A lot of athletes have specific trainers that they like to work with in rehabilitation. Celtics big man Enes Kanter was no different, but you probably wouldn't expect him to practice Yoga with WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Paige as part of his recovery.
That's right. As part of his rehab program, Kanter sought out Paige, who now operates a Yoga studio named DDP Yoga. The slogan for Paige's studio? “Not your mama's yoga.”
Cameras followed Kanter to his first meeting with Paige at his studio as part of a featured documentary that is being called “Enace the Menace.”
“I had back issues on and off throughout the whole season,” Kanter said to Paige during their initial meeting. “So that's why I'm here to see you.”
“We're gonna get that right,” Paige replied. “You're ready to work, right?”
Paige, one of the toughest guys in his era of wrestling, wasn't going to take it easy on Kanter. As part of their workout, Kanter was asked to hold a series of yoga poses.
“After I worked with him, (my injury) got better and better,” Kanter said. “Now I'm feeling amazing.”
Kanter, who suffered a shoulder injury in the 2019 Western Conference Playoffs, says he wanted to seek Paige out after watching his famous “Bash at the Beach” wrestling match with Hulk Hogan, Karl Malone and Dennis Rodman in 1998.
“It's pretty cool that you came here, but how the hell did you hear about me?” Paige asked Kanter during the documentary.
“I watched the legendary match — with you, Hogan, Malone and Rodman,” Kanter replied. “I was like, ‘This guy is so good with basketball players.'”
Kanter then asked Paige if he would be willing to train him in the art that is professional wrestling. After making sure he was serious, Paige agreed to show him the ropes, so to speak.
Paige, now 63 years of age, wasn't going to be taking any heavy hits, though. Instead, he called in one of his younger friends to help with Kanter's training.
“Honestly, when Enes got in the ring… deer in the headlights,” Paige said of Kanter's first experience inside the ring. “He's a very nice guy. He's soft-spoken. I'm trying to get him (to be more aggressive). We need the guy who's on the court. You know, we need a guy who doesn't take any shit — the guy who faces up to LeBron (James). That's the guy we need.”
Kanter says he was surprised to learn how detailed the world of wrestling really is. He thought he would be ready to perform after just a few minutes of tutelage, but he soon discovered the amount of training that wrestlers go through.
“I'm not gonna lie. I was super nervous, because I was thinking if I could do this or not,” Kanter said of his training session with Paige.
In the end, Kanter seemed to enjoy his time on the mat with Paige. Whether or not we'll see the Celtics big man at an upcoming wrestling event is still up for debate, but it's clear that he has a newfound respect for the craft.