Two-time WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair is a true lover of sports. He watches it all, from college and pro football to baseball and hockey, where he especially can't get enough of the playoffs.
But there is one sport that he's starting to steer away from because it embodies the exact opposite of what pro wrestling is at its heart.
Scrutiny has found the NBA in recent years as resting players for “load management” on the court as well as players sitting out for injuries some believe should be played through doesn't sit well with “The Nature Boy.”
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“These basketball players that whine and b—h, it's taken a lot of the sport away from me,” Flair told Fox News Digital while promoting his new energy drink, Wooooo! Energy.
The NBA used to be a league where the paint was an area you better be ready to get bruised if you drove to the basket, and rivalries got physical on a regular basis. Now, with safety becoming a priority in every professional sport, the NBA has been calling many more technical fouls for displays of aggression like that.
However, fans haven't liked the “ticky-tack fouls,” or ones that are borderline with players embellishing to get to the foul line for free throws.
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Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has gotten flak for that for years, but Flair is a huge fan of “The King” nonetheless because of what he's been able to accomplish in the league.
“He broke Kareem's [Abdul-Jabaar] record in 21 years in the league! On the cover of Sports Illustrated at 16!” Flair screamed.
Flair was also a big fan of James' ESPYs speech in which the latter said respect must be shown to him whether there's love or hatred because of what he's given to the game of basketball.
Like James, Flair gave his time, effort and sacrifice to his own sport in pro wrestling. That meant performing through injuries on most nights.
“They go to work hurt,” Flair said about pro wrestlers. “That’s what pisses me off today about these basketball players that stub their toe. No s–t. How do you think I feel about that knowing I wrestled six months after I broke my back in a f—ing airplane crash? ‘I got a torn thumbnail. Whoa, whoa, whoa.’”
But while Flair respects all wrestlers because of the strain their bodies can go through, he has seen his breed of wrestlers disappear over the years – something he is still trying to accept.
“All they do now is go over there, practice and make money,” he said. “I don’t know what else they do. No one’s paying the price anymore, I will say that. Traveling 3,000 miles a week for 50 bucks a night and a hard-boiled egg and a pig’s foot. Forget it.”
“They don’t have to do what I did in the ‘70s and all that bulls–t. I mean, nobody should’ve been treated like that. But they’ve got to live it, they’ve got to sacrifice it.”
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Flair goes toe to toe with energy drink game
You wouldn't think seven different strains of functional mushrooms would work to create an energy drink, but Flair swears by his new drink that embodies the charisma and passion he's most known for.
“It's me in a can, brother. That's how I define it,” he said.
Chad Bronstein, chairman and president of Cama HoldCo, explained how mushrooms make this product different from the rest on the market. And no, it's not the mushrooms you may be thinking about.
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“Functional mushrooms,” Bronstein explained. “That’s the key differentiator – there’s psychedelic mushrooms and there’s functional mushrooms. … It creates a sense of natural focus. We wanted to create an energy drink that was different, doesn’t give you the jitters and still keeps you focused and energized. That was the ingredient that we thought would do that.”
Flair added, “It's so long-lasting. I’ve given this to a guy that trains Olympic athletes, has run the NFL Combine and was a strength and fitness coach at the University of Georgia for 10 years. He’s seen it all. He drinks it every day now, and he said it makes time go by.”