LeBron playing against the Bengals? Steelers star has recruiting pitch for NBA star

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has campaigned for NBA star LeBron James to sign with the Pittsburgh Steeeers. (Keith Allison/MGN Online)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Rumors continue to swirl that NBA star LeBron James will leave the Cleveland Cavaliers this summer as a free agent for the Los Angeles Lakers or Clippers, maybe the Philadelphia 76ers or Houston Rockets. But there's a player on another team making a unique sales pitch - JuJu Smith-Schuster, wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he's using the Bengals in his campaign.

James was an all-state receiver his sophomore and junior seasons as St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. He reportedly snagged 42 passes for 752 yards and 11 touchdowns as a 6-foot-6 sophomore.

Smith-Schuster began recruiting James to Pittsburgh in February via his Twitter account.

He launched an official campaign in March, hoping to lure the 6-foot-8 James, who owns a 44-inch vertical leap, to join the Steelers wide receivers/tight ends.

Former basketball players Tony Gonzalez, who will headline a list of newly eligible players Hall of Fame voting in 2019, Antonio Gates, Julius Peppers, Jimmy Graham and Connor Barwin (Cincinnati Bearcats) have carved out successful football careers after leaving the court.

Another post on social media showed "King James" in Pittsburgh's black-and-gold colors with a caption that read, in part, "LeBron has done everything in the NBA. He can be the best athlete EVER if he makes the move to the NFL and wins a Super Bowl with Steeler Nation... #LeBronToPittsburgh."

Smith-Schuster followed up with even more tweets, including one photo which showed LeBron, in a No. 23 uniform, standing next to him. "RT if you're with it!!" Smith-Schuster wrote. It has over 8,000 retweets and more than 12,000 likes.

Smith-Schuster then went from social media to telvision, appearing on FOX’s Undisputed to discuss his efforts.

And on Thursday, the 21-year-old Smith-Schuster took the next step posting video game highlights of James in a Steelers uniform hauling in passes from Ben Roethlisberger and abusing the Bengals defense.


Back in 2013, James said he'd like to play in one NFL game "before it's over," and in 2009 he appeared in a television commercial for State Farm announcing a decision to put on a helmet and pads in the NFL.

However, James addressed the entertaining recruiting efforts on Thursday and all but ended Smith-Schuster's entertaining campaign. “Naw, I’m fine with my sport that I’ve got,” said James, via ESPN.com. “It’s pretty funny, though. I saw some of the (headlines) that they had me in a Steelers uniform. I like tank tops and shorts. I’ve tried the shoulder pads and it was fun while it lasted. But I’m a tank top and shorts guy.”

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