Finding Pippen: Using Hollywood To Find Kobe Bryant's Wingman
When the Los Angeles Lakers played the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, there was more at play than just basketball.
There was a subplot that didn't involve Kobe and Phil's Quest for a ring, Melo becoming the man, and Chauncy Billups being the other local boy trying to bring his hometown a title.
A Tinseltown reunion was in the air. First, the jumbotron spotted Val "Iceman" Kilmer. The speaker took the crowd to the danger zone. Then it happened, he was joined split screen by none other than fellow 80's heart throb Tom "Maverick" Cruise.
This, along with a great article I read on B/R by Matt King, which posed the question who athletes would be if the sporting world were Sci-Fi movies.
Could we use movies to find out who would be Kobe's Pippen? A player who could give Kobe the help he needs to get everything out of his team. and possibly a Title?
Either way this should be fun.
Welcome to the high-risk world of living above the rim—all cuts and leaps made with precision.
Back in the 70's willing pilots ruled the sky. This mantle continued until the retirement of Jordan. American ballers started copying their Euro counterparts and shooting more three's, reducing shooting percentages to an all-time low.
Then, ESPN Introduced "SportsCenter", a place when athletes were again rewarded for flying high and rocking the rim.
In this world, there was a man with ice in his veins, and a determination to be perfect. Meet Kobe "Iceman" Bryant.
After being drafted, Kobe quickly formed a partnership with Hollywood. This bought early success and invitations to the All-Star game, where he walked away with the trophy. Even though his actions in trying to get points killed Goose.
But it was the combat of the NBA Finals, where he wound up playing one-on-five, trying to stay in it, hoping a teammate would come and help him.
Unfortunately, since the death of Goose, Shaquille "The Big Maverick" O'Neal had taken his bike, rode into the sunset, and would not be flying combat missions any time soon.
The Fresh Prince
In west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground is where he spent most of his days. Chillin' out maxin', relaxin- all cool. Shooting a b-ball around all afternoon.
Then a couple of agents, up to no good, started telling him that he should skip school. Got in one little draft, and mom got scared and said, "go move in with uncle Phil in Bel Air."
In Bel Air, Will's wingman was his cousin, Carlton. Carlton was a lovable nerd. While not as athletic as Will, he used his intelligence to create great moments. He would try his best in whatever situation he was in.
For me, that description only fits one NBA player: Derek Fisher—the one guy on the Lakers championship teams who actually became friends with Kobe.
Did you ever notice how Kobe started sharing the ball when Fisher came back to LA?
Why are all these former Lakers coming up? I don't know. Both these shows are from the past, so maybe something more modern might be the go.
The Bourne Series
A baller walks into Lakers training to begin the preseason, but something's different. Everybody seems to be calling him "Michael Jordan," so he assumes that's his name. He doesn't remember any of theirs.
He walks into the offices and finds that he's a specially trained on-court assassin—doing the NBA's bidding as part of Project STERN, and using his skills to keep a top-TV market relevant.
He tries to run, meets up with some drifters, and they have a car. He tries to escape with what all the training has taught him, but they come for him.
He begins to drive through the lanes and slip through collapsing coverage. Their shots miss, his don't. He's better than them.
He's going to get to the bottom of this, going to free himelf of this condition, and become an assassin once more. He's going to take them down.
He volunteered for this. It was what he wanted—to win his chip. Now, he's just chasing Jordan's ghost.
What is his name? He wants to be remembered, not as this "Jordan" they keep referring him to. He wants his star on the wall when its over as No 24.
Someone on the inside remembers him. Another just wants it over, and want's the truth. He doesn't think they need Jordan anymore. This isn't the best way to operate, as no star is bigger than the game.
They take it back to the building where it all began. Pau takes it public. It's over. Jordan's retired. They accept it now. He has his name back.
Again, with this, I tried to fit another player in, but the one thing the Lakers are good at is surrounding Kobe with the right pieces.
The Mighty Ducks
This page will be less dramatic than the others. It was only when I thought of this movie, or movies, that I realized whom Kobe was: Adam Banks.
For those of you are not familiar with this story, these movies follow the journey of how an unorthadox coach and captain take the worst Pee-Wee hockey team in the league, to a division title. Then, bigger and better things came in the sequels.
Adam was the superstar. Always the best player on the ice, even against bigger and better teams he shone. It was always Charlie's team though. Even when he didn't play.
Kobe is the same. He has never been on a team made in his image.
When the other players around him aren’t good enough, he succeeds in spite of them.
If you look at all of Kobe's teams, this is true.
The 2000-20002 Lakers dynasty team played like Shaq.
The almost-lotto Lakers? Smush Parker ?
The 2008 NBA Finals team was Pau’s. Does anyone seriously think Vlad Rad would start on a team in Kobe’s image?
The camaraderie of the Redeem Team also reflects its leader: LeBron James. So does the fact that all these great players were willing to defer to each other, and want to do it again.
So, the real question is, who's team will Kobe play on? Which current NBA No. 1 option would embrace the opportunity to share the spotlight with Kobe?
Is there another Scottie Pippen?
Note: Feel free to comment on who you think this player could be and if it would be on the Lakers?