What If? 10 Basketball Players Who Would Be Great in the NFL

Ben GoldsteinContributor IIIDecember 29, 2010

What If? 10 Basketball Players Who Would Be Great in the NFL

0 of 10

    LeBron James
    LeBron JamesVictor Decolongon/Getty Images

    What NBA superstars could play in the NFL? 

    They're very different sports. The NFL is a much more physical game and basketball is more of a finesse game.

    But when you see a player in the NBA who can run, jump, catch, pass and play in a physical sort of way, you have to question whether he is a good enough athlete to play football in the NFL.

    Here are my top 10 NBA players who could play in the NFL.

10. Blake Griffin

1 of 10

    Blake Griffin might be a little bit too tall to play in the NFL, but with his athleticism, specifically how high he can jump, it would be entertaining to see what he could do in the NFL. He has great hands that catch almost any alley-oop pass.

    Maybe a team should put him at tight end or wide receiver and see what he could do in jump-ball scenarios. I also like his intensity and how hard he dunks the ball with no regrets, which could really translate very well onto the football field.

9. Ron Artest

2 of 10

    DENVER - NOVEMBER 11:  Ron Artest #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers takes a free throw against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on November 11, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 118-112.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    OK, we all know he's a little bit crazy, but Ron Artest is one of the best defenders in the NBA. 

    And we all know that most middle linebackers have some crazy in them, which is why Artest could be a great middle linebacker. He has the speed, the size and the nasty streak to play.

    But if that doesn't work out, I could see him as fullback. Fullbacks are also a crazy breed that just hit and block. 

    With Artest's no-nonsense play and toughness, he could really work in the NFL.

8. Deron Williams

3 of 10

    SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 8:  Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz drives the ball down court during a game against the Miami Heat during the second half of an NBA game December 8, 2010 at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Heat beat th
    George Frey/Getty Images

    For being a point guard in the NBA, Deron Williams has great size to be in the NFL at 6'3" and weighing in at 210 pounds. 

    He is a great passer and knows when to take his shots. Williams also plays good defense.

    I could see him at running back or maybe safety. What could be fun is putting at him in a Wildcat package and having him pass the ball. It could be really interesting to watch how defenses react to his presence.

7. Dwyane Wade

4 of 10

    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 25:  Dwyane Wade #3 of the Miami Heat dribbles the ball upcourt during the NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on December 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. The Heat defeated the Lakers 96-80. NOTE TO US
    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Dwyane Wade is sometimes regarded as the fastest player in the NBA.

    In the NFL, speed is always a good thing.

    Wade also has good size. He's listed at 6'4" and 220 pounds. Where I would love to see Wade at is linebacker. He has the size, and with his freakish speed, he could make the tackle on some of the fastest players in the NFL. 

    If linebacker doesn't work and he wants to play some offense, I would put him at wide receiver, let him blow past the secondary and go up for the ball with his ridiculous vertical. 

6. Steve Nash

5 of 10

    I wasn't going to include Steve Nash on this list until I saw this video recently.

    I knew Nash played soccer, but not this well. So I propose that he drops basketball and tries out for kicker or punter in the NFL.

    Because if you can kick around a soccer ball that well, then you can learn how to kick around a football just as well. 

5. Rajon Rondo

6 of 10

    CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 11:  Rajon Rondo #9 of the Boston Celtics against the Charlotte Bobcats during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 11, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Before focusing on his basketball career, Rajon Rondo's first love was football. 

    According to some sources, he played quarterback in high school until his mom told him to focus on basketball because of how small he was.

    But if he hit the weights a little bit and maybe got up 180 or so pounds (he's 170 right now), he could be a very good quarterback. He has great vision to see a wide-open man and is able to fit passes right in there, even if it seems impossible.

    The great thing about Rondo is that he is very mobile and can make plays with his feet while also being dangerous with his arm.

4. Glen Davis

7 of 10

    BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 16:  Glen Davis #11 of the Boston Celtics drives to the net as Zaza Pachulia #27  of the Atlanta Hawks defends on December 16, 2010 at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that,
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Glen "Big Baby" Davis was a two-sport athlete in high school who actually could have played football in college.

    In high school he played defensive line, fullback and running back. Today he probably wouldn't play fullback or running back, but he could definitely fit in at defensive tackle.

    He has great hands and is very fast for his size. He weighs 290 pounds, and with a nice NFL weight regimen, he could get even bigger.

    There was a video of Davis destroying everyone he played in high school, but I couldn't find it. Trust me, he really did destroy everyone.

3. Nate Robinson

8 of 10

    A two-sport athlete in college at the University of Washington, Nate Robinson probably could have done something in the NFL with his freakish athleticism.

    Robinson would best fit at wide receiver, but mainly returning kicks and punts. He has great speed and very good vision. 

    He could also play a little bit of cornerback if he had to because of his ability to keep up with receivers. His freakish vertical would help, too.

2. Allen Iverson

9 of 10

    Technically, Allen Iverson isn't in the NBA anymore, but he's still current enough to be on this list, and still exciting enough to be on this list too.

    Iverson as a football player had speed that wasn't matched. He could play almost any position on the field. 

    He really excelled at quarterback and cornerback. The thing that shocks me the most is that he can actually tackle very well, as seen in the video. He wraps up and drives the receiver into the ground with perfect form.

    Iverson could have played in college for sure if he wasn't involved in a bad incident. 

    But I would still love to see Iverson play football and try out at quarterback, cornerback, safety, running back and returner, because he could be lights-out on the football field.

    Maybe he should just quit the Turkish basketball league and try out for the NFL. Somebody would give him a shot.

1. LeBron James

10 of 10

    You guys probably saw this one coming, but yes, LeBron James would be a beast in the NFL. 

    He has the size at 6'8", 250 pounds (some sources say up to 270 pounds) and the speed to compete with the best in my opinion. 

    James was an all-state wide receiver his sophomore year in high school in the state of Ohio. He decided to focus on basketball after that year and dropped football.

    James had scholarship offers from many prestigious football programs such as Michigan, USC, Ohio State, Miami and almost any other. 

    It would almost be unfair if he had continued with football because of how gifted he is athletically.

    I can see James playing wide receiver, tight end or defensive end in the NFL. He probably remembers how to make a tackle, but brushing up how to wrap up would be a good thing, too.

    But seriously, if LeBron James decided to give up basketball and go out for the NFL, I think he could easily be a playmaker and freak.