May the fourth be with you. Today is Star Wars Day, the only holiday that justifies it’s existence with the use of a terrible pun. I’m not a hater of Star Wars Day, but couldn’t it happen on a different day, like May 25th (the release date of the 1st Star Wars movie)? I digress; today is also the opening game of the Eastern Conference semi-finals between the Chicago Bulls and the Cleveland Cavaliers. With Stars War on the brain, I got to thinking that this Bulls-Cavs series is very reminiscent of the Rebel Alliance’s battle with the Empire. Here are my conclusions:
1) Derrick Rose is Luke Skywalker
Both men have suffered grave injuries in the line of battle (Rose and knee, Luke and his hand). Hopefully, DRose follows in Luke’s footsteps and defeats Darth Vader. Speaking of which…
2) LeBron James is Darth Vader
This doesn’t mean LeBron is evil, in fact both James and Vader are tragic characters in retrospect. LeBron was seen as a coward for leaving Cleveland for Miami. Vader made up for his transgressions through his death, while James is trying to do that with his return. It can also be said that LeBron is, in fact, a Basketball Sith Lord sent here to destroy opponents with his mastery of the force.
3) Joakim Noah is Princess Leia
This is not a stretch, I promise you. According to the Stars Wars Data Bank, “Princess Leia Organa was one of the Rebel Alliance’s greatest leaders, fearless on the battlefield and dedicated to ending the tyranny of the Empire.” Sound like a certain former Defensive MVP for a certain Chicago Bulls? Plus the hair, am I right?
A scoundrel, a loose cannon, a man who cannot be tamed; all of these characteristics not only describes one of the greatest characters in the galaxy, but one of the greatest rookies in Chicago Bulls history. As for the Chewy-Gasol comparisons, both are know for their short tempers and their big hearts. Plus, they kind of look alike don’t they?
(Editors Note/Breaking News: Gasol cast as Chewbacca stand in for Star Wars: The Force Awakens)
5) Kyrie Irving is Galen Marek (Starkiller)
Now this one is the biggest stretch considering that Starkiller was only in “Force Unleashed” video games and not in the actual movie, but when the shoe fits. Starkiller was an assassin used by Vader to kill various members of the Jedi Order in order to begin war on the galaxy. Uncle Drew is an assassin on the basketball court, used by James when teams can be exploited by his passing and creating abilities or when an opponents back court is particularly weak.
6) Taj Gibson is Lando Calrissian
Quick witted and daring, Lando was an invaluable member of the Rebel Alliance. But, try as he might, he would never ever be able to replace Han. Sounds like Taj right? Important to the Bulls, but not a good enough replacement for Mirotic.
7) Aaron Brooks is R2-D2 and Mike Dunleavy is C-3PO
R2 is the gutsy little robot who is always there for a quick fix. He’s a skilled starship mechanic and fighter pilot’s assistance. He’ even there with Luke on Dagobah; strapped to Skywalker’s back as he is completing Yoda’s grueling training exercises. Aaron is the Bulls gutsy, quick-fix. He’s ready to help DRose when ever need be.
On the flip side, C-3PO is humanoid protocol droid designed for etiquette. Dunleavy is a 13-year pro who thrives using proper technique, footwork, and spacing. In order for the Bulls to be successful, both of these role players must find a way to rise to the occasion during pivotal events during this series much like R2 and C-3PO found there way into key events during the rebellion.
8) The rest of the Cavaliers are Stormtroppers
Minus Kevin Love, who is out of the lineup due to injury, the rest of Cleveland’s roster is of little consequence. The job of both and Stormtropper and a Cavalier is to contribute to the war effort while protecting those hire up the food chain. Both are necessary for victory, and both can beat you if you let them. But if you take away those who are in charge (James/Vader), then both with collapse into a conglomerate of individuals only looking out for themselves.
9) Tom Thibodeau is Admiral Ackbar
Admiral Ackbar was instrumental in the destruction of the Death Star II, and the eventual victory of the Rebel Alliance. Thibs needs to be just as decisive and tactical in order for the Bulls to overcome Cleveland in this semi-finals match up.
(Editor’s Note: How has a defensive-minded coach never said the word “trap” on national television?)
10) Jimmy Butler is Wedge Antilles
Now this one is the least obvious comparison, but it is the most important/best fitting. Wedge was one of the founding members of the Rogue Squadron, along with Luke Skywalker and Commander Arhul Narra. Wedge was a key member of the team that destroyed the first Death Star, as well as the pilot to eliminate Death Star II. He is the only fighter pilot to survive both skirmishes. The Bulls need Jimmy Butler to be Wedge Antilles. While Rose, Gasol, and Mirotic willl be focused upon by the Cav’s defense, it will be Butler who draws LeBron James on defense. If Butler can’t score against James, he must then be able to help his teammates exploit weaker match ups. It will also be up to Butler to slow James down defensively while players like Rose, Dunleavy, Brooks, and Tony Snell try and stop Kryie Irving defensively. Just like Antilles in Return of the Jedi, it will be up to Butler to destroy the Cavaliers right at their core.
My prediction for the game is Bulls in seven. With Kevin Love out for the remainder of the playoffs, and J.R. Smith suspended for the first two games, the Bulls have a fighting chance to win a game in Cleveland.
Either way, this series should go down to the wire.
(Food for thought)