Moss says LeBron would be better than Gates

Randy Moss considers LeBron James a kindred spirit.

They both were schoolboy superstars in football and basketball. Moss, twice named Mr. Basketball in West Virginia, opted for football. James, an all-Ohio wide receiver as a sophomore and a junior, chose basketball.

And the way Moss sees it, either decision would have been correct for them.

"LeBron James is the athlete that comes around every so often," Moss told me by phone Monday. "I would put myself in that category. We're multi-talented, able to go out and play different sports, different positions."

Over the past couple weeks, I interviewed dozens of knowledgeable sources for a feature that examined LeBron James, the football player.

I spoke with coaches who witnessed James' domination on Ohio's fertile recruiting grounds. I consulted with college coaches, NFL personnel men and scouts to gauge their opinion of how good James would have been -- or still could be if he attempted to switch sports.

Of all the people I chatted with, Moss was the most authoritative. The six-time Pro Bowler with 135 touchdown receptions knows personally what it takes, and he insisted James has it.

"I think he could make the transition," said Moss, a bit of a crossover success himself as half-owner of Randy Moss Motorsports. "I really do. A lot of people -- and definitely football players -- don't think basketball players can make the transition, but I think he's one of those special players that given the opportunity of getting to a camp and learning can excel at this sport. I do think he could be a star in football."

I asked Moss if it's fair to say that because James is a far superior basketball player than San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was in college -- Gates didn't play college football -- that James also would be a better NFL player than the five-time Pro Bowler.

"That's a good comparison," Moss said. "I think LeBron could come in and do better than Antonio Gates."

Moss didn't even mention James' 6-foot-8, 250-pound frame, although it certainly wouldn't hurt. Moss explained his assessment was based on the pure physical dominance James demonstrates on a nightly basis.

"I see his power and his explosion," Moss said. "It really translates to the football field. Basketball was my first love. I just chose football because I was able to excel at that a little bit quicker than basketball.

"But looking at him and evaluating his skills and things like that, I don't think it'd be a problem for him to make the transition from basketball to football.

"I believe that he could be a star in this game."