WATCH: Rare Glimpses Of LeBron James Dominating Football Field During High School

LeBron James, the NBA legend could have destroyed the NFL scene right now, had he continued playing football. James played wide receiver for St. Vincent-St. Mary, and as seen in these unseen clips, demolished his opponents. Watch now!

Published on Jun 19, 2024  |  06:16 PM IST |  61.7K
Images via Instagram and Needpix.com
When NBA Star LeBron James Played High School Football & Dominated His Opponents

Rare footage of LeBron James playing high school football has surfaced on social media, showing the NBA's all-time leading scorer excelling in a different sport during his youth. A video from the early 2000s, shared by Bally Sports on X (formerly Twitter), features the 38-year-old NBA star as a wide receiver for the St. Vincent-St. Mary football team in Akron, Ohio. 

In these unseen clips, James is seen receiving multiple passes, including one for a touchdown, and making tackles. He also appears interacting with referees and removing his helmet as he heads to the sidelines.

READ MORE: Jayson Tatum's Hilarious Post for LeBron James as a Kid Goes Viral After Celtics' 18th NBA Title


Did LeBron James play football?

James was recruited by several Division I programs, including Notre Dame before he decided to pursue a career in professional basketball. During his high school years in the early 2000s, LeBron James played in the position of a wideout for St. Vincent-St. Mary


LeBron James' high school football career

James played only two years of high school football but posted remarkable statistics during that time. He averaged over 20 yards per reception thanks to his ability to outperform defenders and evade tacklers.

His ability to jump contributed to his 23 receiving touchdowns over two seasons. Had he played all four years, he was on track to achieve 46 career receiving TDs, which would have tied for the seventh-most in Ohio high school history.

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Season

Catches

Yards

Touchdowns

Sophomore

46

905

7

Junior

57

1,160

16

Total

103

2,065

23

Did LeBron James ever receive any offers from the NFL?

Given his athletic aptitude, King James likely could have played football at the highest level. Jay Brophy, who coached LeBron at St. Vincent-St. Mary told Bleacher Report that he had offers to play college football from "all the major schools," including Notre Dame, Miami, Alabama, and Ohio State.

So, during the NBA lockout in 2011, when the season was delayed, James received genuine offers to play in the NFL. Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks offered him contracts. LeBron was confident he could make an NFL roster if he committed to it.

"I would have made the team," James told The Athletic in 2021, adding, "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."

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READ MORE: Watch: Savannah James Requests LeBron James To Stop Embarrassing Her in Adorable Moment During Aces vs Liberty


What position did LeBron James play in football?

James played wide receiver in high school, also playing prevent safety and acting as the scout team quarterback. Some believed he could play almost any position if he had continued with football.

"With LeBron's athleticism, I could see him as a tight end, H-back, receiver," said St. Vincent-St. Mary graduate and former Indiana linebacker Chip Hilling to ESPN. He added, "LeBron could wreak havoc as an outside linebacker, edge pass rusher. He's a freak."

Despite these possibilities, James would almost certainly have played as a tight end if he had continued. He has the size (6-8) and elite athletic ability needed to be a powerful mismatch weapon, similar to Antonio Gates.

Gates is a prime example of a successful NFL tight end who didn't play college football. He played 16 NFL seasons, recording 116 touchdowns—the NFL record for a tight end—in 236 games. Jimmy Graham is another example. 

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Primarily a basketball player at Miami, the Saints drafted him in the third round after he played just one season of college football. Graham has 701 catches, 8,378 receiving yards, and 82 touchdowns and is still playing with the Bears.

Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez was a dual-sport athlete in college. Former Broncos tight end Julius Thomas and current Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox also spent most of their college careers playing basketball. Thomas played one season of football at Portland State, while Alie-Cox never played until joining the Colts.

Why do many basketball players transition to tight end? The skill sets are similar. Tight ends need to be big, able to block, and skilled at making middle-of-the-field contested catches. Basketball players are often tall, understand positioning for rebounds, and are among the best athletes. Thus, it's no surprise that James would have excelled in this position.

READ MORE: When LeBron James Knew the Opposition Team's Plays So Well He Told Their Own Player What To Do

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About The Author

Natasha Bose, a master's graduate in English Literature from Indira Gandhi National Open University, is a Kolkata-based writer

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