Doc Rivers: Lakers' LeBron James Could Have Been 'Greatest Football Player Ever'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 15, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is seen at the free throw line during a game against the Brooklyn Nets at the Staples Center on March 10, 2020 in Los Angeles, CA. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Credit: 2020 NBAE (Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward LeBron James is arguably the best basketball player in the history of the sport, but the Akron, Ohio, native dominated the gridiron as well in two varsity seasons with St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

James chose the NBA and has enjoyed a fruitful career now going on 17 NBA seasons, but Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said on the Go Off with Austin Rivers podcast that he believes the superstar could have been the best pro football player ever.

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Austin Rivers & Doc Rivers agree on LeBron James being the greatest athlete of all-time “I really believe if LeBron James had to play football, he may have been the greatest football player ever.” (🎥 @uninterrupted ) https://t.co/T48KRneg0z

"I don’t know if there’s ever been an athlete in our league like LeBron James," the Clippers coach told his son, Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers (h/t Mollie Walker of the New York Post).

“I don’t think in sports, I don’t think in sports there’s been anything like LeBron James,” Austin replied.

"It’s funny. You’re right. I really believe if LeBron James played football, he may have been the greatest football player ever," the Clips coach remarked.

James, at 6'9' and 250 pounds, would have been a serious matchup problem anywhere on the field, regardless of where he played. He was a wide receiver for St. Vincent-St. Mary, and ESPN's Joon Lee, then of Bleacher Report, covered James' football exploits in a Feb. 3, 2017 piece:

"LeBron James, in just two full seasons playing varsity football, still ranks seventh in St. Vincent-St. Mary history with 27 career touchdowns, third in career receptions with 99 and earned all-state honors in both of his full seasons.

"One NFL general manager told Bleacher Report that James could’ve become one of the greatest tight ends of all time. [Childhood friend and high school quarterback Willie McGee] said James modeled his game after Peter Warrick, who played six seasons in the NFL after a collegiate career at FSU, and would compare his friend to Calvin Johnson, Antonio Brown and Cris Carter. 'He had what it took to be special,' McGee said."

Matt McDonald, who also played quarterback for St. Vincent-St. Mary, said James was a "man amongst boys."

The NBA has worked out quite well for James, however, as the four-time NBA MVP and three-time NBA champion nears the end of his second decade in the Association.