With the NFL season in full swing and the NBA season nearing tipoff, one crucial question must be asked; who are the NFL parallels for the Charlotte Hornets? There may not appear to be any obvious comparisons, but the projected starting unit for the Hornets all have some commonalities with an NFL counterpart. Whether it be similarities in roles, style of play, or expectations, fans can draw some correspondence between the Hornets and some familiar faces from the gridiron.
Matching Hornets with their NFL parallels: LaMelo Ball and Patrick Mahomes
The flashy superstar who overcame adversity to exceed expectations
The first comparison is certainly the flashiest, but the similarities between LaMelo Ball and Patrick Mahomes run deeper than their tendency to appear on SportsCenter’s Top 10 or on House of Highlights’ Instagram page. For starters, both have sports in their bloodlines, with Ball’s father and mother both playing collegiate basketball and Mahomes’ father having been an MLB pitcher.
Both Ball and Mahomes opened eyes with absurd statistics throughout their amateur years while also calling into question the systems in which they played. Ball famously scored 92 points in a high school game but was criticized for cherry-picking for several baskets. Meanwhile, Mahomes tied the NCAA single-game passing yardage record with a 734-yard effort, courtesy of 88 pass attempts.
Both faced adversity in their journey to professional sports; Ball’s journey to the NBA became major news as he moved from California to Lithuania to Ohio to Australia on his way to the NBA. Mahomes also faced a difficult path, beginning his collegiate career as a backup to Davis Webb while also splitting time with the Texas Tech baseball program.
Ball and Mahomes were both lottery picks in their respective drafts, while also being selected after other highly touted prospects. Ball was selected 3rd overall after Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman were taken with the 1st and 2nd picks, respectively. Mahomes was the 10th pick in the 2017 NFL draft and the second quarterback to come off the board after Mitchell Trubisky went 2nd overall.
Both Ball and Mahomes quickly surpassed expectations, with Ball winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award and Mahomes winning the NFL MVP award in his first season as a starter. For Hornets fans, the hope is that the next parallel comes with Ball leading his team to a championship, a feat that Mahomes accomplished in the 2019-20 season.