Sports

Sheehan ’12: Putting on the NBA on the silver screen

By
Sports Columnist
Friday, March 2, 2012

 

Oh, Netflix. You saucy minx. I always see you around my Internet browser. Trying to make me jealous with your “free month trial” or your ability to let me watch so many “How I Met Your Mother” episodes in a row that I feel kind of sick. But it’s over, Netflix. I’ve moved on.

You see, it’s the second half of the NBA season. Yes, your selection of movies may make the movie buff in me want to be more than just friends, but the fact of the matter is that I can get the same drama from the NBA. Any one of the plotlines from your most critically acclaimed movies can be summed up by the many stories that happen in professional basketball every day. You think I’m playing hard to get? Well, let me queue up some of the famous movie adaptations this season could produce.

 

Being Nikola Pekovic

The plot centers around a sad Darko Milicic lamenting the trajectory of his NBA career and wishing that he had never been taken with the second overall pick. Now trapped on the Minnesota Timberwolves, Darko is pondering retirement when he discovers that he can inhabit the mind of teammate Nikola Pekovic. Suddenly free of the pressures and expectations that have hung over him throughout the career, Darko uses the oft-fouling Pekovic’s body to become the dominant center he is supposed to be. His teammates shower Nikola in accolades, and the Timberwolves — traditionally a horrible team — are suddenly playoff contenders. But Darko has suddenly taken the back seat to Nikola and is in danger of being cut. Darko must ask himself if it’s worth a season of glory to lose the sport he loves forever.

Why it’s better than “Being John Malkovich”: The number of Eastern Europeans involved makes the names 1,000 times cooler.

 

Lamento

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge suffers from a rare but serious disease that affects his ability to remember how to build a winning basketball team. The league’s other general managers take advantage of poor Ainge and his condition, which forces him to tattoo certain trades onto his body so he remembers to execute them. Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti convinces him that his tattoo “trade = Jeff Green” means that he meant to trade for Jeff Green and that the tattoo is not a leftover notation from the 2007 draft. Ainge also becomes confused when he reads his tattoos from 2005 that say, “Acquire Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal at all costs.” The plot reaches its boiling point when Ainge shops the best and cheapest young player on a team that needs to be rebuilt because one of his tattoos read “Rajon Rondo = capable fourth man,” and he is totally unaware that this will be a huge mistake that will submarine the franchise for a decade.

Why it’s better than “Memento”: Real tragedies are that much more powerful.

 

Pulp Knick-tion

This quirky, neo-noir story follows several different players as they duck in and out of the narrative of a professional New York basketball team. It’s particularly poignant because of its non-linear storytelling. For example, in the second act, the audience is led to believe that Carmelo Anthony is the main player who will save New York basketball. But this thought is brutally put to rest when Jeremy Lin arrives and promptly murders any credibility that Carmelo may have had with the city. The story ends with a return to the very beginning, with a beautiful and tragic speech by Anthony’s good friend Amar’e Stoudemire. He reveals that their bloated contracts — once supposed to help New York — may very well be the downfall of the team. “The truth is, Mike Bibby is the weak and the salary cap is the tyranny of evil men. But I’m trying, Tyson Chandler, I’m trying real hard to be a healthy power forward.”

Why it’s better than “Pulp Fiction”: I’ll take Steve Novak shooting three-pointers over John Travolta shooting three dudes.

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Hopeless Re-sign

Dwight Howard has just gotten out of a bad relationship with his old team and is uneasy about traveling back to Orlando for fear of the retribution he will face from his one-time fans. He is confused to find out the city has forgotten about him. He later discovers that the city has had its memories of him erased. Hurt that the city could simply get rid of the title run they had together, Dwight also has the procedure performed in order to forget about Orlando.

While the procedure is happening, Dwight sees all of the good times that he had in the city. He sees the NBA Finals run that they made and remembers that the Orlando Magic were actually 4-3 against the Miami Heat after they acquired LeBron James and Chris Bosh. He realizes that the team he gave up on was 1-1 against the best team in the NBA and they would have stood a legitimate chance against the Heat in a playoff series because of the matchup problems. Dwight then tries to cling to his memories of Orlando, but they are all erased.

Later, during his next free-agency period, Dwight finds the clippings of the Magic’s Finals run in 2009 and tearfully reconciles with the city, re-signing a max contract.

Why it’s better than “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”: This story is about what is going to happen versus what has already happened.

 

 Sam Sheehan ’12 tips his cap to Jason Varitek. An all-time Red Sox great. Talk sports with him at sam_sheehan@brown.edu or follow him on Twitter @SamSheehan.