The List: What if you could put basketball on ice?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 23, 2006

Saturday afternoon I was flipping the channels between playoff basketball and playoff hockey.

Yes, I like hockey. Shocking, isn’t it?

In the process, I had a thought: What would the best NBA players be like as hockey players?

Email newsletter signup

At first I shrugged the notion off. But then my mind did what my mind usually does.

Find out which hoopsters make the grade on skates when we go down “The List.”

6. LeBron James – He’d make an ideal right winger. He’s quick, he’s aggressive and he can score at will. And just think. With King James on the ice, hockey could see its first spinning, no-look, behind-the-back, alley-oop goal. Now that’s worth the price of admission.

5. Kevin Garnett – We could put him on the left wing. Now you could look at this one of two ways. On one hand, a 6-foot-11 player is not a bad thing to have in any sport. On the other hand, it could be like letting a giraffe step on marbles.

But since this is my fantasy, I say let K.G. suit up. We’re at least guaranteed somebody’s ankles are going to get broken when he tries to make a move to the net.

4. Jason Kidd – We’ll put him at center, which is basically a hockey team’s point guard. And honestly, who is a better point guard than JKidd? Okay, you could make an argument for Steve Nash. But I hate his hair, so he’s a no.

As good a passer as Kidd is, imagine what he could do with a stick in his hands. I’m pretty sure he’d find a way to deliver the puck to his teammate while simultaneously talking trash and reaching down to tie his skate lace.

That right there is talent, baby.

3. Ben Wallace – Think of him as the prototype defenseman. Anyone disagree? I didn’t think so.

Oh man, imagine that afro coming out the sides of a hockey helmet. It’s almost too scary to think about.

But you’d forget all about that once Big Ben stuffed some poor fool trying to score on his net.

And don’t even get me started on how vicious his body checks would be.

2. Tim Duncan – I like to think of him as the defenseman that could also score a goal or two. As with Garnett, the coordination might come into play.

But you need scrappy people like Duncan to keep you in games.

1. Shaquille O’Neal – Ask yourself this: If a guy that size put on a goalie mask covered in war paint, would you be prone to go near his end of the ice?

I like to think I would, but it’d be hard fighting the urge to jump into the stands every time he looked my way.

I promise you, after trying to score on Shaq for three hours, ain’t nobody from the other team going home happy.

I’m pretty sure you’d like to know which NHL players would cut it on the hardwood.

And quite frankly, so would I.

I’m not going to make the obvious joke here. And I’m not saying hockey players are not good athletes. They’re just not very versatile.

Besides, everybody would foul out before the first half ended.

George L. Jones is a staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal.