Former LSU Football wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had an incredible rookie season for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021.
In fact, it was possibly the best rookie season of all time.
Chase caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards in 2021.
The 1,455 yards are a Bengals franchise record (breaking the previous record of 1,440 yards set by Chad Johnson in 2007) and an NFL rookie record (breaking the record of Chase’s former LSU teammate Justin Jefferson, which was set in 2020 with 1,400 receiving yards).
Chase has only been in the NFL for one season but he already looks like a future Hall of Famer.
But what if I told you that professional football wasn’t originally the plan for Chase?
Ja’Marr Chase wanted to be an NBA player in high school
Chase is an elite athlete, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he also excelled at basketball while in high school.
And didn’t just excel, he thought the NBA he was in his future.
Chase’s dad, Jimmy, to this day believes that Chase could’ve been an NBA player.
“Football was just a hobby,” said Jimmy Chase to The Athletic this week. “He just did that because all his other friends did. But he really wanted to play basketball.”
Jimmy told The Athletic that a dispute with the high school coach in Ja’Marr’s senior year ended his son’s NBA dream.
From The Athletic:
"Jimmy was scouting for a private school where Ja’Marr could play basketball and football — in that order, as Jimmy insists Ja’Marr would be in the NBA right now had a disagreement with the Rummel basketball coach not prompted him to give up the sport his senior year."
Chase is only 6-foot, so he doesn’t have ideal NBA size.
But maybe he could’ve been the next Chris Paul (who is also 6-foot)?
We probably shouldn’t doubt Chase. What he did in the NFL as a rookie was completely insane.
So yeah, he probably could’ve been an NBA player, too.