Generally speaking, you wouldn’t bet against most professional athletes being able to swap sports relatively easily. Just look at tennis players like Nick Kyrgios, who vocally prefers basketball to tennis, or soccer stars such as Harry Kane, who wouldn’t be out of place on the PGA Tour. In the US, two leagues where players could feasibly interchange are the NBA and the NFL. Both sports require speed, precision and extreme strength, so it really wouldn’t be the most outlandish thing to imagine players swapping over.
For example, imagine the Serbian trailblazer Nikola Jović swapping the court for the football pitch. The agile, speedy and muscular center could easily score touchdowns against most teams. Sports bettors would have a field day placing prop bets on him, almost as much as they do already in the NBA. Still, current NFL bettors at least have a wealth of opportunities in the real world. Making use of options such as the Fox Bet promo will ramp up the excitement even without the hypothetical scenario of NBA players trading basketball for the NFL.
NBA Players That Could Have Played Football, Too
We had so much fun imagining what would happen that we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 NBA players who could have made it in the National Football League. Have you ever wondered what would happen if NBA players were NFL players? Satisfy your cravings below.
Chris Paul – Quarterback is arguably the most important position on the football pitch, so we’d need an experienced NBA player with superb passing and exceptional leadership. Who else to choose than Chris Paul of the Phoenix Suns?
Ty Lawson – Fairly short for a basketball player, at 5’11”, Ty Lawson has insanely quick pace and a stocky build that would make him perfect for the NFL. Starting his career with an imperious spell at the Denver Nuggets from 2009 to 2015, Lawson is now a free agent after terminating his contract with Kolossos Rodou in Greece. Could a spell in the NFL await? Probably not at his age of 34, but you never know…
Zach Randolph – He may not be among the 25 NBA players that have the most 40-point games in their careers, but there’s no denying what Zach Randolph could bring to the table as an offensive NBA player. The two-time NBA All-Star was playing for almost two decades, building up an immense bank of sporting knowledge. It would have been indispensable for most NFL franchises.
LeBron James – There was no way we could omit one of the greatest NBA players of all time from this list. Can you imagine the 6’8” LeBron James charging down the football field? We’re not sure even a brick wall could stop him when he’s running at full pace.
Nikola Jović – We mentioned Nikola Jović, one of the most exciting talents to come out of the NBA in recent years, in our introduction. The Serbian has a wily yet stocky frame that is well suited for bouncing off tackles. Additionally, his trickery with the ball could greatly benefit the NFL.
Metta Sandiford–Artest – A particularly feisty ex-NBA player, Metta Sandiford-Artest was involved in historically controversial incidents, such as the Malice at the Palace. While he’d have to cool his temper, there aren’t many NFL teams who would say no to such tenacity.
Steve Nash – Featuring in seven All-NBA selections throughout his 20-year career, Steve Nash was also a talented soccer player in his youth. Can you think of anyone better for kicking duties in the NFL? Now coaching the Brooklyn Nets, it’s clear he also has the tactical expertise to compete.
Kyle Lowry – At six feet tall, Kyle Lowry wouldn’t look out of place on the football field. The combative point guard was instrumental in helping the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship in 2019. His style of play and immense strength would make him a valuable asset to any NFL franchise.
Zion Williamson – Zion Williamson was actually offered a football scholarship by an LSU coach in 2016, so picking him as an NBA player who could make it in the NFL is a no-brainer. The New Orleans Pelicans power forward was touted as a tight end, and it’s easy to see why. With monumental strength and an impressive leap, he could easily have made it.
DeMar DeRozan – After over a decade in the NBA, it’s still difficult to find a player with quicker feet than DeMar DeRozan. Imagining him dancing around NFL defenses is a seriously tasty proposition.
A couple players that weren’t included in this list are Charlie Ward, Matt Barnes and Allen Iverson — three players that were actually as good as football players as they were basketball players. In fact, Iverson was a football player in high school and was choosing between Maryland and Notre Dame.
Allen Iverson told us that when he got in trouble in high school, all his football/basketball scholarship offers went away.
If not for that, Iverson said he was strongly considering going to Notre Dame or Maryland to play both sports.
— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) April 28, 2022
Charlie Ward? Ward won the Heisman.
“Football was my first love when I was growing up, and I didn’t play basketball until I was in the eighth grade,” Barnes told FanSided in 2009. “But in terms of longevity and wanting to be able to walk when I retire and play with my kids, I decided I wanted to play basketball.”