LeBron James

NFL Rumors: Did LeBron James really almost join NFC contender in 2011?

NFL Rumors: Did LeBron James really almost join NFC contender in 2011?

Before becoming one of the greatest basketball players in history, LeBron James played football in high school, and was excellent. So good that, years later, college football coaches still speak about him in reverent tones.

The question, then, has always been: What if LeBron had decided to play football instead of basketball? How good would he have been? And which franchise could he have changed forever?

According to James and his longtime business associate Maverick Carter, Eagles fans nearly found out during the 2011 NBA lockout - in a bad way.

James and Carter revealed a wild nugget earlier this week about Cowboys owner and GM Jerry Jones offering James a contract in 2011, when James started training for a potential football crossover attempt in case the lockout went on too long for his liking.

Here are the direct quotes, from James and Carter

LEBRON: I had no idea how long the lockout was going to be, and myself and my trainer, Mike Mancias, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to October and November. [...] Mike kept talking about, “It’d be great to go down to Irving, Texas. It’d be great to go to Irving, Texas.” 

You know, Mike is – he’s from Texas. We’re both Cowboys fans. He’s like, “It’d be great to go down there to Dallas and suit it up for the Cowboys, how great that’d be.” The thoughts came into my mind. The thoughts came into my mind. Never having the ability to finish my high school career of playing my senior year, I have dreams all the time about playing football.

CARTER: I know [LeBron] got a contract from Jerry Jones that he framed and put in his office.

My goodness. I totally believe it, too. That's a classic Jerry Jones move if I've ever heard one.

Can you imagine the Eagles' cornerbacks trying to defend 6-foot-8, 250-pound LeBron James as he enters his athletic prime? 

In case you forgot, 2011 was Dream Team, and the Juan Castillo-as-defensive coordinator era. It was already a comedy of errors for the Eagles, just brutality after brutality. And then you throw Unfair Athlete LeBron James into the mix?

James scoring on a bomb from Tony Romo, over Nnamdi Asomugha's skeleton, might've been enough to dissolve the Eagles' franchise into dust out of sheer embarrassment and jealousy. 

Thank goodness James decided not to make the jump. Nine years later, the Eagles have their Super Bowl, and LeBron James is an NBA legend.

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P.J. Carlesimo likens Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons' struggles to Michael Jordan, LeBron James

P.J. Carlesimo likens Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons' struggles to Michael Jordan, LeBron James

The Sixers didn’t get off to the start they would’ve liked to this season. There’s been plenty of blame to go around.

Whether it’s coaching or roster construction or players just flat-out underperforming, there’s plenty of reasons given for why the Sixers haven’t looked like a championship team this season.

While health will always be at the forefront for an organization who’s had so much bad luck in that department, there’s a big factor people tend to forget about: Youth.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are All-Stars and obviously the stars of this team. But they’re just 26 and 23, respectively. They’ve only participated in the playoffs together twice. As "The Last Dance" documentary has reminded us, Michael Jordan was 28 when he won his first title. LeBron James was 27.

As a guest on the Sixers Talk podcast, former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst P.J. Carlesimo was asked if he thought the expectations — many of which were placed by the team itself — were a little unfair.

I don't think in a little way. I think in a dramatic way,” Carlesimo said. “I think there's two problems. The first problem with the Sixers is the youth. There's no question about that. As good as those two guys are, as much as they've accomplished ... they're very young in their careers. We just talked about how long it took Michael to win a championship, how long it took LeBron to win a championship. It's a little arrogant to think anybody else is going to do it any quicker than those guys. ... Michael and LeBron came in and were really good players right from the jump their rookie years, but it took them a long time to learn how to win a championship.

“And I think the other problem that goes hand in hand with that lack of experience, relatively speaking, is the injuries. Joel just hasn't been healthy. I mean, you talk about a guy who's been snakebit. I mean, he's played so few games out of what he could have played in his career. And then on top of that, now, Ben gets a really tough injury ... I think long term he's going to be OK. Joel, you gotta wonder about a little bit. The amount of injuries he's had is a little bit concerning. But I think there's no question Elton [Brand] continues to put good pieces together with them.

One of the pieces Brand brought in was Al Horford. Up this point, the signing hasn’t looked good. The spacing Horford was supposed to provide hasn’t come to fruition and the fit next to Embiid has been clunky.

Carlesimo liked the signing at the time and still thinks there’s a chance Brett Brown, who spent time with Carlesimo while both were assistants under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, will get the most out of that duo.

As for the team as a whole, Carlesimo likes the direction they’re headed and gives credit to former GM Sam Hinkie for having the team “knocking on the door” of a championship.

When asked if he thought the Process would be a success if the Sixers don’t win a title, Carlesimo offered an interesting perspective.

No, I don’t consider it a success, but I’ll be honest with you, it sounds trite, but one team wins every year. There’s maybe 20 teams, 25 teams that don’t have a chance to win a championship. There’s some franchise that say they want to win a championship, but that’s really not what they’re about. ... The Bucks are knocking on that door right now. If the Bucks don’t win a championship while Giannis [Antetokounmpo] is there, it wasn’t a success. It didn’t work. So, yes, looking back and being critical, no, if the Process doesn’t lead to a championship then it didn’t work, but it didn’t work any differently than it didn’t work for 29 other teams every year. ... If you don’t win the championship, it’s not a success. I think that’s the same standard the Process should be held to. I love where it’s gotten them right now, but if it doesn’t come to fruition, if they don’t win a championship, no, the Process didn’t work. …

“If this does come to fruition, I think that Sam deserves a ton of credit, and I think the Sixers’ ownership deserves a ton of credit. And I don’t think they deserve criticism if it doesn’t. They chose a different path and this path has them knocking on the door. There’s a lot of other franchises in this league that aren’t knocking on the door. They’re doing whatever they’re doing, they’re not even remotely close to getting to the second or third round of the playoffs or dreaming about winning championships. I think for the Sixers to be where they are now is great. It’s worked. But these next couple steps are tough.

For more from Carlesimo about his experience coaching Michael Jordan, his relationship with Brett Brown and more, check out the latest edition of the Sixers Talk podcast below.

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Watch Avery Bradley take the ball right out of Al Horford's hands

Watch Avery Bradley take the ball right out of Al Horford's hands

The Philadelphia 76ers were without their two biggest stars on Tuesday night when they took on the formidable Lakers out in Los Angeles.

That meant Al Horford could step up and take the full brunt of Sixers fans' ire.

Horford has been a pretty consistent punching bag all season in Philly, failing to live up to the lofty expectations Elton Brand and his big free-agent contract put on him this past summer.

There was a particular stretch to end the first half on Tuesday night that was simply brutal to watch (our video editors clipped a video of it for you to see above):

-Horford got torched by Anthony Davis on a backdoor alley-oop

-Horford missed shot led to a Davis layup on the other end

-No help from Horford when Davis blew by Neto

-Horford had the ball taken right out of his hands by Avery Bradley.

That last one had Philly fans everywhere throwing up their hands in disgust. How does a guy as big as Horford allow that to happen?

There may also have been another Davis fastbreak dunk in there somewhere. Was hard to keep track.

It's been a long season for Big Al and the Sixers. In Horford's defense, our reporter Paul Hudrick wrote that Horford was battling some knee issues:

Al Horford was mostly solid early in this one, playing Davis tough, but several of the issues that have plagued him arose again as the game went on.

He struggled to shoot from the outside (2 of 8 from the floor), couldn’t finish at the rim and just looked a step slow. At a time when the Sixers have really needed Horford to be the guy they paid for, he has not done so. It’s fair to note that Horford could be seen on the broadcast getting ice and treatment on his left knee on the bench. He’s missed time this season because of soreness in that knee and left hamstring tightness.

More on the 120-107 loss here.