“Do I Have College Eligibility If I Went To Play Another Sport Besides Basketball?”: LeBron James Contemplates A JR Smith Move

Photo by MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images

LeBron James likes watching college football, and when his beloved Ohio State Buckeyes are playing, sometimes he gets the urge to hit the gridiron again. So when No. 3 Ohio State dominated their cross-division Big Ten rival Wisconsin on Saturday night, James was in his bag.

“Do I have college eligibility if I went to play another sport besides basketball? How does that rule work?” James posted during the game before going off during his team’s 52-21 victory.

James was highly recruited for football when he was a student-athlete phenom at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. James played football for two seasons during high school and was considered the No. 1 football prospect in Ohio. James’ 6-foot-8, 232-pound frame was constantly compared to Randy Moss’, except a taller version minus the speed.

James’ football endeavors came before his debut on a high school basketball court.

Willie McGee, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary athletic director and a former high school teammate of James, recounted a moment when James filled in for his current business partner Maverick Carter. The latter was sick before the final regular-season game.

“LeBron went out and ran all of his routes,” McGee said to The Sporting News. “He had like nine catches for 180 yards and two TDs. He should have been playing opposite Maverick the whole year.”

Although St. Vincent-St. Mary went 53-1, winning two state titles in basketball in James’ first two seasons, by his junior year, James became an All-Ohio receiver in football. By 2001, James had 57 receptions for 1,160 yards and 16 TDs and was being recruited as a blue-chip receiver. Everyone knew basketball was his future.

He received recruiting interest from several big-name coachrd, like Urban Meyer, who tried to recruit James for Notre Dame. The other schools recruiting James included college football powerhouses Ohio State, Alabama, and Miami (Florida).

Now James has won four NBA championships, four NBA MVP awards, four NBA Finals MVP awards, three All-Star MVP awards, and two Olympic gold medals. James has scored the most points in the playoffs, the second-most career points, and has the seventh-most career assists. He made the right choice for his professional athletic career. However, he is so into the Buckeyes as a staunch son of Ohio.

Buckeyes running back Myian Williams set it off with a 2-yard touchdown run on the opening drive, followed by two straight touchdown plays from C.J. Stroud to tight end Cade Stover. Williams smashed another one early in the second quarter, putting the game away without much fanfare; he finished with 101 yards and the two scores.

Stroud is currently a Heisman frontrunner who had a stellar game, throwing for 281 yards and five touchdowns. However, it wasn’t perfect, as he tossed his first pick of the season late in the second quarter while trying to get one more score going into the break.

With James going straight to the league from high school and wanting to play with his son Bronny in the NBA before leaving the game, you never know if Bron will pull a JR Smith and go back to college.


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Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.