LeBron James & Cristiano Ronaldo to Stephen Curry & Lionel Messi - Comparing the current NBA players to football players

In this article, we will see which NBA player is similar to a player from the football world. Grab your popcorn and take a seat and read through the article to know more.

Stephen Curry (left) and Lionel Messi (right).
By Sujay Gaurav | Oct 21, 2022 | 7 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

As fans, we often wonder how NBA players compare with footballers. There are a lot of athletes that have the same characteristics and career patterns that will pleasantly surprise us. From LeBron James and Stephen Curry to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, the similarities between great players are many.

In this article, we will see which NBA player is similar to a player from the football world. Grab your popcorn, take a seat and read through the article to know more.

1. LeBron James – Cristiano Ronaldo

The first thing that comes to mind when we think of LeBron James is his longevity. The King as he is fondly known is currently playing in his 20th season in the NBA and is at the peak of his powers. If there is one football player with whom we can compare LeBron, it is Cristiano Ronaldo

CR7, just like James, is a physical specimen and even though he is at the wrong side of 30, he is still in tip top shape and is playing at the very top with Manchester United. Even though he is going through a lean patch right now, players like him will find a way to come back. He is primed to lead Portugal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup and still has a lot left in the tank.

2. Stephen Curry – Lionel Messi

Stephen Curry makes playing basketball look easy and a lot of his fans are left mesmerized every single time they watch him play. From his three pointers to his exquisite passing, Curry just knows everything and has the game in the palm of his hand. He has won the lot and is on course to add some silverware.

Lionel Messi is the equivalent of Steph Curry in football. Like Curry, Messi makes the game look easy and is skillful, so much that when you watch him, it feels like football comes naturally to him. He also has a large trophy shelf and has played in teams that felt they were unstoppable at times.

3. Kevin Durant – Robert Lewandowski

Kevin Durant is a very great player and if he was born in any other era, he quite frankly would have been the best player in the world. KD came up through the ranks at OKC Thunder and moved to the Warriors because he could not win a championship in Oklahoma. He cemented his legacy as one of the best players during his time in Golden State and is now leading the Brooklyn Nets.

Robert Lewandowski’s story is similar to Kevin Durant. Had it not been for either Messi or Ronaldo, Lewandowski would have right been regarded as the best player of his generation. A prolific goal scorer, Lewa made his name at Borussia Dortmund, then moved to Bayern Munich where he became a world beater. He now plays for Barcelona and will be hoping to bring them back to their former glory.

4. Jimmy Butler – Karim Benzema

Jimmy Butler is the epitome of hard work in the NBA and a lot of his peers and coaches will attest to that. Butler is a no-nonsense type of player who will give his 100 percent each game and make sure that each of his team mates are on the same page. He is also the type of player that will make a lot of sacrifices, so that his team can win.

The same can be said about Karim Benzema. Benzema has been at Real Madrid for over a decade now and for a very long time, he was the understudy to Cristiano Ronaldo. He would sacrifice himself as that meant that Ronaldo and the others would be elevated. He had a lot of success too. Now, Benzema is thriving as the main man at Real Madrid and recently won the Ballon d’Or.

5. Luka Doncic – Erling Haaland

Luka Doncic arrived in the NBA amid much fanfare as he was already a star with Real Madrid in Europe. He was drafted at number 3 by the Atlanta Hawks and was then immediately traded to the Dallas Mavericks where he is now a franchise star and looks set to be the cornerstone for years to come. He is a fine player too as he led the Mavs to the western conference finals in the 2021/22 season only to be beaten by the Golden State Warriors.

Erling Haaland has taken the football world by storm and his name is on the lips of almost every sports fan in the world and it’s not hard to see why. Since his move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City, Haaland has been in terrific form as he has been scoring goals, left right and center. Haaland, just like Doncic, is 22 years old with his best years ahead of him.

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Mohamed Salah

Giannis Antetokounmpo is a freak of nature and has the ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck at any time he chooses. He has been in the NBA since 2013 and after years of hard work and determination, he won the NBA trophy in 2021. He single handedly led the Milwaukee Bucks to their first title in 50 years and etched his name into Bucks folklore.

Just like Giannis, Mohamed Salah had to come up the hard way. After making his move to Chelsea from Basel, he struggled to adapt his game and was moved out. He moved to Fiorentina before making a move to AS Rome where he made his name. Liverpool came calling for his services and the rest is history. Salah helped Liverpool win their first league title in 30 years and is now one of the world’s best players.

7. Devin Booker – Neymar

Devin Booker is one of the stars of the NBA and is also one of the most underrated players in the league. He is the face of the Phoenix Suns and has helped them reach the playoffs regularly over the last couple of years. He came close to winning the NBA title in 2021, only to be thwarted by Giannis Antetokounmpo in the finals. Booker is just 25 years old and has his best years ahead of him.

Just like Booker, Neymar is also a star in his team and is vastly underrated. Neymar took the footballing world by storm when he rose to prominence. His form swiftly earned him a move to Barcelona where he became a world beater alongside Lionel Messi. He moved to Paris Saint Germain in 2017 and has been a mainstay alongside Kylian Mbappe. He came close to winning the UEFA Champions League in 2019/20 but PSG were undone by Bayern Munich. Neymar will now focus on winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Brazil.

8. Joel Embiid – Virgil van Dijk

Joel Embiid is one of the best centers in the NBA and it is not surprising. Embiid is a tank and can stop anything in its tracks. He is currently one the best players in the NBA and also had the most points per game last season. With James Harden by his side, Embiid will look to win the NBA title for the first time in his career and in the process become a legend in Philadelphia.

Virgil van Dijk had quite the rise to stardom. He started off in the Dutch Eredivisie with Groningen before moving to Celtic and then to Southampton. Liverpool bought him for a then world record fee of 75 million pounds and he has been nothing short of immense for them. Under his watch, Liverpool won the lot from the EPL to the Champions League and there should be no doubt that Van Dijk is currently one of the best defenders in the world.

9. Ja Morant – Kylian Mbappe

Ja Morant was the number two pick in the 2019 NBA draft and he was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies. Since then, Morant has taken the league by storm with his dynamic and consistent showings. He is a skillful player that can break ankles and has the ability to posterize opponents with monster dunks. He is still very young at just 23 and is destined for greatness very soon.

Kylian Mbappe is France’s best player and has already won the lot despite being just 23 years of age. He played a starring role in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and helped France win the trophy and is a household name in Ligue 1 with Paris Saint Germain. Mbappe looked set to move to Real Madrid before signing a new deal in the summer. He looks primed and ready to help France regain the World Cup at Qatar this winter.

10. Klay Thompson – Kevin De Bruyne

The Golden State Warriors are blessed with a lot of talent in their roster and if there is one player who is as good as Stephen Curry, it is Klay Thompson. Klay is a great three point shooter and also a great facilitator who is capable of making insane plays to help his team mates during the game. He is also a leader and can be relied when called upon as was evident in the 2021/22 NBA finals.

Just like Klay, Kevin De Bruyne is a great passer of the ball and is capable of scoring great goals from outside the box. He is also a leader and is the most influential player at Manchester City and also for the Belgium national team. If he keeps performing at his current level, then he is on course to become Manchester City’s greatest ever player.

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