December 2008 Archives

The NBA: Origins

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I have a piece today on Slate about the New York Knicks' ridiculous courtship of LeBron James, two years ahead of the fact. I frame it in terms of Marvel Comics' long-running "WhatIf" series. This has caused a bubble of speculation online about what would happen if Wolverine actually did join the Knicks. Nerds. The piece is a critique of the NBA, not a fan-boy analysis of superheroes' basketball-playing abilities. Anyway, here's one favorite scenario:

Wolverine would (presumably) not be allowed to use his claws in an actual NBA game, so that’s a problem. Animal-keen senses and enhanced physical abilities describe pretty much everybody in the NBA except maybe Eddy Curry, you have to have at least what I’d consider to be enhanced physical abilities to at least get to a high level in the NBA. Where Wolverine differs would be in his stamina (you could pencil him in for 48 minutes a night, even on back-to-back games on West Coast road trips) and his strength (you don’t lightly foul a man with a metal skeleton). Even if he had below-average ball-handling ability, you’d think he could drive the lane on a consistent basis and no one would want to mess with him. Wolverine would, you’d think, be able to intimidate every wannabe tough guy in the NBA from Shaq on down.

And thus, we fiddle while the recession burns.

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