Ballers and Brawlers
Here at Off the Glass, we had an epiphany. Basketball players and wrestlers have a lot in common. Don’t believe us, just watch us prove it. Some of the best NBA stars can be compared to the greatest stars in WWE history. Here are a few wrestlers from WWE, past and present that resemble some of our favorite basketball players.
John Cena/LeBron James
Ryan: This is the easiest comparison to make. The NBA markets LeBron James as their definitive star and he proves why he’s the best when he gets the opportunity. The WWE markets John Cena as their definitive star, and lately, he’s put on the best matches in the company. From an outsider standpoint, he’s the WWE’s Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Pikachu. To someone who doesn’t know much about basketball, it’s pretty obvious that the first player that comes out of their mouth will be. In addition, they both have won multiple championships, wear sweatbands, and have residence in Florida. Perhaps the most interesting comparison, John Cena started becoming a relevant WWE roster member in 2003, the same year LeBron James came into the league.
Marc: Agreed. Both of these athletes are the faces of their respective leagues. Even If you don't know basketball or wrestling, you know who John Cena and LeBron James are. They are both humble, nice, and friendly individuals. Both are decorated champions and aren't going anywhere anytime soon. This one is pretty easy, John Cena and LeBron James are at the same level in their respective organizations.
Marc: Tim Duncan is like The Undertaker for a few reasons. They have both been around for what seems like forever and they are constantly winning. The Undertaker has won a WrestleMania event in three different decades and Tim Duncan has won an NBA championship in three different decades. They are both consummate professionals and don't trash talk, but simply perform. They are not flashy, but they get the job done. They are both prime examples of what a winner should be.
Ryan: I completely agree with this. It’s one of the best comparisons that can possibly be made from NBA player to wrestler. To add to the rationale, they both spend most of their time in Texas. In reality, Undertaker is from Texas, and Tim Duncan has made his home in Texas since the Spurs drafted him in 1997. Not to mention, it feels like they both operate at the same speed sometimes. Even though they both bust out the slowness from time to time, the Big Fundamental and the Dead Man are definitely relatable.
Hulk Hogan/Michael Jordan
Ryan: This one is pretty striking. Historically speaking, there are two names that stand out above the rest in each sport, and unquestionably, those two names are His Airness and the Hulkster. Their similar influence on children is eye-opening. Hulk told us to drink our milk. Mike told us to drink our secret stuff (Gatorade, if you didn’t have a childhood) Hulk also had philosophical phrases, telling us to say our prayers and eat our vitamins. Mike had some historical quotes during his reign of greatness as well, like “you miss 100% of the shot’s you don’t take.” Sprinkle on the fact that they both were given the lead roles of memorable movies. And for the cherry on top, Hulk Hogan has six WWF/E titles. Michael Jordan? Six NBA titles.
Marc: Agreed. Like LeBron James and John Cena, Hulk Hogan and Michael Jordan were the faces of their league, but to a greater extent. Hulk Hogan expanded the WWE audience and Michael Jordan revolutionized an already popular league. Everyone around the world knows these two greats and many consider them to be living legends or the greatest of all time. Today's kids are wearing Michael Jordan jerseys or wearing Hogan merchandise. Hogan is the reason the WWE is the way it is today and Jordan is the reason NBA is the way it is today. John Cena wanted to be like Hulk Hogan and LeBron James wanted to be like Michael Jordan. That alone should be enough to see why Hogan is like MJ.
Triple H/ Kevin Durant:
Marc: Kevin Durant is very similar to Triple H in many ways. They are both great at what they do and they are very popular amongst their respective fans. They are also similar because they both failed to reach the top of their profession as number one.
Triple H was great during his time in WWE, but was never considered the greatest. He always played second fiddle to stars who were better or more popular than him, and those two stars were The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin. He was never able to get over that hump similar to Kevin Durant.Durant is the second best player in the NBA, with the emphasis on second. He's never been quite able to compete with LeBron as many think he will never eclipse him as the face of the NBA. Even when he won the MVP in 2014, many thought the award should have went to Lebron. It seems like he will always be in LeBron's shadow and he may never get over the hump.
Ryan: I see where you’re coming from, however I think Chris Paul would be a better comparison. Chris Paul is more of an authority figure than Kevin Durant. Chris Paul’s energy and tenacity also compares to Triple H more so than Kevin Durant. HHH is also the unquestioned leader of the authority, while it’s hard to say Durant is the leader of the Thunder, at least right now because of health. Chris Paul is the vocal leader of the Clippers and HHH is currently the vocal leader of the WWE.
Jeff Hardy/Allen Iverson:
Marc: Allen Iverson is most like Jeff Hardy. Both of the athletes are fast, athletic, and fun to watch. They both revolutionized their professions. Allen Iverson brought the hip hop culture to the NBA and Jeff Hardy reinvigorated the high flying style.
Both of these athletes gave their bodies up in their professions, whether it was Iverson diving on the floor for loose balls or Jeff Hardy diving off ladders. They entertained every night and put on a show every night. In a negative aspect, they are similar because they both dealt with a lot of issues off the court or out of the ring. However, when it came to their sport they were simply electric.
Ryan: I have a friend whose favorite wrestler is Jeff Hardy and favorite basketball player is Allen Iverson. This comparison makes a lot of sense and is very unique. They both added their own spice to the game and the spice that they added could not be topped. Still, years after their prime, we don’t see many people taking Jeff Hardy or Allen Iverson’s spot. They both brought something to the party that’s never been seen before.
Bray Wyatt/Anthony Davis
Ryan: This one is like a cold swimming pool. At first, you don’t want to go into it, but once you just dive in and start swimming, you realize how easy it is to stay in it. First off, they’re both pretty scary looking. Anthony Davis’ eyebrow and Bray Wyatt’s creepy demeanor surely intimidate a lot of women and children who come to watch. Secondly, they’re both really good at what they do. Anthony Davis leads the Pelicans and Bray Wyatt leads his Wyatt Family. In addition, each of them likely won’t win a championship for a while, for reasons other than themselves. Oh, and guess who both made their professional debuts in the fall of 2012?
Marc: Disagree. Other the fact that they are both scary looking, there aren't many similarities between them. Anthony Davis is a very athletic talent, especially given his size. Meanwhile, Bray Wyatt can barely jump off the lowest turnbuckle. Bray has a much better chance of winning a championship, which can happen at any time given the way WWE does things. Anthony Davis, though, has a chance to become the best player in the league over the next few years, while Wyatt is far from that accolade.
Randy Orton/Russell Westbrook:
Marc: Russell Westbrook is like Randy Orton for mainly one reason, killer instinct. Nicknamed the Viper, Randy Orton is known for striking at any moment and attacking his opposition. The same goes for Westbrook. When Westbrook has the ball in his hands, he can attack and any moment and catch the defender off guard. They are both ruthless and also are reckless to a certain degree.
Westbrook has a knack for being over the edge and so does Orton, as they sometimes lose focus and take things overboard. However, they will get what needs to be done, sometimes to the detriment of others, but they will always come through in the end nonetheless.
Ryan: Yup. Both these guys have that venomous bite. When Randy kicks it into top gear, he’s rabid. When Russell kicks it into gear, he’s vicious. They both have an energy that says, “Hi, I might not be a consummate professional, but I’m going to play however I want at whatever speed I want. Most of you are going to like it, some of you will hate it, but I don’t care, and I won’t be stopped.”
Stone Cold Steve Austin/Shaquille O’Neal
Ryan: Glass shatters. Is it a broken backboard or Stone Cold’s entrance music? There’s some guy in interviews referring to himself in the third person. Is it Shaq Diesel or Austin 3:16? Is it Superman or the Texas Rattlesnake? I’ll give you a clue; he went to high school in Texas. Now I know that doesn’t help much, so I’ll give you another clue. He’s bald and dominant. Nothing? How about the fact that he starred in movies and had his own reality show? As you can see, Shaq and Steve Austin have a few more comparisons other than just being bald guys. They’re both historical icons in their sport, champions multiple times, and had an extremely large following during the 1990’s.
Marc: Agreed. Both of these superstars dominated around the same time (late 90s-early 00s). Both of them were dominant and controversial as well. Steve Austin, controversially, left the WWE over a dispute as he "took his ball and went home". Shaq is known for his personal feud with Kobe Bryant in the early 00's. Both were some of the greatest trash talkers in the business. They also remain heavily involved with their organizations after they retired, as Steve Austin holds a podcast that airs on the WWE Network and Shaq works on air for TNT. These two are comparable.
Shawn Michaels/Dominique Wilkins
Marc: Dominique Wilkins is most like Shawn Michaels because they were both flashy individuals. Wilkins was electrifying on the court and Michaels was electrifying in the ring. Dominique was nicknamed the "human highlight reel" and Shawn Michaels was the "show stopper". They lifted the fans out of their seats and they were two individuals who you couldn't take your eyes off of.
Ryan: I didn’t get to watch the Human Highlight Reel growing up but I know enough about him to agree with you. Both guys were flashy on and off of the stage they performed. They were even flashier ON the stage. They both ushered in a new generation of fans at their prime. WWF/E began to find its modern niche in the early 90’s with the rise of Shawn Michaels in the same way it did with Dominique at the tail end of his prime.
If you would like us to compare more basketball players to anything else, tweet us at @OTGBasketball This was a lot of fun.