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What if NHRA stars took their talents to the NBA?

We took basketball stars (past and present) to the drag strip. Who would we take if the roles reversed?
16 Feb 2019
Jacob Sundstrom, NHRA National Dragster Associate Editor
Feature
NBA

The All-Star Motorsports Challenge set to air on TNT at 5 p.m. Eastern brought a host of basketball stars to zMAX Dragway outside of Charlotte to get a taste of drag racing. They met up with John Force, Antron Brown, Erica Enders and Brittany Force to learn how to drag race in Kia Stingers as part of a show that aired during the NBA All-Star Game (also taking place in Charlotte, naturally).

The basketball stars in question include Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Candace Parker, Reggie Miller, Chris Webber, Baron Davis, Kristen Ledlow and Ernie Johnson. So, it ran the gamut from NBA and WNBA stars (Parker) to TV personalities (Johnson and Ledlow). Even if you don’t follow basketball, you know who Shaq and Barkley are (if not – I don’t know, Google them, I guess). They’re Hall of Famers. They’re in the John Force/Don Prudhomme category.

So, if we reversed roles and the NBA invited some NHRA superstars to learn how to hoop … (good idea) … who are the 10 drivers we’d want to see suit up? I’m thinking we get 10 players, name two captains, and then let those racers draft teams. To keep this light, I’ll name the 10 with a sentence on the logic therein. We’re going to have a mix of current and former stars with a mixture of personality and, having never seen these people play basketball, my best guess at who could sling it.

Let’s get it.

John Force (Captain)

The Charles Barkley of NHRA (or vice versa, if you wanna get down like that). All trash talk with a lit bit of “what did he just say?” thrown in there. You won’t find a bigger personality in the sport and that’s why we need him out there.

Antron Brown (Captain)

Two reasons: One, he loves basketball, which makes he optimistic he can actually make a layup. Two: Trash talk. Brown loves to talk and there’s no better place for it than on the concrete.

Leah Pritchett

Drivers keep themselves in better shape than they did 30 years ago, and Pritchett emphasizes her physical fitness program. I can’t relate, which is why she’s going to play in this game and not me.

Don Prudhomme

Basketball is inarguably the coolest stick-and-ball-sport (@ me) and we need the coolest dude to ever slither into a car to represent NHRA Drag Racing on the court. I don’t know if he has ever picked up a basketball, but if he just wants to post up and grin, he’s an asset.

Erica Enders

There are few people in drag racing as tough as Enders. She doesn’t put up with anyone’s … nonsense. She’s also one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met, so she’s going to be a factor.

Matt Hagan

I’ll be honest: I don’t know if Hagan can dribble, but I want to see what kind of vertical the dude has in the post. I dare anyone else to guard him when he gets near the basket, because that’s one charge this writer would not be taking.

Angelle Sampey

She looks like a point guard, she talks trash like a point guard and now I want to know if she plays like one. We’re getting into fantasy territory here, but Sampey is gonna go out there and drain threes while talkin’ smack in an ideal world.

Don Garlits

It wouldn’t be a real exhibition without "Big Daddy" on the court. The wily veteran might not bring what he did in the 70s or 80s, but never underestimate old man strength. Godspeed to the first person who does.

Del Worsham

No, he isn’t driving (for now), but I’d be remiss to not include the co-crew chief of Shawn Langdon’s Funny Car. He’s the coolest figure in NHRA Drag Racing this side of Prudhomme and we’re out here for a good time.

Jason Line

Being ginormous does not often come with the job description in NHRA Drag Racing. Line is very tall, which, you know, does come with the job description (usually) in basketball. Plus, maybe he’ll bring some of his sarcastic a-game to this game.

Alternates: Because I’m a coward and really want to see these people out there, too.

Steve Torrence

Because he would never shut up (in a good way). Texas trash talk is a lifestyle and I love it.

Eddie Krawiec

See the above, except with a different accent. I wish Torrence and Krawiec raced in the same category.

Matt Smith

Especially if it was in Charlotte.

Shane Tucker

Because there’s always a token Australian floating around the NBA.