By Michael Terrill @MichaelTerrill on June 10, 2014
It’s not uncommon for professional athletes to be great at multiple sports growing up. When there’s talent in one area, the athleticism typically excels in another. What’s even crazier is that several professional athletes had a legitimate opportunity to go pro in another sport. Here’s a look at 15 pro athletes who almost chose different sports.
Incredibly talented pitcher Tom Glavine has won two Cy Young Awards and he was the MVP of the 1995 World Series. However, the left-hander almost never played professional baseball as he was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1984.
Michael Vick set the tone for a new-age quarterback when he burst onto the NFL scene in 2001. What many fans may not know is that Vick was actually drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2000 to be a pitcher.
Legendary quarterback John Elway is known for his skills on the gridiron. However, he also was very good when it came to throwing a baseball. He was selected by the New York Yankees in the 1981 MLB Draft. There’s no question he would have been a fantastic baseball player, but clearly, he made the right decision with football.
Kris Humphries was a sensational swimmer who would have probably been competing with Michael Phelps in the Olympics if he hadn’t chose basketball as a teenager. In fact, at the age of 10, he led the nation in six events, and he came in second in the other events to none other than Phelps.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez is the greatest player in NFL history to suit up at his position. In college at Cal, Gonzalez excelled in football and basketball. In fact, many believed he might have had a shot at the NBA if he concentrated more on the sport. It was a difficult decision, but ultimately, Gonzalez knew football was his true passion.
Scott Burrell won a NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. However, that almost never happened because he was drafted by several different MLB teams over the years. His original goal was to play baseball and football at Miami, but instead, he played basketball at UConn.
Kirk Gibson hit one of the most memorable home runs in MLB history. That might not have happened if he decided to stick with football. Gibson was an All-American for the Michigan State Spartans. In fact, it was said that he was a terrific wide receiver.
Carl Crawford was offered numerous scholarships to play sports at different colleges. UCLA wanted him for basketball, while several big-named schools wanted him for football. After signing a letter of intent to play collegiate football at Nebraska, Crawford decided baseball was his true calling and the rest is history.
Tim Duncan is one of the greatest big men to ever play in the NBA. However, if it weren’t for Hurricane Hugo destroying the Olympic-sized pool he trained in, Duncan would be a professional swimmer instead of an outstanding basketball player.
Catcher/first baseman Joe Mauer was the USA Player of the Year in football and baseball. He also was a tremendous basketball player. Instead of accepting a scholarship to attend Florida State and play collegiate sports, Mauer elected to enter the MLB Draft. Obviously, that worked out well for him as he was selected No. 1 overall in 2001.
Colin Kaepernick showed off his strong arm when he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game. The Chicago Cubs probably wish that arm was on their active roster right now, especially since they drafted Kaepernick in 2009. I have to imagine the quarterback is happy right where he is.
Jeff Samardzija was an All-American wide receiver at Notre Dame who clearly would have done just fine in the NFL. The right-hander dreamed of playing football and baseball professionally but realized he needed to focus on just one. The good news is he made the right choice as he’s having a stellar season.
Many know Tom Brady as a future Hall of Fame quarterback who has brought much joy to the fans of the New England Patriots. What many might not realize is that Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos in 1995.
Yankees legend Dave Winfield had an unbelievable career in baseball. However, the 12-time All-Star was drafted by teams in three different professional sports. Even though he was a great baseball player, his decision to choose the sport did not come easy.
Heisman Trophy Award winner Charlie Ward would have easily made a career for himself in the NFL. However, he decided to pursue basketball, which seemed to make sense after the New York Knicks drafted him. He had a decent NBA career, but one has to wonder what he would have accomplished in the NFL.
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