Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Brunson step into the WWE ring at MSG

Two top NBA stars entered the squared circle at WWE SmackDown live from Madison Square Garden, dubbed the "World's Most Famous Arena".
SmackDown / WWE/GettyImages

As the WWE continues its hot streak of record-breaking attendance and once again rises to mainstream popularity, they are not letting the chances of taking advantage of popular culture and sports references sneak past them. As the brand invaded New York City and Madison Square Garden with WWE SmackDown on Friday night, they did not come alone.

As current United States Champion Logan Paul (yes, that Logan Paul), faced off in a triple threat Money In The Bank qualifier match against his current rival LA Knight and Santos Escobar, he made his way to the ring fully embracing his heel role by bringing out current Indiana Pacers top star Tyrese Haliburton, who is public enemy number one in New York these days as Haliburton and the Pacers eliminated the New York Knicks from contention of the NBA Finals, about a month earlier. He played it up and embraced the role, standing tall with Paul. This was before LA Knight took advantage and brought in Jalen Brunson, who had a star-making season and playoff performance for the New York Knicks this past year.

With Haliburton being a real-life big wrestling fan, this had to be a big dream for him, not only being able to get in a WWE ring, play a heel, and get that reaction from a loud New York City crowd in one of the most famous arenas in the world, Madison Square Garden, but also being able to mix that with his world of the NBA.

Tyrese Haliburton and Jalen Brunson brought their highlighted 7 game rivalry to the WWE ring.

The tension continued throughout the match itself as Haliburton planned to interfere and help Paul out by passing him his signature brass knuckles, often used by Paul to cheat. However, Brunson made his mark known by hopping the barricade and stopping his rival. This left Knight the opportunity to take advantage and get the victory himself. Before Hali and Paul could execute a double team attack on Knight, Brunson returned to the ring with a signature steel chair in hand and had the two heels against the ropes to escape the attack.

The WWE released a Jalen Brunson-inspired t-shirt in honor of his appearance on their SmackDown program.

As pro wrestling garners more attention under the new regime in WWE and the rise of other companies like AEW, the mainstream and pop culture should prepare for another renaissance for the squared circle.