Most of the time you hear claims like this the response is to internally roll your eyes, but in this instance the correct course of action may be to casually say, “Uh, yeah probably. I could see that.”
In a new piece from The Athletic, LeBron James says he had tryout offers from the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys during the 2011 NBA Lockout. He didn’t attend either of those tryouts (meaning you didn’t somehow miss that) but says that, if he did, he would’ve made those teams.
“I would have made the team,” James said to the subscription-only publication. “I would have tried out, but I would have made the team.”
During the same NBA lockout James acknowledged opportunities to audition for an NFL squad. How serious he was about playing is something we’ll leave for you to decide, but it’s not such a stretch to say he could’ve made it through final cuts if he dedicated himself fully.
“One thing about it, I don’t mind working for something, so if I would have had to try out for the Cowboys or the Seahawks, or if I’d have stayed home and went back home to Cleveland, I’d have tried [out], but I would have made the team. I just know what I’m capable of doing on the football field. Especially at that age,” he added.
The Athletic’s piece was part of a larger article on James’ high school football career, which is a subject that’s come up from time-to-time. The story’s about James’ two years as a wideout on the varsity for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. In a February 2017 article from Bleacher Report teammates from that prep squad fawned over James’ abilities, and it was written that James seriously considered playing college football. That seems especially notable given that he went straight from high school to the NBA. He ended up playing for two full seasons on the varsity (prior to skipping his senior season due to a wrist injury) and recorded 99 catches and 27 touchdowns in those seasons. In both years he also earned All-State honors. An NFL GM told B/R that James could’ve been one of the greatest tight ends in league history (yes, we’re aware NFL GMs get things wrong all the time...but still).
James was 26-years-old at the time of the NBA lockout, and was coming off a season in which the Heat (his team, you knew that) lost to the Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. The next season didn’t begin until Christmas due to a lockout that went on for 161 days.
James says that he was invited to tryout for the Cowboys by owner Jerry Jones (not hard to believe if you know anything about Jones) and was also sent a tryout invite by Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
James claims he “seriously considered” playing for Dallas, but that friends and advisors stepped in to talk him out of hit. He said that “I always think about it.”
Go read the full piece over at The Athletic.