05/17/2013 11:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Which Sport Has More Athletic Players: the NFL or the NBA?

This question originally appeared on Quora.
Answer by John DeMarchi,

It's the NFL, and it isn't even close.

I know what you are about to say: What about LeBron?



You think Larry Bird can block Lawrence Taylor?

Do I really have to go on?

OK, let's cede that LeBron is the most athletic player in either sport -- more than Megatron, Adrian Peterson, J.J. Watt, JPP, Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith, Von Miller, etc.

How many LeBrons are there?


Get past LeBron, Kobe, and Durant, and the NFL has got ten Chris Johnsons, RG3s, and Adrian Petersons for every one of the NBA's Chris Paul types.

You are really telling me if we are picking teams for any sport besides basketball you are taking tubby Carmelo Anthony over say, Patrick Willis?


You're selling me that Brook Lopez -- and that guy is an NBA all-star for heaven's sake -- is a better athlete than say, Russell Wilson, or A.J. Green, or Darrelle Revis, or Julio Jones, or Gronk, or Jason Peters, or DeMarcus Ware, or Cam Newton, or Colin Kaepernick?

Can I have a few minutes to stop laughing?

The NBA has maybe 50 great athletes. The NFL has about 1000.

The 12th man on an NBA bench is nowhere near the athlete the 12th man on a 53 man NFL roster is.

My Lord, Kwame Brown is still in the league, people! Steve Novak gets real minutes for a top playoff team in the NBA, people!

Rasheed Wallace is like 174 years old and he's still playing (until a few weeks ago). Dikembe Mutombo was like 4,000 years old and still playing big minutes at the end. The average age of players in the just-completed Knicks-Celtics playoff series was around 65 1/2 years old.

You keep Pablo Prigioni, OK? I'll keep Ed Reed and Ray Lewis.

Stop it. This is a total slam dunk - for the NFL.

The other argument I always hear is the "so and so couldn't make the NBA, but was a great NFL player."

Flip that -- how many current NBA All-Stars would make it in the NFL?

How many are strong, physical, and tough enough? LeBron, Kobe, maybe Chris Paul as a DB, maybe Dwight Howard as a DE ... anyone else?

BTW, didn't the greatest NBA star ever, Michael Jordan, sort of suck at baseball? 

Does that mean baseball players are better athletes than NBA guys? Hell no.

So stop it.

The NBA has 40 year old guards -- like Jason Kidd. It has fat all-star point guards -- like Deron Williams!


And I'll even go back at LeBron. He's a ridiculous athlete, but he wasn't a better all-around athlete than Bo Jackson, or even Deion Sanders, and maybe wasn't even the athlete BARRY Sanders was. (But to be fair: I'll give him a *slight* edge over Ricky Sanders, and a big edge over Col. Sanders.)

My point?

NFL athletes would eat NBA athletes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Then spike the ball.

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