LeBron James, a gridiron star in high school, could have played football. And imagine Tim Duncan as ... a swimmer? Many athletes were stars in other sports too, so we decided to explore the possibility of them going down a different road.

What If These Athletes Chose A Different Sport? Slideshow


Incredible Athletes

Many sports stars that we see today could have been stars in other sports too. How much different would our sports world be if these players went with a different option?


Tom Brady

The Montreal Expos drafted Brady as a catcher in 1995. Brady, the most decorated quarterback in playoff history, has formed an incredible coach-player tandem with Bill Belichick. If Brady decided to sit behind home-plate, the NFL, New England Patriots and the fate of the Montreal Expos may have been much different.


Tim Duncan

Duncan is possibly the only person on Earth that is thankful for a natural disaster. The two-time NBA MVP and four-time NBA champion is one of the greatest players in NBA history. The Spurs big man actually grew up a swimmer, and if it weren't for Hurricane Hugo destroying his Olympic-sized pool, Duncan would have continued the sport without even a thought of basketball.


Michael Vick

Vick is one of the greatest athletes the sports world has ever seen. As it turns out, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback could have also played baseball. Vick, who is often regarded as having one of the strongest arms in football, was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2000 as a pitcher. Without Vick in the NFL, the double threat quarterback wouldn’t be as prevalent, the Eagles wouldn’t be as controversial and there wouldn’t be as much of a focus on preventing animal cruelty.


Joe Mauer

A player can often be overlooked if they play for the Minnesota Twins, but Mauer has been able to put up great numbers as a catcher, a position that doesn't typically produce offensive beasts. The star catcher was the USA Player of the Year in football and baseball, and he also made the All-State team as his high school's point guard.


Tony Romo

Romo, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, often gets criticized for not performing in the clutch. Playing for America's Team, one can expect to be the subject of controversy. Romo may have preferred to take up his other hobby, golf, as he can drive the ball with the best of them.


Kris Humphries

Really? Another swimmer? Humphries is on this list not only because of his controversial relationship with Kim Kardashian, but because the big man was a great swimmer. At 10, Humphries was a star swimmer who was a national leader in six events, and second in the remaining events to Michael Phelps. If he didn't give it up at 12, the NBA would be different in that there wouldn’t be such an inane player for fans to make fun of.


Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt "The Stilt" Chamberlain, the 7-footer who is often considered the most dominant player in NBA history, was a track star in his youth and a volleyball star in his twilight. Chamberlain is the only player to average a freakish 30 points and 20 rebounds in his career and scored an amazing 100 points in a single game. If Wilt chose track and field he may have very well been an Olympian, but basketball would be quite different today.


Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick, star quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, had a tough decision to make after being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2009. Kaepernick opted to play quarterback for the University of Nevada, and his decision was validated when he led the 49ers to Super Bowl XLVII.


Allen Iverson

Iverson, the AP High School Player of the Year for football and basketball, was a star quarterback and defensive back. One of the best scorers in NBA history, Iverson was constantly in the middle of controversy, especially about “practice.” Iverson had his way in the sport of basketball, and if he had joined football, well, he would have been a sight to see at quarterback.


Tony Gonzalez

Holding 18 NFL records and widely considered the greatest tight end in NFL history, Gonzalez was also a basketball player for the Golden Bears of Cal. There has never been another tight end like Gonzalez, who has only missed one NFL game in his 16-year career. Without Gonzalez in the NFL, tight ends might still have been considered glorified offensive lineman.


Donovan McNabb

McNabb owns multiple Syracuse, Big East, Philadelphia Eagles and NFL records as he excelled with the pigskin in his hands. But most people don’t know he was a walk-on player for Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Orange basketball team. McNabb changed the culture in Philly, and the NFL wouldn't be the same without him.


LeBron James

The most talented basketball player in the NBA today, James was named first team All-State as a sophomore playing wide receiver. He led St. Vincent- St. Mary to the state semi-finals as a junior. If LeBron chose football, there would have never been “The Decision,” no one to challenge Michael Jordan as the best ever and no Big 3 in Miami.


Chris Drury

When you win the 1989 Little League World Series you are destined for MLB right? Wrong. Chris Drury was the star for his Connecticut Little League team -- the first from the U.S. to win in six years -- but ended up an NHL star. Drury won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche a silver medal with the U.S Olympic team.


John Elway

This two-time Super Bowl champ also had a talent with the baseball in his hands, as he was drafted by the Yankees in 1981. Selected six spots in front of Tony Gwynn, Elway was no joke in the sport. But after leading his team to five Super Bowl appearances, Elway is glad with his decision.


Tom Glavine

In 1984 Tom Glavine was drafted by the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles. Glavine went five rounds before the Kings took future Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille. His decision to choose the Braves paid off as he was the 1995 World Series MVP.


Kirk Gibson

Gibson is best known for his home run off Dennis Eckersley in the 1988 World Series, but was a phenomenal receiver at Michigan State. Gibson received All-American honors and led the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten championship.


Robert Griffin III

RG3, the Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Rookie of the Year, wasn't just great with the pigskin, but was also an Olympic-caliber hurdler. We are all pretty happy he chose football though, as we can see him every Sunday instead of every four years.


Charlie Ward

Typically, Heisman Trophy winners decide to pursue a career in football. Not Charlie Ward, as he was drafted by the New York Knicks. Considered one of the best all-around athletes ever, Ward had an average NBA career, and second thoughts were common on his decision to play basketball.


Dave Winfield

The only athlete to ever be drafted by four leagues in three sports, Winfield had some decision-making to do. The 12-time MLB All-Star had an illustrious career and presumably has no regrets on picking baseball, but one could only wonder what it would have been like if he chose basketball or football.

previous next

-- Follow Patrick Bates on Twitter @pbates13.