T.O. should save his hops for football

Michael Jordan should never have played pro baseball. Terrell Owens shouldn't try to play pro basketball. That's not to say Owens won't be better at basketball than Jordan was at baseball. But with a 49ers minicamp one month away, a 49ers training camp less than three months away, and a 49ers season opener four months away, Owens should stick to what he does best. And that's football.

Owens says he's pursuing a dream by playing pro basketball, a sport that always has been dear to his heart. He plays basketball all the time in pickup games and summer leagues, so why not give it a shot in pro hoops' minor leagues, where he can show off his world-class athletic skills and learn where he really stacks up basketball-wise against a bunch of guys hungry to make a living at the sport?

What Owens might not realize is he's actually the circus coming to town when he meets up with the Adirondack Wildcats for their home opener in Glen Falls, N.Y., on Friday. Many of the fans that come to see the expansion team play its first home game will be curiosity seekers, and Owens will be the sideshow they come to see.

Owens, admittedly, hasn't heard of any of his teammates. Just imagine how he is going to fit in with guys named Corsley Edwards, Junie Sanders, Fred House, Larry Abney and Kovassay Franklin. Never heard of those guys? They're the Wildcats' five leading scorers. Think any of them will be happy to see Owens show up wanting the ball?

"I'm just competitive," Owens said. "I've always wanted to do it, so why limit myself? I'm definitely better than when I was in college. I've worked on some things, worked on my shot. The way I play now, I wish I would have played this way in college."

In college, Owens averaged 1.5 points and 1.3 rebounds in 38 career games, making 24 of 49 field goals and just nine of 21 free throws. He probably will need to be "definitely better" than that if he's going to make an impact in his new athletic venture.

But that's not even the point. Even if Owens' pure athletic talent allows him to rise about the riff-raff in this league and become a star - and you're kidding yourself if you think that's going to happen - he shouldn't be wasting his energy and risking his future playing with a bunch of minor leaguers.

He's the best receiver in the NFL. He's in his prime. If he keeps up what he has accomplished the past few seasons, he might be on his way to the Hall of Fame. Why put any of that in jeopardy for a hoop pipe dream? Owens should be keeping those special legs fresh for the football field, and saving his hops for Jeff Garcia passes.

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