The conversation is as circular as it is infuriating: How good would LeBron James be as a wide receiver in the NFL if he had chosen that path?
The only metric we have to reference is an incredible one–LeBron caught 103 passes for 2,065 yards and scored 23 touchdowns in his two full years–sophomore and junior– at Vincent-St. Mary’s High School in Akron. For perspective, during his sophomore and junior years at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Georgia, Calvin Johnson caught 74 passes for 1,382 yards, and 18 touchdowns. LeBron beats him in all categories by a difference of 29 catches, 683 yards, and 5 touchdowns.
Of course, this is a somewhat fruitless speculation and comparing two athletes currently in their 30’s to multi-variabled stats achieved before they went to prom likely isn’t the most accurate indicator, but what-could-have-been is always a fun mental exercise.
So let’s stretch it a bit to handball!
The U.S. sucks balls at handball. They haven’t qualified for the Olympics since 1996 and didn’t even make it to the qualifying tournament this year. It doesn’t make sense considering we’re America and we shit out champions, but we suck. Like Equatorial Guinea swimming suck.
The Washington Post’s Adam Kilgore just published an interesting piece about why we suck and how we can get better. Among coaches and players from around the world, Kilgore interviewed U.S. national team Coach Javier Garcia-Cuesta and asked the former Olympian how long would it take LeBron James to become the best handball player in the world.
“Maybe six months.”
“This is just a hypothetical. He has everything. When you see him playing, your mouth drops.”
Denmark’s Mikkel Hansen, who is basically the LeBron of handball (two-time world MVP), swallowed his pride and more or less resonated the U.S. coach’s belief:
“It’s difficult to talk about that,” Hansen said, laughing. “I admire LeBron James very much. I’m a big basketball fan. The way he sees the court, his vision for the game, is very impressive. There you would have a good start. And physically, he is amazing. But you also need to throw the ball. So, yeah. Maybe.”
How much of a mindfuck would it be if LeBron opted out of the 2017 season to prepare for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for handball? He looks us in the eye and claims he wants to follow in the footsteps of MJ and Tim Tebow. God, in 2016, I wouldn’t doubt it.
[h/t Washington Post]