10 NBA Players and Their Sandwich Counterparts
Everybody loves basketball. Everybody loves sandwiches. Yet nobody ever compares basketball players to sandwiches. Luckily for you, I'm here to correct this travesty. So, here are 10 NBA players and their sandwich counterparts (as decreed by me, Bleacher Report's sandwich czar). You'll be hungry by the end of this article or your money back.
*Note: I'm not quite sure how this happened, but I ended up with four Mavericks. I'm not a Mavs fan, so please don't call me biased and demand that I compare your favorite players to sandwiches. There are only so many sandwiches to go around.
Tim Duncan: Hamburger
Hamburgers aren't like other elite sandwiches. They're simple, convenient and definitely not flashy. You can get a good one for $3.99 and be perfectly satisfied.
It's impossible to mess up a burger. Even at it's worst, you know what you're getting.
That's Tim Duncan. We saw the unreal In-N-Out version of him when he was young, we saw the $28 kobe beef version of him when he was in his prime, and now we're seeing the cheap but still delicious version as he's aged.
The natural ability may be fading. You aren't building a world-class meal around him anymore, but he's still dependable to satisfy your hunger. And he always will be. Just like it's impossible to find a bad burger, it's impossible to find a bad Tim Duncan.
Jason Terry: Peanut Butter and Jelly
PB&J is the instant offense of the sandwich world. It takes 45 seconds to bring off of the bench, it satisfies you for six minutes and does it's job, but will never be a sandwich star. Have you ever had a conversation with someone which involved the statement, "Have I ever told you about this place with the most amazing PB&J's in the world?"
That's Jason Terry to a tee. He comes in and does his job. No more, no less. He'll never be a superstar because he just doesn't have the tools, but his mentality is awesome, he's a team player, and can be an asset to any team.
Have you ever met anyone who doesn't have PB&J in their sandwich rotation? Exactly.
But nobody is building their sandwich lineup around it. Everybody needs their Jason Terry, just as everyone needs their PB&J.
Vince Carter: Grilled Cheese
The grilled cheese sandwich is the ultimate meal cop-out. You make a grilled cheese when you're too lazy to go all out with a real sandwich.
In fact, adding to my beef with grilled cheeses, why have their not been any advancements in that sandwich in like 70 years? Why can't I go to some fancy sandwich boutique and get some sort of mega grilled cheese with seven different types of cheeses and imported spices? It's literally just cheese on bread. There is so much wasted potential.
Just as I said wasted potential Vince Carter ran into the room to see what was up. Carter was born with all of the tools and did absolutely nothing to develop them. Rather than go into the kitchen, rummage through the fridge to find some nice ham and toppings, he just slapped some bread and cheese on the stove.
Carter could have been the best sandwich at the deli, instead he turned out to be the poster-child for wasted talent. We'll always remember Vince Carter's dunks just like we've all eaten our fair share of late night grilled cheeses, but that doesn't mean we'll look at them with any sort of reverence.
Paul Millsap: Reuben
Grantland's Bill Simmons used to describe Tiki Barber as a reuben.
In fantasy drafts you were never excited about Tiki. He wasn't flashy, didn't make big plays, but always produced. You never go out and say, "Man, I'm really psyched for this reuben," it's what you get when nothing else on the menu looks good.
Then it comes. Corned beef, swiss, sauerkraut. Wow, that's a real sandwich. You're always satisfied with it. It produced.
That's Paul Millsap. No fan in the history of fandom (including his parents) have ever muttered the words "I'm really excited to watch Paul Millsap tonight."
Yet he always produces. Did you know he's 20th in the league in PER? Have you ever heard anyone call him a top-20 player? A top-50 player? No, but he continues to produce. Every time. Yet he'll never be respected on the level of the big sandwiches.
Carlos Boozer: Meatball Sub
Meatball subs are the ultimate settler sandwich. You never actually intend to get one. You show up at Subway and the following inner dialogue begins:
"Well I had the sweet onion chicken teriyaki last time. Not really in the mood for roast beef or turkey. I sort of want something hearty. I guess meatball would be ok. 1300 calories isn't that much. Why not, it's not like I can do better."
So you buy it. It's fine, it's a capable sandwich that fills your stomach, but have you ever felt good about it after? Never, you always think to yourself, "Wow, I could have gotten a six-inch ham-and-cheese with half of the calories and 90 percent of the taste."
I literally could not have described Carlos Boozer any better.
LeBron, Wade, Amare and Bosh were off of the table, so the Bulls settled on Boozer because he was what was left.
He's done fine. The Bulls are probably happy to have him on their team. Of course, they've also realized that Taj Gibson is 90 percent the player Boozer is for nowhere near as much money.
You're hunger has subsided, it wasn't terrible, but at the end of the day you probably wish you would have picked a different sandwich. Yup, that's definitely Carlos Boozer.
Shawn Marion: Sloppy Joe
Sloppy joes are role players in the sandwich world. Their role has diminished for most of us. I certainly know my sloppy joe consumption has plummeted since the end of my childhood. But that doesn't mean it can't contribute.
Sloppy joes are ugly. They're messy. But they're satisfying. Is it what you want to make when you have someone to impress? No way, but if you need a meal that does what you ask of it, even if it doesn't look quite right, than you'll enjoy a sloppy joe.
Shawn Marion's shot is one of the uglier things you'll ever see. His form isn't just bad, it's awful to the point that you want to slap his childhood coach across the face. But does it go in? Well... Yea, it does.
Marion isn't what he used to be. He was an All Star in Phoenix (coincidentally, when I was a kid), but he's not that guy anymore. But he's still a really useful player, and on a slow Saturday afternoon I'm more than happy crack open a can of Manwich and eat me some Shawn Marion.
Dirk Nowitzki: Philly Cheese Steak
If you've never had a Philly cheesesteak in Philly than you're missing out on of the greatest sensations your taste buds will ever endure.
If you've ever had a Philly cheesesteak outside of Philly you know just how easy it is to mess up. Fast food cheesesteaks taste like rubber cement. It's just impossible to emulate.
Emulating Dirk is impossible as well. Think of all of those who have tried and failed. There are the outright busts like Darko and Nikoloz Tskitishvili, then the guys who just aren't quite as good like Danilo Gallinari and Andrea Bargnani.
After Dirk exploded there was a frantic search for his successor, only there never was one because Dirk is so unique. You can't copy Dirk just like you can't copy a Philly cheesesteak, the original is just too good.
Kobe Bryant: Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey
Is it as fresh as it was during the big family meal? No, but in it's own way, it's better than ever.
Admit it, you like Thanksgiving leftovers better than the actual meal. If you don't you're clearly not a true American. The best part by far is the week's supply of turkey sandwiches. They're delicious and last forever. There are so many things you can do with it too. Whether it's combined with cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, it can do it all even if it's past it's prime.
Kobe is the ultimate leftovers sandwich. Is he the same player athletically he used to be? Of course not, that comes with age. But he's as good as ever. He's done that by becoming a versatile scorer who doesn't need athleticism to kill you.
So maybe Kobe isn't fresh anymore. But you know that when you make a Kobe sandwich, it's going to deliver, no ifs, ands or buts.
Dwight Howard: Pulled Pork
You know exactly what you're getting in pulled pork.
Pulled pork is awesome. But that's it.
No awesome toppings to go with it, no regional variations, it's just pulled pork on bread. Period.
And that's fine, because again, pulled pork is awesome, but you can't help but wonder if it's leaving a bit on the table.
Howard has always made me feel like something was being left on the table. For someone with so much talent and so little competition you have to wonder why he isn't an absolutely dominant center.
It's because his talent is all he has. He's incredibly strong and athletic, but he doesn't have any unique post moves. He can't shoot. He's an awful teammate. His talent is all he has. And for him, that's ok. He's an awesome player.
Just don't expect him to lead a team to a title with just that talent.
Miami Heat: Monte Cristo
On paper, the monte cristo is the world's best sandwich.
Turkey and fried ham? Swiss and powdered sugar? French Toast? You're kidding me. That's not a sandwich, that's a freaking edible All Star team.
But then you look at it a little closer. Can two alpha meats like ham and turkey really coexist? Is french toast really meant to be a sidekick to meat, or carry it's own mediocre meal? Can you really enjoy the so many leading flavors?
That's when you realize that it just isn't the sandwich it should be. If your life depended on someone liking a sandwich, you're probably not giving them a monte cristo. You're giving them thanksgiving leftovers. And maybe that's ok, some sandwiches are meant for greatness, some aren't. Some sandwiches can be less than the sum of their considerable parts.
And really, that's what you're getting with a monte cristo. The ingredients are amazing, but there's more to sandwich making than just that. The pieces have to mesh, they have to work together to create one balanced taste. That's just not a monte cristo, and no matter what it does to try to combine all of those amazing flavors sometimes it just can't work.