Lakers At The Movies

Darius Soriano —  February 26, 2011

Mike Crowder returns for another piece here at FB&G. With the Oscars coming up tomorrow and the Lakers considered (to a certain extent) “Hollywood”, Mike takes a look at the Lakers at the movies. Enjoy.

As fans, we seek to understand our athletes. We want to know why they do what they do. We want to know the motivation of previous actions to help us predict what they will do in the future.

One way we do this is by making analogies. Kobe is like Jordan. Pau is the new McHale. Derrick Character’s upside is Antoine Carr. These analogies give us context, and the search for context makes us the kind of fans that read a site like FB & G. Obviously comparing players with their predecessors is helpful in a very tangible way. We understand that Kobe’s statistics should approach Jordan’s, his leadership will be dynamic, and he is likely to amaze us. We can also predict his unpredictability, his dynamism.

Sometimes the payer to player analogies can be limiting. There is more information to be had, other ways to think about the players. In terms of basketball, Ziller and Shoals at Free Darko have used charts to show how limiting trying to define players by traditional positional stereotypes can be.  When it comes to personalities, Bill Simmons uses pop-culture to help understand players. I’m waiting for him to compare Kobe and Pau’s dynamic to Ronnie and Sammie Sweetheart.  I don’t want to try to get inside Simmons’ head, but I wonder if he hates the fact he spends so much time thinking about the Lakers and The Jersey Shore.

A couple of weeks ago Kobe made one of these analogies himself. Kobe, in reference to Pau’s aggressiveness, said that Pau needed to be more “black swan.” Kobe’s use of the reference of the Darren Aronofsky film of that title, certainly one of tongue-and-cheek and very funny, illuminated not only that Kobe was a fan of art house films (we always knew Kobe has a streak of intellectualism), but another way Kobe perceives his and Pau’s relationship.

The film is about the transition that a dancer, Nina Sayers played by Natalie Portman, has to make to take on the Swan Queen. The Swan Queen is a dual role of both good and evil. White and black. Nina, a technically proficient dancer who exudes proficiency and a wholesomeness, is told by Thomas Leroy, the ballet company’s director played in a clichéd but convincingly by Vincent Cassell, that if she the role of the Swan Queen, she must embody the purity of the White Swan and the provocative nature of the Black Swan.

Kobe sees himself as Thomas (pronounced to-Mas not Tom-as, a distinction only made to exemplify of the type of film Black Swan is): in search of perfection (a descriptor of Kobe lifted from Free Darko’s first book), in control, and empowered to lead as a definer of other’s roles. Kobe also sees Pau as Nina: technical, pure, full of potential, but lacking the edge necessary to be complete.

It’s a really interesting and apt analogy. I’m not sure I heard anyone in the media respond to it who couldn’t see its validity. Kobe’s analogy only articulated, in a new way, how a lot of us felt about Pau. “He is great now, but he would be really something if had a darker aggressive edge.”

Since it is Oscar Season, and the Lakers are the Lakers, I thought looking at some of the other players Oscar Film counterparts, would be a nice diversion from this Laker team’s annual swoon (save the nice wins against Portland and Atlanta) .

Pau= Nina, Black Swan:

Kobe and said it and we all agreed: Pau needs to be more Black Swan. We get it. Pau is an interesting case; the perpetual sidekick. Eduardo Saverin as the Mark Zuckerberg’s disposed partner from The Social Network is interesting (Pau/Kobe=Saverin/Zuckerberg) works in a way.  Saverin is necessary to Facebook’s existence as Pau is to this Lakers. But, I think LaBoeuf from True Grit is even better. LaBoeuf is much maligned in the film, and appropriately so as he is a buffoon. He can be ancillary, conceited, and inept, but does come up clutch as hell.

Kobe= Mark Zuckerberg, The Social Network:

Genius. Driven. Immature. Ruthless. Great. Antisocial. Genius. Geek. Millionaire. Innovative. Punk. Selfish. Talented. Savant. Prodigious. Accomplished. Genius.

Phil= Rooster Cogburn, True Grit:

In the opening courtroom scene of True Grit, Rooster Cogburn is giving testimony about a shooting he was involved in. The prosecutor asks him in which direction he was moving as he backed up, Cogburn replies, “backward I suspect.” Phil, right? Also, you always got a feeling that Cockburn was tracking one last criminal in True Grit. It was his “Last Stand.” And I would consider sleeping in the back of a Chinese Herbalist’s store a lot like losing to the Cavs.

Lamar= The Winklevoss Twins, The Social Network:

Lamar’s mercurial nature forces him to be looked in the context of duality. The Winklevoss twins are played by one person, Armie Hammer. I know it’s a stretch but I just like saying the Winklevoss twins and Armie Hammer. They have awesome names.

Ron= Dicky Eklund The Fighter:

The best character in any off the films of 2010 has to be Dicky Eklund played by Christian Bale. Dicky could be called “essentially a crack head.” And while he is a crack head, that does not define him. A not so nuanced take on Ron-Ron would be to call him a crazy person, as Ron is self-professed as being crazy. Ron essentiality comes from his toughness and loyalty. His heart and his ambition define him. Sometimes his self-awareness can be questioned. A scene that encapsulates Dicky is when he is in a crack den being filmed by what he thinks is an HBO documentary on his comeback to boxing, and his crack head girlfriend asks what the camera are there for again, the director responds “to show people what its really like to be on crack.”  Dicky doesn’t it get it. But when it matters the most and his brother, Micky Ward, really needs him. He is there. Like a clutch three in game seven of the NBA Finals.

Derek Fisher= Arthur, Inception:

The venerable teammate. There when matters. Unflashy and consistent. Some might say with major deficiencies.

Andrew Bynum=any character from The Kings Speech

Supposed to be amazing, but I haven’t seen it and I might never.

Shannon Brown =Tom Chaney (Josh Brolin), True Grit:

Small role, not sure if is incredibly stupid or incredibly intelligent.

Steve Blake= Sean Parker, The Social Network:

Blond with a debatable impact. If not debatable, at least the impact isn’t obvious.

To fans like us, the gold trophies those stars get on Sunday don’t matter; the real important trophy gets hoisted in June, and it doesn’t get awarded, the real stars take that one.

-Michael Crowder
(follow Mike on twitter at @mikecrowder_BK)

Darius Soriano

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