To become a professional athlete, you have to have a lot of skill, a good work ethic, and a little bit of luck. Some athletes, although good at one sport, were also talented in another sport. A few were even able to play two sports, such as Deion Sanders and Michael Jordan. But, others had to choose between the two (or more). These 5 athletes could have played professionally for more than one sport.
5. Jim Brown
Jim Brown is known for his talents in football. He is arguably the greatest running back of all time, as he is a member of both the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame. While at Syracuse, he played three sports, basketball, football, and lacrosse. Furthermore, he is also a member of the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame. During his time at Syracuse as a lacrosse player, he was an All-American and second in the nation in scoring (during his senior season). Unfortunately, there were not any pro leagues at the time. In 1984 he told the New York Times “Lacrosse is probably the best sport I ever played”. Although there is not much film, the stats and stories prove that Brown was a beast on the field.
4. Dave Winfield
Dave Winfield is a 12-time All-Star and former Major League Baseball player. While at the University of Minnesota, he starred in baseball and basketball. Following college, Winfield was drafted by four teams in three different sports. The San Diego Padres (MLB), Atlanta Hawks (NBA), and Utah Stars (ABA). Even though he did not play college football, he was also drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 17th round of the NFL draft. He would end up choosing baseball and as a result, he would have a Hall of Fame career.
3. Charlie Ward
Charlie Ward is a former basketball player for the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, and the Houston Rockets. After being selected in the first round of the NBA draft, he decided to play pro basketball. Before his professional basketball career began, he was a two-sport athlete at Florida State University. He was the star quarterback at FSU, leading them to 3 bowl games including the national championship in 1994. In his time as QB, he won the Heisman Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, and many other notable awards. He was inducted into the college hall of fame in 2006. Although his success, he would go undrafted and end up playing basketball. What could have been if he was selected?
2. Jackie Robinson
Before he became the first African American to play in the MLB, he was a four-sport athlete at UCLA. In 1939, he was one of 4 black players on the football team. 3 of which, including Robinson, made up the backfield. In track and field, he won the 1940 NCAA Championship in the long jump and was also a great broad jumper. Although not much is known about his basketball career, it is said that he was an exceptional forward and a terrific leaper. Unfortunately, during this time in history, we were racially segregated so there was no way he could have played professional basketball at a higher level than a semi-pro racially integrated team. And of course, he played baseball with the Bruins. He then would go on to play in the Negro Leagues and eventually the MLB.
1. Carl Lewis
Carl Lewis is a former track and field athlete who was a nine-time Olympic gold medalist. But what many don’t know about him was that he was drafted by two other leagues. During the 1984 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls selected him in the 10th round. This was despite the fact that he did not play basketball at the University of Houston. Also, in the 1984 NFL draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected him with the 334th pick. This shows how much of a freak athlete he was.