NBA Power Rankings: Ron Artest and 15 NBA Players That Should Join MMA
So Ron Artest was getting mixed up in more extra-curricular activity on the court last night after getting into a mix-up with Gerald Wallace of the Trail Blazers.
It's just the latest on-court antics from Artest, who was in the middle of the infamous Malice at the Palace seven years ago and has had some dust-ups since. Remember, this was the man who started the whole thing by using the first two rows as a giant hurdle and then slapped some guy into next week.
So with that in mind, and considering Artest is a noted boxing fan from his guest column in Sports Illustrated a while back, it got us to thinking about NBA players and the world of MMA.
They're not as separate as you might think. Nowadays a lot of players use MMA to help train and keep in shape during the offseason. In that same vein, these are the 15 players we think should take a shot at MMA.
And of course, Ron-Ron is on the list. I wonder where he could end up.
15. Chris Anderson, PF, Denver
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Let's be honest, the Birdman sounds more like a professional wrestler than a MMA fighter.
But once you take into account his athleticism and his ability to play and mix it up at both ends of the floor, it doesn't sound as crazy as one might think. He definitely would be able to hold his own in the octagon.
As long as he doesn't have to perform a dunk, he'd be fine.
14. Gerald Wallace, SF, Portland
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Then there's other guy involved in the mini-tussle with Artest last night, someone who to his credit hung in there pretty well with Artest.
Wallace is not a small guy by any means, and he's proven during his career that he's also athletic enough and strong enough to be able to hang in there with some of the best athletes in the world.
Plus he was showing some nice form with the arm lock.
13. J.J. Redick, SG, Orlando
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This is one of those picks that most people would like to see just because to the Duke hater, Redick symbolizes their dislike for Blue Devils basketball. At the same time, considering Redick's not exactly a filled out NBA player, he has pretty good size.
Although he is not built like a lot of the MMA fighters, Redick does have some good size, but absolutely no athleticism, which would make him an interesting fit.
But mostly, this is the guy a lot of people would have in there just to see him get beat.
12. Brad Miller, C, Houston
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Brad Miller is no stranger to scuffles during his NBA career. He famously had one with Shaquille O'Neal almost a decade ago when Miller was with the Bulls and Shaq was in his prime with the Lakers.
Miller never threw a punch (or at least it didn't look like he threw a punch according to some of the camera angles and replays), but there's something to be said for hanging in there with Shaq.
And even after having half the court piled on top of him as the chaos ensued (with Ron Artest) squarely in there, Miller popped up like he was ready for more.
11. Blake Griffin, PF, Los Angeles Clippers
Now this would be interesting.
We all know how athletic Blake Griffin is, in fact we get worried when a couple of days go by and he hasn't had a dunk that has made eyes pop out of their collective heads. But he's also a pretty big physical specimen, and considering the athletic endurance and pure athleticism needed for MMA, he would be interesting to watch in the octagon.
That's not mentioning that he handled himself pretty well during a recent scuffle against the 76ers last week.
10. Steve Nash, PG, Phoenix
Steve Nash doesn't have the build to be a MMA fighter. He isn't exactly the stereotypical build for someone who goes into the ring.
But from a toughness standpoint, try finding someone better. He plays with no fear, he's never afraid to drive to the basket while injured and plus it seems like the worse he's injured, the harder he plays. He played some of his best basketball with a broken nose.
And thanks to Robert Horry, we now know he can take a check.
9. Reggie Evans, PF, Toronto
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Reggie Evans is the prototypical grinder. He hustles, plays hard, is an expert rebounder and fights for every inch of the post.
He's the player you want on your team because he's a character guy and he's also just a worker who will make you earn a rebound and points in the paint.
So he'd be a good guy to make the jump to MMA, because what he doesn't have in athleticism, he makes up for with heart and hustle. He's already been working on a move, if you count hitting Chris Kaman in the cookies during the 2006 NBA Playoffs a move.
8. Shaquille O'Neal, C, Boston
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One thing Shaq has never been afraid of is branching out, and whatever he's done (save for making Kazaam) he's been successful. He's gone on WWE Raw and stared down the Big Show, not exactly an easy proposition.
From a pure marketing standpoint, O'Neal would draw. People want to see him because of the star that he is. From a MMA perspective, he would last pretty long in the octagon considering his size and how much weight he can throw around.
He wouldn't do as well as he would've when he was younger, but Shaq in his prime and as a rookie would've been dominant.
7. DeMarcus Cousins, PF, Sacramento
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Cousins is a big man for his position, and he's already proven to be a force down low in his rookie year.
He's however also proven he can get into arguments in his brief NBA career, and considering he had an altercation with his own teammate in the locker room, one might say he would be a good fit for MMA. Plus with his size and athleticism, he would do some damage.
6. Dwight Howard, PF, Orlando
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Howard might not have the personality to be an MMA fighter, but he definitely has the build.
He's big, lanky, hard to bring down and he's amazingly athletic. We all know he can jump right out of the building, but those qualities make him very suitable for MMA.
The question would be, as it would with everyone on this list, is the coordination issue and being able to do the things that you would need to do to win.
But given his abilities, it's a safe bet to say he could succeed.
5. Kendrick Perkins, C, Oklahoma City
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Think of Perkins as a more skilled version of Evans, same premise though. He's a tough cookie to deal with down low and he's hard-nosed as a rebounder and a defender. Just ask the Lakers forwards' after Perkins gave them fits during the 2008 NBA Finals.
In other words, his persona on the court as a battler makes him a prime candidate for MMA and also gives him the right mindset to succeed in the octagon. Plus, he's also joined the select list of players who have gotten into a fight on the court with Shaquille O'Neal.
4. LeBron James, SF, Miami
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James might have the biggest draw in terms of name recognition out of all the players on this list because he's become such a polarizing figure. Fans now either want to see him succeed or they want to see him and everyone else associated with that Heat team fail. So in terms of marketing, he'd be a draw.
And that's not mentioning the fact that he could handle himself in the ring. We're talking about a phenomenal athlete here who can jump through the roof.
We remember the talk not that long ago about James and playing football. Well let's put it this way: if he could play football, he would be able to handle himself in MMA.
3. Jermaine O'Neal, PF, Boston
Jermaine O'Neal in his prime was one of the better power forwards around when he was healthy. The problem was always staying healthy.
But then again, he's not that old. And considering his athletic ability, his size and his ability to throw a perfect punch while sliding, he might be a good fit for MMA.
His length would definitely create problems, although with his size and his injury issues, the different holds and pins might be problematic for him.
2. Ben Wallace, C, Detroit
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Ben Wallace is just a big man.
In his prime, he was one of the most intimidating defensive players in the game. A ferocious rebounder and a devastating shot-blocker, he was just a powerful force down low. Take that and put him in MMA in an octagon where it's just him and an opponent.
Bring back the afro, and all of a sudden that's a big man standing in front of you ready to go. He would be a perfect fit because of his intensity alone, not to mention his aggressive playing style.
1. Ron Artest, SF, Los Angeles Lakers
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Who else was it going to be?
I won't bring up the Fight at the Palace, but it always seems like when things are going crazy at an NBA game, Ron Artest is in the middle of it.
I mentioned the fact that he's already a boxing fan to begin with, so he might be open to doing something like that. But then there's the cerebral aspect of it, because very few players get into their opponents head more than Ron-Ron does when he's on his game.
He can annoy and bait you into making mistakes, and then he capitalizes on it. Plus he has the build to be an MMA guy just from his size and his athleticism. Either way, Ron Artest in the octagon would be interesting, to say the least.