Posted January 22, 2014

The All-Gridiron Team: NBA players who would dominate on the football field

Ben Golliver, The Point Forward All-Stars
Steve Nash

Steve Nash might be the NBA’s best kicker — and yes, that’s Marcin Gortat in goal. (Bennett Raglin/Getty Images)

Special Teams and More

Kick Returner: Victor Oladipo (6-5, 214), Magic

The 2013 No. 2 pick boasts speed, acceleration and shiftiness, and he’s never been afraid to sacrifice his body.

Punt Returner: Isaiah Thomas (5-9, 185), Kings

The prototypical jitterbug returner, you have to catch the 5-foot-9 Thomas before you can tackle him.

Kicker: Steve Nash (6-3, 195), Lakers

This future Hall of Famer “tried out” for Inter Milan and executed a perfect header during a Dunk Contest. What more do you want?

Punter: Steve Blake (6-3, 172), Lakers

This isn’t a particularly easy position to fill, but Blake possesses a mixed martial arts background, so we can count on him for some leg-whip velocity.

Holder: Chris Paul (6-0, 175), Clippers

CP3′s low turnover rate and general reliability are helpful, plus he could swap the State Farm ads for a “You’re in good hands” campaign with Allstate.

Long Snapper: Anthony Davis (6-10, 220), Pelicans

Davis can just about reach backwards between his legs and hand the ball to the holder or punter.

Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Gregg Popovich, Spurs

Chop off the sleeves of a Spurs sweatshirt and he’s good to go.

Offensive Coordinator: Mike D’Antoni, Lakers

“Let me get this straight: We’re not required to huddle? This changes everything.”

Defensive Coordinator: Tom Thibodeau, Bulls

Hoarse voice, tireless work ethic, total focus on shutting down the opposition, and one (or two, or five) notch too high on the intensity scale for everyone’s liking.

Extra Points: Miscellaneous

Water Boy: Jason Kidd, Nets

In charge of all liquid deliveries, including Gatorade baths. (Especially Gatorade baths.)

Blocking Fullback: Draymond Green, Warriors

The Point Forward’s offense was heavy on skill players, but Green is an ideal option for leading Westbrook through goal line defenses and in short-yardage situations.

Backup Quarterback: Mario Chalmers, Heat

He is well-prepared for any abuse that is sure to come his way. He was recently the butt of a joke from President Barack Obama, and he took the heat while smiling.

Wildcat Quarterback: Rajon Rondo, Celtics

Rondo’s comfort tossing behind-the-back, no-look passes will take the Wildcat to its wildest levels yet.

Possession Receiver: Kemba Walker, Bobcats

Playing the Wes Welker role will be Walker, whose big-game pedigree at UConn and quick, agile frame will make him a go-to target on third-and-five.

Headcase Receiver: J.R. Smith, Knicks

The designated distraction, whose tweets and tantrums outshine his on-field play. Note: It’s way easier to hide Chris Smith on a 53-man football roster than a 15-man hoops roster, plus the “practice squad” has a better ring to it than D-League.

Field Goal Blocker: DeAndre Jordan, Clippers

Whether going horizontal from the edge or vertical from the middle, Jordan could be an impact special teams player with his volleyball talent.

Tony Romo: Carmelo Anthony, Knicks

Too easy.


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68 comments
MichaelKessler1
MichaelKessler1

dwayne wade for quarterback! the accuracy on the full court passses...

Will_Money12
Will_Money12

Dude... You nailed the defensive secondary. Nice job. Here's an add-on: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as a nickel back.

Udaho
Udaho

LoL!! The only thing that comes to my mind is that I see LeBron flopping before he gets tackled.

cdactor8
cdactor8

Who wrote this article anyway?  Try getting the height and weight of the players right.  Seriously...I expect more from SI.

cdactor8
cdactor8

Lance Stephenson for QB.


6'5" 230lbs (ideal QB size)

Tough, huge hands, passing ability, speed, agility, vision, etc.  


There is not a better player, with the body and athletic skills, to play QB currently in the NBA than Lance Stephenson.

JonathanD
JonathanD

6'8", 265 lbs, 4.6 40, 46" vertical, great hands, great IQ.


No way that guy wouldn't dominate at TE or WR.  Could be fascinating at DE too - if Dion Jordan (6'6", 260 lbs, 4.55 40, 32" vertical, converted to DE from WR) could be the 3rd pick in the NFL draft, how coveted would a guy like Lebron be there?

ReginaldLiger
ReginaldLiger

Dwyane Wade should be the quarterback. How many home run passes has he thrown to Lebron. Outside of that this would be one hell of a team! 

MHerve
MHerve

This is just a ridiculous article.  I wonder which NFLers would be good at curling...  I wonder which NHLers would make great chefs...  

ZackDegnan
ZackDegnan

Calvin Johnson has a strong case for one of the best athletes of this time. He runs a 4.3 40 lebron runs a 4.7 Lebron has vertical over him but he is also 3 inches taller. Calvin Johnson still does have a 43 inch vertical. I don't know why people think football is all about athleticism anyways. HE still could not run routes, he could not brace hits as soon as he caught it (alligator arms) and he doesn't have the technique to be a tight end. He would also be an awful blocker. Their is so much technique that goes with being a blocker it's ridiculous. Stick to basketball lebron.

RaySeva
RaySeva

I'd like to see Paul George, Kawhi Leonard or John Wall go over the middle....and have Earl Thomas sprinting at full speed towards them.


I'd PAY to see Dwight Howard try to block Nmdamukong Suh.

a254050
a254050

Every NFL defense has 3 or 4 guys who could run with him and be more physical. (Most outside LBs and safeties.)

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

A few of the great TEs of our time came over from basketball, such as Gronk, Jimmy Graham, and Gates. Lebron would be a great TE with his athleticism, and versatility, and could only imagine what he could do in the red zone. 

bluntz4al
bluntz4al

This is one of the worst articles on SI ever. i skimmed through it for the purpose of not wasting to much time. and all of this is just an opinon. i am pretty sure if there was actual research some of the NBA guys played football at some point and could have done a better job at placing players in different positions.

JoeBellmore
JoeBellmore

This is one of the most useless articles I have the displeasure of reading. SI writers must be pretty bored of the Super Bowl or something...

Fleeb
Fleeb

It' possible this will be the dumbest article on SI all year, but it's too soon to tell. Definitely a contender.

bobinpowell
bobinpowell

Clearly, some SI writers snort Smarties.  Equally clearly, it's not helping.

Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood

I don't see Lebron blocking as a Tight End effectively in the NFL.  Also, that Oline would get owned by any Dline in the NFL.

Baconpizza
Baconpizza

Lebron's size and athleticism would translate, but I doubt he'd want to catch seam passes or go over the middle. 

David15
David15

Did SI just hire a bunch of people from ESPN? I've noticed a lot of ridiculously pointless articles on here recently. Its like someone  completely forgot a deadline and had to throw something together in an hour.

gfs4417
gfs4417

No MJ??? Akeem Ojajuaon???

Octavio
Octavio

Wow, you can tell it's the lull before the Superbowl, huh?

fortworthelite
fortworthelite

LeBron is one of the greatest athletes of all-time. He would be terrific in the NFL. The basketball to football route has been taken many times. I don't think the opposite route has been. See HOFer Rayfield Right, Julius Thomas and Texas A&M's Mike Evans who played one year of HS football.

KevinAustin
KevinAustin

Lebron at tight end? Please. He hates the physical play. 

jayjay23
jayjay23

Jimmy Butler or Gerald Green in place of Paul George.
Kemba Walker or Monta Ellis instead of John Wall
Ty Lawson, Eric Bledsoe, or Will Bynum are the RBs

Get Blake Griffin off the list, put Faried in his place

Kenyon Martin, Jeff Adrien, Robert Sacre could be considered.
And no way you don't put Chuck Hayes on the O-line.  Great feet, stout.

Joe R2
Joe R2

Imagine LeBron going down the middle to make a tough catch with linebackers and safeties breathing down his neck.  Can you say alligator arms?


Then again, LeBron would draw so many "defenseless receiver" penalties with all his flopping that he could be very useful for an offense...

Joe R2
Joe R2

Any excuse to put LeBron on the front page....  SI is becoming ESPN...

J Diddy
J Diddy

Very few NBA players would be tough enough mentally for the kind of abuse they'd get (and have to dish out) in the NFL at the non-QB positions. Lebron complains every time he gets hand checked, and there's no one with his size and speed combination in his sport. Every NFL defense has 3 or 4 guys who could run with him and be more physical. (Most outside LBs and safeties.)


LBJ is a bull in a pasture full of cows. Put him in a pasture full of other bulls and he wouldn't be as extraordinary. 


There are tough NBA players, and they're the ones who could crossover. Nate Robinson, Kendrick Perkins, Jo Noah, Bogut (he's on the list), etc. Those are the guys who play basketball with a football mentality. Not Lebron or most of the others on this list. 


Most NBA guys would have to play WR, CB, or QB. Just not mean enough for the other jobs, no matter how much physical ability and size they have. Just like most NFL guys wouldn't have the finesse and body control to play basketball at a high level. Athleticism does not translate universally across sports at the highest levels. (Why Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, etc. are such amazing stories.)

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Another reason lebaby would have it rough is you can't FLOP 

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Of course the media thinks lebaby would dominate but truth is he'd get his legs broke first game. ZERO chance he'd make it through the middle.  

6marK6
6marK6

These silly and inane stories fail to take into consideration the physical abuse that football entails. Being a great athlete or fast does not mean anything when you are getting the **** knocked out of you on every other down. James would be nothing in the NFL, which is why he plays in the NBA.

jkastar
jkastar

    When Lebron was playing receiver in high school, he broke his hand while grabbing a one-handed TD.  At halftime, with a sure NBA career ahead of him, the coaches were trying to get him to come into the game as a decoy.  Lebron's reply to the coaches, "I'm no decoy."  He wanted to go win.

    Lebron was the top rated receiving recruit in his class.  44" vertical.  Had offers from USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and many others, for football.  Last summer he ran a 4.6 40, same as Jerry Rice, and with training for it, he'd prolly be under 4.5.  Lebron's highschool coach, who played in the NFL, said he can throw the football 70 yards.  If undrafted rookie TE Joseph Fauria can catch 3 TDs in one game for the Lions, Lebron certainly could do something special.

     Lebron has the rare athleticism where he has never missed a significant amount of time with injury.  His body is incredibly tough, durable, and mechanically sound, so based off of the evidence at hand, he is one of the few NBA guys that is equipped to handle the physicality of football.  He gets fouled about as hard as anyone in the league, and just about as often as anyone.  

     In the 2007 playoffs, when Detroit had Ben and Rasheed Wallace, they developed the Lebron rules, where they would just attempt to keep fouling him hard, but he relished it and put up his teams last 25 points for a playoff win.  He's a tough dude.  The most physically gifted person on the planet.  

    He'd be fine in the NFL.  MCW, he'd snap like a twig.  Reggie Evans, he couldn't tackle an NFL running back, they'd run around him.  

Outfield1963
Outfield1963

How disrespectful to the NFL players who worked their entire lives to get to where they are. Perhaps these guys "COULD" make it if they paid their dues. To just assume the point is garbage. 

JonathanD
JonathanD

@ZackDegnan You realize how insane it is that Lebron is 3" taller than Calvin Johnson AND having a bigger vertical than him too?   Not to mention that Lebron weighs significantly more than Johnson as well.

As far as "he doesn't have the technique to be a tight end"...what are you basing that on?  Multiple college bball players have converted to become Pro Bowl level tight ends, and Lebron was already getting 1st-tier scholarship offers to play college ball before he quit to concentrate on basketball.

JonathanD
JonathanD

@RaySeva Not all that many plays where the left tackle is isolated against a nose tackle.

Joe R2
Joe R2

@Baconpizza 


He also wouldn't stand a chance blocking any defender over 220 lbs

lacslyer
lacslyer

@fortworthelite The football to basketball route definitely has been taken, Heisman winner Charlie Ward comes to mind.

RobertLewis
RobertLewis

@KevinAustin Don't talk silly - he was an all-star end in high school.  Put him in when you're in the red zone - throw the ball into the end zone 12' in the air - who else is gonna catch it?  TD.

RobertLewis
RobertLewis

@J DiddyCow manure.  NBA players go without pads and play 82+ games per year.  You have no idea how fast LeBron is - "Every NFL defense has 3 or 4 guys who could run with him and be more physical."  Really - every NFL team has corner backs or safeties as fast as LeBron who weigh 260 pounds and are 6'8" tall? Name them.

 Tony Gonzales revolutionized tight end position - and he wasn't 1/4 the athlete LeBron is.

RobertLewis
RobertLewis

@6marK6Really - so just who would guard him in the end zone? John Havlicek, not the athlete James was - almost played for the Brown when they were good.  James would be unstoppable in the red zone.

wsp410
wsp410

@6marK6 he was a top football recruit in hs, would've been great in college as he has proven himself larger and more athletic than others his age. i don't think he'd be jerry rice but i doubt he'd be nothing in the nfl. 

Jesus Hitler
Jesus Hitler

@jkastar This reads like one of those stupid stories people tell about how Tupac got shot and then rolled two blunts, cut 7 records, and skydived off the Empire state building before finally bleeding out.    I'll bet your dad once beat up Hulk Hogan.

virgil.tomlian
virgil.tomlian

@RobertLewis @J Diddy you make a very good point, gonzalez was no where the athlete lebron is and he has the pedigree of being an outstanding receiver in college. plus despite the fact that  i dislike the guy, there is no denying his incredible work ethic and desire to be the best. if anyone was ever going to be dominant in 2 sports today it would be lebron in both football and basketball. 

lacslyer
lacslyer

@RobertLewis @J Diddy  Yet the average life expectancy of NFL players is considerably lower than athletes in other major sports, at least in the US. The pounding the O/D-line, running backs and linebackers take every year is nothing compared to any other sport that comes to mind outside of rugby/Aussie football.

J Diddy
J Diddy

@wsp410 @6marK6 Agree with this coming out of high school. If he'd have gone into football, he could've toughened up and done some damage. No way he could crossover now, however. NBA is one of the softest leagues going. Never thought I'd see the day when college basketball is a more physical version of the sport, but it is.