Come to me, Son of Jellybean…

The 2010-11 NBA season and the plot from Superman II

I was watching Kobe Bryant on television firing back against the unmitigated hype surrounding the New Miami Heat and its South Beach “Legion of Doom”, and suddenly it hit me.  Don’t you see what’s going on?

Look at the emerging storyline.  A hero who has proven himself in the past (Kobe) but whose powers may be fading is all that civilization has left to push back the tide of treachery brought by an upstart triumvirate claiming to possess powers superior to the old hero.

Its the plot from Superman II!!!  Its exactly the plot from Superman II!! Its like its been stolen in whole cloth form!  Brilliant ploy, and I’ll bet David Stern is behind the whole thing.

Whoever is, its working — big time.    I cannot ever remember feeling and hearing such a buzz of anticipation so far in advance of any NBA regular season.  People want to get this thing on.  They can’t wait to see what is going to happen.  They can’t wait to see what, if any, destruction and mayhem the Legion of Doom can inflict on the basketball society.

And they can’t wait to see who will lead the Forces of Virtue and stand up against them in the name of everything that is right and good.  It looks like Kobe has taken up the challenge.  He and the Lakers seem the perfect “good boy” counterbalance to the South Beach bad boys.  Its all too perfect.  Its a formula guaranteed to score big in America.
There is nothing… nothing… Americans loves more than a clear cut, unambiguous showdown between a gang of thugs wearing black hats and a gang of saints wearing white hats. No middle ground.  Hell versus Heaven.  Americans eat it up with a spoon.This was the basic formula behind the whole “Western” movie genre which essentially became an industry onto itself, generating huge amounts of cash for almost two generations.

LeBron as the NBA’s King “Heel”

The whole good guys versus bad guys thing is the idea that drove wrestling from smelly little armory gym “cards” to the multi billion dollar “shows” that we see today (the application of this concept was first pioneered and brilliantly executed by the late George Wagner.  Wagner once gave  Muhammad Ali a piece of advice that made his fortune: “A lot of people will pay to see someone shut your mouth. So keep on bragging, keep on sassing and always be outrageous”).

Thats the basic recipe for modern wrestling on television.  Its both brilliant in its psychology and bizarre in its structure.  Only about 3% of each wrestling show consists of actual choreographed, (and often bland) “wrestling matches”.  The rest of the show consists of long-winded hyperbole and contrived “good versus evil” plot point setups.  These antics are carried out by purposefully distasteful characters making purposefully offensive comments or expressing purposefully counter-popular opinions, all designed to super-reinforce a sort of blood lust against them.  (Remind you of anything?  The Decision and then the gaudy Introduction of the Legion of Doom in Miami).   Once the villians establish themselves as despicable, suddenly people have a reason to continue to tune in every week… if they don’t they might miss seeing the  loudmouth jerks get their come-uppance.

For the NBA, LeBron has taken on the villain (or more commonly “the heel”) role.  And like a wrestling villain, Lebron has spent the whole summer ginning up hatred.  All his self-aggrandizing behavior; All his overly boastful commentary; It all wreaks of wrestling hype.  His speech at his Miami introduction, even his delivery of his speech — with its long-winded, semi-literate arrogance — seemed to come right out of Vince McMahon’s cookbook (“We not gonna be satisfied with just one championship. We gonna win two championships… three championships… four championships…).  Even Pat Riley looked disgusted.

But that is just the juice a struggling sports league needs.  Muhammad Ali used the same basic methodology to put boxing back on the map just when it seemed to be losing steam.  LeBron is doing the same for basketball.  David Stern must be whetting himself.  Basketball is about to enter what should be one of its wildest and most lucrative — and most wrestling-like — seasons ever.  As Terrell Owens would say “Gitch ya popcown ready!”

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9 Responses to “Come to me, Son of Jellybean…”

  1. Alvy Says:

    ty, what the hell man lol

  2. Blake Says:

    That was an epic post! lol

    Though if there is any team that can bring down the South Beach Boys, it’s the Milwaukee Bucks…

  3. tywill33 Says:

    Blake,

    The Bucks you say? I actually agree with you, I think they’re the most logical team to give the Heat… oh, wait there’s an announcement coming over the loudspeaker:

    “The brown acid that is circulating around us isn’t too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it’s your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?”

  4. tywill33 Says:

    Im messin with ya!!

    Go Bucks!

  5. jbrett Says:

    Ty,

    Who will step up, or should I say get down in the mud, to fill the Lex Luthor role? Who could LA anticipate would betray them, and plan accordingly? The only guess I have is Ron-Ron, but it’s just no fun to think that way, so I’m stumped. Any thoughts?

    • tywill33 Says:

      It looks like Kevin Durant! Did you see the article on Slate? Apparently I had it wrong. Durant, not Bryant, is being groomed as the Anti-LeBron.

      Or wait, you’re saying Lex Luthor… was he in that movie? Would that be Riley???

  6. jbrett Says:

    I think maybe it IS Riley. Do you suppose Kobe, or Durant, can talk Riley into stabbing another coach in the back, and then the Evil Trio will lose their powers?

    • tywill33 Says:

      That’s awesome! Did you see the look on Hairdo’s face when LeBron kept going on “six championships… seven championships”? Priceless.

      BTW, I did a Google on my quote and came up with nothing but my quote. But I’m pretty sure its not original.

      Ty

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