National Basketball Association
Nets guard Dennis Schröder makes soccer debut as latest two-sport athlete
National Basketball Association

Nets guard Dennis Schröder makes soccer debut as latest two-sport athlete

Updated May. 31, 2024 4:00 p.m. ET

Social media is buzzing about Brooklyn Nets guard Dennis Schröder making his soccer debut in Germany on Friday.

The 30-year-old grew up in Braunschweig, Germany and previously played for Phantoms Braunschweig and SG Braunschweig (2010-13) before setting his sights on the NBA

He spent the first five years of his professional basketball career with the Atlanta Hawks (2013-18), followed by two years with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Schröder was a part of six different teams before landing with the Nets in 2024.


That said, and with Schröder's soccer endeavors in full force, let's take a look at other notable two-sport athletes.

Bo Jackson

Jackson, arguably the best athlete to come out of Auburn, has a case for being the best two-sport athlete on record.

He was originally the first overall pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he instead opted to purse an MLB career with the Kansas City Royals, who selected him in the fourth round of the 1986 MLB Draft. Jackson didn't get consistent playing time until 1987, but he proceeded to blast 20-plus home runs in four consecutive seasons, including totaling 32 home runs and 105 RBIs in 1989. All the while, Jackson ended up also playing in the NFL for the then-Oakland Raiders, beginning in 1987. He spent four years in the NFL, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and had the longest run in the league in all but one of those four seasons.

Jackson never played in more than 135 MLB games or 11 NFL games in a single regular season. In fact, Jackson never played in a September NFL game due to finishing out the season with the Royals. Still, he became both a one-time MLB All-Star and a one-time Pro Bowler.

Deion Sanders

Sanders was a six-time All-Pro and inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for being one of the best defensive backs in NFL history. He also wreaked havoc on the baseball diamond.

Sanders began his MLB career in 1989 with the New York Yankees, but he later became a key figure for the Atlanta Braves. Most notably, Sanders led the sport with 14 triples in just 97 games in 1992, while also batting .304. He later hit an astonishing .533 in the 1992 World Series, which came after he played for the Atlanta Falcons in their Week 6 game against the Miami Dolphins. He then famously hopped on a plane to Pittsburgh, where he was present for the Braves' Game 5 National League Championship Series matchup against the Pirates.

Sanders played in parts of nine MLB seasons and 14 seasons in the NFL.

Dave Winfield

Winfield was a multi-sport athlete at Minnesota. On the hardwood, he played a high-minute rotation role for the Golden Gophers and impressed enough for the Atlanta Hawks to select him in the fifth round of the 1973 NBA Draft. The Minnesota Vikings also drafted Winfield in the NFL draft that same year.

That said, Winfield also played baseball, which was ultimately the path he continued on. In a career spent primarily with the Yankees and San Diego Padres, Winfield was a seven-time Gold Glover, 12-time All-Star and later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He finished his career with 465 home runs and 1,833 RBIs.

Michael Jordan

Widely considered to be the best player to ever pick up a basketball, Jordan also once tried his hand at baseball.

Jordan signed a deal to play for the Chicago White Sox's Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons, stepping away from the Chicago Bulls for the 1993-94 NBA season. He played the entire minor-league season, most notably driving in 51 runs and stealing 30 bases, but Jordan also hit just .202 and never climbed the ranks.

Jordan went on to be a five-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA champion, 10-time scoring champion and landed himself in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Charlie Ward

Ward is one of the best players in the history of Florida State's football program, as the quarterback won the 1993 Heisman Trophy and helped the Seminoles win the national championship that same season. 

That said, he also played basketball at FSU and stuck with it at the next level, being selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1994 NBA Draft. Ward played the bulk of his 11-year NBA career with the Knicks.

Jeff Samardzija

Samardzija was once one of the best starting pitchers in baseball and a player every contender wanted to acquire via trade, but he was also a star wide receiver for Notre Dame.

The 6-foot-4 wideout posted 1,000-plus receiving yards and 10-plus receiving touchdowns in both 2005 and 2006 at Notre Dame and was a one-time All-American; he ultimately chose baseball.

Danny Ainge

Ainge will always be remembered as a productive and quality member of the Boston Celtics, among other teams, but prior to his time in the NBA, he played for MLB's Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto selected Ainge in the 15th round of the 1977 MLB Draft. While he struggled to get into a rhythm in the batter's box, Ainge appeared in a combined 211 games for the Blue Jays from 1979-81, finishing with 146 career hits. The Celtics then selected Ainge in the second round of the 1981 NBA Draft, with him going on to start and win two championships with them; Ainge played 14 seasons in the NBA.

Kyler Murray

Murray is already a two-time Pro Bowler who runs circles around defenses and has earned a $230.5 million extension from the Arizona Cardinals. He was also the 2018 Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma and the first overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but Murray was also a hugely talented baseball player.

Murray was selected by the Oakland Athletics as an outfielder with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft and hired the notorious Scott Boras as his agent.

Gable Steveson 

The 6-foot-1, 275-pound former Olympic gold medalist and one of the most dominant college wrestlers in NCAA history, Steveson is expected to play defensive line for the Buffalo Bills this fall, marking his attempt at professional football. 

Steveson recently signed a standard rookie three-year deal and will now set out to join Bob Hayes as the only athlete ever to win a Super Bowl ring and an Olympic gold medal, per ESPN.

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