Some guys get all the breaks. Imagine having the option of being a dominant athlete in not one, but multiple sports, and then having to choose between them. Chances are, you’re watching some of them right now. Basketball players, on the whole, seem to have one thing in common, they’re blessed with bodies that are built for the game. Tall, fast and athletic are usually, with exceptions of course, the order of the day. But throughout the history of the NBA there has been plenty of athletes that cold hold their own in more than one sport, and today we’re going to look at a few of the more remarkable cases.
Tim Duncan – Freestyle Swimming
Duncan grew up on the Virgin Islands, and he was a standout freestyle swimmer with a serious eye on the 1992 Olympics. Lucky for the NBA and even luckier for San Antonio, in 1989, Hurricane Hugo happened.
The category 5 storm wiped out a good chunk of the Caribbean, and took Duncan’s hometown’s only decent swimming pool with it. But hey, no problem right? He was still surrounded by an ocean! No problem, except that Duncan is wicked afraid of sharks. So he picked up a basketball and gave that a try, it turned out to be a good financial move on his part.
Chris Paul – Bowling
Being an NBA All Star for a team in LA (even the Clippers) is a pretty glamorous position to be in. On the other hand, being a elite bowler isn’t getting you on any cereal boxes anytime soon. Chris Paul is lucky enough to be both though, and he’s as scary good as bowler as he is a point guard. So much so, that he’s an actual spokesperson for the United States Bowling Congress (wow) and owns a professional bowling team (also wow). So yeah, I guess the dude can roll.
Charlie Ward – Football
Plenty of guys on this list had “a side project” sport they were good at, sometimes really really good at, but Charlie Ward won the fucking Heisman trophy. He played pivot for Florida State and won the Orange bowl doing it. Then he spent a decade as point guard for the Knicks. The guy was a champ by any measure of the word, and deserves more respect than anybody has to give!
Scott Burrell – Baseball
Scott Burrell won’t be in any hall of fame any time soon, but he’ll go down as the first person to be drafted in the first round for two major sports, and that’s something he’ll have over you forever. He went 20th to Charlotte in ’93, but he also got nabbed by the Seattle Mariners when he was still in high school. Now tack all that on to the fact that he won a championship with Jordan’s Bulls in the 90’s, and you’ve got yourself a multi-faceted hero for our times.
Wilt Chamberlain – Volleyball, Football, Boxing, Track and Field, Skirt-Chasing
Basically, what we’re trying to say here is that Wilt Chamberlain is the closest thing the sport has to a renaissance man. He was a champ at any sport he laid his hands on, and Basketball is the sport it is today because, when it came down to it, Chamberlain just had to focus on the sport that would get him the most tail. His plan worked.
Dwight Howard – Call of Duty
Is Dwight Howard the best gamer that ever lived? No. Is he the baddest? Absolutely. He’s such a booster of the game they put him in the commercial alongside some Hollywood A-listers. Howard confesses he plays about 4 hours a night and that he’s gone “prestige” which for all seven of you non-COD players out there means that he’s gotten to the top of the heap and started back from scratch, a feat that requires the investment of as much time as it’d take to write a good novel.
MJ – Golf
The cold hard fact is, Michael Jordan isn’t that spectacular at golf. That said, he loves the game with a vengeance, he runs his own tournament in Vegas, and he has a custom-built golf cart that’s likely nicer than any car I will ever own, so he gets a pass. If there’s a fancy gated neighborhood with a private golf course attached it’s likely Jordan’s got a house there and it’s rumored online he once killed an entire day playing 63 holes.
Oh yeah, he played baseball for a bit too, but… ughhh.