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 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.