WWE star Rusev is known for his impressive strength and skills inside the wrestling ring, but how would he perform in a basketball game? The “Bulgarian Brute” apparently wanted to be a part of this year’s NBA Celebrity All-Star Game but was not invited to participate. The decision seemed to devastate the monstrous professional wrestler, who is also known as a diehard basketball fan.
Over the past year or so, Rusev has been featured quite a bit on Total Divas along with his wife and ringside valet Lana. In addition, the duo has been seen at quite a few basketball games, showing their love for the sport. Just recently, Rusev posted a photo of himself decked out in a DeAndre Jordan Clippers jersey on the court. So it would make sense that the basketball fan may also want to be a part of the league’s fun-filled celebs contest.
The NBA Celebrity All-Star Game has been a part of the All-Star weekend events since 2005 and has featured pop star Justin Bieber, football player Terrell Owens, actor Michael Rapaport, and four-time MVP Kevin Hart. This year’s game was scheduled to take place at the Mercedez-Benz Superdome in New Orleans two nights before the annual NBA All-Star Game. Rusev apparently requested to be among the roster players but may have been passed over in favor of former participants or fresher stars.
This year’s rosters included rap star Mater P and his son Romeo Miller, NBA owners Mark Cuban and Marc Lasry, actors Anthony Mackie and Mark Cavanaugh, and Arcade Fire band member Win Butler. There were also a few basketball players as current WNBA stars Lindsay Whalen and Candace Parker, as well as former NBA stars Jason Williams and Baron Davis, joined in the fun.
Unfortunately, there were no professional wrestlers on either of the team’s rosters, although radio personality Peter Rosenberg, a well-known wrestling aficionado, did participate in the game for the winning side. One would think Rosenberg, who has also been part of WWE pay-per-view panels, could have pulled some strings to bring Rusev on board, but it wasn’t to be.
The former WWE United States Champion took to Twitter to express his disappointment about not being selected to play in the annual tradition.
The news of Rusev’s snub didn’t sit well with some of his fans either, as at least one Twitter user sent out notice of his official boycott of this year’s game.
Ben’s comment raises an interesting idea too. Imagine how much fun it would be if fans could vote from a list of a number of different celebrities who were interested in playing in the game. With that in mind, and the fact that WWE has a widespread fan base, Rusev would probably be a shoo-in for the game.
The West team probably could have used a player with Rusev’s brute strength and size in the paint as they were routed by the East in this year’s game 88-59. Basketball player and impersonator Brandon Armstrong finished the night with 16 points and 15 rebounds to capture this year’s Celebrity All-Star Game MVP award.
The NBA probably made a major misstep by not involving one of WWE’s popular stars in the game’s lineup. Not only would Rusev have brought more attention to the game from professional wrestling fans, but just imagine how much better the game would be with Lana roaming the sidelines as a cheerleader for her husband. A “we want Lana” chant may have even started up and trended on Twitter, attracting more buzz for this often overlooked part of NBA All-Star Weekend.
There’s always next year. Should the Bulgarian Brute be a part of the game in 2017, opponents will probably be on high alert for Lana’s impending “Rusev crush” order.
[Featured Image by WWE]