25 NBA players who can help you survive a zombie apocalypse

BY Fansided and Matt Rutkowski/Fansided • December 15, 2016

This truth of modern life is inescapable: the zombie apocalypse is coming. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But some day, those zombies are going to be here, trying to eat the brains of you and everyone you love.

It’s never to early to start plotting out a survival strategy and the NBA is a good place to start looking for resources. Loaded with aggressive athletes of unusual size, the NBA has plenty of players who can help you survive.

Here are the 25 players you want by your side when the zombie apocalypse begins.

25. LeBron James

Sure, give him credit for being the best player in the league.

Sure, give him the credit for being very strong and scary.

Sure, give him credit for his ugly face games where the world is torn apart at the seams by his hands and hatred.

Also give him credit for surrounding himself with long-time friends who are going to look out for him like I look out for Golden Corral coupons.

The clutch factor is to his advantage as well. No one can call him scared after these last few seasons. LeBron will make it. Stick with him. Put all that aside. The Cleveland Cavaliers won the championship last year. Someone somewhere (Ohio (Definitely in Ohio)) probably sold their soul and much more for this to happen. Probably multiple people, if we’re honest.

Given all that, it’s safe to assume the apocalypse is going to happen, and if it’s going to start anywhere it’s going to start in Cleveland. LeBron will be there, and in a certain way LeBron was the cause. Maybe, just maybe, LeBron knows how to stop it.

It could be as simple as throwing the Larry O’Brien trophy into Lake Erie. Maybe he has to mail the thing to a more deserving person like Byron Scott. Maybe the zombies are shambling Indians fans still unable to cope with the idea that they lost to the Cubs, and he just has to have another parade with shirtless J.R. It’s winter now, and it’s cold, but I feel J.R. can sacrifice more now.

Whatever the situation, LeBron needs to be on your side. Go to him.

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24. Anthony Davis

I think for the sake of this thought exercise, we’re assuming basketball prowess translates somewhat accurately to one’s ability to kill off a bunch of zombies. Anthony Davis, at the time of this writing, leads the league in PER. Sure, stats don’t mean everything, but that’s a really good stat.

There’s also general things like scoring and blocks. I’m not one for sabermetrics, but blocks mean you’re really good according to everyone. These are just facts.

There is a point to this. Anthony Davis has been carrying the Pelicans this year, what with Evans being out, Jrue missing time due to empathy, and Eric Gordon being really good but on a different team. Basically, every time he’s out on the court, he’s carrying the rest of the fifteen-man roster.

I get tired really quick, and I like to sit down. A quarter mile on the treadmill, and my will to live is spent.

However, I’m only one person. One is less than fifteen. I think if it comes down to it, him carrying me through New Orleans swamps and perhaps tossing me over the odd levee would be a piece of cake in comparison to what he has to do for the Pelicans. I’ve never seen him physically carry someone before, but again. I think this would translate.

I also think that having one eyebrow could be useful somehow. Maybe that will make him immune to zombies. I think there’s about a 25 percent chance of that being true, all else being equal. Again, stats are important.

Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

23. Boogie Cousins

Because Boogie. He’s large and menacing. Whose side do you want him on?

Despite the cratering nature of the Sacramento Kings, Boogie keeps performing. Maybe not to hopes but to reasonable expectations. When I think of Boogie, I think of reason.

The question for him comes down to motivation. Maybe inspiring Ben McLemore isn’t really his thing. Nor is giving much attention or time to helping develop Willey Cayuley-Stein. These things don’t make him go “Heck yeah, baby. Woo to the hoo.” Nothing makes anyone say that, to be fair.

But the apocalypse probably would at least elicit some internal prompt to give a bit of effort. It’s hard to read what Boogie cares about, but I feel safe in saying he cares about himself. That and Henessy on days off. Maybe the Henessy can help. You gotta be loose when swinging a golf club at a reanimated corpse. I’ve seen people on Twitch play Dead Rising, and most of them are inebriated.

Plus, he seems to thrive on various annoyances or slights. When he doesn’t shut down and start thinking about pinterest, he turns bad calls or missed fouls into physical manifestations of unrest all over the faces of the perpetrators. Maybe a zombie will be in the restricted area when trying to take a charge on a DeMarcus torso missile. There are no refs for rapture. DeMarcus is going to have to fend for himself.

He’s better that way. We’re all better that way. Flock to Boogie. Boogie will save Boogie, and maybe that will save you.

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22. Russell Westbrook

Westbrook knows adversity, and knows how to depend on himself to get over it. He also knows how to make other people depend on him whether they like it or not. The Thunder could be listless corpses if not for Westbrook going on and filling the stat-sheet in a surprisingly efficient manner every single night.

If this is what happens when he feels a betrayal from a single person in Kevin Durant, just think at how violently and potently he’ll lash back when he feels a betrayal of the human species by our own genetic makeup? Blood is thicker than water, and DNA is like, thicker than that I think.

Plus, Westbrook overcomes injuries different than any other human being. You know how in the movie adaptation of Doom when everyone was a zombie and Karl Urban took the same stuff that made everyone else a zombie but instead becomes superhuman? Maybe you don’t because that movie was balls and worth putting out of your mind. But trust me, that happened.

I think Westbrook is that guy. He got injected with zombie virus the first time he had a leg injury. Instead of being weakened, he came back stronger.

He’s immune. No, he’s better than immune. He’s unstoppable. If he loses a leg, I bet he runs faster. If his intestines are ripped out through his chest, he’ll fashion them into a glorious pair of wings and fly to safety. These things seem obvious when I write them out, but that doesn’t make them any less true.

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21. Dwyane Wade

Wade embodies a different philosophy than the NBA saviors mentioned above, but it’s one that can be equally important.

No regrets. Leave the weak behind.

There is precedent for this in the life and lore of the Dwyane. “The weak” in this situation is Pat Riley and the smoldering remains of the Miami Heat. On December 10, Dwyane returned to his home and dropped 28 painful points on the Heat. No sympathy. No regrets. Leave the weak behind.

Sure Dwyane can have love for Miami, and he should. Wes Goldberg falls asleep with dreams of Dwyane every night, but no matter what Wes dreams he still wakes up alone. Send him your thoughts. Maybe hug him when he isn’t expecting it.

But you can’t be softhearted when the world is on fire and covered in corpses. Wade knows this. He will fight on and fight forward. He will leave a Dragic for a Rondo if that means it’s the better way for him.

I mean, what about dog zombies? What if right before your eyes your precious Rufus is transmutrifying into a quadropodic shambleshell? You have to be able to swallow your conscience and shoot your adorable miniature Golden Doodle in the face with a harpoon. Dwyane Wade can do that.

So if you’re not going to be in his way, it’s good to be with Dwyane Wade. Gabrielle Union seems like a fun person to hang out with as well, and Chicago has the best pizza. Get it while you can. So much will be lost during our impending demise.

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20. Jamal Crawford

Jamal Crawford is not the most complete offensive player. Jamal Crawford is an even less complete defensive player. In fact, Jamal Crawford brings me as much joy on defense as Erin and Ben Napier bring new uses of trophy racks into my life. They might be trying, but I still wish I was dead.

We don’t want Jamal to lead a team, and we definitely don’t want him trying to barricade things out.

Picture this scenario. You’ve been running for about 47 minutes and 55 seconds. You’re exhausted. You don’t quite trust yourself to be your best.

You need to trust someone, though, because the zombie king is coming down on you with four of his friends. You’re there with a sniper rifle, but you only got one bullet. You were never very good at first person shooters, either. Your friends play counterstrike without you.

Maybe there are better shooters in the league. Maybe there are more clutch people out there too.
But when it comes to a moment like this, I want someone who’s going to look at this one shot like it’s any shot. I want someone to think “Yeah, I got this. You don’t have to ask twice.” I want them to know this particular basketball will split the rim’s brainstem.

Jamal Crawford would be that man. Sure, he might miss the Zombie King entirely, but he’d probably draw contact from another, less experienced zombie and get a free shot out of it too somehow. I don’t know the rules of these things despite the fact I’m basically making them up as I go.

Jamal Crawford is a shooter. Shooters shoot.

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19. Matt Barnes

Violence isn’t the answer, but sometimes it is.

It’s ridiculous that that phrase actually has a chance to apply. The end of the world is probably ridiculous though. It’s a show. Douglas Adams agrees.

What you don’t want in the event of the apocalypse is someone who second guesses themselves. You don’t want apologies. What you want is pointed, reckless action. Maybe you don’t want that as the first thing in the playbook, but it helps.

I don’t think he sleeps. Outside of what happens during games, most stories about Matt Barnes seem to occur between the hours of 2:00 and 5:00 AM. You need someone to take the graveyard shift, and Barnes will be there whether you want him to be or not. You’re better off just not being on his bad side. Maybe play some loud music, put some felt ropes around your bunker, and suddenly Barnes is in his element, and he’s on your side. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. I hope.

Maybe just set him loose on his own. He doesn’t need to be a part of the briefing meetings with the whiteboard and the frantic discussion. What he needs is space to be himself. Don’t restrict his role to what’s reasonable or legal. This is a lawless wasteland, after all. You need to take full advantage of that fact.

Also, there’s a chance that the zombie infection makes the afflicted look like Derek Fisher, and we can’t risk not having Matt Barnes with us in that case. Unlikely? Sure. Possible? Anything is possible.

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18. Joel Embiid

We don’t know what Joel Embiid will become. Technically it’s taken a couple years in the NBA for him to become what he is now, but whatever. That’s immaterial. We’re ignoring that. Moving on. Good.

In actual playing time, Joel Embiid has become a surprisingly efficient, and majestically effective one-man force. How many other rookies have Twitter accounts to inform us whether or not he’s playing? Based on my complete absence of research, none, and that’s not a lot.

So we agree that the NBA is a new thing to Joel. In a very short time, he’s already become a star. What this tells us is that this man can adapt to his circumstances very quickly and perform at a high level. And he can inspire. He inspired me to be much taller and 10 years younger and be in the NBA as well. Time will tell how that goes.

In the event of being overrun by zombies, none of us really know what to expect. What’s going to matter is drive and versatility. What if these zombies can fly? Man, that sucks, but Joel will find a way to get them anyway. What if these zombies have actually been zombies for years and have much more zombie experience than Joel? Who cares? Joel can still truck them.

I want this guy on my team. If healthy, there’s no better zombie eradicator to build around. We just have to hope this apocalypse doesn’t occur one day after a another one because Joel won’t be there. At least then we’ll still have his Twitter. Unless we don’t.

ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 19: Kyle Korver

17. Kyle Korver

From rookie to 13 year veteran. Kyle Korver is a good choice as well. We need all types: big centers, small point guards, and average-height shooting guards. It takes a village to raze the wild.

Crawford is taking care of some of the shooting for us, but Korver will add a different approach than Jamal’s. He’s not flashy and dramatic. He’s stoic and direct. He fits in instead of standing out. He’s an effective cog in the Atlanta wheel when the Atlanta wheel is rolling most true.
But that’s not why we want Kyle. I mean, we want that, but we don’t want just that. Kyle is providing something novel: underwater combat.

Boom. Take that, apocalypse.

Zombies can swim maybe. In minecraft, they go straight through the water. It’s slow, but it can still get you if you’re not paying attention or building an underwater terrarium for your favorite cow without proper caution in dealing with your surroundings. You need to be effective against an onslaught while also being hydrodynamic. I’m sure other people in the NBA can swim, but Korver does water boulder work. He’s more at home in the water than most dolphins.

Plus, what if there are zombie fish too? Have you ever seen a zombie fish? They’re terrifying. Their gills are all musty and their sushi is not nearly worth the price, even from the best super market. You need to account for zombie fish. Korver will account for zombie fish. The zombie fish don’t have a chance. Nor do the turtles.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

16. Kevin Love

Kevin Love is a survivor. He survived a broken arm at the hands of noted dirty player Kelly “Jerkface” Olynyk. Next year, he came back stronger than ever eventually.

He survived repeated jabs at his defense. In Game 7 of the NBA finals, he took on the unanimous MVP to secure a championship.

He’s survived trade rumors, and questions of fit, and angry musings on whether or not he is still a star. He’s on the reigning champs, he transcends fit (at times), and comes out with a 34 point quarter to make the haters evaporate. Is this a rosy view of Love in the last few years? Yeah, but you need optimism when the world around you is burning.

But while these feats are impressive, Love brings more experience with apocalypse than anyone else could. Kevin Love survived David Khan. If you can survive Khan, you can survive the end of the world.

Maybe that’s a mean thing to say, but it’s also true. You need realism when the world around you is burning. What’s a flaming arrow shot by a reanimated corpse when you persevered through picking Jonny Flynn directly after Ricky Rubio? What’s a chunk out of your right bicep in the teeth of the former PR assistant when you were made to play defense next to Pekovic? Love has looked death in the face multiple times and has said “Not today.”

He took it all, and moved on to a better place. Cleveland is Valhalla compared to Khanland, and I don’t compliment Ohio easily.

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15. Marcus Morris

Let me tell you a story.

When I was 12 years old, my brother and I were playing in the local junkyard. It was our thing. We’d fire hubcaps at each other with fanbelts and play catch with nails. It was what we’d do after Sunday mass. These are treasured memories, and I don’t appreciate being judged.

Anyway, one day while we were playing car trampoline, my brother got his leg stuck in the hood of an ’85 Camaro. It was funny at first, but when his injury appeared to be a bit more serious than a couple broken bones, I started to feel panic set in.

The tire fire we used to roast marshmallows was submitting to the wind and it started spreading to the trampolines. The Fords went up first. Then the Chryslers. Our favorite gasoline puddle was only a few feet away.

Panic turned to resolve. Sweat turned into adrenaline. I tried to tear the hood with my hands, but my hands were all blistered from the batteries we were smashing earlier. I tried using my teeth, but biting through car is different than biting through soda cans, and not nearly as fun.
What was I to do? Toby was unconscious, the conflagration was nearing, and I didn’t want to be tattled on.

I’ll tell you what I did. I bent down next to the passenger side door (from my knees, not my back. I’m not stupid), grabbed the frame with my finger tips, hoisted the car onto my back, and carried my brother and my new car to safety.

I don’t know where I found the strength, but the love for one’s brother can make people do things one wouldn’t think possible. You can save lives in ways that shouldn’t be possible.

I mean, I think that’s what can happen. That story isn’t true. I don’t have a brother. But Marcus Morris does.

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14. Markieff Morris

And he’s here. His name is Markieff. He might be in danger.

Marcus plays for the Pistons, so that means he’s the better Morris twin. As the better Morris Twin, he is the protagonist in our story.

Marcus starts off in Auburn Hills. He’s known for a while that Markieff isn’t happy, and has been wanting to rescue him from angry Washington D.C. for a long time. At night he thinks to himself “what can I do to help my brother?” He goes to sleep unsettled. During the day, he balls out like none other. No one knows his inner torment.

But then doomsday happens. After a brief crying session in his Emotion Room, he reaches out to no avail. Texts bounce back. Emails are undeliverable. Markieff won’t return his calls because zombies ate all the satellites. Twitter DM’s also don’t work because zombies ate all the electricity. Marcus sighs, looks in the mirror, and says to himself “It’s time.” He gathers his crossbow, fills his Chevy Lumina with unleaded gasoline, and hits the road.

Along the way he encounters helpful strangers, each with heartrending side-stories of loss. Marcus helps them in exchange for rations and cryptic clues about Markieff’s whereabouts and wellbeing. You are his sidekick and puzzle-solving buddy. You also have a crossbow, but it’s the Nerf kind and only seems to make the zombies miffed.

Outside of Virginia, the sky begins to turn red. You stand on a hill next to Marcus. You’re safe, but for how long?

Forever because you find Markieff in a hollowed-out White Castle, and then the credits roll.

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13. Kawhi Leonard

First of all, I don’t think the apocalypse would bother Kawhi all that much. Maybe he’d shrug a little bit, but I can’t see him emoting much more than that. If a game winner can’t make him smile, I don’t think the end of the world will make him frown.

Kawhi is adding all sorts of fun to his offensive arsenal every day, but that’s not what we need. Sure, it’ll help, but we don’t need his usage rate to be all that high. We need someone to lock it down. You know, lock the doors to the tank, lock the screen on the emergency iPhone, and lock Matt Barnes in the closet when he gets in one of his moods.

We can’t always run, and we can’t always attack. Sometimes you need to fortify. Pop will probably be there because Pop will never die, but when his plans fall through because of various defensive deficiencies that you or someone else might have, we need someone who can fill the gaps or switch in. Maybe you’re a little slow burning the burning oil onto the clamoring mass of flesh?

Kawhi can zoom in from another alcove and pick up the slack. Maybe the Morrises are too busy celebrating their mutual survival to notice the blips on the radar. Kawhi can call out assignments. He can guard from 1 to 5, so he can probably guard a makeshift treehouse survival pod.

This is quite a bit based on reputation, though. On/off metrics have not been kind to Kawhi this year. The only person who might be more qualified to do these things today is Draymond Green.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

12. Draymond Green

So let’s bring him along too. In addition to defensive lockdownacity to pair with Kawhi, Draymond brings some other important wrinkles.

He kicks. Sure, that’s inappropriate in an NBA game, but it’s great when fending off the undead who bust through the three-inch thick steel door. Close quarters combat means no guns or napalm due to the risk of friendly fire. NBA players are good with their hands, but Draymond can use all appendages to their full capacity. Plus he has no remorse for making the contact. If he won’t feel bad about nearly shattering Marquese Chriss’ finger, he won’t feel bad about kicking through a zombie’s chest and splintering the remains of his ribcage all over the floor. Maybe he and B.J. Armstrong were right and Adam Silver were wrong the whole time. Maybe the kicks were right. Maybe he saw this coming.

Plus, Draymond was the emotional heart of the Warriors back before the fall of mankind. When all seems lost, and morale is on the wane, you need someone like Draymond to kick the ass out of your improper self-motivation. Do you want fire in your heart and resolve in your feet? Draymond will provide it. Draymond won’t let you let him down.

Though he might disappear for a bit and allow the zombies to regain advantage. He might show back up and fight his damndest, but at that point it won’t matter much. That might happen. It’s happened before. Did you know the Warriors were up three games to…

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11. Ish Smith

He’s a little guy. Is that enough to qualify someone to be on your anti-zombie team? Yes. Yes, it is.
While everyone is tucked away in respite and wait, someone is going to need to go out with messages. There will be a need to scout the surroundings or to pry tools from the cold hands of the ones who didn’t make it. You need someone small, and quick, and smart, and with the proper attitude to carry out the mission with grit. And if the mission goes wrong, you don’t want to lose one of your starters. It’s sad, but it’s true.

To give this man the best chance, they need to be able to camouflage themself. Most NBA players stand out in a crowd. They’d definitely stand out in the apocalypse. Ish just seems like a regular guy. And he’s tiny by comparison. Could Karl-Anthony Towns find refuge in the sunset shadow of a squirrel? Probably not, but I bet Ish could.

Ish is a role-player. In his last two roles (Philly’s one real vet and the Pistons’ emergency starter) he’s performed beyond any reasonable expectation. You want a man who will take what he’s given and make it better. Are you a janitor? Then have pride and make that bathroom mirror the shiniest it can be. Are you the corpse-scavenger? Then make sure that not a shred of fabric remains on the remains on the fallen.

Pride. Will. Smallness. This is what Ish brings. He will bring them for as long as he can. Hopefully that’s at least a couple nights.

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10. Omer Asik

There are a few things at play here. Among the ones of note are the fact that at one point in his life he was a stout defender. Sometimes, in small bursts, he was even the stoutest. He had stoutness for days and miles. In the event of sudden disaster, some of the stout may return.

Also, he has moved teams a few times. Surviving a zombie apocalypse would entail being comfortable moving around quite a bit, whether that be from hidden alcove to hidden alcove, or hanging off a helicopter while moving from base to base. It also means dealing with unhappy situations but still having the courage to carry on.

There’s a motto in survival that takes precedence over everything else, though. I think I saw it on Man Vs. Wild once, right before Bear Grills gutted a palm tree and fried up some tender tree meat.
“You don’t have to outrun the bear. You just have to outrun the guy next to you.”

I am not a professional athlete, but I still think I could outrun Omer Asik. I once outran my dog when I was especially interested in an especially bright tennis ball on the lawn, and I feel I could channel that moment and sprint past a lumbering Turkish Man.

I’m not saying I want to leave Omer behind, but Apocalypses demand sacrifices. Better him than me. Better anyone than me. If you were apocalypsing next to me, I’d tie your shoelaces together and Draymond Green you in the neck.

No hard feelings, though. Best of luck out there. Both teams played hard.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

9. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk brings two things to the table. Both of these things could prove valuable. The first is a potential Omer Asik “Try to limit the amount of men you leave behind, but understand that a couple will have to be left behind regardless” type sacrifice. It will be harder than with Omer because Dirk seems like the kind of guy you’d like to keep around, but worldwide undead pandemics don’t offer a lot of easy choices. Death happens. Undeath happens too. Shrug.

The other is a close association with a rich man who has a lot of connections. If there is any owner in the NBA (perhaps Ballmer excluded due to his wearing his eccentricities on his sleeve) who is likely to be prepared with a plan for the event of the apocalypse, it’s Cuban. He probably has a few, some better than others.

He’s got money. He’s got planes. He’s got analytics to back up potential escape routes. He’s got other stuff. He’s gonna make it. He’ll cyberdust some important info out to the people he trusts, and then drink champagne while flying to a private island.

You know he’s bringing Dirk. If Dirk is looking out for you, he might be bringing you too.
There is a downside to this. Access to Cuban’s stuff means probably being around Cuban for long periods of time. Depending on your personality, that might be worse than death. Or maybe you’ll find it illuminating. This is a wild-card situation if there ever was one.

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8. Mo Speights

I don’t necessarily know if Mo Speights is going to help you survive. Maybe he will. He seems to succeed at things he has no business succeeding at. He has Savantish qualities.

So just maybe he’s really good at firing off long distance blasts toward mobs of ugly dead person things. Maybe he’ll fit in as a valuable backup to a larger group of zombie hunters. Maybe he stores the antidote in that little thingy on his head. All sorts of possibilities are there.

But maybe you’ll just die. Maybe the apocalypse isn’t really Mo’s thing.

I feel like it could be okay, though. We all die eventually, right? The best we can ask for is to die quickly and painlessly.

Well, that’s too much to ask for when zombies want to chew through your eyes to eat the interior of your skull. The best you can ask for is to die with Mo Speights.

I think he’d make you feel okay about it. I feel like he’d bring a smile to my face.

It’s hard not to be happy watching Mo Speights play basketball. I feel like the happiness just multiplies exponentially with physical proximity. I’ve never tested this theory, but in my heart I believe it to be true. If I’m feeling my brain being torn from my spine by some monster’s teeth, I think I want Mo Speights to be there. I think that’d help on some metaphysical level.

I want my apocalypse to be a positive experience.

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7. Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace is wild card personified. Trying to predict him is like trying to predict cooking time for frozen chicken breast if you don’t defrost it first.

I don’t know if World Peace still has the rage inside of him. It might be lurking in there somewhere. I feel like it’d be worth taking the risk to bring it out of him as long as you focus it away from your person.

This is the situation I see working. You and World Peace are bunkered up in the Palace of Auburn Hills. You’ve been running. You’re tired.

“Hey Metta, maybe take a quick rest on this scorers table I’ve fashioned into a bed. Just take a load off. It’ll be fine.”

When the zombies break in, you trigger the Rube Goldberg machine you set up in advance to launch a soda cup at him. It arcs through the air and lands on his chest.

World Peace’s eyes turn red, but in a good non-zombie way. He jolts to his feet to find the direction the cup came from. His eyes move past the pulleys and makeshift catapult to find a zombie.

It’s not the right zombie, but in this situation every zombie is the right zombie. The rage has been dormant for so long that it rockets out of his arms like a bottle of diet coke with a pack of Mentos in it. Zombies are torn limb from limb. Pieces of mutilated flesh litter the courtside seats.

But you. You’re safe. You smile.

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6. DeMar DeRozan

Analytics tells us that DeMar DeRozan should not be having the season he’s having. His type of game at this ridiculous level is not sustainable. Mid-range shooting is on the out. Lack of a threat from beyond the arc is a big minus. Shooting guards need to stretch the floor.

They also need to defend. DeMar has the athleticism to succeed at that end, but those moments are few and far between. Maybe it’s instinct. Maybe it’s effort.

Kyle Lowry is the real key to the Raptors success. DeMar would not be doing what he’s doing if he was on his own. In a different situation, on a different team, DeMar would be worse than a liability.

The numbers say no.

But screw the numbers. This is the apocalypse. The eye test tells me DeMar is fantastic. Not a lot of things can be sustained during a world-wide death carnival. DeMar is a resource. I’m going to bank on his run continuing and then translating into some means of survival.

There’s also the unexpected wild card fact of Toronto being in Canada. Maybe the apocalypse isn’t happening there. If DeMar is on my side, he might be all “Dude, just fly out here. We’re good. Toronto is pretty nice, and Tim Hortons stays open pretty late.”

Look, I don’t know what the rules of this zombie event is despite the fact I’ve been making them up as I go. Just fly to Canada before the borders close, and figure out the rest later. DeMar will bring you a donut.

Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images

5. Dennis Rodman

If we’re taking NBA players, we need to get some guys who have been out of the league for a while. These people are no longer defined by how they play, they’ve moved on to life past basketball. They can bring something a bit more worldly.

When I think “wordly,” I think Dennis Rodman. Diplomacy is important. What he’s done with North Korea defies explanation. I mean, it really does. It’s really weird. I don’t think I can quite wrap my head around how weird it is. It’s really weird, right? Anyway, if he can get in on the good-will of a communist dictator, maybe The Worm can get the zombies on his side.

Maybe we shouldn’t fight them. Maybe they’re just misunderstood. Rodman could maybe bridge that gap. At times he’s looked like a zombie himself. He fits in. Maybe we’re the weird ones.
We should at least consider this as an option. Nothing should be off the table during the end of the world. If it’s happened, then clearly the world was on the wrong track in some fashion. This is a chance to reset and maybe move into the future with hand in decrepit hand and smiles on our faces.

And if that doesn’t work, he can kick some things along with Draymond. Rodman has pro wrestling experience as well. And Rodman has tenacity. Whether we’re aiming for peace or we’re aiming for destruction, Rodman is not someone you want on the other side. At least if he’s with you, you can keep an eye on him. It’ll be interesting, if nothing else.

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4. Tim Duncan

The anti-Dennis Rodman is Tim Duncan. He’ll bring a serenity to the survivors as opposed to confusion and more confusion.

He’ll also bring knives. You know he collects knives, right?

Knives and swords. One of them is three feet long and of the samurai variety. Those could be important to have. Killing with melee weapons in Left 4 Dead is some of the most fun you can have in that game. Real zombies shouldn’t be considered a game, but you have to channel some sort of experience to your advantage. If you’re not a good shot, you need some knives.

Then there’s also this picture.

There’s an undiscovered silent assassin aspect to Tim Duncan that is still waiting to be unearthed in a more literal sense. He kills hopes and dreams of Phoenix fans. Maybe it just takes a small step to move on to the undead. Joey Crawford looks a bit like a zombie anyway, so it may not take much to encourage Tim.

This is a bit of a feeble point, but Tim is also The Big Fundamental. It’s a bad nickname, but it carries truth with it. Tim does the basics well. After the world crumbles, people might forget to do the simple things like shower, or eat, or breathe. Tim will be there, encouraging and calm and carrying a sword. He’ll prod you. He’ll set you straight. He’s a good guy like that.

Photo by Leon Bennett/Getty Images

3. Bill Laimbeer

Bill Laimbeer was not really a good guy. Some contend he was not even that good of a basketball player. Others will champion him for doing anything it took to achieve a desired outcome.

Survival isn’t always about who is the most talented, or most nice, or least hated. Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes. If you have to sink to the lowest possible level to avoid cannibalizing your own thigh, who would you rather have on your team than Bill Laimbeer?

Let’s talk about the 80s, back when basketball players were tough and basketball wasn’t all girly and three-pointy. Players today couldn’t survive. There was no flopping or crying. There were hard fouls and hand checking and pain.

Do you want to come into the paint (in this case “the paint” can be taken as a metaphor for the anti-zombie home base)? Then you’re going to suffer. Bill will step on your foot, and rake your back, and poke you in the eye. He’ll try and break your ankle, if he needs to. He’ll needle you verbally and physically because back in the 80’s basketball players carried needles with them for fun.

And this is how it’s supposed to be! If people want basketball to be popular again because it isn’t despite ratings and TV deals, then you need to bring back the physicality. If a team scores 100 points, then you need to injure their leading scorer. There need to be consequences for success. You need a Bill Laimbeer to dole them out, damn it. Damn it all!

Sorry, I lost track of myself for a second there. I don’t believe any of that, but Laimbeer probably does, and it’s important to have irrational self-confidence in an irrational time.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Orlando Magic

2. Shaq

Yeah, Shaq is big and intimidating. And at one point he was maybe the most unstoppable player the NBA has ever seen.

I don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about Shaq Fu.

Shaq Fu is based on the true story of the time Shaq was teleported to an alternate dimension to fight an evil mummy. What’s a mummy if not a very specific type of zombie? That’s a rhetorical question. It’s a zombie.

With the exception of those who played against Steve Nash during his last years on the Lakers, very few NBA players, past or present, have real life experience competing against a zombie. It’s not the same as a basketball game, man. The rules are different. There are no rules. That’s how it’s different.

Plus, the basketball doesn’t really help. You don’t have to dribble at all. Shaq didn’t like dribbling anyway. He’s going to know the ins and outs of this world. Check out this documentary footage of Shaq fighting Jim Carrey in The Mask.

Look how his foot caught on fire that one time. He’ll need to teach all of us how to do that if we’re going to see another sunrise.

Sure, Shaq is a bit older, a bit bulkier nowadays, but he’s always been one to play himself into shape. Plus, he’s a genie. If one of us uses one of our wishes to make him young and badass again, he has to do it. Or we could wish the zombies not to exist and for everything to be fine again, but what’s the fun in that?

Photo by VCG/VCG via Getty Images

1. Kobe

From Shaq to a lesser Laker. The last guy on this list has to be Kobe Bryant.

Yeah, he has his heroics. Yeah, he will compete until his last breath. Maybe his loveless drive toward his own goals is exactly what we need in a world forsaken.

But that’s not why we have Kobe. Sure, if he’s kept in the back and not given room to do too much himself he might still have some value to the team in select moments. That’s great and all. But what’s better is that if we have Kobe, we have his fanboys.

I won’t mince words; we need human shields. I don’t mean that I or you or Kobe are going to sacrifice them forcefully. I’m saying that his abiding hordes would probably just throw themselves in front of him to make sure he was okay. I think about 15 percent of Los Angeles would take a zombie bite to the face just to make sure Kobe didn’t get a scratch.

Let’s use that to our advantage.

It’s kind of sad, to be honest. Since Kobe retired, all life has seemed to leave their eyes. They just stare off into the distance. They skulk around L.A. with their Kobe jerseys on not knowing where to go. They don’t eat. I don’t think they sleep.

They’re mostly harmless unless something bad is said about Kobe. If they hear a disparaging word, they just attack. There’s no purpose or aim. They attack. And attack and attack. So you either fight or you submit.

It’s going to get worse over time. As the years pass, the myth of Kobe will succumb to the numbers, and the numbers won’t be especially kind to the Mamba.

And the fanboys won’t like that. Reality itself will be their enemy. And they’ll attack us because we’re real. And we’ll either keep fighting or submit.


Oh god.

This is how it starts, isn’t it? The Mambies are coming.

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