Fun Interview with D.J. Mbenga

March, 16, 2010
3/16/10
1:26
PM PT
Kamenetzky By Andy Kamenetzky
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive
Lakers.com BasketBlog scribe Mike Trudell conducted an entertaining interview with D.J. Mbenga I wanted to pass along. Some fun details, including the origins of Mbenga's "Congo Cash" nickname (I personally prefer "Tacos"), D.J. the Deejay's musical selections, "clean" Lakers, and who's harder to guard during practice: Andrew Bynum or Pau Gasol?

I also liked this exchange about judo, a martial art Mbenga has practiced since age 13.

MT: How do you incorporate it into basketball?

Mbenga: Well, that’s why I look like this (Editor’s Note 2: Mbenga simply pointed to his absurdly sculpted frame). I’m not really a weight-lifting guy. That might not be good for me. Judo has always helped me with that.

MT: I know boxing is really big in Ghana, is judo just as big in Congo? And also, could you beat up everyone in the NBA?

Mbenga: Yes it is big. I don’t know if I could (take) everybody, but I know how to fight. That’s different. Maybe somebody is strong, but I’m strong too. (My teammates) could tell you that. I learned how to fight. You have to in judo. We were always fighting in our training. Anytime you get a belt, you have to fight someone. It’s not like karate or something like that when you do demonstrations. You have to fight someone next to you to get to the next level, someone on top of you.

Too modest to answer Trudell's last question honestly, I'll do the honors for D.J. The man could ABSOLUTELY beat up everyone in the NBA. I've been saying this for years and refuse to believe otherwise.

Dude's seven-feet tall with, like, negative-three percent body fat, absurd strength, Plastic Man reach, and serious speed. (I once saw him work a treadmill for a few minutes at the fastest pace I've ever seen a human being go. A certain world famous shrimp would have been VERY impressed.) Those elements alone would make D.J. a worthy adversary even if he weren't a black belt.

Which, I'd be quick to remind, he is.

If the NBA staged a WWF-style battle royale and I had to stake my entire bank account on one NBA baller, I'm picking D.J. every day of the week. Wouldn't even blink.

Also, D.J. got his physique without lifting weights? Seriously? That may be the single greatest testimonial I've ever heard for any product anywhere. If I ran a dojo, I'd allocate my entire advertising budget towards billboards with a picture of a shirtless Mbenga and the phrase "Judo can make you look like him. Even you, tubby."

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