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NBA and Boxing Parallels

Updated: Jan 12, 2022

Whenever a person is great at something you usually hear phrases like, "this person is the Wayne Gretzky of or this person the Usain Bolt of." People love to compare greatness. Two of my favorite sports are basketball and boxing. I love to compare the greats and this made think. Who is the Floyd Mayweather of the NBA? Who is the Larry Bird of Boxing? Here are some comparisons that I came up with.

You could say Floyd Mayweather Jr is the Michael Jordan of boxing or vise versa. Some people may disagree with this comparison but hear me out. Both Jordan and Mayweather became the richest athletes to ever participate in their sports. They did it in different ways but accomplished the same goal. "His Airness" made everyone want to be like Mike while Mayweather made everyone hate Floyd. Both athletes always showed up in big moments. Jordan and the Bulls were undefeated in the NBA finals going 6-0 and Mayweather was always "Money" finishing his professional career at 50-0.

LeBron James is the Muhammad Ali of the NBA. Now, before you go crazy on me. I am not saying that LeBron James has had the social impact that Ali did BUT James has definitely left an imprint both on and off the court that will last forever, similar to Ali's imprint. James is considered the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) by lots of basketball fans despite his imperfect NBA Finals record while Ali is considered the G O.A.T. by most boxing fans despite having five losses on his record. Both Ali and James were and are physical specimens who redefined what athletes their size and age (In LeBron's case) can do.

Derrick Rose is the Mike Tyson of the NBA. I know that initial statement will trigger some people but hear me out. Both Rose and Tyson were young prodigies as Rose is youngest player to win the NBA MVP award and Tyson was the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history. It seemed like the sky would be the limit for both of their careers but each of them were derailed in different ways. The Chicago native, Rose, dealt with a series of injuries that took away his explosiveness. The Brooklyn native, Tyson, dealt with personal issues and legal trouble. Rose was never able to get back to being one of the most athletic guards in the league and Tyson was the never "The Baddest Man on the Planet" again. Both Rose and Tyson had to reinvent themselves. Rose is a crafty, lovable veteran who is still making an impact in the NBA while Tyson is now a podcaster who is widely beloved by most people.

Roy Jones Jr and Vince Carter are mirror images of each other. Jones was a better boxer than Vince Carter was a basketball player but the similarities are definitely there. We have never seen the combination of speed, size, quickness, defense, and punching power like we did with Roy Jones Jr. He was technically sound but overwhelmed his opponents with his athleticism. Vince Carter is considered the best dunker of all time by most NBA fans while also being a great shooter, finishing his career in the top ten in three point field goals made. In Carter's prime he could float in the air like Michael Jordan while also dunking with the power of Dominique Wilkins. Both Carter and Jones stayed in their sport passed their primes but fans will remember them as the athletic freaks they were.

When you think of consistency and longivity in basketball, one of the first names to come to mind is Tim Duncan. The same should be said for Bernard Hopkins in boxing. Duncan was never the most athletic but would kill you with his fundamentals. He even earned the nickname, "The Big Fundamental". Hopkins was able to dominate the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions for close to 20 years due to his fundamentals. Both Duncan and Hopkins were able to age gracefully in sports that are not built for old men.

Do you agree with my boxing and basketball comparisons?

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