What would happen if the world’s best athletes had access to a DeLorean and the desire to master a sport that came with no financial gain but promises of medals and Olympic immortality (e.g. every Olympic sport sans the biggies - track, swimming, soccer, basketball)? With the help of Photoshop, we tried it out with the following dozen sports icons.
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY SportsRob Schumacher
Tom Brady - Sailing
It all seems very Boston, Kennedy and Camelot, plus it takes yes-men lackeys to help around the boat, which Brady seems to have in spades.
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY SportsErich Schlegel
Russell Westbrook - Rowing (Single Skulls)
Have you seen that dude’s upper body? He’s somehow slender enough to look like Inspector Gadget but jacked enough to look like Drago during the Hearts of Fire montage in Rocky IV. And obviously Westbrook couldn’t be on a boat with a team and a coxswain - there might only be one basketball on the court but there’s 16 paddles in the water. Thus, given his - how do we put this delicately - sporting self-confidence, Westbrook has to go it alone.
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY SportTom Szczerbowski
Gregg Popovich - Equestrian Dressage
You know how they say “dog and pony show?” This is the pony part. Dressage is basically getting a horse to do what you want. And you get the feeling that with one stern look, Pop could have Mr. Ed doing the Running Man.
Serena Williams - Field Hockey
If Serena was charging toward the goal with the ball on her stick, I guarantee the field would part like she was Moses in the Red Sea and the goalie would be first in line.
Getty ImagesClive Brunskill
Draymond Green - Freestyle Wrestling
The scrappy, dirty Warrior would be a natural fit for wrestling, though he’d only be able to compete in the regular competition, as the Greco-Roman version requires competitors to only attack the upper body.
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsJeffrey Becker
Roger Federer - Fencing
I don’t know why, but I just envision Federer winning a fight (?), match (?), Inigo Montoya battle to the death(?), or whatever they call it, then pulling off his mask, looking all jet-setting, running his fingers through his hair and congratulating his opponent in one of the 19 languages he knows. Oh, and his footwork is pretty good too.
Getty ImagesLars Baron
Roman Reigns - Gymnastics
He already plays a rigged sport that involves jumping, climbing, balance and choreographed entrances that usually involve whooing and flamboyant ways to bring your hand to your ear to encourage fans’ cheers. Well, four out of five ain’t bad.
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsJasen Vinlove
Cam Newton - Handball
This is the easiest on the list - like so easy that if you put Cam Newton on the U.S. team right now, without any training, they’d instantly become a medal contender. I mean, if Cam can throw it past Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman, what chance do two French guys named Bertrand and Guillaume stand?
Bongarts/Getty ImagesChristof Koepsel
LeBron James - (see below)
It’s pretty much agreed that if LeBron had dedicated himself to another major sport, he’d have been an all-time great in any. Looking over the Olympic sports you get the same feel. So, instead of naming the sports LeBron would be great in, here are the ones he wouldn’t have dominated. The only reason these very few sports make the list is that being 6’8” and 260 pounds with athletic grace, linebacker power and controlled ferocity isn’t important in every sport and would even be detrimental in some. Those sports: diving, equestrian, gymnastics, swimming, synchronized swimming, trampoline and distance running. That’s it. That’s the list. And if we had to pick the three sports LeBron would have been best in (remember, we’re only including the real Olympic sports): 1) Handball; 2) Water Polo; 3) Volleyball.
Getty ImagesJason Miller
Maria Sharapova - Weightlifting
Wait, what kind of PED is meldonium again?
Getty ImagesJustin Sullivan
Johnny Manziel - Diving
If there’s one man who’s shown he’s capable of executing a mind-boggling freefall, it’s Mr. Manziel.
Getty ImagesAl Bello
Kevin Durant - Synchronized Swimming
He's shown this month that he’s a world-class follower.