A.J. Green and Kevin Durant are surprisingly similar. The two superstar athletes are both 27-years-old, tall, lanky, humble and incredible athletes. Both players are humble to an extent that many undervalue their play, and both are still looking for their first championship. NFL Network's TD St. Matthew-Daniel recently wrote about and broke down why he believes Green to Durant are comparable.
Kevin Durant: Oklahoma City small forward -- NFL Comparison: A.J. Green
A low-key personality with high-end production, Kevin Durant lets his game do most of the talking like Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green. With one NBA MVP and five Pro Bowl selections between them, these two 27-year-olds have racked up their share of individual accomplishments. However, a championship title still evades them as both stars need their respective sidekicks (the Thunder's Russell Westbrook and the Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton) to achieve the ultimate team prize. Lastly, Durant and Green are both big fans of each other as the two stars regularly exchange high praise on Twitter. Real recognize real.
And interestingly, Durant and Green have even acknowledged each other's talents over the years.
AJ Green is too real!— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 30, 2012
Congrat to @KDTrey5 on the MVP well deserve!— Aj Green (@ajgreen_18) May 7, 2014
AJ green is too real smh— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 8, 2013
With Durant's Thunder taking a 3-1 lead over the Golden State Warriors, the forward might get his chance for redemption after OKC was wiped out by the Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals. The Cavaliers and Thunder will need to combine for three wins to make it happen, but an NBA Finals rematch between Durant and LeBron James seems more likely than ever.
Meanwhile, Green's Bengals are looking to make a sixth consecutive playoff appearance in 2016 and come out with at least one victory this year. Injuries have derailed Cincinnati in the past, but if the team manages to stay healthy in 2016, the Bengals will have as good a shot as ever at winning a playoff game and, potentially, making a deep playoff run.
Unlike Durant, Green has never been the NFL's most valuable player, let alone consensus top wide receiver. However, at the end of 2013, Green was commonly thought to be the hands-down top wide receiver in the NFL behind only Detroit's Calvin Johnson. He was ranked ninth on the NFL's Top 100 Players of 2014, listed as the number two receiver--well ahead of the third-ranked receiver, Josh Gordon, who came in at number 16. And even with his placement as high as number nine, if you look at the poll next to his placement on the list, the majority of fans voted that his No. 9 rank was too low in the overrated-underrated poll.
However, it's also worth noting that Durant, like Green, saw a dip in production after his breakout season, which like Green's, also came when he was 25-years-old. Durant got banged-up in the 2014-15 season, missing 55 games due to injury. Green, like Durant, dealt with injury in 2014, and both players bounced back in 2015, though neither player reached the pinnacle of success they had once achieved at age 25.
Whether Durant and/or Green will continue their success and make their way back to the top remains to be seen, but both players have taken significant strides forward and appear to be on their way back toward the top. More importantly for both players, however, will be the evasive championship trophy each athlete aspires to hoist. As someone who appreciates humble superstars, I hope both players can re-establish themselves as elite superstars and that both will be able to win a championship, hopefully sooner than later.