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LBJ would be great TE

Kabir Gulati

Issue date: 10/17/08 Section: Sports
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This past Saturday, I woke up at basically the crack of dawn and went to serve the Cleveland community with some of my friends. As we boarded the bus, we were shooting the breeze about the night before and as we sat there waiting to be shuttled to our site for the day, we got to chatting about sports. Eventually, I made the statement that would form our debate of the day... nay, week. Here it goes…

If Lebron James had played football instead of basketball, he would be the best tight end to ever play in the NFL.

I don't know what is so controversial about this statement, but according to some, it is completely outrageous.

Here is my case: LeBron is a freak of nature. His athleticism is second to none. He has been voted as the quickest baseline-to-baseline player in the league by his peers, but yet he has the body to draw fouls while driving to the lane. The man is a "hoss".

His frame is that of a tight end (6'8, 260), and now compliment that with blazing quickness and speed. When in the red zone, the fade route to the corner of the end zone is a popular choice for play-callers in the NFL. When the average defensive back is between 5' 10'' and 6' 1', how would one try and defend LeBron, the man who can put a quarter on the top of a backboard. And it is not like he has never been exposed to football. LeBron was a two-time first team all-state wide receiver in the state of Ohio, a top high school football state, and he did not even play his senior year.

An argument made against my statement was that basketball skills don't transfer to football, and that there are more freakish athletes in the NFL than the NBA. But the fact is that I am not even contesting those points. I do agree that the skills don't transfer, but it is the absurd freakishness of LBJ that would allow him to transfer over. LeBron has a good jump shot and is decent from 3-point range, but his bread and butter is his ability to get to the basket. It's his quickness, speed, and strength that allows him to bang it in on the inside against the monster big-men of the NBA. These three skills are exactly what he would need in the NFL as a tight end.

Antonio Gates, one of the top three tight ends in the league currently, did not play one down of football in his four years of college. He instead played power forward for Kent State and took them to the sweet 16. A good basketball player, but unable to make it to the NBA, Gates tried out for the San Diego Chargers, and look at his career now. Now take Gates, add size, speed, strength, and arguably better hands and training and you get LBJ. And there are a lot of freak athletes in the NFL right now, namely every starting middle line backer, but they do not have the skill sets that LeBron possesses.

To reach Kabir Gulati, e-mail

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  • Cross Country: Men join women on top at All-Ohios
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  • Solid 28-7 win keeps Spartans undefeated
  • Spartan Notebook
  • Spartan Spotlight: Jeff Brown
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