Skip to main content

NBA players who have made appearances/fought in the WWE/WCW

The WWE has been keeping tabs on which NBA storylines they could exploit.
NBA players who have made appearances/fought in the WWE/WCW

Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone

The WWE has been an avenue for NBA stars to either market themselves or see if they have what it takes to wrestle. Over the last several years, ballers have made appearances in WWE shows either to show off their microphone skills or flat-out fight. Let’s observe some of these appearances and learn more about their story.

Dennis Rodman

Whereas most players in this list made an in-ring appearance during the offseason, Dennis Rodman appeared in the squared-circle right in the middle of the 1998 NBA Finals. Right after the Chicago Bulls’ 42-point demolition of the Utah Jazz in Game 3, Rodman took his talents to the WCW.

Specifically, he appeared in a WCW Nitro episode at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit. It wasn’t just any other guest appearance. Rodman rubbed elbows with the legendary Hulk Hogan while drinking and smoking a cigar with a plethora of women. Rodman missed one practice session, but Phil Jackson and the rest of the players didn’t complain. They knew the Worm needed his fix. Whereas players boast of staying locked in the entire playoffs (some even get off social media), Rodman was living his dream of being a professional wrestler.

Karl Malone

Professional wrestling organizations are the ultimate storytellers. They knew that their relationship with Rodman was something they could exploit. And what better way to use this relationship than by bringing another basketball superstar into the mix? And why not lure in Karl Malone, whom Rodman literally faced off in the NBA Finals just a month ago?

At the July 1998 Bash at the Beach pay-per-view, a tag-team match ensued between Rodman Hulk Hogan vs. Malone and Diamond Dallas Page. Malone and DDP lost after interference by Hogan’s bodyguard, The Disciple. But this is a trivial matter. There’s an irreplaceable joy in seeing two basketball superstars fight one another legally at the peak of their careers.

Shaquille O’Neal

Shaq made numerous appearances in the WWE. His first one was in 1994 when he presented the world title to Hulk Hogan. The second one was in 2009 when his epic feud with the Big Show began, and Shaq showed off his microphone skills which is not much of a surprise. His latest appearance was in 2016 in the 3rd annual Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. The WWE, ever so adept at storytelling, made sure Shaq would face up against the Big Show.

Their duel was short but epic. They easily cleared out the other wrestlers before choking one another. But the other pros weren’t just crash test dummies. While Shaq and Show were busy killing each other, they all teamed up to eliminate the two titans.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Enes Kanter Freedom

Enes Kanter Freedom’s appearance at the WWE was two-pronged. Its first purpose was to piss off the New York crowd known for their extreme dedication to the Knicks. Freedom had been a member of the Knicks for one season and a half. Soon after the Boston Celtics acquired him, he decided to piss off his former team by flashing his newly-minted jerseys in their face.

The other purpose of Kanter’s appearance was to win the 24/7 Championship. Since he’s painted as a villain, Kanter won the title in the most dishonest way possible. But since the WWE is full of twists, his reign as the 24/7 Champion lasted for just a few seconds.

Trae Young

Staying with the tradition of pissing off the home crowd, the WWE invited Atlanta Hawks star guard Trae Young to a show in Madison Square Garden. In the 2021 NBA Playoffs, Young became the most hated man in New York after he manhandled the Knicks in the postseason. The fans in New York despised Young so much that a fan even spat on the star guard.

As always, the WWE had their beady eyes locked on possible storylines to exploit. Young entered the arena wearing a Hawks hoodie. He got a piece of the action by choking Rey Mysterio behind the referee. Unfortunately for him, he got caught and got ejected.

LeBron James

Whereas most people on this list made their appearance several years into their NBA career, LeBron James made his just a week into his professional life. This shows how much the hype was for this kid from Akron. Not only did he get a front-row view of his favorite superstars, but he also got a backstage pass. The funny thing was, James, didn’t just collect autographs and merchandise. The wrestlers themselves also got LeBron’s prized signature.

Mark Cuban

While Mark Cuban is nowhere near a super athlete like the others on this list, his WWE appearance is the most badass. After all, not only did he push Sheamus to the ground, but he also sacrificed his body after getting driven thru a table. Say all you want about professional wrestling and scripts, but there’s a real possibility that you could get seriously hurt. His WWE appearance proves that Cuban is not just a savvy businessman. He’s also a great entertainer willing to do anything for the fans.

Kobe Bryant

It's not even the championships" — Kobe Bryant on the quality that all great ones have

Kobe Bryant showed unconditional love for the game, especially after the Los Angeles Lakers' heartbreaking loss to the Boston Celtics in 2008

Isiah Thomas & Karl Malone

Isiah Thomas opens up about a surprising phone call he received from Karl Malone - "He almost started crying on the phone"

Isiah Thomas shares what happened when he got a surprising call from Karl Malone, who wanted to apologize for an incident that happened 30 years ago between the two legends

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson

"Then what happens? They’re gonna consider him a bust" — Vince Carter gave Zion Williamson helpful advice

Like Zion, Carter was also branded as primarily a dunker when he entered the league and everybody expected him to throw it down all the time.

Stone Cold Steve Austin celebrates with beer during WrestleMania in 2022 and LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009

"I've forgotten so many things but I remember that vividly" — Steve Austin on LeBron James taking photos of him via flip phone

Stone Cold didn't need to check his social media or the internet as he vividly remembers the King's support.

Michael Jordan in 2022 at the NBA 75th Anniversary Team induction ceremony

“You're a loser! You've always been a loser!” - how Michael Jordan trash-talked his teammate into retirement

When MJ said he doesn't care, he really meant it - even if his teammate once retired because of his cruel trash talk.

Kerry Kittles in 2021 at a Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame press conference.

"Mostly they’re talking about scoring and scoring" — Kerry Kittles on today's NBA

Kerry Kittles doesn't like the lack of defense in today's game but admittedly would've loved to play in this era.