Before Arik Armstead was tossing NFL quarterbacks to the ground like rag dolls, the 49ers defensive lineman was a two-sport athlete at the University of Oregon. In addition to being one of California’s top prep football players, Armstead averaged a double-double in each of his final two high school basketball seasons. 

When asked for a comparison, Armstead likens his basketball playing style to that of a former NBA champion.

“I like Boris Diaw’s game,” Armstead told ABC 7 on the “With Authority” podcast. “He’s a skilled big body, can pass, shoot, dribble a little bit, play in the post.”

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Diaw did do a little bit of everything during his 14-year NBA career, helping the San Antonio Spurs take down the LeBron James-led Miami Heat in the 2014 NBA Finals.

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Armstead nearly was part of bringing his own championship to San Francisco, amassing 10 sacks in 2019 on the way to a loss in Super Bowl LIV.


His 6-foot-7, nearly 300-pound frame would have been a difficult object to move in the paint, even at the NBA level. But 49ers defensive line coach Kris Kocurek likely remains very pleased that Armstead chose to pursue football full-time back in his college years.