49ers' Armstead says he's the NFL's best basketball player originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and more. There has been a handful of former college basketball players excel in the NFL as a tight end. The same can't be said for defensive linemen.
That is, unless you're Arik Armstead.
The 49ers' defensive end went to the University of Oregon as both a football and basketball player, and believes he's the best basketball player in the entire NFL.
"I'll go out there and say I am," Armstead said on NBC Sports' "Football Night in America" ahead of the 49ers' game vs. the Philadelphia Eagles on NBC. "We could test the theory. But I would say I am."
Armstead, now listed at 6-foot-7 and 290 pounds, played one game for the Oregon Ducks men's basketball team in the 2013-14 season. He played four minutes and made his only shot attempt in a win over Washington State.
The Sacramento native entered his senior season listed as NorCalPrep.com’s No. 3 player in its boys basketball rankings for the Class of 2012. He averaged 10 points and 10 rebounds as a senior for Pleasant Grove High School before cutting his season short and enrolling early at Oregon. Armstead averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds as a junior.
While Armstead still is looking for his first championship in the NFL after falling short with the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, he does compare his basketball skills to someone who won the title with the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013-14 season.
"I kind of played like Boris Diaw a little bit, if people are familiar with the way he plays," Armstead said. "A skillful big who can shoot a little bit. Big body in the low post but can step out, stretch the floor a little bit I would say I kind of compare my game to him a bit.
"I wasn't high-flying around the rim. I had a skillful game."
Armstead has used his basketball skills to his advantage and has three passes defensed in his career with the 49ers. He clearly took the right path choosing football over basketball, but still is confident in his hoop game over anybody else in the NFL.
After the afternoon NFL games end Sunday, go to NBC Sports Bay Area or the MyTeams app at 4 p.m. PT for "49ers Pregame Live," as Laura Britt, Jeff Garcia, Donte Whitner, Ian Williams, Matt Maiocco, Jennifer Lee Chan and Grant Liffmann preview the "Sunday Night Football" matchup against the Eagles. Then, after the game, come back for "49ers Postgame Live," with highlights, analysis, interviews and more.