Gates and James got to know each other back then. Gates switched sports and became an NFL star. James, well, we know what happened with him.
In a recent feature story, I endeavored to answer the fanciful question "What if LeBron James had chosen football over basketball?" James was a two-time all-Ohio receiver.
Gates responded Tuesday. He was interviewed by host Darren Smith on XX Sports Radio 1090 in San Diego.
While heaping praise on James and not sounding offended by Moss' comparison, Gates suggested football wouldn't be a snap for James.
"The biggest misconception about this NFL thing is that you try and discredit the people who are out here, making plays," Gates said. "It wasn't a cakewalk for me to come out here, turn up and look up and I was playing and making plays. It was the things behind the scenes that people didn't necessarily know about: the work habits, the techniques, the drills and all those things summed up Antonio Gates.
"It wasn't the fact that I just came out. If that's the case, you can go and get the guy who won the 100-yard dash from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, and tell him to come play receiver. It just won't happen.
"You can get a dog to run and jump. You can get a pit bull to come out here and run fast and jump. But being able to put everything together and translate it on the football field, it's different. Being able to make the catches and have the toughness to go across the middle and take the hit and get back up and take another hit. That's what separates us."