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Can LeBron James Beat Malcolm Gladwell in a 1-Mile Race?

It’s been a good month for preposterous betting props but one of the more ridiculous wagers that’s emerged came about when LeBron James posted a video on Instagram of himself relentlessly running up and down a court at midseason pace while dunking a ball at both ends for dramatic effect.

For unknown reasons, Malcolm Gladwell – a celebrated author and podcaster – challenged the King to a foot race after seeing the footage and you can now bet on the result of a potential contest between the two over at Bovada.

The prospects of an actual race materializing are slim but the shop has pegged James a -130 favorite in this runner’s version of a barbershop debate.

Gladwell, an avid runner and track enthusiast, initially challenged LeBron to a five-kilometer race but the internet whittled that down to a one-mile contest. Sports Illustrated ran a poll on who would win the imaginary competition and to the surprise of almost everyone who’s seen LeBron’s hustle on the basketball court, Gladwell was given the edge in the vote.

Analyzing the hypothetical race requires a lot of imagination but with a little bit of digging, I found that Gladwell has posted a sub five-minute mile as recently as four years ago. That’s pretty impressive for a little guy like Malcolm.

While we’ve never seen LeBron attempt the feat, it doesn’t feel too presumptuous to assume that one of the greatest athletes of our generation could at least hold his own and some simple extrapolation tells us that if he could keep the pace he posted in his recent Insta vid, he’d run a mile in about six minutes.

That said, James lost a lot of time by dunking in the clip of contention and it was clear that he wasn’t in top gear.

LeBron is yet to respond to the challenge but we can probably expect an answer in the form of a cryptic tweet from the most passive aggressive man in sports.

One of the most amazing things to come out of this story so far is that the betting line has actually moved in the favor of Gladwell after just a few days on the market. LeBron opened as the -150 fave but the public is clearly on the side of Malcolm – hopefully, he’s got his 10,000 hours in.

Who will win a 1-mile race between Lebron James and Malcolm Gladwell?

Odds as of August 29 at Bovada

  • LeBron James -130
  • Malcolm Gladwell -110

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