LeBron James has demonstrated he’s one of the fiercest competitors in the NBA for quite some time now. The King has become a global icon not only in the association but outside of it, as he’s considered one of the greatest athletes the world of sports has ever seen. If his basketball career has been enough for him to become who he is right now, just imagine what would have happened if he played in another sport at a professional level, something that was highly likely in 2011, as he recently revealed. 

The now 36-year-old had the chance to try out for a spot in the NFL 10 years ago, while the NBA was going through a lockout. That season was shortened and it had to start on Christmas Day due to all these problems. 

Before that, the King had the chance to try his luck on another sport. He had already played football in high school, being a very good player at St. Vincent-St. Mary in both basketball and football. Well, James recently revealed he was confident he could get the job done. 

LeBron James says he would have played in the NFL in 2011

According to Christopher Kamrani and Bill Oram of The Athletic, the player was ready to try out in the NFL after the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks extended an invitation for him to go see how he’d fare against the pros. 

After the Miami Heat were beaten in six games by the Dallas Mavericks, an NBA lockout followed, leaving James to harbor pent-up frustration from a Finals failure and a season on the rocks. As other players around the league played exhibition games, James said he seriously considered an offer to try out for the Dallas Cowboys. He adjusted his training regimen and started running routes again.

Jerry Jones offered him the chance to play. In Seattle, Pete Carroll shipped him a custom Seahawks jersey, along with an invitation.

What may have been seen as a publicity stunt was far from a gimmick to James.

“I would have made the team,” he said. “I would have tried out, but I would have made the team. One thing about it, I don’t mind working for something, so if I would have had to try out for the Cowboys or the Seahawks, or if I’d have stayed home and went back home to Cleveland, I’d have tried (out), but I would have made the team. I just know what I’m capable of doing on the football field. Especially at that age.” James was just shy of his 27th birthday when the lockout ended on Christmas day.

Members of James’ inner circle had to talk him out of resurrecting the football career he had abandoned as a teenager. 

In the end, he never attended the try outs and this will remain as one of the biggest ‘what if’s’ in NBA history. Imagine LeBron dominating in the NFL just like he’s done in the association. He would have been a terrific tight end and probably the greatest two-sport athlete to ever live, surpassing Deion Sanders or Bo Jackson. 

Instead, he became a first-time NBA champion that season after beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Finals. James would play in two more finals with the Miami Heat, adding one more title to his résumé. Right now he’s a 4x NBA champion and is still trying to win the 5th one. If he went to the NFL, we probably wouldn’t have been talking about his longevity right now.