You Won't Believe These Athletes Are the Same Age

Matt Haupert@@matthaupFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2014

You Won't Believe These Athletes Are the Same Age

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    Looks can be deceiving.

    On his 19th birthday, future No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden already looked far older than many men will ever look in their lifetime.

    When Derek Jeter tipped his cap and walked off the field at the All-Star Game for the final time earlier this week, he hardly looked a day older than the kid that burst onto the scene 20 years ago.

    It's a funny thing, age—and it's a funny thing that sports fans, for whatever reason, seem to obsess about. But it's not jut about how players look at a certain age. It's also about what they've done.

    Look how much Mike Trout has accomplished before age 23! Look how old R.A. Dickey was when he won the Cy Young! Somebody, quick, find a birth certificate and see if Sonny Gray is actually legally allowed to drive a car yet!

    The 10 pairs of current and former athletes on this list might surprise you. You'll see players of the same age who look like they could be father and son. You'll see washed-up busts of a forgotten generation who are the same age as superstars and champions.

    So, arm yourself in every preconceived notion that you have of how a player should look or perform at a certain age, and allow your mind to be blown.

R.A. Dickey, Ray Lewis: 39

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    A year after legendary linebacker Ray Lewis bid farewell to the sport that he dominated for so many years, fellow 39-year-old R.A. Dickey is just getting started.

    After living in relative obscurity for the 10-plus years he had spent in the Major Leagues, Dickey came out of nowhere to lead the league in wins and strikeouts in 2012, winning the Cy Young at age 38 and becoming the first knuckleball pitcher to ever do so.

    A year later, Lewis would cap off his career with a Super Bowl victory, having spent the previous decade establishing himself as one of the greatest defensive players to ever play the game.

    Forty, it seems, is twilight for some but dawn for others.

Dwyane Wade, Kwame Brown: 32

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    It seems like eons ago that Michael Jordan made the decision to make high school phenom Kwame Brown the top overall pick in the NBA draft. Brown has been mediocre at best and dismal at worst in his now-lengthy career and is widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in the history of the league.

    What many people seem to forget is that he's still hanging around.

    And he's not that old.

    In fact, had Brown come close to living up to his initial hype, he'd still probably be one of the premier players in the league today.

    At 32 years old, Kwame Brown is the exact same age as Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, winner of two of the past three NBA titles and three overall, and until injuries slowed him this past year, one of the NBA's brightest stars.

    Brown, on the other hand, is a free agent just hoping some team wants to give him one last chance—after more than a decade of missed ones.

Derek Norris, Sonny Gray: 25

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    It's little Sonny and his crazy Uncle Norris!

    Or at least, that's a caption that might seem fitting when you first catch a glimpse of the thick-bearded mountain man Derek Norris standing alongside his prepubescent star pitcher who couldn't grow a beard if his life depended on it.

    And yet, on November 7 of this year, star pitcher Sonny Gray will turn 25, the same age as his shaggy catcher.

    And that's not all they have in common.

    They're both among the very best in the league at their respective positions (Norris was an All-Star, Gray should have been). They both play for the best team in all of Major League Baseball. And they're both going to be key factors of the A's run at a World Series title this fall.

Brett Favre, Mariano Rivera: 44

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    Age is not kind to all of us.

    Retired closer Mariano Rivera and (finally) retired quarterback Brett Favre offer the perfect example.

    At the close of his farewell tour last season, Rivera walked away from baseball looking almost exactly the same as they day he first walked on the field. Favre, meanwhile, who had been gradually graying toward the end of his career, walked away from football for the last time and all of a sudden looked like this.

    Perhaps retirement speeds up the aging process, and if that's the case, Favre has had enough retirements to put gray hair on half of the people in this country.

Greg Oden, Steph Curry: 26

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    What a difference a few years makes.

    On the night of the 2007 NBA draft, Greg Oden was the top pick and the new face of the Portland Trail Blazers, and Steph Curry was a rising star at Davidson College coming off of a promising freshman season.

    Today, Curry is one of the brightest stars in the league, already among the NBA's elite and still not yet in his prime. Greg Oden, meanwhile, has had five surgeries on his knee—and that's by far the most impressive statistic to his name.

    Looking at the two, you might think Oden was Curry's father. Perhaps his grandfather. The injury-ridden center has looked like an old man since he was a teenager, and Curry could pass as a sophomore in high school.

    Look at their careers and you might come to the same conclusion.

    Oden: Washed up. Beaten down. A has-been.

    Curry: A shining symbol of promise, potential and breathtaking skill.

    The fact that these two men are both 26 years old is not only a reminder, however, of the fact that Oden's career seemed to fall apart at an age when most are barely getting started.

    It's also a reminder that still today, despite it all, the book on Greg Oden may still have a few more chapters.

    There's plenty of time left for a fairytale ending.

Brad Stevens, Vince Carter: 37

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    The fact that both Brad Stevens and Vince Carter are 37 years old is rather hilarious for a number of reasons.

    First off, Stevens is the head coach of the storied Boston Celtics, one of the most successful franchises in the history of sports. Carter, born only nine months later, is still playing. In fact, he recently inked a new deal with the Memphis Grizzlies.

    But that's not the only thing that might make you do a double take when you find out these guys are the same age. It's also in the way they look.

    Carter doesn't look the same as he did during his high-flying days with the Toronto Raptors back in his prime. Age has gotten to him, and he looks like a player whose days may be numbered.

    Coach Stevens, on the other hand?

    Well, let's just say he'd better have his ID with him the next time he tries picking up a case of beer.

Tom Brady, Randy Moss: 37

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    It's easy to forget Tom Brady is about to turn 37 years old on August 3.

    Then again, with a reigning MVP who is already 38, age apparently is no longer a concern to players in the NFL.

    Despite inching closer and closer to 40, Brady is still without a doubt one of the league's elite quarterbacks on one of the league's elite teams, and he's still got the good looks that landed him magazine covers and a supermodel wife.

    Not too long ago, Brady was teaming up with Randy Moss in New England for a record-shattering season that made them one of the most successful quarterback-wide receiver combinations of all time.

    After that magical 2007 season, however, Moss began to fade out of the spotlight. He looked older and slower every year and didn't seem to have the drive to even want to keep going. When he retired before the 2013 season, hardly anyone even noticed.

    Now, Moss is just an exciting character in a story about the past. Brady, meanwhile, is still the golden boy lining up under center ever Sunday afternoon in Foxborough.

Tim Duncan, Ryan Leaf: 38

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    Remember when Ryan Leaf was the next big thing? Remember when it was a difficult decision to decide between him and Peyton Manning for the top pick of the 1998 NFL draft?

    In the deeply troubling 16 years that followed, Leaf spent as much time in prison and treatment facilities as he did on a football field, and he may be the single biggest bust in the history of sports.

    It seems like several lifetimes ago that Ryan Leaf was still on an NFL roster, but if his career had turned out the way it was supposed to, he'd probably still be around and playing at a high level.

    In fact, guys Ryan's age are still winning titles. Tim Duncan helped the Spurs defeat LeBron James and the Miami Heat at the ripe age of 38.

    At 20, both Leaf and Duncan were young men destined for greatness. At almost 40, at least one has achieved it.

    Think I'm a genius? An idiot? Let me know on Twitter.