playing football. It’s crazy because I actually never run on the field in my dreams,” James said.

"It always gets to the point where I’m either in the locker room or getting dressed or talking about or seeing the fans and as soon as I’m about to run on the field, something else happens in my dream ... it always happens like that," he continued.

But as Maverick Carter — James' friend and business partner revealed — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones offered James an actual contract to play with the team.

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“I know he got a contract from Jerry Jones that he framed and put in his office," Carter said on Uninterrupted.

But James would ultimately leave his football hopes behind when the NBA lockout came to an end in December 2011. James and the Miami Heat went on to win the NBA championship later that season.