Winning the Heisman Trophy is one of the highest honors in college football. For Charlie Ward, this honor didn’t mean he would play football for the rest of his life. The star athlete at Florida State was preparing for the NFL, but he was also beyond talented at basketball. After considering all of his options, Ward chose the NBA over football. Here’s why.
A star player in high school and college
Ward’s career as an athlete began when he was a student at Thomasville Central High School, and it just got better from there. According to WTXL, Ward knew it was the start of something incredible. The quarterback went on to play for Florida State, leading the team to countless victories.
As the first FSU student to ever win the Heisman, his stats are nothing less than incredible. Florida State reports that the Georgia native won numerous awards in addition to passing 3,032 yards and scoring 27 touchdowns. He also was a star on the FSU basketball team, where he still holds records for his amazing performances.
Charlie Ward is forced to choose
Upon graduating from FSU, Ward had to make the difficult decision to pursue football or basketball. He had a passion for both sports but knew it was only possible to play one of them professionally. So, what factors went into his decision?
According to FanBuzz, Ward stood 6-feet-2-inches and weighed around 190 pounds. He didn’t seem to have the stature or durability needed for pro football.
Ward also knew that the only way he would play in the NFL was if a team chose him in the first round of the draft. Teams had to consider that he might choose to play another sport if he wasn’t pleased with the outcome of the draft. Ultimately, he chose to begin his career with the NBA.
The Heisman-winner moves on to the NBA
It would be a tough decision for anyone to make, and many sports fans wonder if Ward believes he made the right choice. As it turns out, it was a smart move.
The year after his Heisman Trophy win, Ward was selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1994 NBA Draft. He enjoyed an extremely successful 12-year career in basketball. Ward was an NBA guard for the Knicks, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs.
He still remains the only recipient of the Heisman ever to play pro basketball. The decorated athlete went on to coach basketball after retiring from his career, all the while knowing that he made the best possible decision by choosing a career in the NBA over football.