Everyone knows Deion Sanders is one of the best two-sport athletes of all time. But did you know that he was nearly a three-sport athlete at one point during his career?
Sanders appeared on SI Now on Thursday and revealed that, back when he was playing for the Atlanta Braves (he doesn't remember the year, but he was a member of the team from 1991 through 1994), he almost suited up for the Atlanta Hawks for a single NBA game. It’s unclear how close he came to actually doing it, but according to Sanders, there were at least discussions about it possibly taking place.
“I was close,” he said on SI Now. “I mean really close. This is a breaking story. I was really close to playing for the Atlanta Hawks for one game. When I was with the Braves—I don’t recall the year—Stan Kasten was the GM for both teams, the Braves and the Hawks, and he was going to allow me to play in an NBA game so that I could play three professional sports.”
It didn't ultimately happen, but Sanders revealed that he went as far as to tell Kasten exactly what he would do if he was allowed to take the court.
“I convinced him that I could get him 10 points,” Sanders said. “I was going to get two steals, alright? And I could make the layups, so that was four [points]. I was going to get to the free throw line, and I was going to hit one out of two free throws. I know me—I’m not going to hit both of them. So I got seven. And just by being in the right place at the right time, I was going to get another two. Now I just gotta pray for one more and I would have had 10.”
Sanders has joked about playing for the Hawks in the past:
And we dug up a video from the 1992 Foot Locker Slam Fest that seems to confirm that Sanders is telling the truth about nearly playing for the Hawks. During an interview for the Slam Fest, he talked about how he wanted to sign a short contract with the team. He mentions it at the 10:30 mark:
"I might as well do it for the Hawks," he said while discussing the idea of picking up a third professional sport. "I’m trying to talk them into it right now. I’m trying to get them to sign me to a 10-day contract and let Prime Time be the first to play three sports in the same season."
Unfortunately, the Hawks didn't go for it. But can you imagine what would have happened if Sanders and Dominique Wilkins had taken the court at the same time?