NBA / Jun 17, 2013 / 10:45 am

The Internet’s Most Comprehensive NBA/WWE Comparison: 43 NBA Stars That Remind Us Of Pro Wrestlers

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade (photo. David Alvarez)

Pro wrestling is fake. It is as fake as Game of Thrones and The Godfather and Les Misérables and every other form of non-reality entertainment.

Every pro wrestling fan over the age of 10 understands this, and still you can’t bring up wrestling in mixed company without somebody asking, “You know it’s fake, right?” like they’re doing you a favor.

I don’t get it. As popular as reality shows and documentaries have become, I don’t think that’s due to people dismissing Mad Men because Jon Hamm isn’t really an advertising executive, or staying away from the Fast & Furious franchise because Vin Diesel doesn’t really drive cars chained to moving airplanes.

So why does pro wrestling get such a negative stigma for being “fake,” when other genres get the benefit of being labeled “fiction?”

Criticize pro wrestling for its bad acting. Make fun of it for its silly story lines. And please feel free to protest when companies roll out racist, sexist and culturally insensitive characters. But if your biggest beef with pro wrestling is that it’s “fake,” I’m wondering why you even bother with HBO and AMC and Broadway.

With that out of way … Since the NBA’s best time of year — the drive for the playoffs, the postseason itself, the draft and free agency — coincides with my favorite part of the WWE calendar (the period between WrestleMania and SummerSlam), a lot of my TV time between April and August is dominated by basketball and wrestling.

If you’re a fan of both, or if you could use a primer to get to know the characters in one summer drama after flipping the channel from another, here are some NBA stars matched to their WWE superstar counterparts:

*** *** ***

Once upon a time not long ago, he was arguably the best in the world at his craft and creeping into the discussion as one of history’s all-time greats. Now his best days are behind him, but he’s still good enough for another run or two at the top. Some don’t like the way he’s “gone Hollywood” in recent years, but the upside is that he’s a great ambassador for the sport who has mainstream appeal.

CARMELO ANTHONY is Alberto Del Rio
He has all the tools to be a main-event hero, and on the surface he’s doing and saying all the right things to make it happen. But something is missing that’s hard to pinpoint. Maybe his desire to be a smiley-faced good guy can’t overcome the reality that he thrives in a cocky villain role.

BLAKE GRIFFIN is Big E Langston
Announcers marvel at his comic-book muscles and video-game athleticism. He has all the talent in the world and looks the part of a dominant future champion, but might be better suited for a sidekick role.

TONY PARKER is Rey Mysterio
Someday after he retires, the people who underrated and overlooked him will review his accomplishments and realize what they missed. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest his international roots, unorthodox style and atypical superstar build have had a lot to do with his praise being so long overdue.

KEVIN GARNETT is “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
Is he a bully in real life, or does he just play one on TV? A force of nature who emanates intensity and could just about do it all in his prime, the wear and tear on his body hasn’t robbed him of the charisma that still draws a crowd whenever he shows up to work.

On the next page: Rajon Rondo, James Harden, Kevin Durant and more…

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  • Keith

    I gotta say, you nailed this list. Respect from a fellow wrestling and basketball fan

  • Zuri A.

    Very good article

  • Taimoor Malik Zada

    Wonderful Article. It Is Good To Read That There Is A Lot Of Minds out There That Understand The Hardwork Put Forth By The Superstars Who Do Everything In Their Power to Entertain Us. I Am Also A Huge A Fan Of NBA And Respect The Player For Their Spirit And Dedication.
    #WWE #NBA #DimeMagazine

  • Mikey

    “TRACY McGRADY is Ricky Steamboat… never able to reach that world-championship ceiling.”

    Ricky Steamboat was the NWA World Heavyweight Champion in 1989.

  • Troy Dean

    I think this shows how narrow minded some people can be a majority of this list it’s made up of WWE talent but WWE does not equal wrestling you coulda used different wrestlers to make this a more well rounded list

  • AustinBurton206

    You’re right, I was just referring to Steamboat’s WWF tenure where the highest he got was the Intercontinental title.

  • AustinBurton206

    Who would you have put on the list from TNA, ROH or other promotions? Off the top of my head, I might compare Grant Hill to Sting — the ageless superstar who’s always been the good guy.

  • Mike Mears

    I liked this column a billion times better when Masked Man did it at Grantland a year ago.

  • Mike Mears

    There’s a lot of hard work put forth to capitalize every word for no reason, too.

  • Marcus Sikvayugak

    -.- highly disagree with KG as Stone Cold. he’s more roddy piper then anything else.

  • Marcus Sikvayugak

    rasheed wallace should of been stone cold because he’s the guy the league fines most and he doesn’t really get along with company guys.

  • Jesse Malloy

    spot on!

  • AustinBurton206

    I see where you’re coming from, but Rasheed was never a top guy in the company. He was a role player. I wanted to keep main-events on the same level whenever possible. Plus, KG has has his own run-ins with the disciplinary office.

  • AustinBurton206

    Sin Cara is a writer?

  • Mikey

    Oh ok. Still, this is a great article.

  • http://www.twitter.com/breanna_monique Breanna_Monique

    LeBron is definitely Randy Orton. Orton is smooth, but cocky at the same time. He can also hit you with the RKO out of nowhere, like LeBron can do a jumpshot or a 3.

  • Kwaku Danso

    I think Kev Love iust got dissed..