ESPN columnist Bill Simmons published a long discussion about the 2011 NBA Playoffs using quotes from legendary HBO crime series "The Wire." At first, it seemed like the device would just confuse things. However, after getting into the column, I began to see correlations and look at the two very different things with new understanding, despite already knowing quite a bit about both.
That gave me the idea to compare players and teams in the news with celebrities also making headlines. Who is the "Arnold Schwarzenegger" of baseball or the "Jersey Shore" of the NBA Playoffs? The different sides matched up surprisingly well. Whether you're a sports fan or an entertainment junkie, you're about to learn more about the other side.
Derek Jeter is the Arnold Schwarzenegger of baseball
Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is 63 years old and New York Yankees star Derek Jeter is 36, which is the opposite of that in numerals and about the same in shortstop years. After negotiating a new three-year contract worth $51 million, Jeter is having an atrocious season. Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger is being paid $12.5 million up front for the action film "Cry Macho," his first starring role in eight years. They're both set up to fail, with everyone around them pretending it's 10 or 20 years ago. Why should they try harder when they're still being paid for past reputations?
The Memphis Grizzlies are the "Jersey Shore" of basketball
Entering the 2011 NBA Playoffs as the lowest-ranked seed in the Western Conference, the Grizzlies had never in history won a post-season game. They'd lost their "best" player Rudy Gay to an injury and were matched against the dynasty, San Antonio Spurs. No one expected them to last very long. Similarly, when "Jersey Shore" began, the show was so crazy that no one thought its popularity would sustain. Well, "Shore" is shooting a much-anticipated fourth season in Italy and the Grizzlies may go all the way to the finals.
Like The Situation and Ronnie, Grizzlies' stars Tony Allen and Zach Randolph are both headcases. Shooting guard OJ Mayo is Snooki, the X-factor you love and hate. Mayo and Allen got into a fist fight over a card game. Plus, they're all kind of thugs. Grizzlies dominate the paint like the "Jersey Shore" kids dominate the dance floor.
LeBron and D. Wade are the Olsen twins of basketball
Like Mary-Kate and Ashley, success came naturally to The Heat stars LeBron James and Dwayne Wade at a very young age. They conquered the world, but now what? For James and Wade it's an NBA Championship. For the Olsens, it's avoiding the child-star curse. It didn't look so good for either pair at times. The sisters dealt with an eating disorder, tabloid lawsuits and high-profile breakups. The Heat dealt with losing, despite stars James, Wade and Chris Bosh teaming together, which made everyone else hate them. However, this last week Mary-Kate and Ashley were on the cover of Newsweek for their billion-dollar fashion line, and LeBron and D. Wade are making The Heat look like the best team in the playoffs.
Rashard Mendenhall is the Mel Gibson of football
Running back Rashard Mendenhall may have lost the Super Bowl for the Pittsburgh Steelers by fumbling the ball late in the game. But that is nothing compared to the fumble he dropped on Twitter this week after the news of Osama bin Laden's death: "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..." He went on to tweet that he's not convinced the planes caused the towers to fall, suggesting a conspiracy theory.
Has this guy learned nothing from "Mad" Mel Gibson's mistakes? No matter how good you are, if people don't like you, they'll squeeze you out. The only work Gibson has landed these days is "The Beaver." That's the equivalent of being traded to the Carolina Panthers.
The Cleveland Indians are The Cleveland Indians from "Major League"
First, Cleveland lost LeBron James. And then, the Browns sucked despite finding an awesome running back in Peyton Hillis. And then, the Cavaliers really sucked despite saying they could compete without James. The city's last hope is The Indians, a team that hasn't had a winning record since 2007. Everyone expected more of the same suck.
Yet, at 20-8, the Indians have the best record in the league right now! Things looked grim, but just like the Indians in "Major League," the team of relative unknowns is giving Cleveland hope again. They're even similar troublemakers. This week their outfielder, Shin-Soo Choo, was arrested for DUI. It's possible that Charlie Sheen's energetic madness and "Major League 3" reboot has somehow shaken the cosmos, giving his "movie team" the winning spirit of the Yankees.