If you ever played NBA Jam growing up as a kid, you know the feeling of invincibility when you hear the commentator utter “He’s on Fire!” After scoring three consecutive baskets, being “on fire” means that your player is virtually unstoppable until your opponent scores again.
Sibling rivalries are birthed from this nostalgic game and 20 years later athletes are essentially doing this in real life.
There a few players in the league today that possess an “alter-ego” and at any given moment, can go on a scoring tear and essentially become unstoppable throughout the course of the game. Let’s take a look at the top 5 most unstoppable athletes when they’re “on fire.”
Carmelo Anthony aka Hoodie Melo
We haven’t seen this side of Carmelo Anthony in a NBA uniform just yet but I’m going to speak this in to existence.
Carmelo Anthony is currently dealing with a number of situations in his life that aren’t 100% in his control. Between his wife LaLa making it difficult for him to watch the hit TV show Power and the circus known as the New York Knicks front office not knowing what to do, Melo has resorted to the one thing that he knows will always be there; basketball.
Over the course of the Summer, Carmelo has been working out ferociously with basketball trainer Chris Brickley, improving his all around game (except defense of course). But the unique thing about these workouts is that they’ve been gaining a lot of traction and popularity mainly due to Carmelo’s decision to don a hoodie while working out.
It’s definitely not something you see every day but the fans love it. I would say it symbolizes Carmelo closing his ears and eyes to all the distractions and focusing on his true passion, which is basketball.
Melo has evolved to Hoodie Melo and he now has a hook shot
— Rob Perez (@World_Wide_Wob) August 10, 2017
As these workouts became more and more popular, Chris and Carmelo began having Blackout sessions, or pickup games for us common people, with some of the best professional and college basketball players in the country. Players like CJ McCollum, LeBron James, and University of Kentucky star Hamidou Diallo were seen at the LifeTime Fitness putting in some major off season work.
Is this the Carmelo teams and fans should look forward to next season? I sure hope so.
John Wall aka Gang Sign Wall
John Wall, for the most part has lived up to the expectations of a number one overall pick. His performance last year throughout the regular and post season definitely showed he was worthy of getting paid.
There have been numerous instances where John Wall has been unstoppable and has made certain hand “gestures” in celebration. I’m certain no one but John Wall is aware what they actually mean but bottom line, if he’s playing like that, the Wizards organization should let Adam Silver know he’s just embracing the true meaning of being a Wizard.
Kyrie Irving aka Untucked Jersey Kyrie
Kyrie Irving is a walking highlight. Another number one overall pick, Irving’s abilities in the last few seasons have been proven unguardable, despite losing in the finals this year.
But Kyrie becomes a different player when his jersey hangs halfway out of his shorts. Some of the best defenders struggle with staying in front of him and end up on the wrong end of a SportsCenter top 10 play.
Kyrie already has a defined alter ego in Uncle Drew which was created through Nike but the untucked jersey Kyrie Irving will give them both a run for their ankles.
Kobe Bryant aka Jersey Biting Kobe
The previous two stars have more than likely taken notes from this gentleman. Kobe Bryant carries the blueprint of a basketball assassin and possesses the ability to essentially kill any belief you may have in slowing him down.
He has proven day in and day out why he is worthy of the nick name “Mamba.” But when the Mamba gets to biting on the threads of his Laker uniform while playing, things get a bit unfair for defenders.
LeBron James aka Black Mask Lebron
LeBron James is the definition of an athlete on and off the court. Because he takes such good care of his body off the court, you almost never see him suffer and major injury.
There was one instance where suffered a broken nose in 2014 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. This was probably the worst luck the New York Knicks had as they faced Lebron and the Heat the very next game.
As a result of the broken nose, James donned a black face mask for a game against Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks before he was asked by the NBA to switch to a clear one. James ended up with one of his better shooting nights with 31 points on 13 of 19 shooting in a 26 point blowout of the Knicks.
It’s still up in the air whether Bald LeBron will be better the Black Mask LeBron. We’ll just have to wait and see.