NBA / Sep 14, 2010 / 2:30 pm

Top 5 NBA Players Who Could Play in the NFL

Allen Iverson, Dime #6

In this day and age, athletes have out of this world physical ability. Some run faster and jump higher than us normal people could ever imagine.

There are some players in the NBA today that could start on an NFL team right now, or have at least played football during high school or college days. Watching the Monday Night Football doubleheader last night between the Ravens/Jets and Chargers/Chiefs, if got me thinking about which NBA players could make a transition into the NFL. Here are the top five, plus one coach:

Chauncey Billups – Head Coach
Billups played a huge role for the Detroit Pistons in his prime, nailing big shots down stretches of games and earning the nickname “Mr. Big Shot.” The Pistons ended up winning an NBA title in 2004. Since then, he’s helped give the Denver Nuggets the floor general they needed in order to be one of the best teams in the Western Conference. Billups also played under two Hall of Fame head coaches: Larry Brown while in Detroit, and George Karl with the Nuggets. Billups gets respect from his teammates and even opposing players, and is a master at setting the pace of a game and controlling tempo. He’s always aware of the clock and the situation. He would make a great NFL coach.

Allen Iverson – Quarterback/Cornerback
From middle school all the way into the NBA, Iverson was so athletic that he could have played any sport and dominated. During his days at Bethel High School in Virginia, Iverson played quarterback and cornerback and returned kicks, and was even more highly-recruited by college football scouts than Michael Vick and his cousin, ex-NFL quarterback Aaron Brooks. He won Bethel two state championships in both basketball and football. As the baddest dude under 6-feet to ever lace ‘em up, just imagine if Iverson had played for the Atlanta Falcons. The franchise that once employed Vick and Deion Sanders could have another player with otherworldly speed. Now that’s scary.

LeBron James – Wide Receiver/Tight End/Safety
‘Bron is one of those hybrid players, the ones you could line up at almost any position and they’re going to succeed. ‘Bron was a first team All-State wide receiver at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s in Ohio, drawing comparisons to Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. During his junior season, he led his team all the way to the state semifinals. With his agility, leaping ability, big hands and strength, ‘Bron has the ability to play at least three positions on the football field, maybe more. He can make the catch, hold a block with his upper body strength and even put a hit on someone (although I don’t see ‘Bron putting a hit on anyone). Just imagine if he played with Iverson; talk about the greatest duo in high school football history.

Nate Robinson – Cornerback/Running Back/Kick Returner
They don’t call him Krypto-Nate for nothing. This guy had it all. Robinson was a scholarship football player at the University of Washington, where he started at corner as a freshman before deciding to stick with basketball full-time. In high school he played tailback and returned kicks as well. Robinson wasn’t the tallest guy out there (5-9) but he had the biggest heart on the field. He’d be the next Darren Sproles with his speed, but a little more physical.

Steve Nash – Kicker/Punter
Nash is a sure lock as a future Hall of Fame point guard, but his true love is soccer. You could also put Kobe here, but I don’t think Kobe can kick a ball into a basketball hoop from about 16 feet out. Nash can do that, so then why can’t he kick a field goal or punt a football down inside the 10-yard line? Nash has been known to come through in the clutch and I’d expect him to hit a few game winning field goals in the NFL.

Glen Davis – Running Back/Defensive End
For those who don’t know, Big Baby was the original Brandon Jacobs — until he chose to focus on basketball. Playing tailback at University Laboratory High in Louisiana, at 6-foot-9, 290 pounds, Davis was a monster on the field. If you don’t believe me, check the YouTube clip. For a man his size, he also played defensive end and a little tight end throughout high school as well.

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    One Nate can playin the NFL, he did in college. For everyone else, they better stick to fantasy football.

    The kicker/place-holder is just another foreigner taking a job away from an American!

  • Promoman

    Iverson would need to be at any position other than QB since he’d have to pass.

  • ERIC

    you have had this same article, or some version of it, several times in the last 12 months.

  • netstar

    not LBJ

    there is no whining your way to a touchdown in football

  • sh!tfaced

    LOL@Promoman true dat, man… no doubt

    Although AI isn’t in the NBA right now though…

    What about Shaq? The man would make Ray Lewis seem like a mini-monsters if he did it in the NFL…

    How bout NFL players who could play in the NBA? Randy Moss with his 50-something vertical… or maybe Tony Gonzales? He was a basketball player in college. Would he have made as
    an NBA player as successful as he did in football? Maybe not most likely…

  • sh!tfaced

    shit, MONSTER. No s… may bad… LOL

  • Shaq

    Are you trying to say Shaq isn’t the first player on this list? C’mon. He may be old and slow, but you can’t tell me he’s not strong enough to play the line. The guy is an NFL coaches dream with that combination of height and girth.

    Plus, he’s still strong as hell.

  • sh!tfaced

    Well fuck, did Moss play hoops in college? Ugh… Damn Bacardi 151 is giving me hell right now…

  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Barrio C Money

    I agree with Nate,James but not the rest… Davis has a weak jaw he wont be able to withstand the punishment! And who ever wrote this I didnt even look…Said PLAYERS who can PLAY in the NFL Where the F*** and WHY THE F*** is there a “HEAD COACH” But anyways..(attention to simple detail maybe)
    Iverson is too old and not as mobile as he used to be. Hes no Favre!! I take out Big baby put in SHAQ at DE!
    I take out Iverson and insert Rondo as QB! And i dont see why theres a kicker..i know steve nash and his soccer skills is illmatic but this should be from an athletic stand point to fit a certain position in the NFL..So X OUT kicker! and I will add one more ILB would be.. Andre Iguodala!! He look like he can hit hard!!

  • stupid

    kailangan paulit ulit articles? kupal

  • Mr. TKO

    @promoman, Lmao

    @ Eric, that’s exactly what I was thinking, I know I’ve seen this scenario before I wasn’t sure if it was here or on another site and it was driving me crazy.

  • JAY

    Nash, one of the greatest passer to play in the NBA, you assign him as the kicker??
    “Nash has been known to come through in the clutch and I’d expect him to hit a few game winning field goals in the NFL.”
    Why can’t he put together a clutch drive, instead of KICKING the pigskin??

    What about Reggie Evans as a Defensive Lineman?

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Dime Fans

    What other interesting comparisons would you like to see? Let me know.

  • Mark

    interesting read. I like how you backed up most of the players with their high school experience/credentials. i was at 1st surprised by the names, but after reading more description, it makes sense.

  • JAY

    You guys really hate on AI, huh?
    He led his “beating stick” high school to the State Championships twice over powerhouse Hampton.

  • stupid

    Dime Writers as comedians

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ JAY

    Because Iverson is a proven quarterback and I’m not going to start Nash over him after he won his high school a State Championship.

  • JAY

    Ron Artest = Fullback in the mold of Mike Alsott

  • JAY

    @Macaluso: “Because Iverson is a proven quarterback and I’m not going to start Nash over him after he won his high school a State Championship.”

    My bad… I just realized that you made a list for a football team. At first I thought it was just a list of players who could translate to the NFL, regardless of position.

  • Sac

    I think one of the problems of these Dime comparisons, is that today’s players usually don’t represent the type of arguments that are asked and presented (both from a basketball, physical or likeness type of view to the addressed argument).

    If these arguments weren’t restricted to only today’s players (or the writers put more thought into them and clearly explained why they made their choices; we would see selections like this).

    Tim Hardaway Tail Back
    Nate Robinson Punt Returner, Tailback or short defensive back
    Mitch Richmond Free Safety
    Charles Barkley Defensive End, Tight End or Outside Line Backer (depending on what he weighed through out his career (6’4″ 260-308lb).
    Karl Malone Tight End
    Shortsanitis (The Greek Center) Left Tackle
    Michael Jordan Wide Receiver
    Rondo Defensive Back (too light/small to play quarter back, though obviously has great leadership/passing skills) or Wide Receiver.
    Dwayne Wade, Free Safety, Corner Back or Wide Receiver
    Lebron James Tight End or a very Tall Linebacker

    When you match these players up, you got to attribute their appropriate height, weight, length, leaping ability, quickness, strength, durability and ability to pursue and hold on to the football when you translate them to the NFL.

    A lot of NBA players (or vice versa) were great Football, basketball, basketball or track athletes in high school. But it doesn’t always mean they would of been all time greats or very good in those sports either.

    Just check the list of Great high school or college players, who disappointed or who didn’t make it to the next level? We always tend to forget those.

  • PdZ

    Dwight. Nice target to have in a short yard situation

  • Sac

    Also, Guys like Dwight Howard, Shaq in his prime (very tall, albeit muscular guys), etc.; make great basketball players. But wouldn’t make great NFL specimens. Their too tall and/or skinny for the NFL. So that leave all of those guys out (Kevin Garnett’s, Kevin Willis’s, Otis Thorpe, Shawn Kemp, etc.).

    Subsequently even guys like Kobe, who are exceptional basketball players, wouldn’t necessarily translate to football, because their too tall or skinny, with out the necessary freakish athletic skills or strength/build of some of the others we mentioned. Guys like that are more basketball players with athleticism that doesn’t translate as well to football over some of their contemporaries.

    Oh I forgot to mention above. Larry Johnson for Tight End.
    Cory Magette, Harold Miner, Safety, Maybe Wide receiver or Corner back (probably a little too tall for that position).

    I know I was holding out on quarterback. Let me think of a few.

    Deron Williams, Magic Johnson, Mitch Richmond, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James as quarter back. All these guys are tall, strong, well built, fluid, have excellent vision and make good decisions/passing with the basketball. They would make good quarterbacks.

    I’m sure I forgot a few. Like Shannon Brown for Defensive back or Wide receiver (though I’m not sure/convinced he has good enough hands or body control for WR). He’s explosive as hell though and would battle any receiver for the ball.

  • https://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE


    You guys did superhero comparisons.
    I think you all have already done rappers and wrestlers.

    I think a Transformers comparison would be cool.
    The meanest mofo playing would have to be Megatron but I can’t think who that would be off top?

    Only other comparison I guess would be cool, would be to action heros and perhaps their movie.
    Jet Li, Denzel in Training Day, Sly Stal still trying to do his thing and more.

  • SJ

    Damn, Andrew Macaluso… did you plagiarize this article?

    I’m about 110% sure you did. You weren’t even smart enough to change the title! You have SIX players on your list. There are so many similarities in your article and what is in this old article, it’s ridiculous. You have used the same video of Big Baby. How much of your previous articles did you steal?

    SMH… shame the f*ck on you, son.


  • Utah Soldier


    Give us something real. You have talent, stop wasting it on these fluff pieces. Give us something with real insight. I look forward to the season to start so I can see some real work.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso


    What are you talking about? I’ve probably seen about 10 or 12 of the same players used. It just makes sense since most of them are former players. Let’s get real, why would I plagiarize on a public website? I didn’t know having some of the same players was plagiarism these days. God forbid if I write an article talking about NBA players that probably 100 other people thought of as well is plagiarism.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Utah Soldier

    Just trying to pass the time during the off season.

  • Utah Soldier

    I think you still have a target on your work because of the Deron to Dallas piece. But that piece showed your willingness to share opinions on issues that fans care about. As a fan I don’t give two shits about what X man is closest to Dwight Howard, but I do care about Deron Williams contact situation. I know that was an opinion piece, but it was better than the fluff that you’ve put out since.

  • Utah Soldier

    And I understand

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Utah Soldier

    Yeah, I know that’s the reason but that’s out of my hands about how people feel about my pieces. Like I’ve been told, I could write the best article in the world but there’s always going to be someone that doesn’t agree.

    I’m just going to keep writing but I feel that I’ve put out decent pieces besides the X-Men ones you were referring too.

  • Utah Soldier

    Keep it up man. I understand this business. I’m a military journalist myself. You’re going to be good.

  • SJ

    Comparisons between your article and the link I posted (http://hoopeduponline.com/2008/09/04/5-nba-players-who-could-play-in-the-nfl/):

    Your Article
    …During his days at Bethel High School in Virginia, Iverson played quarterback and cornerback…was even more highly-recruited by college football scouts than Michael Vick and his cousin, ex-NFL quarterback Aaron Brooks…just imagine if Iverson had played for the Atlanta Falcons…

    …Iverson played quarterback and cornerback for Bethel High School…scouts rated him higher that NFL quarterbacks Michael Vick and Aaron Brooks…I’m surprised the Atlanta Falcons haven’t kidnapped him yet…

    Your Article
    …’Bron was a first team All-State wide receiver…With his agility [speed], leaping ability, big hands and strength [size]…

    …LeBron James was an all-state wide receiver…with his mix of great hands, size, speed and leaping ability…

    Your Article
    …Robinson was a scholarship football player at the University of Washington…before deciding to stick with basketball full-time…

    …Robinson only had a football scholarship while attending Washington…before he made the switch to basketball full-time…

    Your Article
    …kick a ball into a basketball hoop from about 16 feet out…so then why can’t he kick a field goal or punt a football down inside the 10-yard line…has been known to come through in the clutch…

    …kick a basketball into a hoop from about 15 feet out…so nailing an extra point or a 30-yard field goal, would be a piece of cake…he’s clutch in routine situations…

    Your Article
    …playing tailback at…also played defensive end and a little tight end…

    …Davis played fullback, tight end and defensive end…

    Next time, source your articles a little.. If you pull info from somewhere else, just toss up a link. Nobody is going to think less of you for it, because nobody can know everything.

    I don’t see a target on you, that’s not why I pointed this out. Some of what you have posted reaches a bit and seems bold for an intern, but in sports journalism you sort of have to be loud to be heard.

  • goat

    These articles are bullshit.

    Give us some early sleepers & busts, team previews, potential playoff breakdowns, SOMETHING, other than this dribble!

  • Clayton

    what about d-wade! the guy played wide reciever in high school and would be a great reciever in the nfl! hes the prototypical size for a wr at 6’4 220. he also has great speed, explosiveness, and agility. and i know yall will be sayin he too injury prone..but that dude is fearless and takes hits night after night…he would be a great nfler

  • derik

    I’m really sick and tired of Andrew Macaluso’s articles, always writing bold predictions and generates big reactions to gather attention, things that doesn’t matter, and facts that are wrong. Dime was a great place until this Andrew guy show up.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ derik

    Those “bold” predictions I make are going to earn me a lot of apologies this season. NBA season can’t come soon enough.

  • Simon

    Um… Iverson isn’t an NBA player.

  • tempest

    Why my comment not showin up? OP trying to moderate this?

  • b

    didn’t matt barnes get invited to tryout with the 49ers when he was in contract limbo a few years back? thought he would be mentioned here

  • ????

    @SJ: wow u really researched huh…

    @Andrew Macaluso:
    I really think you should provide and explanation for SJ.. Cause its looking a lot like he’s right..

  • SJ

    @???? – not so much, just came upon the article by chance… was looking up to see if any NBA players played college football and found it. I only took the 5-10 minutes to copy/paste the info in because he asked what I was talking about and implied it was only because it was the same players… which, of course, it’s more than that as you can tell by what I posted.

    @Macaluso – I think you should just fess up. You wouldn’t want someone copying stuff from one of your own articles that you spent a good amount of time researching and just post it as their own, would you? You can try to bury it under the rug, but why not take the moral high road and man up?

  • ????

    @SJ – All I can say is, good work.. im a big advocate of good and honest writing, and plagiarism is obviously the lowest that any journalist/writer can go..

    @Andrew – I dont wanna outright accuse you of plagiarism, it would be wrong to judge so quickly. But please do provide an explanation.. “man up” as SJ put it

  • SJ

    @???? – I’m not going to hold my breathe for it. Although, I might occaisionally post up a link to this article along with ‘Plagiarism’ in a comment. Maybe it will be addressed then…?

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ SJ

    Do whatever you have to do. But all I know is that my work is original. I didn’t know that stating facts in articles automatically turn it into plagiarism. Maybe I should have did the research first to see that there wasn’t another piece out there similar to mine.I chose those players because their former football stars, but in no way did I plagiarize – contrary to your belief.

  • SJ


    I still can’t believe you continue to deny this blatant example of plagiarism. You can claim everything you wrote is your original work and all the facts you stated you knew in your head already, but it doesn’t change the evidence of plagiarism. It’s a two cent article about a completely fictional hypothetical ‘what-if’ that has no bearing on the outside world and nobody would really give a shit and a half if you said you did get some ‘help’ from other articles, namely the one I referenced above. You might actually gain some respect for coming clean on it. It’s more of a pride thing for you now, isn’t it? How about morality and consequence, where do they fall in line?

    For your future work, you may want to refer to this article (http://www.princeton.edu/pr/pub/integrity/08/plagiarism/) which provides just a few examples of plagiarism. I’m sure a quick Google search can point you towards more. This may help prevent issues for you on any future work that may be more important than this article.

  • ????


    Perhaps you should read SJ’s comment again (#32).. Those arent just “stating facts”, those look like REPHRASING facts that have already been stated by another writer in an almost mirror like article.

    We’re not trying to make u admit to plagiarism, i think we’re merely expecting you to at least RESPECT the writer from hoopedup.com and credit him for the help that you got.

    As SJ said, All this “plagiarism” talk would’ve just died down if you had credited the writer from hoopedup

  • SJ

    @???? – I doubt he’ll own up to this and give an honest explanation. Even Fox News owns up to ‘some’ of their bs.