Ohio State football head coach Urban Meyer revealed on Thursday that he offered the Miami Heat’s LeBron James a scholarship to Notre Dame in 2000 when he was a wide-receivers coach for the Fighting Irish.
At the time, James was a high school sophomore for St. Vincent-St. Mary in Ohio, a school also known as the Fighting Irish.
According to Melissa Rohlin of The Los Angeles Times, James told Meyer he’d consider the offer. When James’ football coach caught wind of the news, Meyer was laughed at for offering James a scholarship to play for Notre Dame’s football team:
“I didn’t know what he was laughing at,” Meyers said, “so we went down and sat in a room and he said, ‘Do you know who that is?’ and I said, ‘No’ and he said, ‘LeBron James’ and I said, ‘Who’s LeBron James?’ and he said, ‘He’ll be the next Michael Jordan’ and I go, ‘Come on.’”
In addition to being named the 2003 Naismith Prep Player of the Year as a senior, an award that goes to the top player in the nation for high school basketball, James was also an All-State wide receiver at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Between his sophomore and junior seasons, he recorded 102 passes for 2,065 and 23 touchdowns.
Meyer said that despite an already-accomplished NBA career, James would’ve been a first-round draft pick in the NFL and would’ve been in the Hall of Fame:
“A first-round draft pick, a Hall of Famer,” Meyer said. “Obviously he’s a winner.”