Alijah Villian’s ‘Knights of The NBA’ Realm

So apart from the Chicago Bulls, Chicago itself and basketball, I have a few other passions and hobbies. One such passion is art, from Caravaggio to Basquiat I can appreciate art in all it’s forms and the people who create it. In a new feature beginning today on this site (and one that I hope will become a permanent fixture), I will be profiling artists that I’ve come stumbled across, been introduced to or have reached out to me, who’s work has caught my eye. Of course, the art or the artist themselves will either have a connection to Chicago, the Bulls or perhaps even both. So without further adieu, I present to you the works of digital artist, Alijah Villian.


“There is a kingdom of knights that seek revenge in the courts of NBA. Warriors that wield swords of passion and determination, the question that we all seek is who will win the game of thrones.” Alijah told me via email when I asked him of  his inspiration and the story behind this collection he has dubbed ‘Knights of The NBA’.


Knight Derrick Rose Art by Alijah Villian

Red Demon (Derrick Rose)
The red knight was dangerous from experience and by appearance, his come back would yield the end to the Nation of Heat.


“NBA players are heroes to many of us and I wanted to tell a good story.  As a digital artist I started to think upon the idea of what these giants would have done if they lived in the Medieval Era; and thought to myself, they would of course be Knights wielding their swords in the name of the Throne.”


King James (LeBron James) His grip on the land was tight as the people wanted nothing more than to dismiss his powerful command.

King James (LeBron James)
His iron grip on the land was tight. The people wanted nothing more than to see his reign come to an end.


“I wanted the artwork to have the feel of the paintings of kings and knights of the 18th century.”


The Passionate One (Joakim Noah) His passion would overshadow the land of dedicated knights and victory he would hold in his hand.

The Passionate One (Joakim Noah)
His passion shrouded the land of dedicated knights, yet victory he would hold in his hand.


With my knowledge of the digital art field rather limited, I asked Alijah for an explanation of his craft. “Digital Art is much like traditional illustration really, they both tell stories, the only real difference is that my primary tool is the computer and methods very from project to project. Though, I use both digital and traditional means to create my projects, my screen is the main canvas.  This project was more about research and getting to know every players personality.  The shots are suppose to have the feeling of 18th century portrait paintings. So I spent ample time designing the swords and armor. Usually I start with a silohette sketch and design a digital prototype.  This project involved precise planning and research so that the emotion and mood would be right; it took me appropriately 48 hours per character and 2 months of work so far and is ongoing.”


The Servant (Kevin Durant) The rain maker depended on a higher power to provide the land in which he fed upon and the throne on which he sat.

The Servant (Kevin Durant)
The rain maker depended on a higher power to provide the land in which he fed upon and the throne on which he sat.


The regal images you see above from the ‘Knights of The NBA’ collection spans over 20 different players, if you wish to see more along with Alijah’s other amazing works check out his website HERE.  Alijah resides on the other side of Lake Michigan in Detroit, you can contact him via his website for more information.

On the eve of the release of the ESPN 30 for 30 Bad Boys documentary, it would be awesome to see what inspiration he could draw from that notorious Pistons mob and their epic clashes with the Bulls of Chicago.

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