Unveiling the Motivation: The Revealed Reason Why LeBron James Pursued Football during High School

LeBron James could have been one of the greatest multi-sport athletes in the USA if he decided to play football alongside basketball. James got his start in football in his sophomore season, committing to the sport for a very interesting reason, as revealed by Brian Windhorst.

“You know why he played football? Because of Aaliyah. He was going to stop playing after his sophomore year, but then Aaliyah, one of his favorite singers, died in a plane crash. He decided he wasn’t going to live life being afraid. Aaliyah’s passing made him come off the sidelines. He skipped the start of his junior year, missed the first game of the year, and joined in the second game with no practice or training camp. He played 12 games, ran 1200 yards, and had 11 touchdowns. He was one of the great wide receivers in the history of the school.”

Music can move people to do things they never thought they were capable of. Playing football requires more commitment than basketball, given the physical risks that are associated with the sport. Basketball was the right sport for James, given the success he’s had, but it’s always interesting to wonder how well he could’ve done in the NFL.

Maybe James could’ve been a dual-sport athlete the same way Deion Sanders played in both the NFL and the MLB

Windhorst saying James was scared of playing football until his sophomore year does make sense, given the strong stance he took regarding his sons playing football. James categorically said in 2014 that he wouldn’t let his children play the sport due to the physical dangers it exposes them to.

“Only basketball, baseball, and soccer are allowed in my house… We don’t want them to play in our household right now until they understand how physical and how demanding the game is.”

James did put a temporary timeframe over those initial comments, but we’ve seen Bronny and Bryce James live their school lives very publicly. If either one dabbled in playing football, it’d be one of the biggest stories in sports. Thankfully, they’re committed to basketball and could follow LeBron’s footsteps into the league in the next few seasons.

The only other premier multi-sport athlete in the last three decades was Allen Iverson, who was an officially ranked football recruit during his high school years. However, his mother intervened and made him pick basketball over football, even though Iverson didn’t even like the sport

“I hated basketball, I thought it was soft. I was always a football player. One day, my mom said, ‘You’re going to basketball practice’. I was like, ‘Playing basketball is soft.’ I thank my mom. If she didn’t tell me I was going to basketball practice that day, I would have never played.”

Iverson was a highly-touted quarterback prospect. He was ranked ahead of Peyton Manning in the high school class of 1995. We haven’t seen a dual-sport athlete like him in a generation, as Iverson was winning the Associated Press High School Player of the Year award in both football and basketball while also winning the Division 5 AAA Virginia state championship in both sports.

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