The Secret Lives We Wish NBA Stars Led
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NBA players can defy gravity with their leaps, defy the laws of physics with their shots, dribble like magicians, run like the wind, tumble like gymnasts and slam like doors in an argument.
And it's all just another day at the office.
The magic these players conjure up on a nightly basis is so wondrous, so beyond description, sometimes you can't help but think their abilities are limitless—that they can do or be anything they want.
That maybe they really do have Superman capes under their jerseys.
Which of our favorite roundball magicians might have a secret life on the side? And what might that life be?
Undercover Cop: Kyrie Irving
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The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard extraordinaire has already proven he's a master of disguise with his Uncle Drew commercials.
Deep cover work clearly suits Irving.
His major is psychology, which fits the assignment perfectly: an understanding of human nature is needed to pass yourself off as someone else. And as for knowing what to say once he's in disguise, consider that Irving didn't just star in those Pepsi spots—he wrote them.
I can't see Irving as a typical private eye, kicking down doors or hiding in the bushes snapping a camera. No, he's more a male Sydney Bristow type, a chameleon, ready to be whomever the situation requires him to be.
So if some old codger, in the midst of schooling you at a pick-up game, asks if you want to switch sneakers, it may not only be Irving...it may be Irving trying to nail you for that thing you did that you thought no one knew about.
(Don't play dumb...you know exactly what I'm talking about...)
Ringleader of a Fight Club: Rasheed Wallace
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Sure, Rasheed Wallace and Rocky Balboa are both from Philadelphia. But they have a lot more than geography in common.
After a two-year layoff, Wallace's return to the NBA had to make fans in his native Philadelphia start humming the Rocky theme.
That would have been appropriate, because no one in the NBA is a bigger boxing fan than 'Sheed. He's gone toe-to-toe with Bernard Hopkins and can recite boxing stats going as far back as Jack Johnson, the heavyweight champ from 1908-1915 (and Wallace's choice for best boxer of all time).
As the undisputed king of the technical fouls—Rasheed still holds the season record with 41—'Sheed incited ire but stopped short of actually fighting (unless you count the Rumble In the Loading Dock). Wallace loves creating the threat of trouble, though, and he appreciates the finer art of punching.
That makes running an illicit fight club a perfect fit.
He may be done for the NBA season, but who knows: perhaps his season as a real-life Tyler Durden is just getting started.
Late Night Talk Show Host: Blake Griffin
(Courtesy of twitter.com/blakegriffin32)
Griffin's more than monster slams. He's got a good comic sense—like this tweet—and a knack for parody videos—like his Kia commercials (note the middle finger in this one). He even honed his skills the old-fashioned way, as an unpaid intern for Funny or Die.
He's essentially built the skill set of a talk show host. And with Jay Leno leaving NBC's after-hours TV department, there might be an opening soon.
The genial Griffin is comfortable in front of a camera and has a great Q score—which is much more important to television execs than any points he scores on the court.
"The Tonight Show" with Blake Griffin? Hey, his Twitter wallpaper, pictured, is practically an audition.
Beekeeper: James Harden
(Left, courtesy of skullcandy.com; right, courtesy of mogleyohara.wordpress.com)
OK, so this is a cheap joke at the expense of Harden's remarkable whiskers.
But come on. That beard is too good to just be made of hair. Harden on the basketball court bends defenses to his will. What's to say he can't do the same thing with a few thousand bees?
The dead giveaway: his famed Eurostep. After all, it's as sweet as honey.
Maybe the secret life of bees he leads is why Harden has no fear about getting fouled. It's getting stung that scares him.
Contestant on "Project Runway": Russell Westbrook
The outrageous outfits. The lip-syncing to Ke$ha songs.
'Fess up, Westbrook. You know you're creating those fab wardrobes out of old shower curtains and Krazy Straws.
Secretly, Westbrook has been gunning to get in front of Tim Gunn and compete on Project Runway. And if he competes like he does in the NBA, where he's one of the elite point guards in the league, Westbrook will not only win the competition, but he'll also likely win Heidi Klum's heart in the process.
No wonder you got your five-year contract extension so quickly, Russell. The moment Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti hesitated about it, you started singing "Tik Tok" into his ear, didn't you?
Rollerballer: Rajon Rondo
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For the rest of this season, Rajon Rondo won't be able to lead the Celtics up that fabled parquet floor. So he's making his moves on another kind of hardwood.
Rondo is an avowed roller skater.
Behind the scenes, Rondo is rocking some spiked gloves and passing that silver ball like Jonathan E (that's the James Caan version of Rollerball and yes, I'm a purist). And in the game of rollerball, unlike in the NBA, when Rondo attacks, somebody loses an eye.
All we need do is catch Rondo taking motorcycle lessons and we'll have all the proof we need.
Insider Trader: Steve Nash
(Courtesy of indochino.com)
Steve Nash has been almost as model a citizen as he has been a model for point guard play. Before Chris Paul and Kyrie Irving, Nash was the prototypical ball-handler, brilliantly assessing how to distribute on the court.
So it's not surprise Nash has distributed his assets in similarly brilliant fashion. In a league where 60 percent of players go bankrupt within five years after retirement, Nash is financially set, having built a remarkable portfolio which includes an eponymous chain of gyms, nutrition and healthy-food companies, and even a professional soccer franchise.
It seems everything Nash touches turns to gold, which leads one to suspect perhaps the model citizen lets his dark side out on Wall Street. Is some well-connected CEO giving Nash an assist? Perhaps they're both scoring together?
Doubt it. But it's a much more intriguing scenario than simply accepting that Nash is actually adept with his money.
Future President: Jeremy Lin
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Jeremy Lin is a statesman on the court, leading by consistent energy and enthusiasm, never complaining, always working to make himself and those around him better.
Sounds like just what America needs to get back on track, doesn't it?
Like President Barack Obama and six other presidents before him, Lin attended Harvard. Like Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and America's greatest president, Josiah "Jed" Bartlet, Lin has an economics degree.
And if elected, Lin would follow Obama's trailblazing example by becoming our first Asian-American president.
Why not? Instead of our current culture of dissension and blame, Jeremy would make sure every vote was Linsanimous.
Stand-Up Comedian: Dwight Howard
Have you noticed how much time Howard spends complaining about something or other?
Maybe it's not because he's just a malcontent. Maybe he's working out a Rodney Dangerfield-inspired "I don't get no respect" standup routine.
I mean, watch the video above. He's doing impressions that make Frank Caliendo look like Ben Bernanke.
I say Howard is playing the underground clubs, refining his style, perfecting his patter and just waiting to reveal his double-life.
That's when he'll tell us all the whining and blaming and backstabbing was part of the act—just a joke.
Hate to break it to you, Dwight: It wasn't funny.
Bomb Squad Technician: Chris Paul
(Courtesy of Maxim; photo by Juco and licensed to Alpha Media Group)
Paul gives new meaning to the phrase "I like to watch."
The NBA's premier point guard owns a huge collection of watches of all kinds. But let's get real: Who needs more than one watch?
My guess is they're getting destroyed while Paul makes amateur bombs with the timepieces and then defuses them, staying in practice for his alter ego on the bomb squad.
Considering the rate at which Paul knocks down his bombs now, it was a natural fit.
You thought the arena announcer was saying "CP for three?" No. He's saying "CP-43," which is police code for "cut the blue wire."
So the next time you see Paul look at his watch, remember to duck and cover.