According to Total Pro Sports, a video from the early 2000s shows James playing as a wide receiver for the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish football team in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. In the footage, James is seen catching several passes including one for a touchdown, running in the open field, and tackling opponents in a highlight package that puts his athletic prowess on full display.
As a high school football player, James was named first-team all-state, and in his junior year, he helped lead his team to the state semifinals.
Interestingly, James almost quit football after his sophomore year but changed his mind after the tragic death of Aaliyah, according to ESPN basketball analyst Brian Windhorst.
“[LeBron James] was going to quit football after his sophomore year, then Aaliyah, one of his favorite singers, died in a plane crash. He decided he wasn't going to live his life being afraid,” Windhorst revealed on an episode of NBA Today.
James did not play senior year after suffering a wrist injury during an AAU basketball game. Because of his skills on the football field, Jesus was heavily recruited by several Division I universities including Notre Dame. Eventually, he put all of his attention into basketball which turned out to be a pretty good decision.
As he began to build his legendary career in the NBA, James has always been open about his love for football. When the NBA was on a lockout in 2011, James received offers from the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks to join their teams. He even began a training regimen that was similar to an NFL workout program.
"Myself and my trainer, we really started to actually train to be a football player when it came to, like, October and November," James said at the time. "We started to clock our times with the 40s. We started to add a little bit more in our bench presses and things of that nature.
“The thoughts came into my mind,' James continued. "But never having the ability to finish my high school career of playing like my senior year, I have dreams all the time about playing football.”
While sports fans may not see James suit up for an NFL team, they’ll be able to see him on the hardwood as he enters his 21st NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers.