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Which Laker would make the best professional wrestler?

May 20, 2011 |  2:12 pm

With the unfortunate news that legendary wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage has died, a few things popped into my mind. His catch phrase, "Oh Yeahhhhh" won't leave my head. I suddenly want to "snap into a Slim Jim." And I've been endlessly asking myself, how can I tie this into the Lakers blog?

Easy. There's a few Lakers who followed professional wrestling growing up, with Lakers forward Lamar Odom sharing often that he loved "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.  Lakers guard Shannon Brown told me one time after practice that he dressed up like Hulk Hogan for Halloween. And even though I've never asked Lakers forward Ron Artest personally, Odom remarked that Artest would make a great professional wrestler because of his on-court antics and funny interviews. So this led me to wonder who on the Lakers would make the best professional wrestler? Below the jump are a few ideas.

Artest: Does this even need an explanation? Artest can clothesline anyone without worrying about getting ejected. There's no worry about him understanding the triangle or throwing up a questionable shot. Artest can purely rely on instinct. Besides, his muscle-flexing, bicep-kissing antics would surely do well in the ring.

"He understands the stage that we play on. He's going to make a great wrestler," Odom said earlier this season. "He has the antics. You never know what's going to go on. He could hit a guy with a chair. Ron would be one of the best wrestlers ever. His interviews are great. That's what it takes to be the champion. You have to have the best interviews in wrestling."

Somehow, I can see one of Artest's interviews looking something like the video below. 

Matt Barnes - Barnes rarely backs down to anyone, whether it's faking an inbounds pass to Kobe Bryant when he was with the Magic, shoving Mavericks forward Jason Terry during the regular season, or pushing aside Dallas assistant Terry Stotts after he tried restraining him. Had this played out in professional wrestling, Barnes wouldn't have left the court. He would've grabbed a courtside chair and started knocking Terry with it. Barnes also doesn't have to worry about a costume. He recently released a T-shirt titled "Matt Barnes will kill you if Ron Artest doesn't first" will surely play well with the crowd. 

Steve Blake - Forget the fact that had a fight ensued, the matchup between 7-0, 240-pound Francisco Elson and 6-3, 172-pound Blake would have yielded disastrous results for the Lakers. But in a Lakers' preseason game against the Jazz, Blake didn't back down. He appeared upset after Elson elbowed him following a rebound, so in return he attempted to steal the ball over Elson's back. His hand hit Elson's head in the process, a near fight ensured and the two were given technical fouls. Blake appeared just as feisty when Terry pushed him to the ground in the regular season game, immediately prompting him to get up in Terry's face.

Andrew Bynum: Bynum could be the second coming of Andre the Giant or the Big Show, what with his 7-foot frame. Bynum isn't known for being an enforcer-type player. But he's had a fair number of incidents, including two this year, that highlight both his ability to flex his muscles and raise questions on whether his frustrations sometimes get the best of him.

Bynum's hit on Gerald Wallace two years ago sent Wallace to the hospital. Bynum's hit on Minnesota's Michael Beasley two months ago earned the Lakers center a flagrant-foul type 2 and a two-game suspension. And Bynum's hit on Dallas guard J.J. Barea in the Lakers' Game 4 loss to the Mavericks earned scorn from Laker greats Jerry West, Magic Johnson and James Worthy as well as criticism from Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher. Something tells me those kinds of hits would earn plenty of applause from wrestling fans. Plus, Bynum could always use his knee brace as a prop. Just don't let anyone else take it, or else he might injure his knee again.

Kobe Bryant: Bryant doesn't need any costume or props to carry his storied NBA career into the wrestling ring. He can continue to scowl at his opponents, clench his teeth and bite on his jersey. No injury would be too devastating for him to overcome. And he'd do anything humanly possible to collect as many WWE championship belts as possible to remain the greatest wrestler ever. Fortunately for Bryant, he doesn't have to worry about getting technicals for mouthing off at officials.

Derek Fisher: Fisher would play the perfect role imitating Vince McMahon. Fisher usually remains on the CEO side of the business, but if there's a need to throw an elbow or two, Fisher will definitely do it. Just ask Luis Scola

Lamar Odom: So long as Flair is okay with Odom wearing his costume, copying his moves and yelling out, "Whoo." it wouldn't be surprising for Odom to duplicate Flair's act since he's his favorite wrestler and all. Odom can get angry at times, such as when he nearly went to blows with Clippers forward Blake Griffin after he thought he boxed out too physically and when he struck Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki in Game 4 of the Lakers-Mavericks series. But what would distinguish Odom in the wrestling ring points to his acting experience. He's already used to acting out the manufactured drama that is Khloe and Lamar, so the transition into duplicating the WWE soap opera would be easy. Plus it might be an opportunity for Khloe Kardashian to extend her brand even more.  

Shannon Brown: Say what you will about Brown's questionable shot selection and unhealthy risk taking on defense, he still knows how to excite the Staples Center crowd with his thunderous dunks. Allow Brown to wear his Hulk Hogan costume and he's set. With his ridiculous athleticism and penchant for making highlight reels, I have a feeling Brown would have great signature moves in the ring. 


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--Mark Medina