Bills QB Josh Allen compared to this 5-time NBA All-Star

Two wholly unique superstars with a lack of team success? Yeah, it's an apt comparison.
Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) reacts after
Jan 21, 2024; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) reacts after / Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

One of the faces of the league. Not a game-changer, but a game-breaker. A dynamic talent who has bettered his team’s fortunes both on and off the field. 

Is this description ringing any bells?

It likely does if you’re lucky enough to follow a recently successful sports franchise, as it’s a pretty broad description of the prototypical ‘franchise player.’ Franchise centerpieces don’t come around often, but when they do, they’re special, serving as the focal point and leader of the team’s roster while simultaneously acting as the team’s face in marketing.

For fans of the Buffalo Bills, this description fits quarterback Josh Allen, a dynamic signal-caller who recently constructed his NFL-record fourth consecutive season with more than 40 total touchdowns. The former Wyoming Cowboy has brought the Bills from the depths of NFL irrelevancy into perennial contendership over the past several years, cementing himself as one of the NFL’s elite signal callers over the past six seasons.

Related: ESPN projects one bright spot as Buffalo Bills' Receiving Corps regresses

For Dallas Mavericks fans, the description fits Luka Doncic, a 6-foot-7 guard who, like Allen, has established himself as one of his league’s most dynamic players since his draft year. The five-time NBA All-Star has averaged 28.7 points, 8.3 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game over his six-year career; he, like Allen, is a wholly unique player, a game-breaker with a robust skillset who almost single-handedly leads his team to relevancy.

The similarities between Allen and Doncic go deeper than being their respective teams’ franchise players; their athleticism and well-rounded profiles make them one-of-one players in their sports, this uniqueness sometimes resulting in their teams overly relying on them to play ‘hero ball’ and single-handedly win games. They also share a lack of team playoff success, with neither player ever competing for their league’s respective championship.

These similarities have been noted by popular ‘The Ringer’ podcast host Ryen Russillo, who likened Allen to Doncic during a recent appearance on Chris Long’s Green Light podcast. The players’ shared dynamism and lack of team accolades despite personal success make for a rather apt comparison.

“Luka is the second-best player in the league right now,” Russillo said. “I think it’s a floating tier of [Nikola] Jokic, Giannis [Antetokounmpo], and Luka. I voted Luka second for MVP, feel good about it. But him not getting over the hump, well, he made it to a Western Conference Finals, and that team wasn’t very good. Allen’s probably had a better team, but when you look at Allen’s playoff stats, you’re like, wait, you’re giving this guy s***? You’re giving this guy a hard time because he doesn’t beat [Patrick] Mahomes, which basically nobody does?

“It has to be somebody that you could go, alright look, is it possible you could think this guy is playing the best at his position of anyone in the league? With Mahomes handing around for the next 10 years, it’s going to be hard to say that about any other quarterback, but Allen at least, like I just decided this year when it was all said and done that I’m not going to do the weekly Allen legacy thing anymore. He’s f****** awesome. Maybe there’s two or three teams that like their situation better than him, but three teams is probably too long of a list.”

Their shared lack of playoff success isn’t necessarily due to personal shortcomings, as both Allen and Doncic shine under bright lights. Allen has passed for over 2,700 yards and just four interceptions while tallying 26 total touchdowns in 10 career playoff games, while Doncic averages over 30 points per game in the postseason. Their excellence is routinely offset by circumstances largely out of their control. 

Allen and Doncic share another similarity—their youth. At just 27 and 25 years of age, respectively, there’s plenty of time for each player to clear the proverbial hump, to lead their respective teams and achieve immortality by winning a championship. 

Kyle Silagyi