Pick and Roll: the TV/Movie Basketball All-Star Team
What if you took every fictional basketball player from every TV show and movie you've ever seen and compiled a "Dream Team" of sorts? Well, you don't have to, because we've done it (and have already done it for baseball and football -- see the links below). You may disagree with some of the selections, but you can't disagree that this is one stacked team. We have 15 players and a stout coaching staff. Check it out and let us know what you think.
1. No real, famous people. Allow me to further clarify this rule, as there seemed to be some confusion on the TV/Movie Football Team column. When I say no real, famous people who were portrayed on a movie, I'm still allowing people who weren't famous before a movie was made about them. If someone was already famous and they were in a movie, or had a movie made about their life, they are out (Pistol: The Birth of a Legend). So, for example, Remember the Titans (about a high school team) was OK and Brian's Song (involved Gale Sayers) was not. If a movie made an individual or an entire team famous, they are eligible (Hoosiers). The 1954 Milan team wasn't nationally known and then the movie was made (they are the Hickory Huskers on the big screen).
One close call here: Glory Road. The Texas Western team went down in history and any real college basketball fan already knew about them before the movie was made. Casual fans may not have, though, so it was a tough omission.
2. Protagonist teams only. While there are always some good players on opposing teams, it's not near as fun to include "bad guys." So we're only including players who played for the "good guys."
3. Ridiculousness not allowed. If a dog or cartoon characters are playing basketball, we aren't interested. This is for actual basketball movies that at least try to have some semblance of realism (everything doesn't have to be realistic, because these are fictional movies, but there's a certain point when things go overboard). If two idiots kidnap Damon Wayans and somehow get away with it, we're definitely looking the other way as well. No Air Bud, no Space Jam, no Celtic Pride, etc.
4. Charisma matters. Sure, we want a great team, but strength of character matters, too. For every Jimmy Chitwood there needs to be a Sidney Deane to cancel out the boredom. And if it comes down to two guys who are pretty equal in on-court ability, we're going with the personality. This is entertainment, after all.
The Starting Lineup
C: Neon Bordeaux (Shaquille O'Neal, Blue Chips) - Pretty easy choice here, as Neon is basically portrayed as the real-life Shaq. Not only do we get the insane post-presence one of the best centers of all time provides, but he's also very charismatic (easily the best in the movie, putting Penny to shame).
PF: Everett (David Neidorf, Hoosiers) - The crop of power forwards in movies or on TV shows is particularly thin. Everyone is usually either a swingman, point guard, sharpshooter or center. Not surprisingly, the best basketball movie ever made delivered us the power forward goods in the form of the town drunk's son. Everett is a selfless player. He plays with pulled stitches. He'll go to battle -- literally -- if someone messes with his teammates. He'll set picks and do the dirty work on the boards. Obvious choice as a starter.
SF: Jimmy Chitwood (Maris Valainis, Hoosiers) - He's so good his team almost staged a mutiny when their coach decided to use him as a decoy for the last second game-winner. Of course, he simply said, "I'll make it." And he did, which wasn't really surprising considering he shot about 95 percent during the movie. This is our No. 1 option for a last-second shot. [Note: Yeah, I slid him to three when he's clearly a two, but he has to start and the logistics work better with Jimmy at small forward. Sue me.]
SG: Jesus Shuttlesworth (Ray Allen, He Got Game) - C'mon, it's freaking Ray Allen. He's our second late-game option.
PG: Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes, White Men Can't Jump) - Honestly, I wanted to put both Sidney and Billy Hoyle (you'll see him below) in the starting lineup. I can't express how much I love this movie. I own it on DVD and have seen it so many times I could recite the timeless trash talk verbatim. The only way I could see anyone question this decision is if they don't think Sidney could be enough of a distributor to play the point on a team with talented scorers like Shuttlesworth, Chitwood and Bordeaux. The bottom line with Deane, though, is he just wants to win. You mostly see him playing two-on-two in the movie, but he still proved to be a great passer and always brought stellar defense. Plus, he's too good an athlete and trash-talker not to start, and this is the only feasible opening in the starting lineup.
C: Saleh (Charles Gitonga Maina, The Air Up There) - He's like 7-foot-3, so his shot-blocking presence off the bench would be invaluable.
PF: Warren Coolidge (Byron Stewart, The White Shadow) - I've honestly never seen this show, but I'm taking Bill Simmons' word for it. Simmons once did an extensive comparison between this team and the Hickory Huskers (Hoosiers) and it was enough to sell me on this being the spot for Coolidge. It sounds like he has tons of talent and we just need to keep his head on straight. I've got enough leadership here -- in addition to Coach Carter (see below) -- to make it happen.
SF: Buddy (Brad Long, Hoosiers) - Here's a very important cog on the roster. There are plenty of scorers on this team. Buddy is a lockdown defender who couldn't care less if he touches the ball all game. He's locked up every game on the other team's main scoring threat (including "Boyle, No. 15," in the State finals). Really, the greatness of Hoosiers never stops. It has given us our two main role players.
SG: Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson, White Men Can't Jump) - As I said above, I love the "Ebony and Ivory" duo so much I wanted them both to start, but it's pretty difficult to justify Hoyle over Chitwood or Shuttlesworth. Regardless, he's our sixth man. He can shoot the lights out, make no-look passes and play under pressure. He has great hands on defense, which makes up for being a step slower than some. Oh yeah ... he can dunk, too. Seriously. He just needs Sidney to set him up with the alley-oop (see youtube above).
PG: Monix (Woody Harrelson, Semi-Pro) - His leadership skills will be a great asset with the second unit, and it's hilarious to picture him alongside another Woody Harrelson character.
The Third String
C: Chief Bromden (Will Sampson, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest) - Once Jack Nicholson's character taught Chief how to actually play basketball, he became an immovable object in the paint.
PF: Jackie Moon (Will Ferrell, Semi-Pro) - The shortage of quality power forwards has left us just looking for comic relief. Plus, he can handle any fights or arguments with the officials. And please, Jackie, keep the eyeliner to yourself.
SF: Scott "Wolf" Howard (Michael J. Fox, Teen Wolf) - One condition: he must be the wolf. None of this, "I'm gonna do it the right way" crap like he did in the final game. I want the beast. I know he's too small to play three, but we're moving him here because the wolf can play big.
SG: Clarance Coffee Black (Andre Benjamin, Semi-Pro) - Once Monix got into his head after taking over the team, Clarance was able to channel his talents and become an even better player. Plus, we know he'll remain loyal to the team no matter what, after his quick change in the Mega Bowl led to alley-oop mania.
PG: Kyle Lee Watson (Duane Martin, Above the Rim) - An Allen Iverson-type point-scorer, Watson can also distribute the basketball if needed. If he's on the floor with this third-string team, though, we'll definitely need his slashing to the hoop ability, as neither post player is a scorer.
Also considered: Butch McRae (Penny Hardaway, Blue Chips) killed himself in the charisma category. What a dull dude (especially compared to someone who can turn into a wolf). Similar situation with Ricky Roe (Matt Nover) as McRae's teammate. Tony (Anthony C. Hall) was also a good player from Blue Chips, but he shaved points, so we don't need him. Rade (Steve Hollar) and Merle (Kent Poole) were quality contributors on Hoosiers, but there's just not enough room. Jimmy Dolan (Kevin Bacon, The Air Up There) was a good player and coach, but he wasn't really great enough at either to find his way in. Odin James (Mekhi Phifer, O) misses out because that movie was just unwatchable. Monica Wright-McCall (Sanaa Lathan, Love and Basketball) was a great player and made it to the WNBA, but that doesn't mean she can run with the boys. Her hubby, Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) also got a look. Abner Goldstein (Ken Michelman) and Milton Reese (Nathan Cook) from The White Shadow barely missed the cut. I did, for about one second, consider Edward Norton's character from American History X (Derek Vinyard), but thought better of it. I'll pass on the Nazi (which he was when he played basketball on the movie -- still, how the hell could a 5-foot-6 white guy dunk?), despite the fact that it was a great movie.
Head Coach: Norman Dale (Gene Hackman, Hoosiers) - Do I really even need to justify this? Check out his motivational techniques here and here. He fought through more adversity than any other coach on the tube and he knows how to prepare a team in the preseason.
Assistant Coach: Carter (Samuel L. Jackson, Coach Carter) - He'll help mold the team into a cohesive unit as men, getting each member of the squad to play together as one family. He'll fight through anything.
Assistant Coach: Pete Bell (Nick Nolte, Blue Chips) - Not that Coach Dale needs help handling the officials, but Bell will punt the ball into the crowd if need be. Plus, he's a stickler for fundamentals. He can handle the Xs and Os while Carter is the mental mentor.
Scout: Shooter (Dennis Hopper, Hoosiers) - We know how well he knows the game, but he's liable to fall off the wagon and get T'd up during a big game. Thus, he'll be best suited to scout the upcoming opponents and pass along the info to Dale, Carter and Bell.
Recruiter/General Manger/Owner: Happy (J.T. Walsh, Blue Chips) - He's willing to do whatever it takes to land the best talent, including spend his own coin. Hey, people may not like George Steinbrenner, but I think the championships speak for themselves. Gimme Happy.