2.) Steve Blake, G, Los Angeles Lakers
That video is from 2008, so ignore the Kimbo worship and general lack of knowledge about the sport on display. They were different times, people. The scrappy guard has been training since 2007, and it’s complimented his oncourt presence nicely. Watch the aforementioned 6’11’’, 265lb Dwight Howard try to punk Steve Blake and immediately regret his decision. For that matter, Jason Terry recently tried the same thing and was chased around the court by Blake. If he’s willing to throw down with those two, the odds are good that he’d be willing to fight during the lockout.
Ideal Opponent: As demonstrated above, Steve Blake has no qualms with chasing an opponent, even if his opponent is slightly bigger than him. I wonder if Kaleb Starnes can cut to welterweight…
1.) James Johnson, F, Toronto Raptors
Odds are that even the most hardcore NBA fans among us are having a hard time wrapping their heads around this pick. A first round selection by the Chicago Bulls in 2009, Johnson has recently been traded to the lowly Raptors. However, Johnson has something that no one else in the NBA can claim: An actual MMA record.
James Johnson, a karate black belt, is 20-0 as an amateur kickboxer and 1-0 as an amateur MMA fighter. His parents, both of which are karate black belts, own a martial arts school in Cheyenne, Wyoming. And by the way, seven of his eight siblings are also black belts. You can’t make this up. Well, maybe you sort of can. Even though his current contract in the NBA has kept him from looking to fight, Johnson insists that he’s not done as a fighter and constantly thinks about fighting again. He’s easily the most likely player in the NBA to actively seek a fight during the lockout.
Ideal Opponent: Crossover athlete that’s famous in Canada? Easy call: Donald Brashear at a future Ringside event.
Honorable Mention: Shaquille O’Neal
I’ll be honest: The only thing preventing Shaq from being number one on this list is that fact that he recently retired. He’s a huge fan of MMA. He’s been training with Jonathan Burke since The Backstreet Boys were relevant. He helped launch The Ultimate Fighter. Do I need to say more?
Ideal Opponent: What, you don’t want to see him fight Hong Mon Choi? Be real. Even Bob Reilly wants to watch that fight.