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Redskins Rookie Review: Looking Back At Antonio Gibson's Path To The NFL

The Redskins Rookie Review series is presented by Medliminal, the Official Health and Wellness Partner of the Washington Redskins.

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There are some topics that do not require a debate, and that's the way Antonio Gibson feels when choosing between NBA legends Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

"LeBron," he told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael. "That's easy."

Nevermind the number of championships each has won -- Jordan ended his career with six while James currently has three -- James' ability to play all five positions on the court is what convinced Gibson that he is the greatest basketball player anyone has ever seen.

Coincidentally, versatility is exactly why there is no debate that the Redskins drafted a talented player in Gibson. And he deserves the success he has received so far in his football career, because the path getting to this point has not always been easy.

As a kid growing up in McDonough, Georgia, Gibson said he came from nothing. He woke up every day with a choice: he could do the right thing, or he could do what some of his friends and other people around him were doing. That wasn't always an easy decision, but the way Gibson sees it, that experience was invaluable.

"I feel like that says a lot about somebody," he said. "[The Redskins] are getting somebody that's going to put in the work to get what they deserve."

Gibson excelled as a multi-sport athlete at Eagle's Landing High School, He led the basketball team with 11.5 points per game and set a school record in the 100-meter dash as a member of the track and field team.

The football field, however, was where Gibson shined the most. In his junior and senior seasons, he had 2,680 total yards, 3,132 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns. Defensively, he hauled in four interceptions and recovered two fumbles.

Gibson's list of players he looked to for inspiration is long, but he was mostly paying attention to those around him, whether that be on the field or in his neighborhood.

"It was always...the older guy who was more skilled at what they were doing," Gibson said. "I remember people in my neighborhood were always so skilled. I was just one of the kids who would watch to see what they were doing, and then I'd try to do it myself."

Gibson didn't do much training at a young age, so watching was how he learned to play the game. That continued through high school as well; every move the seniors made, he would try to mimic it.

"[I] would try to put it into my game," he said. "So I would say the person in front of me always motivated me."

Now that he has joined the Redskins, Gibson has some new players to watch in Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson. One thing he already appreciates is how receptive they and everyone else in his position are when he asks for help.

"They're all pretty cool guys," he said. "If I reach out, they all respond."

Peterson is perhaps the one person Gibson is the most anxious to meet. Like many his age, Gibson grew up watching Peterson's career, so when the 14-year veteran first showed up to one of the Redskins' virtual meetings, Gibson immediately became excited.

"I didn't even think I was going to be like that, but he got on the meeting and I was like, 'Man, that's AP!'"

But more than anything, Gibson cannot wait to work alongside the seven-time Pro Bowler.

"I know he knows so much being in the game that long, so I know he's got a lot to teach," he said. "I'm willing to ask him for it as much as I can as much as he's willing to give."

Gibson doesn't know exactly what his role will be on offense. He's starting as a running back, but there are plans to put him in multiple spots to utilize all of his talents. That even includes lining up as a receiver -- a position he excelled at in two seasons at Memphis.

However his responsibilities pan out doesn't matter to Gibson, because he feels like he can make an impact wherever the Redskins put him on the field. That, like the choice between James and Jordan, requires no debate for him.

"I view myself as a weapon," Gibson said after he was drafted. "Wherever they need me, I'm willing to go."

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