Kenneth Walker III calls out Austin Rivers for NBA in NFL nonsense

Rivers recently made an interesting comparison between the NFL and NBA.
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Perhaps "calls out" is too strong a term, but Seattle Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker made it clear that Rivers has the idea of the crossover athlete backward. He even mentioned a Seahawks teammate who could thrive in the NBA.

The debate over which sport has the best athletes has almost certainly been raging since long before the first Olympic Games in 776 BCE. My personal favorite is wrestling, with six-time Olympic champion Milon of Croton as its greatest star. He'd dominate at the Nathan's hot dog-eating contest, too. Bro ate an entire cow in a day. Let's see you do that, Chestnut.

The latest entry in the debate was posited by one of the NBA's all-time greats, Austin Rivers. Yeah, I had to look him up, too. To his credit, he played 11 seasons in the NBA. I'm sure the fact that he's the son of long-time coach Doc Rivers had nothing to do with it. I'm also sure it's a coincidence that 53 percent of his career starts came in the three-plus seasons he played for his dad. Other than daddy's team, he bounced around on six other organizations. So I'm not sure what makes Rivers an authority on basketball, let alone football.

Seattle Seahawks Kenneth Walker knows better than an NBA scrub

Austin Rivers was a career sub; he barely knows what it takes to play in the NBA. He started in 40 percent of his games with the Clippers. When his old man wasn't coaching, he only cracked the starting lineup in 19 percent of his games. The Clippers winning percentage dropped after the younger Rivers joined the team, then rose after his departure. Another coincidence, I'm sure. He averaged just under 24 minutes a game. No wonder he thinks today's NBA players could hang in the NFL. He played even less than they do today.

The NBA is no longer a physical game. Today's NBA players are as soft as tissue paper. They've been called out for sitting out so many games, the commissioner had to institute a minimum game rule. To their credit, the NBA players now are so used to a lighter schedule, they would acclimate well to one game a week. But they'd still probably sit out Thursday night games. I'm not the only one who says they're soft:

Yes, Shaq called out Chuck for this take. Absolutely, Shaq in his prime could have played in the NFL. But how many players today are close to the athletic ability of Shaquille O'Neal? There haven't even been ten players in the history of the league to match Shaq. To say that there are 30 players today that could play in the NFL is positively ridiculous.

Back to our guy, Kenneth Walker. He mentioned DK Metcalf as a guy who would crush it in the NBA. Metcalf won the MVP in the All-Star Celebrity game. Yeah, it was a celebrity game, but did the pros play any harder in the real All-Star game? If you watched any of that 211-186 atrocity. That's supposed to convince us that 30 guys in the NBA could play in the NFL. They do know players actually hit each other in football, right?

Next. Pete and Jamal. Did Pete Carroll ruin Jamal Adams' career?. dark

As for Walker, he didn't claim he could play in the NBA. Shockingly, Rivers had enough sense to say he wasn't including himself in the conversation either. Although he did point out that he's 6'5" and weighs 220 pounds. He also reportedly ran a 4.5 40 and had a 40" vertical. So what kept him off the football field? Rivers has since backpedaled and said maybe it's 10 or 12 guys. Even that's a stretch. Considering how poor his math skills are, he's lucky he never tried out for the NFL. He'll always be facing 1st down and 30 to go.

The whole debate is ridiculous anyway. I agree with Walker - and J.J. Watt and Chris Long and James Jones - that more NFL players could make the transition to the NBA. But height is a premium in basketball, just as strength is in the NFL so that limits the field somewhat.

Coming back to the NBA, yes, LeBron was definitely athletic enough to play in the NFL. So were a few others. But Rivers clearly has no concept of the punishment an NFL player takes in practice, let alone in games. That is a part of the athletic skill set an NFL player has to have. It's a skill that very few NBA players have demonstrated since the days of Shaq and Barkley. And no one has shown in today's game.

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