We had a pretty interesting discussion over the weekend on if LeBron James could be the greatest athlete of all time. Sunday, Anthony Gilbert and I took our soul flow on the road to check out the Wiz/Cavs and this would be the perfect opportunity to ask LeBron myself. I’d been up for two days because of work and thought I was going to sleep for the two hour trip (I should have known better) but after AG scooped me, we had our usual conversation about journalism, music, sports, the ladies and his Mom’s amazing pound cake.
The Eagles were playing the Vikings later, so I had to rock my throwback 12 (R.I.P Andre, Jerome and Reggie) on the way to Chocolate City.
Gotta tell ya I felt like a Cowboy whose cheese steak tasted different in South Philly after we stopped by a store so I could cop a Red Bull. No one was disrespectful, but I got my share of Oh no he didn’t looks. Yeah…I felt real green but at least it was Randall.
We met up with Jeff Young and took our usual press seats to what is always an entertaining game. During the game we received some blaze music from Lorin Chvotkin (son of legendary Georgetown Hoyas radio announcer, Rich Chvotkin) which was definitely peace.
The Cavs lost to the Wiz after LeBron was called for a walk. When the media got the quotes they needed, I walked up to LBJ to get his answers on the subject:
Michael Tillery: LeBron, does the thought ever cross your mind about playing quarterback in the NFL?
LeBron James: Once I got to high school, I didn’t play much quarterback. I wanted to play wide receiver. I was a big fan of Randy Moss and Peter Warrick coming up. I wanted to follow in their footsteps. I played quarterback as a youngster, but I always wanted to be a receiver.
MT: The reason why I ask is because on my site, we discussed you possibly being the best athlete ever. I tried to convey to my readers that your combination of physical attributes would translate to any sport seamlessly.
LBJ: Appreciate that.
MT: When I look at Terrelle Pryor and his development in football, I see the same athlete you are in basketball.
LeBron gives me the C’mon man look. Then we share a laugh.
MT: Obviously not at this point bruh.
LBJ: He played basketball in high school too.
MT: Yeah, I’m not talking about basketball. I’m speaking of the athlete he is now compared to the athlete you were at that same stage physically.
LBJ: Right, right, right. I see what you are saying. You are definitely right about that.
MT: Are you two cool like what’s being reported?
LBJ: Not like that. I’ve been down there a few times and met him but I don’t have him on speed dial or nothing like that. I’m an open guy though. Somebody needs help? If Terrelle is one of those guys who may need help one day? I have no problem giving advice.
MT: I wanted to take the ubiquitous Black quarterback discussion further because cats like you are sticking to the soul sphere instead of airing out Jim Brown’s lunch pail.The way you drive down the lane now? Just imagine looking over the damn near seven foot linemen, getting into your five step drop, hittin’ Randy Moss in stride or taking off like Randall.
LBJ: (Shakes head) Man that would have been something.
MT: Did you have any kind of arm?
LBJ: Yeah, I could throw the ball sixty yards. I was the third string qb. If we threw a double reverse pass, then I could throw the ball down field.
I was just fascinated with being that guy that made plays down the field catching the ball man. I just had that knack and matter of fact there were already two quarterbacks in place and had been there. I was put in a position to excel at receiver because I was so good at it so it stuck.
MT: When was the decision made to push football aside and why was it made?
LBJ: We lost the state championship my junior year in basketball. My senior year, I just refocused myself to the game of basketball–completely. I loved to play football. To this day, one of my only regrets was not playing my senior year, but that loss hit me hard so I rededicated myself to the game I play now.
MT: Who do you consider the best athlete of all time?
LBJ: Michael Jordan, Lance Armstrong…
MT: Yeah, Randy (Randy Mims, LeBron’s day to day road manager) said Lance when I asked him.
LBJ: Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali…but to me the greatest athletes are in the Olympics. All the things that they do? Most people don’t know their history but I’m sure you know how it is.
MT: Damn right young fella. Would you put Michael Phelps in there?
LBJ: Uh, yeah he belongs in there, absolutely.
MT: Could you have been a successful professional athlete in other sports if you played them?
LBJ: Me? If I wanted to? Yeah of course.
In the locker room before AG did his thing (posted below), Jeff brought up someone that was never mentioned during the discussion: Lawrence Taylor. Great name because LT was a sickdiculous athlete whose skills could have translated to other sports as well. I’m sure quarterbacks were shook back in the day with LT across the line talking smack.
Brothas workin’ it out: AG and the King (this should be on his blog later. Dig it on there.)