Athletes dedicate their entire lives honing their latent talent and abilities to succeed in the sport they choose to partake in. Just like Usain Bolt, who is given the credit of being one of the greatest Olympians of all time, his life’s dedication earned him gold eight times in track and field.
In 2017, the Olympian made headlines when he announced his retirement. However, he made even bigger news in 2018 when he began training soccer with the Central Gold Coast Mariners of the A-League in Australia. “I always say that anything is possible.”, the eight-time gold medalist said as he auditioned for the Mariners. Although his attempt at professional soccer came to no avail, achieving a degree of sports glory in two different sports is a feat that we seldom see happening. He was not the first to have a go at this unique feat. Here are four other elite athletes who had a shot at playing two different sports.
Sanders has been a two-sport athlete since his college years. So when he turned professional, it came as little surprise to many when he was drafted by the New York Yankees and Atlanta Falcons in 1988 and 1989, respectively. He also did not disappoint. As expected, Sanders displayed a degree of athleticism as a cornerback at American football and as an outfielder at baseball.
Sanders later became one of American football’s greats. By 2011, he got inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his career achievements. He won two Superbowls with the San Francisco 49ers in 1994 and with the Dallas Cowboys the following year. On the other hand, he failed to win any championships in baseball, but he did play at the 1992 World Series with the Braves. He retired from baseball in 2001 and from American football in 2005.
Jordan is perhaps the greatest basketball player the sport has ever seen. He inspired an entire generation of basketball aspirants and has even had a huge cultural impact with his Air Jordans. As most of us know, he reigned supreme in the court with his team, the Chicago Bulls, during the ‘90s and has six championships to his credit – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 19997 1998.
However, after Jordan’s third championship win in 1993, he briefly retired from the sport. To the surprise of his fans, he announced months after his retirement that he will have a go at professional baseball. He tried out for the Chicago White Sox, a team also under the Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Eventually, he would sign a contract with the team but play for their minor league squad affiliate, the Birmingham Barons. His stint as a baseball player did not last long. He would eventually return to basketball and win three more consecutive championships.
Jackson is considered to be one of the best athletes of all time. He played Major League Baseball and American football at the National Football League. To his credit, Jackson was the first professional athlete to be part of the all-star teams of two major sports in North America.
The late Gene Conely must have been one of Jordan’s inspirations because he is an All-Star Pitcher and a successful basketball player. He won the World Series back in 1957, along with his team, the Milwaukee Braves.
Just two short years later, he won three consecutive championships with the Boston Celtics. Conely is the only athlete to have achieved such a degree of sports glory in history.