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…