Before becoming one of the greatest basketball players in history, LeBron James played football in high school, and was excellent. So good that, years later, college football coaches still speak about him in reverent tones.
The question, then, has always been: What if LeBron had decided to play football instead of basketball? How good would he have been? And which franchise could he have changed forever?
According to James and his longtime business associate Maverick Carter, Eagles fans nearly found out during the 2011 NBA lockout - in a bad way.
James and Carter revealed a wild nugget earlier this week about Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones offering James a contract in 2011, when James started training for a potential football crossover attempt in case the lockout went on too long for his liking.
Here are the direct quotes, from James and Carter
LEBRON: I had no idea how long the lockout was going to be, and myself and my trainer, Mike Mancias, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to October and November. [...] Mike kept talking about, "It'd be great to go down to Irving, Texas. It'd be great to go to Irving, Texas."
You know, Mike is – he's from Texas. We're both Cowboys fans. He's like, "It'd be great to go down there to Dallas and suit it up for the Cowboys, how great that'd be." The thoughts came into my mind. The thoughts came into my mind. Never having the ability to finish my high school career of playing my senior year, I have dreams all the time about playing football.
CARTER: I know [LeBron] got a contract from Jerry Jones that he framed and put in his office.
My goodness. I totally believe it, too. That's a classic Jerry Jones move if I've ever heard one.
Can you imagine the Eagles' cornerbacks trying to defend 6-foot-8, 250-pound LeBron James as he enters his athletic prime?
In case you forgot, 2011 was Dream Team, and the Juan Castillo-as-defensive coordinator era. It was already a comedy of errors for the Eagles, just brutality after brutality. And then you throw Unfair Athlete LeBron James into the mix?
James scoring on a bomb from Tony Romo, over Nnamdi Asomugha's skeleton, might've been enough to dissolve the Eagles' franchise into dust out of sheer embarrassment and jealousy.
Thank goodness James decided not to make the jump. Nine years later, the Eagles have their Super Bowl, and LeBron James is an NBA legend.
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NFL Rumors: Did LeBron James really almost join NFC contender in 2011? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia