Players Who Excelled At Another Sport Besides Basketball

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Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Most successful athletes are great at more than one sport, but choose to focus on a single sport. The following players ended up playing basketball, but also played other sports in high school, college or professionally.

Danny Ainge

Photo: Boston Globe

Ainge became a two-time champion with the Boston Celtics, but he was already a great athlete in high school as he played both basketball, football and baseball, and was named first-team All-American in all three sports. In 1979, when Ainge was still in College, he made it to the major leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he played second baseman.

Three years later, he decided to try his best at basketball, and was the 31st pick in the 1981 draft. He ended up winning two championships, and made one All-Star appearance. Now, Ainge is the Executive Director of Basketball Operations for the Celtics.

Elena Delle Donne

Photo: ESPN

Delle Donne is now a four-time All-Star, the MVP in 2015 and was named the Rookie of the Year in 2013 as a basketball player in the WNBA, but she was a top prospect in college for both basketball and volleyball. She started playing volleyball for the University of Delaware as a walk-on, after she dropped out of the University of Connecticut after a couple of days. A year later, she joined the school’s basketball team and was immediately voted Rookie of the Year as well as Player of the Year.

Wilt Chamberlain

Photo: NBA.com

Chamberlain is, of course, well known for his basketball skills, and 45 years after his NBA career has ended, he still holds several records in scoring and rebounding. But, Chamberlain wasn’t done with playing sports when he ended his career in 1973, and he found his new passion in playing volleyball. He joined the International Volleyball Association as a board member, played some games for the Seattle Smashers and later even became the league’s president.

Allen Iverson

Photo: the Big Lead

Allen Iverson was already a very good high school athlete. Besides basketball, he also played football. But he didn’t just play one position, but he played quarterback, running back, kick returner and defensive back. Despite the fact that Iverson had to finish his senior year of high school at a school for at risk youth, he still managed to get a scholarship for Georgetown. He didn’t continue to play football in college and was drafted into the NBA after his sophomore year.

Tim Duncan

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Duncan lived on the U.S. Virgin Islands in his youth, and his dream was to make it to the 1992 Olympics as a competitive swimmer. As a teen, he definitely was a standout swimmer, but Hurricane Hugo in 1989 ruined that dream, as it destroyed the only Olympic size pool on the island. As he didn’t want to swim in the sea, Duncan turned to basketball.

Photo: USA TODAY Sports

Most successful athletes are great at more than one sport, but choose to focus on a single sport. The following players ended up playing basketball, but also played other sports in high school, college or professionally.

Danny Ainge

Photo: Boston Globe

Ainge became a two-time champion with the Boston Celtics, but he was already a great athlete in high school as he played both basketball, football and baseball, and was named first-team All-American in all three sports. In 1979, when Ainge was still in College, he made it to the major leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays, where he played second baseman.

Three years later, he decided to try his best at basketball, and was the 31st pick in the 1981 draft. He ended up winning two championships, and made one All-Star appearance. Now, Ainge is the Executive Director of Basketball Operations for the Celtics.

Elena Delle Donne

Photo: ESPN

Delle Donne is now a four-time All-Star, the MVP in 2015 and was named the Rookie of the Year in 2013 as a basketball player in the WNBA, but she was a top prospect in college for both basketball and volleyball. She started playing volleyball for the University of Delaware as a walk-on, after she dropped out of the University of Connecticut after a couple of days. A year later, she joined the school’s basketball team and was immediately voted Rookie of the Year as well as Player of the Year.

Wilt Chamberlain

Photo: NBA.com

Chamberlain is, of course, well known for his basketball skills, and 45 years after his NBA career has ended, he still holds several records in scoring and rebounding. But, Chamberlain wasn’t done with playing sports when he ended his career in 1973, and he found his new passion in playing volleyball. He joined the International Volleyball Association as a board member, played some games for the Seattle Smashers and later even became the league’s president.

Allen Iverson

Photo: the Big Lead

Allen Iverson was already a very good high school athlete. Besides basketball, he also played football. But he didn’t just play one position, but he played quarterback, running back, kick returner and defensive back. Despite the fact that Iverson had to finish his senior year of high school at a school for at risk youth, he still managed to get a scholarship for Georgetown. He didn’t continue to play football in college and was drafted into the NBA after his sophomore year.

Tim Duncan

Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Duncan lived on the U.S. Virgin Islands in his youth, and his dream was to make it to the 1992 Olympics as a competitive swimmer. As a teen, he definitely was a standout swimmer, but Hurricane Hugo in 1989 ruined that dream, as it destroyed the only Olympic size pool on the island. As he didn’t want to swim in the sea, Duncan turned to basketball.

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