FOXBORO, Mass. — Brandon Spikes has developed a reputation as a big, physical
linebacker as well as "heavy hitter" on the football field. But
when it comes to the hardwood, apparently there's finesse to his game.
Spikes, who in two-plus seasons with the Patriots has become
one of the better middle linebackers in the NFL, revealed on Thursday that basketball, not football, was always his real passion.
"That was my first love," Spikes said of playing basketball.
"But I stopped growing," leaving him destined for a life of
physicality in football.
While Spikes was never able to reach his lofty goals in
basketball, he's still been able to translate a lot of his skills from the
hardwood out onto the gridiron.
"I definitely got to play agile. But I played
basketball so that helped me out," Spikes said of the benefits of his
basketball career. "It plays a part in the game, it keeps me agile because
I'm a bigger guy."
At 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, Spikes might be the perfect size
for a linebacker in the NFL but he's a bit undersized on the basketball court.
During his playing days, though, Spikes drew comparisons to another undersized
Charles Barkley was never the tallest guy on the basketball
court, nor was he the leanest. But at 6-foot-6 and better than 250 pounds, the
undersized power forward developed the reputation as a force in the paint and
even earned himself the nickname "Bread Truck" because of his
powerful box-like frame.
Well, as agile as Spikes' game may have been on the court,
the now 25-year-old linebacker apparently drew comparisons to Barkley with that
very same nickname.
"They used to call me the 'bread truck' out
there," Spikes said. "They'd be like 'Here comes the bread
The nickname hasn't changed Spikes' opinion of his game,
though. The boxy linebacker knows that while his style on the football field is
to be a big, forceful presence, while his basketball game is much more elegant.
"I can move with the ball and go hard. I'm more finesse
on the basketball court," Spikes said of his game. "People [on the
court] are like 'Oh he so physical,' and I just blow by them."
While the comparisons to Barkley, intentional or not, would
certainly be flattering, Spikes thinks of himself as more the Allen Iverson
"Yeah [I got a crossover]," Spikes joked. "I'm
more like a point guard out there."
Point guard or power forward, it really doesn't matter
anymore. As long as Spikes continues producing the big hits and forcing
turnovers, like he did in Buffalo, his only true position will be at middle
linebacker in New England.