Joe Burrow could have gone pro in a very different sport

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Joe Burrow in a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. Imagine that.

The Cincinnati Bengals star quarterback posed in a Cavs jersey many, many years ago, but that picture draws more chuckles than scrutiny. As Burrow prepares to play in his first career Super Bowl after just two years in the NFL, it’s difficult to see Burrow stepping onto a basketball court as opposed to a football field.

Apparently, though, Burrow used to be quite the hoopster, at least according to his high school basketball record.

Burrow didn’t play varsity football as a freshman at Athens High School but did join the basketball team and played for all four years.

He finished his varsity career with 1,426 career points (ranked second-most in his school’s history) and averaged 20.0 points per game during his senior season, in which he earned first-team All-Ohio honors.

Athens didn’t lose a league game during Burrow’s final two seasons, and his high school won three sectional title and three league titles during his tenure. Burrow also helped his team win first sophomore season resulted in Athens’ first district title since 1965.

The savvy hoopster got some high praise from his basketball coach, Jeff Skinner, as well.

Skinner told The Athens Messenger in 2019:

"“I think he was definitely tracked toward a mid-major to high mid-major type of basketball player. It would have taken the kind of focus and kind of work that he put in year-round for football to make that happen, but he was definitely on that track.”"

Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow could chosen a basketball career instead

The Bengals’ No. 1 pick of 2020 definitely has the confidence to be a professional basketball player, at the very least.

As “irrational” as Burrow’s confidence in his hooping abilities may be, Burrow made an impact both on and off the basketball court.

Even after he committed to Ohio State for football, he still balled out with his teammates on the hardwood, putting in the work and acting as the team’s natural leader.

Skinner said:

"“He meant everything to our basketball program. From an IQ standpoint to being this prophetic leader who didn’t have to say a word in order to lead, it was a thing of beauty to behold. I can’t imagine how great a leader he is now that he’s found his voice, but as a high school player he didn’t have to say much and everybody just followed.”"

Ultimately, Burrow chose the gridiron over the hardwood, and whether he actually could have enjoyed a respectable NBA career remains up in the air.

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Right now, Burrow’s sights are set on one thing and one thing only: winning the Super Bowl.