Study explores the kryptonite of star athletes

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As every sports fan knows, even the best of the best athletes have their challenges. It doesn’t matter how good you are or even how popular—even Tom Brady has had his moments. Curious about the teams and players in the NBA and NFL who gave star athletes a run for their money? So was OLBG, who recently conducted a study using five years of data to find out all of this and more.

In the NFL, it’s no understatement to say that Patrick Mahomes has been killing it. Throughout the past few years, he’s had a 108.5 QB rating and averages 2.5 touchdowns per game. But how does he fare against his kryptonite team, the Los Angeles Chargers?

He’s played them five times in the last five years, with a notably less impressive 96.5 QB rating and an average of two touchdowns per game. His completion percentage overall is 66.6%, but that dipped slightly against the Chargers at 61.4%.

One especially high-profile QB, Aaron Rodgers, has done well over the last five seasons, with a 103.8 QB rating. Against the Carolina Panthers, however, that drops sharply to an 82.5. 

On the offensive side, Davante Adams is certainly a notable player. Among all the offensive players included in the OLBG study, he’s got by far the most receiving yards and receptions per game (79.4 and 6.5, respectively), but those numbers get noticeably lower when he’s faced the Washington Football Team (45 and 4.7, respectively). 

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The Kansas City Chiefs had the highest win percentage overall among the teams included in the study (75%), but when they’ve gone toe to toe with the Pittsburgh Steelers, they’ve only managed a 33% win percentage. That accounts for three games over the past five years: one win and two losses. 

Over in the NBA, OLBG’s findings raised some serious eyebrows. The Golden State Warriors are an especially interesting example of a team that has done incredibly well overall (282 wins, 163 losses, and a 63% win percentage) but has certainly struggled against its kryptonite team.

In the Warriors’ case, that’d be the Boston Celtics. Of the 10 games they’ve played against each other in the last five seasons, the Warriors have lost seven—that’s a meager win percentage of 30%.

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NBA players also have some worthy adversaries. Take, for example, the legendary LeBron James. With an average of 27.2 points per game and a 52.7% field goal percentage, James has certainly become one of the most iconic players in both Lakers and NBA history as a whole.

But even the king has had some tough moments, especially against the Sacramento Kings. In their meetings on the court, James averaged 21.9 points per game and dropped to a 48.8% field goal percentage.

Not bad, but certainly of note for someone as revered as LeBron. 

Of course, every athlete has their bad days, and not every game is going to be a win, but it’s certainly intriguing to see who the toughest adversaries are for some of the NFL and NBA’s most popular players.

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