LeBron James vs. Malcolm Gladwell

They laughed when Conor McGregor challenged Floyd Mayweather Jr. to a boxing match, but it turned out to be one of the best fights Mayweather’s had in years. Now journalist and airport book writer Malcolm Gladwell has challenged Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James to a one-mile race. And it could be another great matchup; James is the prospective –130 favorite at Bovada, with Gladwell close behind at –110.

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While it might seem like a mismatch, Gladwell won the 1500-meters at the 1978 Ontario High School Championships, completing it in 4:05.20. He was 14 at the time; he’s 53 now, but has been an obsessive runner ever since. Gladwell broke the 5-minute barrier in 2013 at the 5th Avenue Mile.

James is obviously the superior athlete, even if he’s lost a step at age 32. But he was a wide receiver in high school as well as a basketball player, and his forte is in covering short distances very quickly. Gladwell tweeted out his challenge August 23, insisting he was serious, and that all proceeds would go to charity. There’s been no word yet from the James camp at press time; this race has to happen in 2017 for bets to have any action.

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