A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… a group of talented men united in furtherance of one goal: to bring an NBA Championship to Gotham, a city in which you’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. For over a thousand generations – it sure feels like – these men were the guardians of peace from Hoth to Hardwood. Before the dark times… before David Stern’s Empire.
Now, against impossible odds and a swarming national media that will stop at nothing to derail the aspirations of its long-suffering fan base, the 2011-12 New York Knickerbockers prepare to make yet another stand.
Help them, Obi-Wan D’Antoni, you’re their only hope.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
Amar’e Stoudemire as Luke Skywalker – “That boy is our last hope.” Not unlike both Luke and his father Anakin before him, a wide-eyed and perhaps naïve Amar’e was rescued from the mean desert-streets of
Tattooine Phoenix with promises of a better life and an out-of-this-world party scene. STAT had always known that his destiny lied on a different path than your average Moisture Vaporator Repairman. All his life had he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was, what he was doing. Adventure. Excitement. A Jedi Power Forward craves not these things – have you seen those back-to-the-Sarlaac moves? – but there’s just something about Amar’e. The force is strong with this one, and if the Knicks are to bring balance to the NBA, Amar’e must lead the way. Or must he? “No, there is another.”
Carmelo Anthony as Han Solo – ‘Melo’s a smuggler alright; a smuggler of lethal game-winning shots! Look, no one wants to play second-fiddle, and Anthony is no exception. He’s not afraid to put himself out there, either, as evidenced by this quote upon his arrival in New York: “Hokey George Karl game plans and an ancient Andre Miller are no match for a good blaster at your side.” ‘Melo lines up as the true Knick-protagonist, oft-criticized for his perceived greedy trade-orchestration – let’s see you try shorting Jabba the Hut a mid-level exception or two – but ultimately indispensable, some might say unparalleled, in his ability to save the day without breaking a sweat. If New York is to emerge from the throes of mediocrity, Anthony needs to spend less time on record-setting Kessel Runs, and more time giving cover so Amar’e can make those one-in-a-million
exhaust-port mid-range shots.
James Dolan as Darth Vader – Until his recent level-headed, and dare I say… helpful, involvement in ending the NBA lockout, the name
Vader Dolan has for eons evoked fear and terror across the galaxy. Historically, demanding his Generals General Managers to tighten their grips has only led to more starships championships slipping through his fingers. Remember what happened to Admiral Scott Layden once he failed the Empire for the last time? But this new version of his Sithship seemingly portends peace and stability in the Knick universe. One gets the sense that throughout their sad existences, both Dolan and Vader have only sought love and validation for their oft-misunderstood behavior. Perhaps now, Gothamites are finally ready to embrace him as one of their own. Assuming those free-agency space-bucks keep flowing from the Coruscant City Vault.
David Stern as Emperor Palpatine – Just a few short weeks ago, there seemed to be little hope of a season when Stern warned Billy Hunter: “Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. It was I who allowed the Players Association to know the location of the hidden league revenue. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best attorneys awaits them. Oh, I’m afraid the
deflector shield preliminary injuction will be quite operational when your friends arrive. Your union has failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL lock out!” Thankfully, cooler heads prevailed and nuclear disaster was averted.
Coach Mike D’Antoni as Obi-Wan Kenobi – MDA is a really good coach. Which is true, from a certain point of view. Sadly, he thinks he can train
Jedis players just as well as a certain well-known Zen-Master from Montana. He’s wrong. Much like Obi-wan, D’Antoni was taught patience as a youngling, but he’s been reckless since then, and his faith in the theory that the best defense is a good offense – in seven seconds or less, mind you – is his weakness. It’s only a matter of time before he’s reduced to a smoldering pile of Men’s Wearhouse-wear at Dolan’s hand, but the real question is whether MDA’s final act will be one of sacrifice for the greater good, or a pointless display of lightsabery-doom. Phil Jackson and Stephen A. Smith are betting on the latter.
Donnie Walsh as Yoda – There is considerable galactic debate as to who’s older, the wily executive or the diminutive sage-colored sage, but one thing is clear; when 800 years old, look this good you will not. Let’s face it, Walsh has seen a lot of things in his
millennium day. He knows what it takes to win, and like Master Yoda, he’s highly skilled at recruiting the necessary talent to get the job done. Eventually. Even if it’s after he’s dead. Plus, both have experience in being exiled to wholly irrelevant existences in a barren wasteland Indiana. Screw Yoda’s hazy afterlife-apparitioning, though; Walsh is an Imperial Consultant, and his hoops-wisdom remains but a hologram transmission away. Chauncey Billups Chris Paul as R2D2 – Much like the late Richard Harris was never going to live long enough to see a Harry Potter sequel – let alone seven of them – the indispensable R2D2 is far too important a galactic player to trust Billups with the role. In fact, one might argue that without R2 – Star Wars’ only pure point guard – we’d all be wearing Stormtroopers suits to work everyday. As such, only the best will do when it comes to everyone’s favorite droid. And here is where things get interesting. We’re going to hear a lot about CP3 (ironic, isn’t it?) over the coming days and weeks, and if you thought Melopalooza was fun, just you wait until R2D2 shows up for Karaoke night at the Cantina Bar. For the record, prudence dictates that Billups be allowed to show his stuff for a full season, especially since an R2 played by Paul won’t leave much in the budget for extras.
Isiah Thomas as Lando Calrissian – That Isiah, he’s a card player, gambler, you’d like him! Sometimes it seemed like Isiah really was living in his very own Cloud City, and not unlike everybody’s favorite interstellar-scoundrel, Zeke always thought he was being treated unfairly. At his core, Lando isn’t really such a bad guy; he’s got one helluva mustache, and he knows when a deal’s getting worse all the time (see, e.g. Curry, Eddy and/or James, Jerome). And inexplicably, Vader/Dolan never beheads him, which makes little sense since lightsaber wounds cauterize immediately, so there’s no risk of soiling the Sith Lord’s cape with blood and/or undigested Colt 45.
Isiah Thomas as Mace Windu – That Isiah, he’s got range as an actor, huh? And before you go lobbing accusations of racism, it just so happens that Zeke is quite adept at playing whatever role is necessary to assuage the company he’s in. Heck, the fallen Windu – who once ran the Jedi Council, but was mercilessly slain by the Emperor as a young
Dolan Vader looked on – is not so unlike Thomas, who once ran the Continental Basketball Association and can be now be found encased in Carbonite in the quad at Florida International University.
Adam Silver as Darth Maul – Master and apprentice, always there are two. No more. No less.
Kenyon Martin as Boba Fett – Sure, there are lots of
bounty hunters free agents out there, but what the Knicks need most is a cunning and sinister player who is willing to do the dirty work, even if he comes along with some serious “Daddy-issues.” Martin may not be perfect fit, and he’ll be away on business on Planet Geonosis in China through March, but he makes sense as a piece of the puzzle, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Rony Turiaf as Chewbacca – “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!”
Glen Grunwald as General Motti – What’s that, you say? No idea who Motti is? Well, let’s just say that despite his best efforts to pretend otherwise, he really was quite frightened by Dolan’s sorcerer’s ways. Advice to Grunwald? Eyes in the back of your head, Bruh.
Jared Jefferies as C3PO – Really, was this one going to go any other way? In fairness to C3PO, he does have better hand-robot-eye coordination than Jefferies.
Chris Bosh as Jar Jar Binks – Many Bothans died to bring us this image.
The Knick City Dancers as Cantina Bar groupies – Probably not too much of a stretch here, and they can also serve double duty on the deck-lounge of Jabba’s sand-barge.
La La Vazquez as Princess Leia – Let’s just hope she doesn’t go kissing Amar’e when that championship trophy gets presented. Harmless congratulations can be misinterpreted ‘round here, a’ight?
Eddy Curry as Jabba the Hutt – “All too easy.”