Whatever Happened to the Two Sport Athlete? Are They About to Make a Comeback!?!

I was reading this Rob Neyer article, and he was talking about how great Bo Jackson was. To this day he is one of my favorite all time Raiders. I loved his Tiger handheld game as well. He dominated Deion in the battle of the best two-sport athlete by a long shot. Unfortunately for Bo, and for us, his career ended far too early. It got me wondering why there aren’t more two sport athletes these days, but if you look at the salaries back then he wasn’t making close to what guys are today. Granted it was the early 90’s, and with inflation money was worth a little more than it is now, but his final year in Oakland he earned $1.6M, and in Kansas City he pulled in $2.6M.  I’m not saying this is chump change, but the crappy players weren’t quite to the point of getting paid ridiculous amounts of money during Bo’s days, and even the best players weren’t completely paid. So my thinking was that as contracts rose in EVERY sport the need to play more than one sport lessened. The last guy I can even think of that stood out in two sports was Charlie Ward being the general for Florida State’s offense in football and basketball, but even he didn’t play two sports professionally, which I think proves my point that athlete’s don’t need to play two sports anymore because the money is so ridiculously good in whichever one they choose. The closest thing we’ve had recently is a Nike commercial with Lebron blocking a field goal for the Cleveland Browns. With the very real possibility of a lockout for two of our sports (NFL and NBA), I wanted to throw out some ideas for guys and types of players that I think would try to make the jump to another sport either out of boredom or the need to support the $500,000 a month spending lifestyle.

I couldn't find a "Cromartie Family" pic, so the Cosby's will have to do.

I feel like a lot of receivers and defensive secondary players could man the outfield for a major league ball club. Granted receivers are used to the ball being thrown where they want it to be, but in the same notion they are good at finding a ball in the air while running at full speed, and also making the adjustments to catch the ball which is the same type of thing a major league outfielder would do. I’m not expecting these guys to scale walls like Bo often did, but I could definitely see them being adequate in the outfield. We all know Antonio Cromartie could use the extra cash to feed those 9 kids he has. I have my doubts on the offensive side of things as Jordan showed us it’s not easy to hit a baseball at the professional level no matter how gifted you are athletically.

Another way I could see these guys taking advantage of their amazing athletic skills in baseball would be to use them as pinch runners. They could easily be a Dave Roberts kind of player that just comes in to put pressure on a pitcher and his defense by stealing bases late in close games. Would they make what they are getting in the NFL or NBA for that small role? Probably not, but they’d be able to feed their kids, and would make more than unemployment…

Vernon Davis obviously would jump to professional curling. I’m sure he could make the Olympic team if he had the time off to master the craft of sweeping and rolling. I still want to see him curling live one of these days, and this is still a funny ass PSA from him about curling (I love the beanie).

Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant are both guys that seemed to like soccer just as much as basketball. I guess it’s that whole international upbringing. I hope that neither of them need more money, but if for some reason they couldn’t get by without professional sports in their lives, maybe they would join the MLS. It’s not like that league is all that good to begin with. I would actually watch a soccer match up between the two, and I’m about as far from a soccer fan as you’ll find. Kobe vs. Nash in the beautiful game would be a much fairer match up than it is in hoops as we saw in the conference finals last year.

About chappy81

I'm a dude that just hit 30 years old. Pretty much like everything that is funny, insightful, and has to do with the Warriors, A's, and Raiders. View all posts by chappy81

25 responses to “Whatever Happened to the Two Sport Athlete? Are They About to Make a Comeback!?!

  • Chris Humpherys

    I’m a two-sport athlete: blogging and drinking.

    But in all seriousness, I think there are a number of factors that no longer allow athletes to play more than one professional sport at a time.

    Schedule conflicts were always a bear when it came to Bo and Deion. But more than that, ownership invests too much money in any particular athlete for them, or even the player to want to risk extra injury.

    I’m sure there are plenty of guys out there that could play two sports. I’m just not sure it’ll happen to that extent any time soon.

    • chappy81

      Hahaha, well in that sense you could call me a two sport athlete then too!

      Yeah, I think money is the biggest factor for sure, but with the possibility of two lockouts couldn’t you see some players trying out a new sport? I know for a fact that a lot of them live from paycheck to paycheck even with all those zeros in the checks. I’m more hopeful of it than I’ve ever been about seeing athlete’s maybe dabble in another sport. No schedule to conflict with, and owners won’t be signing paychecks to players that aren’t playing! It just feels like the perfect storm for it to happen again.

  • tophatal


    Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield was in the draft of the NFL , NBA and MLB .

    Jim Brown was good enough to play lacrosse at Syracuse as well being a walk on their basketball , baseball and track teams . And he could have been a professional in any of them had he chose to .

    The Bears’ Julius Peppers was part of the Tar Heels team that reached the NCAA’s Final Fours some years back when he was a player there.

    tophatal …………..

    • chappy81

      Oh there’s tons of athletes that have made the crossover, and I totally forgot about Peppers. AI looked like he’d be a good football player from those grainy HS videos, but my point was that they are paid too much these days to have them playing two sports. My real question was with the upcoming lockouts, will we see more players jump sports out of boredom or because they are about to go broke?!?

  • mceezy

    Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates both played hoops at Cal and Kent State, respectively. Terrell Owens had a brief stint in the USBL. Danny Ainge was a prospect in the Blue Jays system for a while. Didn’t I see where the A’s drafted Matt Cassel or something like that too? They’re all over the place, but I guess when the money isn’t necessary, no one cares enough to try.

  • tophatal


    And hopefully they’ll never do what that former Packers’ player did and heeded the dumb ass advice of Favre at the time ! He wanted to renegotiate his contract and Favre talked him out of it only for the player end up breaking his leg in the first regular season game of that year. Always listen to an agent not some primadonna teammates who’s only after his own best interests .

    I wouldn’t want Kiper sniffing the rear end of my dog much less making recommendations about the NFL Draft ….. the guy is over-rated and has had more misses than hit than he even he’d care to admit . Never mind he colludes with the agents of players that he’s suppose to be giving subjective analysis of . How’s that showing credibility ? .

    I just hope Stafford doesn’t go the way of the likes of Eric Crouch and Akili Smith but then again those two were never really that good to begin with ! I guess Mel Kiper knows more than most as he recommended those two and said at the tiime they’d become perennial Prow Bowlers . That’s like saying that Charlie Sheen can find a way of giving up sex with porn stars and going off drunken binges ! That sh_t’ll never happen !

    tophatal ……….

  • JW

    The idea of the “two sport” professional athlete took a fatal blow the day David Fulcher yanked Bo Jackson’s hip out of place, effectively ending his career. In other words, it isn’t that athletes don’t need two play two sports for income reasons, rather salaries have escalated so much that owners preclude a lot of extracurricular activities in the contracts. Let’s be honest, to be a true “two sport” guy, you have to have some serious interest from both sports like Bo Jackson did. However, no owner is paying full “Bo” price for a part-time player, especially not one that get injured playing another sport.

  • tophatal


    What’s A Sure Fire Thing In The NFL Nowadays …….. ?

    There’s Only So Many Ways You Can Throw Sh#t Up Against A Wall …….

    Can Tiger Woods be considered a “two sport” athlete ? I mean he’s hit balls on the PGA Tour and he’s now layin’ the wood to skanks at a record pace like true athlete and getting his balls and knob waxed ____ as if would if sex were a paid professional sport. Mind you by all accounts it’s the skanks that are being well compensated for Woods’ endeavors off the course !

    tophatal ……….

  • tophatal



    How bad are both the Cavs and Wizards at the moment ? Cavs have lost what is it …….. almost 30 straight ? I guess Dan Gilbert knew more than most of us then with idiotic his statement ’bout them winning an NBA title before Lebron ?

    You’re Only As Good As Your Last Game ……. Unfortunately If Your Last Game Was Good As The Ones That’ve Been Played By The Cavaliers and Wizards Then Than That’s Not Saying A Great Deal ………….. !

    Bo knows ……….. see ?


    Did Bosworth actually realize who ran over his _ss at the time or did he think that he’d tripped over his bootlace ?

    tophatal ………………

  • classic17

    I know it’s not major sports, but how about Shaun White?

    I know guys like Jeff Francouer and Donavan Tate had football scholarships to Clemson and UNC before they signed baseball deals. Nebraska football signee Bubba Starling is going to be a first round pick in the MLB Draft this June as well. Titans WR Justin Gage also played basketball at Mizzou. Mike Vick was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 30th round of the 2000 draft even though he didn’t play in college. Herschel Walker also competed in the 1992 Olympics in the 2-man bobsled. I’m pretty sure Terrell Pryor was a nationally ranked basketball player in high school but I don’t know for sure.

    I miss a good two sport athlete.

  • classic17

    This post has caused me to waste a few hours, so thanks for that, haha.

    Turns out Joe Mauer had a football scholarship to Florida State, Greg Paulus was the #1 QB recruit in the nation, and Allen Iverson was a phenomenal high school QB.

    There’s actually a similar conversation going on at the Missouri Rivals’ site because there’s a WR from Missouri who may end up the #1 football recruit and a Top 150 basketball recruit as well.

    I know the post dealt more with two sport pro athletes, but I’d imagine some of these guys may have had a a chance.

    Bob Hayes was an Olympic gold medalist sprinter and played WR for the Cowboys.

    Apparently Ronald Curry was Michael Vick before Vick. I’d have to see that one to believe it, though.

    • chappy81

      HAHA! I’m glad I could get the ball rolling, so you could waste a few hours! There’s a lot guys that played two sports and were pretty good, but we never see them in the pros doing both. I hope the lockouts are the perfect storm for them to return!

  • tophatal



    You guys stay safe , enjoy the SB festivities , game and dare I say try and stay sober ? Or would that not be an option ……. stayin’ sober ?

    S_it Doesn’t Roll Downhill All That Often But When It Does Can It Stink Up The Joint ?

    tophatal ……….

  • Ravenation, L.L.C. of North America

    Anymore the athletes would be advised by their agents to not pursue both sports. But this is weird and confusing to me because if you COULD have a two sport star in this era, you’d be able to potentially make a billion dollars off of that athlete.


    • tophatal


      Wouldn’t you consider Tiger Woods to be a ‘two sport athlete’ ?

      Bangin’ balls on the course ………. porn stars and skanks off it ! Although the latter isn’t considered to be a recreational sport but more so one that’s a recreational procreative activity .

      Now we know why Woods’ swing has been so out of whack ! Earl wasn’t even warm in his coffin and Tiger was layin’ the wood to this ‘skank’ !

      tophatal ………….

    • chappy81

      Yeah, seriously! If Lebron’s real goal is to be a billionaire, it seems like he’d want to bust out in another sport for that extra $5 or $6M a year!

  • Ochocinco Proving My Theory Right! « Doin Work

    […] in the beginning of February you may or may not remember my post predicting that between the two lockouts in the NFL and NBA we might see the return of the “two sport athlete”. Low and behold a month and a half after writing that post, Chad Ochocinco decided he wanted to […]

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