Doc Rivers says the NBA has never seen a better athlete than LeBron James
Doc Rivers says the NBA has never seen a better athlete than LeBron James

‘Never been an athlete like LeBron’

MANY consider LeBron James to be the greatest basketball player of all time, but one longtime NBA coach thinks he could've had a historic career in another sport, too.

While appearing on the "Go Off with Austin Rivers" podcast, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers speculated the 16-time NBA All-Star and three-time NBA champion could've been the GOAT on the football field, as well.

"I don't know if there's ever been an athlete in our league like LeBron James," the Clippers coach said.

"I don't think in sports, I don't think in sports there's been anything like LeBron James," Austin Rivers, Doc's son and a guard with the Houston Rockets, replied.

"It's funny. You're right. I really believe if LeBron James played football, he may have been the greatest football player ever," the elder Rivers said.

The 205cm, 113kg James stood out at wide receiver during two seasons of high school football. James was recruited by some Division I programs - including Notre Dame - but ultimately chose basketball, going straight to the NBA as the top pick in the 2003 Draft.

Whether or not James would've been debated in the same category as, say, Tom Brady or Jerry Rice, is something nobody may ever know. But there's definitely enough evidence to place him high up among the NBA's greatest.

The return of the NBA continues to remain up in the air with NBA commissioner Adam Silver to study coronavirus outbreak and testing developments for another two to four weeks before the league decides about a return to competition, according to multiple reports.

The timetable, shared in a conference call between Silver and club owners, was the first indication about when the league might return from the coronavirus shutdown that began March 12, The Athletic and ESPN reported.

"Health is number 1. The NBA will wait a month to decide after getting more tests and data to show how serious the virus is," Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley tweeted.

"We are at a place right now where it's about health as it should be. The more data we have the more you can show how safe it really is. It's coming."

The NBA wants more time to study the trajectory of new cases, who is becoming severely ill and how other sports organisations are handling virus tests, according to reports.

Team owners and executives on the call departed with optimism the NBA had momentum to solving the health risks associated with resuming the NBA season in a secure setting with Las Vegas and Orlando likely settings.

ESPN reported the league was trying to develop an idea that any return would not be halted by one positive test, but risk assessment and what happens with multiple positives are among the issues still to be decided.

Talks with the NBA players union showed positive support for resuming the season, according to the report.

"Safety obviously 1st!" Dudley tweeted. "Nowhere will be as safe as the NBA compound site they determine."

Exactly what format might be used for an NBA comeback has not been decided, ESPN reported, with the possibility of all 30 teams playing to finish the regular season or not and perhaps an expanded playoffs with a play-in for teams beyond the usual 16 spots.