It’s nothing new that sports athletes have found their way inside the squared circle. The earliest memory I have is of Lawrence Taylor facing off with Bam Bam Bigelow at Wrestlemania. “The Mailman” Karl Malone was immersed in a storyline with DDP and the NWO with Dennis Rodman during WCE heydays.
While Lebron James has never stepped foot, he has been sideline for wrestling, not to mention taking a “photo” of Stone Cold Steve Austin at a Raw show with his flip-phone early on in his career. Lebron also also rocked the “Ultimate Warrior” shirt after winning a championship for the Cleveland Cavaliers to mock Draymond Green and his Golden State Warriors opponents.
When I got to go watch Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas, TX, Shaquille O’Neal showed up to wrestle in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal Memorial match, threw out a few superstars, only to be thrown out himself. He’s also been a part of other shows in the past.
It’s also no surprise that Giannis Antetokounmpo and several teammates love wrestling because they’ve been videoed wrestling each other during pre-game warm-ups to get each other hyped up. They’ve also beaten up an opposing team mascot or two. He recently appeared at an AEW live event with a few athletes, and got to live out many people’s dream of running down to the ramp, climbing the turn buckle, and raising his hands up like the aforementioned Stone Cold, with a custom AEW championship belt at that.
Trae Young also made an appearance at Madison Square Garden on WWE Smackdown during a match, was involved in some outside interference and then “thrown out”. He’s always causing some trouble in MSG.
All these athletes make some cross-over into sports entertainment made me go back to these super neat images of NBA players taking on, in this form, AEW wrestler counterparts (All images were created from Bleacher Report).
My favorites are of course Luka Doncic dressed as Darby Allen, Lebron as Sting, Anthony Davis as Kenny Omega, and the Splash Brothers as the Young Bucks.
Enjoy the gallery below and who knows what other athletes will make an appearance in a wrestling ring. I wonder if any of these guys below could have a cool cross-over storyline.