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Five NBA Players Who Could Crossover to MMA During the Lockout

If Chris Andersen had half the mean mug that Anthony Johnson has, he’d have a spot on this list.

With the NBA lockout in full effect, many players are beginning to weigh their options for ways to stay busy. Kevin Durant is considering playing overseas, while Nate Robinson is considering a jump to a more attractive lockout. With the way that things are looking, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see an NBA player decide to put on the four ounce gloves and try his hand at MMA.

Normally, lists that focus on tough NBA players are composed of cheap shots, sucker punches and bush league fouls. This is not one of them (Ed. note: For the most part, at least). This is also not a fusion of this year’s All Star teams made under the assumption that all it takes is a lot of success in one sport to be a professional MMA fighter. We already have numerous examples disproving this. One more rule: Retired NBA players, like Charles Oakley and Jerry Stackhouse, are ineligible.

Rather, this list will focus on current players who may realistically accept an MMA fight during the NBA lockout. Coincidentally, most of them are heavyweights. Let’s start by getting this guy out of the way as soon as possible:

5.) Ron Artest, F, Los Angeles Lakers

If you are even a casual fan of the NBA, your first thought upon seeing this list was “What number is Ron Artest?”. If you aren’t a fan of the NBA, here’s all you need to know for this pick to make sense: Ron Artest is completely insane. He used to drink Hennessy during halftime. He’s shown up to games wearing nothing but his underwear. He apparently changed his name to Metta World Peace last month. He’s somehow dropped an album and a mixtape that have the combined street cred of one Ben Kaos song. Plus, he has a thing for starting fights during games.

Before the comments section blows up about this pick, you’re right: Ron Artest has absolutely no business being in an MMA fight. Still, he makes the list because of the fact that he’s crazy enough to actually take one during the lockout. Given his background, would you be the least bit surprised to see DREAM sign him? Didn’t think so.

Ideal Opponent: Let’s be real. If Ron Artest were to take a fight, he would probably straight up Jose Canseco it. Maybe throw in some Tank Abbott for good measure. Bottom line is, the 6’7’’, 260lb forward would be exactly the kind of fighter that Herschel Walker wants to rid MMA of. And I’d be perfectly okay with that.

4.) Tyreke Evans, G, Sacramento Kings

The 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year isn’t exactly known throughout the league as a tough guy, yet still holds a pretty impressive qualification: The respect that the Sacramento Kings have for Urijah Faber is mutual. In Issue 149 of SLAM Magazine, Faber talked about the offseason kickboxing workouts that he conducts for the team, going as far as to say that the players could realistically make it as professional fighters. Tyreke Evans is young enough, athletic enough and intelligent enough to cross over to MMA for at least one fight. And having Team Alpha Male as training partners doesn’t hurt, either.

Ideal Opponent: For the sake of keeping things competitive, his opponent should have a limited ground game. Probably some questionable conditioning as well. And since Tyreke Evans would be an overwhelming fan favorite, especially in Sacramento, finding an opponent who deserves to be booed would be a nice touch. Do I really need to spell it out for you?

3.) Glen Davis, F/C, Boston Celtics

Despite the implications of his nickname, “Big Baby” Glen Davis could be an interesting prospect. Two years ago, Glen Davis decided to start training in MMA after watching his girlfriend compete in Muay Thai. The LSU product has been a big fan of the UFC ever since, even attending the UFC Fan Expo in Boston. Of course, you may have been too busy to notice him while you were there. Even though he’s on record saying that his number one priority is being a basketball player, not an MMA fighter, I’m thinking the lockout may be enough to change that.

Ideal Opponent: Even though being knocked out by an elbow from Dwight Howard shouldn’t raise questions about his chin, it helps to play it safe. He needs a fighter who is roughly his size, but isn’t known for having too much punching power. Or for possessing any kind of skills in general, for that matter. What’s Jonathan Ivey been up to these days?

Hit that “next page” link for the gamest Laker of all, a black-belt baller with a legit fighting record, and a big-ass Honorable Mention…

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Cagepotato Comments

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rampageisgod- July 18, 2011 at 10:51 pm
Shaq would get his ass handed to him by Canseco. You must have missed his failed punch attempt on Brad Miller, who had his back turned.
BoGuS- July 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm
@ zhongihl,

You welcome my come? This wouldn't happen to be the SN for the chick in Pat Barry's arms would it?

/wishful thinking
EDoggFunkMonk- July 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm
NBA fighters would run like Kalib Starnes in the ring. Make this into an NHL list and it would be legit.
EJayy- July 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm
Who's that girl in Pat Barry's arms?
Fried Taco- July 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm
@agentsmith and macreadysshack - one inch, man, one inch.
RSparrow- July 18, 2011 at 3:24 pm
Anthony Johnson has been seen walking at near 235. His face was fat as fuck, and clearly wasn't working out. I've always thought of him as a true middleweight though. Also, Steve Blake by no means punked out Howard, Howard didn't wanna get a T. Zero of these players will transfer to mma, football is a lot closer with the training regiments and overall athletes. These guys would get punked!!
macreadysshack- July 18, 2011 at 3:23 pm
@ agentsmith That's what they do when you break your radius - smaller forearm bone. Follow the line of the radius out the hand and you'll find it terminates in those first two fingers. Actually, that's completely made up.
agentsmith- July 18, 2011 at 2:47 pm
Speaking of Pat Barry, WTF is with his cast in that photo... 2 fingers in and the other 2 out? Were they trying to turn him into Lobster Boy or a Ninja Turtle or what?
FightZen- July 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm
Kalib could totally make welterweight, as long as he's not on his period.
danomite- July 18, 2011 at 2:44 pm
please someone tell me that pics exist of NBA players sparring with alpha team guys.
DangadaDang- July 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Sweet article man. If we could include retired players my pick would be Charles "The Round Mound of Ground and Pound" Barkley
agentsmith- July 18, 2011 at 2:34 pm
Shaq vs Pat Barry. Make it happen!
ReX13- July 18, 2011 at 2:22 pm
good fucking job, seth.
serofibrinous- July 18, 2011 at 1:56 pm
wow, how is AJ a welterweight?????
Moriparty- July 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm
So Anthony Johnson is the welterweight and Pat Berry is the heavyweight?
intercept440- July 18, 2011 at 1:48 pm
this list shoudl be named first five nba players to get there ass kicked by crossing over
Viva Hate- July 18, 2011 at 1:23 pm
Glen Davis bought a “jump rope” from Jumpin’ Sammie Black so I think that he taking anymore shots to the head is not advisable, plus he did cry on the bench once because Kevin Garnett yelled at him so I question his toughness.
Fried Taco- July 18, 2011 at 1:18 pm
How could you not want to see Glen Davis against Marcus Jones? Then it could be billed as a fight between two Big Babies.
mikemoriendi- July 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm
Except isn't Artest trying to get his name legally changed to Meta World Peace to show his change in character?