The 2012 NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Miami Heat provides such a clear-cut divide between all that is right and all that is wrong — particularly with Kevin Durant and LeBron James at the top — that I began thinking of the wrestling roles they might serve in this match-up.
From there, it spread like a uneasy case of herpes.
The Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant as Hulk Hogan
At 6’9 and just 235 pounds, Durant doesn’t necessarily fit the part of Hulk Hogan, especially when you consider he probably can’t even put on the Road Warriors signature spiked shoulder pads without abruptly collapsing to the ground like a wounded flamingo. But right now — especially while facing the NBA’s version of Satan — he is without a doubt the 1980s version of Hulk Hogan. A fan-friendly, must-see, gifted superstar doing all the right things including saying his prayers, presumably taking his vitamins, regularly hugging his momma, all while “Real American” triumphantly blares throughout the streets.
Russell Westbrook as Rey Mysterio Jr.
Yes, Macho Man would seem like the obvious choice here to ride alongside Durant, but I opted for Rey Mysterio Jr. given the way Russell Westbrook flies around the basketball court with freakish reckless abandon. The undersized Mysterio once pinned Kevin Nash while Westbrook is forcing guys like Tim Duncan to scurry from underneath the basket like frightened Ewoks.
James Harden as The Junkyard Dog
The unmistakable Junkyard Dog was known to sport an impeccable beard at times, but not quite as robust as Harden’s. Then again, few things are. JYD’s commanding presence was intimidating yet somehow pleasant, even with a giant dog collar and chunky chain wrapped around his neck. I feel the same way about Harden. He should be terrifying, but instead we’re all singing “Grab Them Cakes.”
Thabo Sefolosha as CM Punk
Has paid his dues and now finds himself happily enjoying the big stage. Granted, in a far more subdued, dignified manner and with higher quality Road Beef. Sefolosha has also been spotted in the Oklahoma City area enjoying WWE Ice Cream bars.
Nick Collison as The Big Boss Man
A few moments of career glory — sadly, Collison does not know Slick — but ultimately just an average participant submitting to the wishes of the top bananas. That actually sounded pretty gross. Let’s move on.
Derek Fisher as This Guy
Still around and will apparently never retire.
Serge Ibaka as Sting
I don’t think I’ve ever heard Serge Ibaka speak, and the normally chatty, vibrant Sting didn’t speak for over a year, so the hope here is that the imposing Thunder center shows up with a bat for Game 2.
Head Coach Scotty Brooks as Hornswoggle
These two gentlemen are both approximately 43 inches tall. This was a layup.
The Miami Heat
LeBron James as Ric Flair
During the 1980s, there were no clearer faces of good and evil than Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, so it’s only natural — and I say this with some regret — that notorious heel LeBron James must play the role of 1980s Ric Flair, sans heavyweight belt and flowing hair. I’m guessing, however, that Bron-Bron does own at least a few obscenely bedazzled robes.
Dwyane Wade as Arn Anderson
Has Arn Anderson ever left the side of Ric Flair? It’s possible their only time apart was when Flair opened Space Mountain, and even then, good old Arn was probably alertly guarding the hotel room door. The same goes for Wade, until he’s traded. The two also share a strong affinity for offensive outfits.
Chris Bosh as Miss Elizabeth
LeBron’s emotionally fragile valet? But of course. As if there were ever any doubt. And yes, in case you’re worried this doesn’t fit, the great Miss Elizabeth did hold the arm of Ric Flair for a stretch of time. Sad and almost offensive, but thankfully just part of the script.
Mike Miller as Goldust
Mike Miller either looks like he could be seen enjoying a drink at the Double Deuce or running layup drills with the Detroit Shock. Goldust is about as confusing as it gets. ‘Twas destiny.
Udonis Haslem as Nikita Koloff
The two are rarely celebrated and have often served as forgotten contributors, but both are beloved individuals in Florida and Russia, respectively.
Shane Battier as I.R.S. aka Irwin R. Schyster
A soulless man whose signature line was “listen up, tax cheats” and a Duke grad? This one was fate.
Head Coach Erik Spoelstra as Jimmy Hart
Makes attempts to appear passionate and knowledgeable but is ultimately just blowing a lot of hot air. However, the addition of Hart’s megaphone could be the key in Spoelstra finally getting through to his seemingly tuned-out players.