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Basketball's Two-Sport Stars

From the hardwood to the gridiron to the diamond -- these guys can do it all


Greg Paulus played four years of basketball at Duke -- and just kicked off his first with the Syracuse football team. Of course, having multiple jerseys isn't unheard of... here's a look at some of the college basketball stars of years past who also made names for themselves in other sports.

1. Greg Paulus

Greg Paulus
Getty Images / Kevin Cox
An outstanding high school quarterback, Paulus was named the Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year in 2004, even though he'd already announced his intention to give up the pigskin and play basketball at Duke. Four seasons with the Blue Devils later, Paulus had his degree -- and a year of athletic eligibility remaining. He returned to football, and won Syracuse's starting job.

2. Charlie Ward

Charlie Ward
Getty Images / Al Bello
Ward played quarterback for legendary coach Bobby Bowden at Florida State, leading the Seminoles to their first-ever national title in football in 1993. But he chose to pursue a career in basketball, playing most of his career at point guard for the New York Knicks. He was also an excellent baseball player, though he never played that sport at FSU.

3. Antonio Gates

Antonio Gates
Getty Images / Lisa Blumenfeld
Gates was recruited by big-time football schools like Michigan State, but didn't want to give up his first love -- basketball. He wound up at Kent State, where he played power forward and led the Golden Flashes to the Elite Eight in 2002. He's now the prototype NFL tight end. His success has led several NFL teams to offer try-outs other undersized college power forwards.

4. Donovan McNabb

Donovan McNabb
Getty Images / Jim Rogash
McNabb is best-known as the quarterback of the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. During his collegiate career, as he was re-writing the Syracuse football record book, he doubled as a backup guard for Jim Boeheim's Orangemen, and played in the national championship game against Kentucky in 1996.

5. Kenny Lofton

Kenny Lofton
Getty Images / Gregory Shamus
One of the greatest leadoff hitters and center fielders of the last two decades, Kenny Lofton played guard for the Arizona Wildcats team that reached the Final Four in 1988. He's one of just two men to play in both the Final Four and the World Series.

6. Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez
Getty Images / Jamie Squire
Another "power forward turned NFL tight end," Gonzalez helped the Cal Golden Bears reach the Sweet Sixteen in 1997, before moving on to set records as an eight-time NFL All-Pro with the Kansas City Chiefs.

7. Ronald Curry and Julius Peppers

Curry and Peppers were teammates on the North Carolina football and basketball teams -- making the transition from quarterback and defensive end to point guard and power forward. Both were selected in the 2002 NFL Draft. Peppers has become one of the most feared defensive ends in the league, while Curry has made the transition to wide receiver at the pro level, playing for the Oakland Raiders.

8. Chris Young

A starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and 2007 MLB All-Star, the 6'10" Young was a basketball star at Princeton, winning Ivy League Player of the Year honors as a freshman in 1998-99.

9. Dave Winfield

Though his current business address is Cooperstown, as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Big Dave was equally comfortable on the hardwood in college and helped to lead the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the 1972 Big Ten title. Winfield was famously drafted by four professional teams in three sports... baseball's San Diego Padres, the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, the ABA's Utah Stars and -- though he never played football in college -- the NFL's Minnesota Vikings.

10. Danny Ainge

Ainge is best known for basketball -- he's the general manager of the World Champion Celtics, was a teammate of Larry Bird, Robert Parrish and Kevin McHale on the great Celtics teams of the '80s, and won the Wooden Award as college basketball's top player in 1981. But Ainge was also a baseball player of some note -- reaching the majors with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1979 -- while still a college student!

11. Jackie Robinson

Before Robinson broke baseball's color barrier he was a four-sport star at UCLA, earning varsity letters in baseball, basketball, football and track. To this day, he's the only UCLA Bruin to do so.
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