Past and Present: If AFL stars were NBA players, which players would they be?

I love AFL, but I also love the NBA. This common interest got me thinking. Which NBA players have similarities with some of our AFL stars? What makes these players superstars and what traits link them. I have made 10 comparisons but I’m sure there are more. Feel free to comment with any thoughts of any other comparisons that you think would make sense and why. Other than that enjoy the list And s Paul Roos would say… HERE IT IS!

Buddy Franklin & LeBron James

The obvious comparison here and that both of these mean can be put forward as potentially the best player in their respective sport in the current game. But the link I would like to draw is more to do with their physical attributes. The defining trait that has made both of these men successful in the fact that no one has seen such speed, agility and skill in such large men. Two big, strong athletes, with incredible speed and athleticism. Not to mention the star power and marketability of both.

 

Sam Mitchell & Steve Nash

Sam Mitchell and Steve Nash

Again athletic ability can be used to make the comparison, both were probably below average in their sport for their position in terms of speed and explosiveness. But both manages to achieve major success, Nash with an MVP and Mitchell with a Brownlow. How did they do this? They used an elite football/basketball brain to understand the game and an incredible ability to bring teammates into the game using their sublime skills.

 

Luke Hodge & Dwayne Wade

Luke Hodge and Dwayne Wade

Well the first fact linking these two is that each of them has been my favorite player in their respective sport for a considerable amount of time. Next fact, they are both old. But the thing that makes this comparison plausible is the fact that they are both winners and warriors. Wade and Hodge have both had their fair share of success and battle scars. They both have won the award given to the person who performs the best when the title is on the line and both have proven to be great leaders of men.

 

Patrick Dangerfield & Russell Westbrook

Patrick Dangerfield and Russell Westbrook

Reigning Brownlow medalist, Reigning MVP. The Defining trait that links these two is pure explosive power. Danger is known to break away from packs while shrugging off attempted tackles. Westbrook shrugs off gravity on the way to explosive tomahawk jams. Both are unique athletes who are known to pull off virtuoso performances to secure victories for their teams and both are out and out superstars.

 

Marcus Bontempelli  & James Harden

Marcus Bontempelli and James Harden

OK I know the Bont doesn’t have a beard, maybe Max Gawn was robbed of this comparison, but I am not basing this on looks. The trait I am interested in is the smooth and silky lefty skills. Both have a knack of getting through traffic and making good decisions. Both hit the scoreboard and both are extremely important to their teams.

 

Tony Lockett & Shaquille O’Neal

Tony Lockett and Shaquille O’Neal

This is a simple comparison. Shaq and Plugga just physically dominated their sports. Neither would be accused of being in peak physical condition for most of their careers, but it was their size that made them so dominant. Both were total scoring machines and has a huge presence whenever they were in the game.

 

Jeremy Howe & Vince Carter

Jeremy Howe and Vince Carter:

Vince Carter was a dunking machine, he was known as half man, half amazing. That is a nickname that could clearly transfer over to Jeremy Howe given his reputation as a highflying aerialist. Both men were exciting and jaw dropping in the air. If the AFL had an All Star weekend with a specie comp, there is no doubt Jeremy Howe would be the hot favorite to win just as VC did back in the 2000 slam dunk contest.

 

Chris Judd & Kobe Bryant

Chris Judd and Kobe Bryant

There are some strong comparisons to be made here. First of all both went bald halfway through their careers. Both achieved the top individual honor in their sport, Judd with 2 Brownlows and Kobe with an MVP. They have been adjudged the best players in a championship contest with Judd taking home the Norm Smith in a losing grand final. Both are champions. They had some injury problems late in their careers. Both are favorites of Crawf. But most importantly both were for a period of time in their careers the undisputed best player in the competition. While neither are quite the greatest of all time in their sport, both are in the conversation.

 

Alex Rance & Kawhi Leonard

Alex Rance and Kawhi Leonard

Smothering defense is the connection here. Both are without a doubt the best defender in their game. The impact Rance has on Tiger games is profound and while he doesn’t get involved in the offense as much as Kawhi does for the Spurs, it’s the defensive connection that makes this comparison valid.

 

Gary Ablett & Michael Jordan

Gary Ablett and Michael Jordan

G.O.A.T – Greatest of all time. Michael Jordan is the name on everyone’s lips whenever the conversation comes up about who the best basketball player of all time is. I believe when he retires, Gary Ablett will be paid that same honor. The man has done is all, from Premierships to Brownlows, All Australians and players MVPs. Gary Ablett is GOD and MJ is the GOAT.

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