The Hook Shot Strikes Back
Star Wars: The Hook Shot Strikes Back.
If there is one article that made me smile when I thought of the idea, that will get published, that will make me rich and famous, it will be this one. That sentence is what I wrote in September 2014, at age 23. Keep that in mind when you read. KD was seen as lovable, nice, sweet, fresh off the MVP speech to his mama. Not the guy we think of now. And Lebron was more of a villain and less of a political statement/that right there made me the best ever type of guy that he is now (I still love him). So keep those two in mind. The others are all retired except for the big man in Dallas. Also, Star Wars Episode 7 (pretty great), Episode 8 (I am in the camp that thinks that without the Luke ending, it actually kind of sucks, especially the middle), Rogue One (loved it), and Solo (haven't seen somehow, need to ASAP), came out. I was working with 2014 data, as they say, but it wouldn't change the characters. I could come out with a NBA player-new trilogy character comparison article (Poe, Finn, Rey, Snoke, Ren, etc.) and maybe I will.
Two of my favorite things in the world are sports and movies. Specifically, basketball and Star Wars. In this article, I draw comparisons between Star Wars characters (mainly Jedi/Sith) and some of the best basketball players to ever play the game. Enjoy.
Let us start with the Dark Lords of the Sith- the players who were BAD. Some bad brothas that killed it on the court and were not the best guys/role models off the court. I'll get the big grand daddy of them all out of the way- The Emperor- Chancellor Palpatine. This player needs to be large with an assertive personality. He also needs to be likable, persuasive, but his morals need to be off- nearly non-existent. He needs to be selfish and powerful- very selfish and very powerful. Wilt Chamberlain comes to mind. One of the most dominant forces of the basketball Universe, Wilt was naturally more athletic and bigger than basically everyone. He cared about his personal stats and gains more than his team (no secret) and enjoyed bragging about himself. Power. Talent. Greed.Self-worship. The ruler of the galaxy. The man who scored 100. Same damn guy, not to mention that while it was "amazing" that Wilt slept with thousands of women, it was pretty bad. imagine if a woman did that. She'd be...a prostitute. He was also sleeping with plenty of married women, helping them commit adultery likely. Sigh. You get the point- powerful, bad, legendary men.
The next comparison is one of my favorites. Darth Maul appeared in just one Episode, but man was he entertaining and memorable. He was polarizing. You wanted to watch him but you disliked him for his appearance and because well, you were supposed to. He was bad but he was talented. He was unorthodox and flashy but very effective. One man comes to mind- Allen Iverson. No horns or face tattoos, but cornrows and tattoos everywhere else. A smaller, quicker guy who you wanted to dislike as a villain, but truly admired that he could score 40 points at 5'11. Darth Maul is alone most of the movie. Allen Iverson was alone most of his career, carrying teams to the playoffs alone. Iverson appeared in one Finals, did well, but failed. He was overmatched by 2 NBAlegends. Darth Maul appeared in one movie, kicked ass, but was overmatched by 2 Jedi Knights. You get the point...or 40 of them if you're Iverson.
Now onto The Emperor's next apprentice. And by the way, scoring the ball/points is a theme for these Sith Lords, as you will see.The four Siths I speak of are all in the top 10 in career Points per game. The Jedi make up just 2 of the top 10. The next Sith apprentice rubbed me the wrong way. Had I seen him when he was younger and a Jedi, maybe it would have been different. But I saw Count Dooku when he was older and he seemed like a Douche A Dbag that thought he was 3x as good as he is and who didnt know when to hang up the shoes and retire. Cmon Dooku, go take a damn vacation. The Emperor needs a younger apprentice anyways. I am talking about Kobe Bryant. Kobe was cool his first 8 years. After the rape/Shaq kick out, my mind changed. He was a cocky, Jordan wanna-be, who I saw as a bad person. Few emotions. Just win and kill and study what you did and repeat. If Kobe (Black Mamba) is not a Sith, then I dont like tan Latina women with huge perky boobs and huge perky asses. (I wrote this at age 23...)Also, they are both students of the game. Dooku was linked to Yoda and Qui-Jon and he fought Obi-Wan and Anakin on two different occasions.He also captured Palpatine, just as Kobe recently passed Wilt for all-time points. Things will make more sense when I introduce the Jedi Knights.
(Side note in 2019- I actually like Kobe a lot more now. He is good for the game in what he does now in his analysis and he somehow shook that selfish, asshole, playing-for-too-long reputation maybe right when he won his Oscar, not sure).
Another baddie, while not a Sith, is worth talking about briefly. General Grievous as Kevin Garnett. Memorable due to his huge, strange appearance and wild, emotional personality, KG is a top 25 player ever. General Grievous was only in one movie, but plenty of people know of him. He is big, has a strange voice, and is well respected by his own, as much as you really don't like him as a viewer. Sounds like KG. Also, when either one of them opens their mouth, your respect for them decreases. For the General's voice and coughing and for KG's emotional bursts, with no filter. "Anything is possible!" Also some ties to Dooku (rival), and Palpatine (captured)- Kobe and Wilt.
On to the man who killed Greivous and all of the other good guys/Jedi. Obi-Wan Kenobi is one of the most respected Jedi of all time. He mentored Anakin, he won many battles, and was on the Jedi Council. He knew how to win from his mentor, Qui-Gon Jin. He is a top 5 "best character" in Star Wars, basically liked by all, despite the fact that he left his "brother" Anakin to be burned alive at Mustafar. He is certainly Magic Johnson. Magic Johnson is one of the most popular basketball players ever, winning five titles and breaking records. He too was charismatic and very very likable. While he did not mentor The Chosen One, The Chosen One looked up to him in his younger years and modeled a lot of his play after him. While Magic did something bad (cheated on significant other hundreds of times), people certainly felt for him when he got HIV. Obi-Wan left Anakin for dead (bad) but it was necessary (crowd empathizes).
The other three of the "big 4" should come as no surprise- Mace Windu, Yoda, and Qui-Gon. Mace Windu was just as respected as Obi-Wan, despite being a black man in a world run by aliens. He was all business, worked hard, and was a very talented Jedi. He was one of the greatest of all time, in both emotional intelligence and skill. Larry Bird was a three time MVP in a black man's game. He was all business, old-fashioned, wanted to win the title every season, was one of the most intelligent players and had the best shot, and also handles of a 6'9 player not named Magic Johnson in all of the land. But they both "died" before they should have. Mace, with many years ahead of him, was struck down by Anakin and killed by The Emperor (spoiler alert). Bird was plagued by back injuries starting at age 32, with most likely 5 good years ahead of him.They both mainly relied on their intelligence and assertiveness, but couldn't use it in their older years, due to "death off of building" and "awful back."
Yoda is seen as the greatest of all time in the eyes of many. For people who know little about Star Wars, I would say over 80% would say Yoda is the best Jedi ever. He mastered being a Jedi, teaching many. He had such an influence and mark on Jedi Knights, that he was basically seen as the face of Jedi. Michael Jordan has been the inspiration for thousands, maybe millions in the last 25 years. Over 80% of people would say MJ is the greatest ever (even in 2019)...He has had more influence than anyone else by far. And while Jordan was a natural scorer (Sith-like) and was honestly a bit of an asshole (punching teammates, holding up planes until he won a HORSE game, making Kwame Brown cry regularly, gambling, etc), he is a true master of the game of basketball and knows how to do everything very well- score, dribble, pass, defense, rebound, when to exert energy, etc. And when Yoda or MJ fights/plays, the crowd/audience watches. It is pure entertainment. When they speak, the crowd/media remembers it. They are the face of basketball/Star Wars. They have an aura To round out the "big 4" I had to stretch a little, but it still works.
Qui-Gon Jin was a great Jedi. He trained Obi-Wan and sat on the Council. Not much is known of him by casual fans. We know he was calm, cool, selfless, a winner, and very very wise. Not many people can fathom that Bill Russell has 11 rings. Many don't care or say "well there were 6 teams back then (false)..." But he was a great leader and trained many as a player-coach. He was calm, cool, the best teammate ever apparently, won 11 rings, and is seemingly more wise than Morgan Freeman playing God. Iverson's street attitude and thug presence can symbolize Qui-Gon's death by Darth Maul. Additionally, Magic Johnson himself most likely set the Celtics rings as a bench mark to beat, as he appeared in 9 Finals and was very competitive with the Celtics franchise. The same can be said of Obi-Wan as Qui-Gon's mentee. Obi-Wan strived for greatness after the death of his mentor and achieved it.
On to the non-Jedi good guys. Han, Chewy, and Lando Calrissian. I will not compare the droids because no players come to mind...at all. Han and Chewy are gun slingers, on the run, fun to watch, entertaining, and really help Star Wars with humor and fun. Han does things before thinking and has one of the best shots in the whole Galaxy. Chewy is 7 feet, with flowing long brain hair, and also has a great shot with a blaster. Han is good at getting out of sticky situations and is not too shabby with the ladies. Anything come to mind? Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki my friends. Nash has one of the best shots of all time, is a huge risk taker with his passes, jumping in the air and deciding what to do RIGHT THEN. He also is a great leader, despite not really wanting to be one, and dated Elizabeth Hurley for a while, who is more attractive than Princess Leia (have you seen Hurley lately- my Lord!).
Dirk Nowitzki is a very entertaining player, both on and off the court, providing us with laughs and gasps and has us scratching our heads on how he can shoot like that at 7 feet. It is a shame that these duos are no more- as they provided entertainment and fun for all involved.
Lando Calrissian, seemingly a slimeball, is a polarizing character. You like him, then you don't. You never really trust him, but then he comes through in the clutch. You dont even trust him around Leia. Lando is Jason Kidd. A memorable player, fun to watch, never knowing if what he is going to do will work, but it normally does. He is the blackish equal to Han Solo's Steve Nash. Chewy (Dirk) knows them both fairly well, but enjoyed playing alongside Han more. (Side note- I don't think then-coach Kidd had tripped a player yet when I wrote this originally- such a Lando move!).
Finally, the moment everyone has waited for- Luke and his father Anakin/Vader. Luke is a main character. He is courageous, humble, naturally gifted, physically weak, and symbolizes hope. He is a young, up and coming Jedi Knight. He is Kevin Durant. Both are so nice and humble, it almost pisses you off. Both are great talents, but naturally cant bench press 165. While Durant is a natural scorer, he can do it all. The other Siths (Wilt, Kobe, Iverson) force their scoring much of the time, shooting up to 40 times. Durant rarely does. Off the court, he is frankly a boring player in an exciting league (2014 remember)...
You get the sense that he is still 20 years old. Luke is a fairly boring character in an exciting movie series. KD most likely studied Magic, as Obi-Wan taught Luke. KD looks to score like MJ and has been compared to him. As everyone else does, he respects MJ. Luke trained with Yoda, though it was brief and there wasnt much of a connection. Yoda retired at Luke's birth. MJ retired when KD entered high school, ready to take on the world. And Luke has to overcome his father, the one who is feared in the galaxy, the big bad Vader. He fails the first time around, not experienced enough. Just as KD did against Anakin/Vader...Lebron James.
Lebron James is the Chosen One in so many ways I will just do this- both never knew their fathers, both came from a small town to rise to fame and power, both were seen as the "Saviors", both had the most Midichlorians (I am convinced Lebron can actually use the force in real life), both had too many people telling them what to do all at the same time, both chose to go to their dark sides at one point for periods of time, both are looked at as villains and are hated by many...
While Vader helped kill Windu, Lebron surpassed Bird as the best small forward ever, going to 4 straight titles (now 8) and winning 4 MVPs, all during his dark reign. Lebron's comparison out of high school was Magic Johnson, with more athleticism. Anakin's fighting style mirrors Obi-Wan's- and he is more athletic. Anakin and Yoda- the faces of Star Wars- were never very close, Anakin only going to him with serious questions. Lebron and MJ hardly have a relationship, with the post-game hug being the closest they have been seemingly.
Not only did Anakin/Lebron surpass Mace/Bird, but he killed Count Dooku/Kobe as the greatest, most feared player/Sith in all of the land. He beheaded him and took his place! Lebron is not a natural sith or scorer. He is seemingly a great teammate and leader, but for a year or two, he wanted to be the villain, to try to score, to prove the millions of haters wrong. Anakin is naturally a good kid. He was twisted and deceived and going to the dark side was all about the timing. He is not naturally a Sith and it is proven in the end. As KD most likely looked up to Lebron for ten years, he finally won an MVP from him. The next step is him winning the title. Can he follow Luke and get it done? Will Lebron's return to Cleveland actually make people think of him as a better person (his main mistake in life being moving cities and teams for a chance to play with 2 allstars in Miami)?
Will KD celebrate with the likes of Dirk and Nash and Kidd (Chewy, Han, and Lando), Russell and Bird (Qui-Gon and Windu) looking down from the Jedi Heavens? Will KD look over at the ghost figures of Jordan and Magic (Yoda and Kenobi), as they approve his job well done? And the best question of all- will Lebron's ghost figure appear right next to Jordan and Magic's, approving as well? We may have to wait a few years, my young nerfherders. Final side note- KD sadly took the easy quick path, which is the dark side, and joined a Super super team to defeat the Chosen One. KD has not returned to the light and will not celebrate with the likes of Dirk Nash Kidd Jordan Magic Bird Russell. He may, but with a small asterisk floating about his head...he changed things. Durant is more of the Rose (from Episode 8) now...awkward, forcing things, and overall, just leaving an odd taste in your mouth...