Amid talk that basketball megastar LeBron James is considering leaving the Miami Heat to return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, at least one sports commentator has speculated on a completely different destination for the 4 time MVP — World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
On last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, color commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler, a Cleveland native, informed the Raw audience of rumors that James was considering signing a contract to join Vince McMahon’s sports entertainment enterprise.
Though Lawler’s comments were obviously tongue-in-cheek, the thought of LeBron James in a wrestling ring stirs the imagination.
At 6 foot 9 inch, 250 pounds, James is the perfect size to toss and tangle with the heavyweights of WWE. His frame compares to that of the latest Intercontinental Champion, the 6 foot 7 inch, 246 pound Stu Bennett, who competes under the ring name Bad News Barrett.
Were James to “take his talents” to the WWE, he would not be the first NBA player to step inside the squared circle. In 1997 and 1998, Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman became involved in memorable angles for Ted Turner’s World Championship Wrestling (WCW) promotion.
On two occasions Rodman wrestled as the tag team partner of the iconic Hollywood Hulk Hogan. In one of those matches, Rodman and Hogan faced the team of future World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page and rival Utah Jazz forward Karl Malone, who had just faced Rodman in the 1998 NBA Finals. The match was hailed as one of the worst of all-time and remains Malone’s lone foray into wrestling. Nevertheless, Rodman’s career continued. After leaving WCW, he wrestled in independent promotions and in 2008 participated in Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling.
If James began a wrestling career, he could easily surpass the work of Rodman and become something special to witness. Imagine a man with the name recognition of Hulk Hogan, the charisma of the Rock, and the athleticism of Shawn Michaels, all in one. If James put his mind to it, surely he could do it. But at 29, he still has a lot of time left to make an impact.
For now, let’s see if he returns to Cleveland and teams with Kyrie Irving and Andrew Wiggins to lead the fledgling franchise to its first NBA championship.