After seeing LeBron James State Farm commercial a few years ago, my mind became filled with the possibilities of other professional athletes doing the same thing as LeBron. As a sports fanatic, these are the kind of dream scenarios that I love to play out in my mind.
Who else would make great two-sport athletes?
*This is not necessarily if they could play the sport right now, but if their skill set could work well in a different sport.
Russell Westbrook: NFL Defensive Back
Westbrook could easily be seen as a pass catching running back, but I like him more on defense. His explosiveness and speed could draw comparisons to Tyrann Mathieu. His vertical leap would help him win 50-50 balls against bigger receivers. Though the NBA is far from being the physical game it used to be, the way that Westbrook plays the game, it gives me the feeling that he would love the contact aspect of football. I can picture him sniffing out a screen pass and lighting up a running back in backfield, Lito Sheppard/Reggie Bush-esque.
Jason Heyward: Wide Receiver
After watching Heyward in Atlanta and St.Louis (refusing to acknowledge who he plays for now), it’s obvious that this guy has two important qualities that a receiver needs: a knack for finding the ball and speed. Heyward is a three time Gold Glove award winner in his short career and will likely rack up many more over the years. He seems to always break on the ball correctly and has the speed to help him track down many balls that other outfielders would not get. His speed has also shown up on the base-paths. He has had three seasons of over 20 stolen bases and led the NL in stolen base percentage in 2015. He ran a 6.83 60-yard dash which would roughly convert to a 4.5 in a 40-yard dash. Standing at 6-foot-5 and weighting 245 lbs, Heyward has the measurables of recently-retired Calvin Johnson. As a receiver, he would be able to run with any corner, find the ball in the air, and move his hips correctly to put himself in the best position to make a play on the ball.
J.J. Watt: Designated Hitter/First Baseman
This one might be the most far-fetched, but it’s the one I find most amusing. Even though I can’t stand the guy, watching him in a HR Derby would be worth the price of admission. His massive stature would probably give him fits against professional pitchers, but I could watch him hit fastballs off of a pitching machine all day. His fielding skills are likely limited. After seeing him bat down passes at the line of scrimmage, putting him at first base would be a teams best option. Good luck to any hitter trying to get a blooper over his head into right field.
Cam Newton: Small Forward
Cam Newton’s personality works well with the glamour that NBA players bring to the game, but how would he match-up physically? From the looks of it, Newton would likely fit in well. Standing in at 6-foot-5 and weighing 245 lbs, though being a little undersized for an NBA small forward, Newton’s body type would be able to handle other small forwards. His 4.59 second 40-yard dash and 35-inch vertical at the NFL combine would make him a tough stop in transition. With his hands measuring in at 9.75 inches, they are bigger than LeBron James’ hands and just shy of Yao Ming’s hands. His outlet passes would be a pretty sight.