Patrick Mahomes is to the NFL what Stephen Curry is to the NBA.
Their common characteristics are as uncanny as they are admirable — while their lives are both played out on the largest of public stages, such as the one Mahomes will be on Sunday as he quarterbacks the Chiefs against the Eagles in Super Bowl LVII.
In the sports world we live in, which is full of nitpicking and overloaded with too much negativity and expert analysis from the armchair social media jockeys, it’s damn near impossible to find anything to criticize about Mahomes and Curry.
In their respective fields of play — Mahomes on the football field for the Chiefs and Curry on the basketball court for the Warriors — both do otherworldly things that leave even their opponents marveling because they’re simply not capable of duplicating them.
Fans, teammates and opponents are mesmerized by the ease with which Curry buries 3-point shots from all over the court. They’re similarly blown away by the Mahomes’ Houdini-like ability to escape from the pass rush while completing passes from crazy arm angles.
“I see a lot of myself in him,” Curry said of Mahomes on a 2021 podcast.
“Just that creativity … you can’t blink or you’ll miss something special. I just love his confidence. He knows at any point he can do something special. That guy, he’s special. He’s a generational talent, obviously. I love watching him.’’
Off the field, both Mahomes and Curry are a league commissioner’s dream as the faces of their respective sports.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell surely thanks his lucky stars every night before he tucks himself into bed to have Mahomes representing his league. Adam Silver has been doing the same thing, regarding Curry, since the moment he took over as NBA commissioner.
Both Mahomes and Curry do the right things. They say the right things. They represent everything everyone wants a star athlete to represent. They treat everyone with respect regardless of social or economic status. They conduct themselves with class, are never found in a police blotter or even embroiled in any sort of public controversy.
There are common denominators between the two. Both are sons of professional athletes. Dell Curry, Steph’s dad, played in the NBA from 1986 to 2002. Pat Mahomes, Patrick’s dad, pitched in the major leagues from 1992 to 2003, including a stint with the Mets in 1999-2000.
Mahomes and Curry have gotten to know each other through golf, bonding at the American Century Championship, an annual celebrity golf tournament played in Lake Tahoe every summer. Both are addicted to golf.
PGA Tour pro Gary Woodland, who’s playing in the Waste Management Open this week at TPC Scottsdale, is a Kansas native and a close friend of Mahomes, with whom he plays a lot of golf. He shakes his head when he thinks about the way Mahomes conducts himself.
“He just gets it,’’ Woodland told The Post this week. “He says the right things, does the right things, he gives back in the community back home.’’
Woodland’s sports hero growing up was former Kansas City Royals star George Brett.
“He’s the king back home,’’ Woodland said. “But Mahomes has taken that title from him. There’s no doubt Mahomes is the man now in Kansas City. He just does everything right.” He’s a great dude on and off the field and that makes it all the more special.’
Billy Rapaport, who has been the senior field director for NBC Sports for its broadcast of the American Century Championship since the event began in 1990, has known Curry since he first started playing in the event and more recently has gotten to know Mahomes as well as he’s begun competing in it.
“Both Steph’s and Patrick’s overall way of operating is very similar,’’ Rapaport told The Post. “You can tell that they both enjoy making somebody’s day. They’re naturals in that way and they’re naturals in what they do in their sports.
“Steph is, without question, one of the most humble, gracious, grateful people I’ve ever met or worked with,’’ Rapaport went on. “When I first met him, he had first come out of Davidson and nobody knew who he was. In the time period from that first year to becoming an NBA champion and becoming one of the biggest sports stars in the world, through the entire process of watching his meteoric rise, he hasn’t changed one bit.
“The way he treats everybody around him — including the fans — is beyond respectful. It’s grace and gratitude at its highest level. He always lets people know that he appreciates the fact that they appreciate him, and Patrick exudes those traits as well. In every experience I’ve had with both of them, they’ve always wanted to do the right thing — whether it’s dealing with fans or dealing with other pros or dealing with the staff.
“No matter who it is, there’s always a sense of gratitude, not a sense of entitlement.’’