There are a few things in life that really define moments for us. The birth of a child, the death of a loved one, the first day of school, your first fun-time encounter. All of these things are things we never forget and we all share these things.
We all shared a terrible moment last Saturday when Derrick Rose tore his ACL and ended his 2012 season prematurely. It’s a moment we won’t ever forget and it may define a time for some of us. But not everything almost everyone universally expierenes at some point in their lives is bad.
Like Star Wars.
We’ve all seen it. And no matter if we want to admit it or not we all loved at least some part of that movie. Even people who are too cool for school to admit they love Star Wars have a part they openly admit to loving: when it was over.
Recently Luol Deng experienced Star Wars for the first time and with it being May the Fourth, we figure what better way to lift the spirits a little and have some fun. Because a lot of what is happening to the Bulls parallels the story of Star Wars. The young scrappy hometown kid who rises to the top to take on the biggest and baddest out there for the greater good. He’s got his side kick, his team of Rebels and a wise old master to guide them along the way.
Maybe a Galaxy Far, Far Away is right here in Chicago.
Derrick Rose as Luke Skywalker
This one is obvious. I’d have leaned towards Han Solo for Rose but c’mon, he’s the chosen one. Like Luke who grew up on Tattooine where it’s not advised you go out at night or get attacked by Tuskan Raiders, Rose grew up on the South Side of Chicago where he had to fend for himself, become a man far too early and learn to not let it lead to anger, hate and suffering. He has risen to the top of the NBA and no one wants to go up against him and 9 times out of 10 it’s sure thing Rose will get the better of you. He hasn’t totally beaten the Dark Side yet and won a ring, but he’s just getting started. He’s the leader in Chicago and without him there, the Alliance in Chicago stands no chance.
Luol Deng as Han Solo
No one really knows where Han Solo came from other then it obviously wasn’t easy for him growing up and apparently he bounced around from spaceport to spaceport. Luol Deng did the same thing as a Sudanese refugee, fleeing the country at a young age making Egypt, London and eventually America his home. Solo also had to learn the ways of smuggling on his own much like Deng had to learn the ways of basketball largely on his own. But once those skills developed, Deng is a formidable sidekick in Chicago to Derrick Rose and occasionally saves him from the dangers of losing like Han has for Luke. Deng’s also a smooth operator and seems to effortlessly make plays on the court and think nothing of it. There is no second guessing with Deng and like Han he always shoots first.
Joakim Noah as Chewbacca
Here’s another obvious one. Noah’s huge, he’s hairy and he howls a lot on the court. The question I really want to know is who would win in a fight? Apparently a Wookie has been known to tear your arms out of their sockets when they lose but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen Joakim Noah do that once or twice as well. But what they both do for certain is provide when needed. Chewie doesn’t say much, isn’t the main star but he’s always around and fans love him as much as they love Luke. Noah is the same way. Shoot the ball and Noah is there to scoop it up. And Noah does quiet well with the lady population of Bulls fans as well as be a favorite among guy fans as well. Noah and Chewbacca are just there, all the time and when they are called upon they perform and provide and are valuable parts of their respective teams.
Carlos Boozer as Princess Liea
They’re both tough, they’re both rich and they both love to groom themselves. When you think about it Carlos Boozer is almost more Princess Liea then Princess Liea. They are both very important to their cause but really, they don’t drive the story forward unless it’s forced. Like Liea at the beginning of A New Hope, he has the skills to be something amazing and great and shows intense flashes of brilliance but overall there is more left to be desired. He didn’t’ make a good first impression disappearing in the playoffs last year and his third quarter of Game 2 wasn’t a very good show of faith that it won’t happen again. But hopefully in the end Boozer ends up being as important as Liea was saving Han’s behind from getting plugged. Boozer has the skills but we can’t wait on him to realize that he loves Han to make a move o be better. Other wise the whole team is going to be frozen in carbonite.
Rip Hamilton as Lando Calrissian
Just like Lando we all hated Rip until we found out he wanted to be one of the good guys all along. From his days with the Pistons, we all rooted against Rip Hamilton, hiding behind his mask and at the end of his run caused problems for Detroit. But it turns out he wanted to be a good guy all along, he just couldn’t at the time. Now that he’s in Chicago he’s Han Solo lite, he’s Derrick Rose’s side kick without having to really be his sidekick. Hamilton hasn’t had a lot of time to make his mark but hey, Lando wasn’t even introduced until the second to last movie of the Saga. But once Lando was part of the team, he destroyed the freaking Death Star for the last time. Hamilton has been around and he knows how to win. When things come down to the wire, and the pressure is on, Hamilton is going to be the guy who can focus everyone on the court with his knowledge of already have been there. Hey may not be able to destroy a space station with a giant laser — but he can win a second championship ring.
C.J. Watson as R2-D2
He’s not very big, he’s not a part of the main cast but R2-D2 is without a doubt the honorary sixth member of the team. C.J. Watson is the honorary sixth starter for the same reasons. Like R2-D2 he’s got all these little gadgets he busts out at the right time and each time no one expected it. Who knew R2 had rockets in his wheels? Who knew C.J. Watson could hit clutch three point, game winning shots against the Heat? Watson is the utility man, when something is broken (particularly something on Derrick Rose that needs fixing) Watson steps in and gives Rose a breather, but he picks up almost essentially where Rose left off. He doesn’t do too much to try and be the hero and he doesn’t slack off because he knows he’s not the main guy. Watson knows he’s part of a special team and even though he doesn’t try to be a hero he almost always manages to do his part to seem that way.
The Bench Mob as The Ewoks
The average NBA fan cares about two things: winning and highlight reel plays. But to the deeper fan, something else is essential to winning: the little guys. The Bench Mob has redefined the importance of depth. Chicago prides itself on not only having a solid starting five and an MVP in Rose, but also one of the best if not the nest bench in all of basketball. Could the Rebels have beaten the Empire on Endor without the Ewoks — absolutely not. Could George Lucas thought of something cooler then teddy bears to beat the Stormtroopers — perhaps but winning is a dirty thing and sometimes it’s not pretty. But hey, the Ewoks carried their own film (actually a slew of them) and just like the Ewoks, most of this bench starts for other teams in the NBA. From Ronnie Brewer to Omer Asik and Taj GIbson this Bench Mob has formed itself into a force and has a massive following. People love the Bench Mob, they wear shorts with the logo and wristbands and decorate their things with Bench Mob stickers. It’s a serious part of winning in Chicago and yeah you can win in prettier ways but then it’s not fun.
Tom Thibodeau as Yoda
He doesn’t speak backwards like Yoda but he’s been around for what seems like forever and sometimes he’s hard to understand. And like Yoda, Thibs is always mysterious and mystical about his philosophy. He never lets anyone in on his plans except for those that need to know. His major teaching is getting a young Bulls team to do better rather then try better. (“Do or do not, there is not try”). Thibs is the reason the Bulls are this good, he took the skills that they have and crafted them, he taught this team to be better just like Yoda takes in younglings with the potential to be great Jedi’s. If this team was really that naturally gifted, Vinny Del Negro would have had a lot more success. Thibodeau has built this team and it’s his legacy as much as it is Rose’s. If there’s no Yoda in Star Wars we have no way for Luke to learn to the force in time to save the galaxy and if there is no Thibodeau in Chicago then the Bulls are at best a 4 or 5 seed in the East.
LeBron James and the Heat/NBA/ESPN as Darth Vader and the Empire
Another obvious one but I actually choose LeBron as Darth Vader from a sympathetic stand point. LeBron is Anakin Skywalker through and through. He’s this really gifted young kid who has more talent then anyone in the game but his selfishness has corrupted him and lured him to the Dark Side. When LeBron was in Cleveland everyone and their Grandma loved LeBron and generally accepted that they were watching the next Micheal Jordan or the closest we will ever come to. When Anakin was a Jedi everyone loved him and it was generally accepted that he’d restore order in the Galaxy. But the prophecy was wrong and greed corrupted Anakin and he plunged the galaxy into darkness. He abandon the Jedi way like LeBron abandon Cleveland and is now scouring the NBA, taking no prisoners and making no friends in his quest for a title. He’s more machine now then man, his pursuit of a ring has blackened his heart and narrowed his vision. He needs to be the best or he’s not good at all. But like Anakin, LeBron was corrupted by an outside force who warped his view. In this case the NBA is Emperor Palpatine. It hailed LeBron as everything we hold him to and has worn down his sense of reality to the point where if LeBron doesn’t win LeBron is a failure. In the end, LeBron will realize what he’s become and seek redemption. He’s probably not going to throw David Stern and ESPN down an electric turbine pit but LeBron will redeem himself at some point and finally we will have order restored in the NBA Galaxy.