Let’s compare some of your favorite WWE Superstars to NBA athletes.
WWE has invited NBA superstars for special WWE segments from time to time. With the NBA currently revamping its interrupted season and moving on to the playoffs, it is now befitting to identify and evaluate the top 7 WWE Superstar to their NBA Counterparts.
In 2003, NBA’s affiliation with the WWE started off strong when Lebron James took a visit to Raw at the start of his NBA career with his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. When James played for the Miami Heat in 2010-2014 and became a megastar after winning two NBA Championships, he and his then-teammate, Dwayne Wade, visited Raw again to meet Rey Mysterio.
On May 25, 2009, Team Lakers vs. Team Nuggets occurred in a 10-man tag team match, in which five babyface WWE superstars represented Team Lakers and five heel WWE superstars represented Team Nuggets on a Raw that conveniently took place in Los Angeles, California. This gimmicked match was WWE’s way of advertising the NBA Western Conference Finals Playoff Game that was taking place in the NBA at the time.
In 2010, Shaquille O’ Neal confronted The Big Show to tease a wrestling match that fans did not know they wanted. At WrestleMania 32, they shared the same ring once again in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal where they gave the WWE Universe a face off that was six years in the making for a memorable WrestleMania moment.
On June 2, 2014, former WWE employee, Damian Sandow, put on a clinic by doing his best Lance Stephenson impression. Indeed, this was Sandow’s typical heel tactic of roasting the Indiana Pacers on a Raw that took place in Indianapolis, Indiana. However, he took the extra step by actually dressing up in an Indiana Pacers jersey and shooting a basketball in the WWE ring.
On June 26, 2017, Lavar and Lonzo Ball took over Miz TV. Lavar Ball took advantage of this publicity to promote his son’s debut in the NBA as a Los Angeles Laker while making the segment with The Miz as amusing as possible. One of the best sound bytes from that encounter was when Lavar Ball said: “Like I said before, there are only two dudes better than me, and I’m both of them.”
While Giannis Antetokounmpo and Tacko Fall made some quick backstage visits and had exclusive interviews on their perspectives as WWE fans, Enes Kanter actually got into the ring to win the 24/7 Championship from R-Truth, thereby becoming the first NBA superstar to win a WWE Championship. On top of all that, WWE superstars have played Game Night Basketball shootouts and storyline competitions, like Street Profits and Viking Raiders recently did.’
As can be indicated by all of these references and segments for the past seventeen years, it is clear that MVP’s ‘Ballin’ slogan is not the only thing from WWE that relates to NBA basketball. With that relationship being firmly established, it is now time to identify and evaluate the top 7 WWE Superstar NBA Counterparts.