Miami Heat: 7 Team Figures and the Simpsons Characters That Represent Them
It's good to lighten up and have a pointless good time every once in awhile.
With this in mind, the following piece is very likely the most pointless I'll ever write: assigning key Miami Heat figures a counterpart in the Simpsons universe.
This is obviously not intended for serious debate. Since The Simpsons is not a basketball show, comparisons will be drawn on various other aspects of each character, making them that much more subjective. You may not concur.
Perhaps you feel LeBron passes with the surgical precision of a Dr. Hibbert, or that Chris Bosh is more like Maude Flanders in the post. Your thoughts are welcome.
Pat Riley: C. Montgomery Burns
Because who else is Pat Riley going to be?
In terms of stated occupation—in this case, corporate mastermind—Mr. Burns is pretty much the only Simpsons character who's not a partial failure at best. He's actually a notable success.
He's ruthless in his pursuit of money and power, and goes to comically ridiculous lengths increase his wealth of both. Among his more insane schemes, he blocked the sun, bought the media, bought and sold a church and flipped an ecological disaster from a recycling plant.
He also once failed (bafflingly) to take candy from a baby.
Riley, meanwhile, has succeeded so damn well at everything he's done that he has a Jordanesque amount of NBA rings, and does personal success seminars. So...check on the "not a failure" part.
As far as being cartoonishly ruthless, his more notable antics include trotting out two-thirds of the MVP pool, and what the hell, Bosh too (I imagine for the bonus miles). If that's not ruthless, I don't know what is.
Incidentally, Riley also failed to take candy from a baby last June.
Erik Spoelstra: Seymour Skinner
Seymour Skinner is the principal at Springfield Elementary, for those of you who have never seen the show.
He's been through the horrors of the Vietnam war, and yet sometimes seems overwhelmed by what should be an easier occupation as principal. The school superintendant is a character on the show for the sole purpose of chewing him out at every foul-up.
Skinner takes his job very seriously, but nobody takes him seriously. He often tries to approach the children with sound logic, which is completely lost on them, so ultimately he loses every debate he gets into.
Erik Spoelstra has been through the horrors of a 15-win season, and yet sometimes he seems overwhelmed by his current position at the helm of a title favorite.
He often responds to rumors about his job security by focusing on the team, which is completely lost on an overstimulated media that seems to exist for the sole purpose of belittling his coaching skills at every misstep.
Like Skinner, Spoelstra takes his job quite seriously, but few people take him seriously as a dynasty-level coach, the likes of which this team supposedly can't do without.
Juwan Howard: Gil Gunderson
A recurring character with brief appearances every couple episodes, Gil is the down-on-his-luck loser who's always waiting to catch a break that never comes.
He's unconfident, nervous and desperately optimistic about every endeavor he undertakes, thinking this will be the time Ol' Gil's hard work finally pays off. Of course, being vastly incompetent, he always manages to come up short in the most unnecessary ways.
Juwan Howard is Heat's old veteran who, at age 38, is playing well into the retirement age for the average player. Also, considering he's one of those few unfortunate to know what it feels like to come up short in both the NCAA and NBA Finals, he could be described as down on his luck.
And yet like everyone else in Miami, Howard must have been wildly optimistic this time last year. He had hitched his wagon to the perfect...wagon...and surely, he thought, his many years of hard work were about to be rewarded with a quick ring before hanging up his sneakers.
Of course, being incredibly unlucky, he also managed to latch onto teams that have to come up short in the most unnecessarily bizarre ways, from Chris Webber's phantom timeout to LeBron's Invisible Man routine.
Udonis Haslem: Nelson Muntz
Nelson Muntz is the school bully, and one of the longest-standing characters on the show. He started out as an arch-nemesis to Bart and Milhouse, but over the years they've been friends on an off.
Pretty much anytime the kids are in a situation that calls for some muscle, Nelson is it, since he's the only one in the bunch with any kind of toughness. Whenever he isn't around to play the enforcer, the other kids (including the other bullies) inevitably get roughed up.
For his part, Udonis Haslem is also the Heat's only physical intimidator, or at least their most consistent. Basically if Haslem isn't there, the rest of the team (including the other bigs) inevitably get owned in the paint.
When he was out of the lineup with foot problems, the Heat's most talked-about shortcoming was their lack of a strong presence inside capable of doing the necessary dirty work.
Along with Dwyane Wade, Haslem is the longest-standing member of the team.
Chris Bosh: Milhouse Van Houten
I can't think of a better Simpsons character to describe Chris Bosh than Bart's goofy best buddy Milhouse.
In actuality, Milhouse is more of a loser that Bart hangs out with. He tags along more than anything, and although fans of the show know him well, he only has fleeting visibility from one show to the next.
He is easily sucked into crazy situations by Bart, and rarely ever makes it out gracefully. He comes from a broken home, is reputably uncool (and funny-looking) and can often be seen crying.
Chris Bosh is LeWade's goofy best buddy who came to Miami from a broke franchise.
In actuality, some view Bosh as the tag-along guy, who fades into the woodwork every couple of games. He's well-known to informed NBA fans, but up until the Big Two sucked him into the Miami media tornado, he was far from visible to the casual observer.
Bosh also has a reputation as a softie, a guy you can push around with no repercussions whatsoever. He's also been described as funny-looking by some of the more juvenile Heat dislikers out there.
Finally, Bosh's tear ducts got more playing time last year than Jerry Stackhouse and Jamaal Magloire put together.
LeBron James: Homer Simpson
Homer Simpson is the bumbling star of the Simpsons who is so universally recognized that he transcends the show, becoming a pop culture icon in the process.
Among Homer's trademarks (and now a staple of animated sitcoms) is to say the absolute opposite of the right thing pretty much every chance he gets. He gives bad advice, has a humorously dysfunctional understanding of society and propriety and reacts completely wrong to every situation.
He's big and loud and takes up space, and he's famous for a single exclamation he's said thousands times.
LeBron James is the star of the show (i.e. the most recognizable character, the one people see more of) and is such a household name that some people know who he is without even knowing he's a basketball player.
For the past couple years, in between playing stellar basketball—don't worry, I won't mention the Finals—LeBron has, like Homer, shown an uncanny knack for expressing himself in a disastrous fashion. He's the reason the public relations profession even has a suicide rate.
I kid, I kid.
Also, on the court LeBron is big, loud, and has finished thousands of plays with an exclamation.
Dwyane Wade: Bart Simpson
The show's other household name, Bart used to be the star of the sitcom in its earlier years before Homer came along and stole the show with his ridiculous shenanigans.
At any given time, though, Bart is still easily capable of handling an entire episode by himself. In fact, Homer's hijinks often benefit from Bart's presence, and in the end Homer would be nowhere without Bart no matter how much more of the spotlight he currently gets.
Bart can be just as hare-brained and misguided as his dad is—in many respects, he's just a younger version of Homer—and the two are constantly teaming up for some inane scheme in the hopes of cheap success.
Dwyane Wade is the other half of Miami's Big Two, although he's the most established, and spent his first few years as the central star of the team. That is, until a certain Akronite came to town.
Now, Wade plays second fiddle in terms of who bathes in the spotlight, and yet he remains the foundation of the team, capable of single-handedly dragging them out of a hole. LeBron's on-court antics—and, I would wager, his self-confidence—often benefit from Wade's presence.
On the court, Wade is just as explosive and talented as LeBron—in many ways, he's just a shorter version of LeBron—and the two are constantly teaming up on the break. They also recently combined their efforts in the hopes achieving what many call cheap success.