by Michael Levin
Every basketball team is, by definition, the same. They play basketball and try to score more points than their opponent. In the same vein, every band is the same. They make music for an audience to enjoy and sing between pit-washing in the shower. But obviously, both groups are more individualized than that.
Well, that’s kind of where the similarities end. If I may be candid, this is just an outlet for me to juxtapose two things I like and make goofy jokes. There’s very little reasoning behind most, if not all of these picks. Time period/genre/gender all have little to no effect on any of these choices. So, uh, here that goes. NBA Teams as Bands! Part One!
Dallas Mavericks = Barenaked Ladies
BNL is a band that continues to age in an increasingly misremembered fashion. The older they get, the better they were. Same goes for the Mavs. With the exception of last year’s NBA Championship, the Mavericks are a chorus slapped together by a manic owner trying to disguise the problems with the verses.
The highlights are Marc Cuban singing “If I Had a Million Dollars” and Dirk Nowitzki singing “Hello City”.
Houston Rockets = Mumford and Sons
Despite the fact that Mumf’s has only released one album as of yet, it feels like they’ve been around forever. Same goes for every member of the Rockets. You could tell me Kevin Martin, Kyle Lowry, and Luis Scola are all 45 or 23 and I’d believe you. The tune’s the same again and again, but you keep listening anyway. Before you know it, you’ve looped the album 14 times and the CD’s already skipping in your car. Plus the frontman just married Carey Mulligan. And she’s gotta be a Yao fan.
The only highlight I need is the fact that Chase Budinger and Chandler Parsons are actually members of Mumford and Sons.
Memphis Grizzlies = Atmosphere
You know they’ll never be good enough to hit the mainstream, but there’s enough rewarding stuff in there that you’ve met a bunch of people who each consider them their favorite rap/ish band. They’re the Radioheads of rap music. Plus they have Tony Allen and they’re evidently not too high on this person Lucy.
Mo Speights singing “God Loves Ugly” sounds good, but I really don’t have much logic behind this one. It just makes sense to me.
New Orleans Somethings = Gym Class Heroes
Aside from the fact that much of NOLA’s roster would have a tough time beating some slightly talented high schoolers (hyperbole), the Eric Gordon/Travie McCoy parallels have me digging this one. The Will He/Won’t He of Gordon leaving the hapless “Hornets” for the Bruno Marses of the NBA remind me of the time I saw Gym Class live with pre-coke Bruno when I interned at VH1 in NYC. It was probably just as awkward as actually attending a Hornets basketball game this season.
Chris Kaman rapping to anything would be enough for me. Dayenu.
San Antonio Spurs = Radiohead
This is probably the most obvious pick for me of the whole league. The people that don’t get it just don’t get it, but you look up and there they are. Being the best at everything, once again. It doesn’t matter that they’re legally disabled or they just released a whole album online for whatever you feel like paying. They’ll just keep winning and doing awesome things.
Radiohead also has to be one of the most un-basketball bands there is. Timmy and Pap Scatterbraining would do the trick for me.
Denver Nuggets = The Strokes
They can shoot, they can defend, they can drive. They can really do everything, but without a superstar, they’ll never be in the elite tier. They seem okay with that, which is simultaneously comforting and infuriating. They totally own thosewhaaam guitar sounds. And Julian Casablancas is just as cool of a name as Danilo Gallinari.
I guess just Ty Lawson singing. Yeah. Ty Lawson singing. Also, Javale. Javale on drums.
Minnesota Timberwolves = Queen
Maybe this pick is too Ricky Rubio enhanced but HE’S JUST SO CUTE. And super talented. Crazy talented. If he can stay healthy enough to be the Special Sauce to K-Love, we’re talking about greatness. I feel only slightly bad comparing Rubio’s torn ACL to Freddie Mercury dying of AIDS. Actually now that I say it, I feel terrible. The fact that Queen might be the best band ever (I don’t think they are, but they might be) makes this a terrible comp. But who cares. RUBIO.
Nikola Pekovic singing every part of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” You just know he has it memorized.
Oklahoma City Thunder = Sublime
Going from just appealing to die-hards and potheads to the unchampioned champion of a generation happened rather fast. Sure, OKC got lucky with the KD/Oden thing. Their offense has a ska-like chaos to it that results in successful devastation for all happy parties as they walk away massaging their bums. Though the idea of them breaking up soon terrifies, the years they’ll have together before then still make it worth it all. Also, James Harden’s beard.
Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka double-teaming “Doin’ Time” — that’ll do it.
Portland Trail Blazers = Smashing Pumpkins
When things went downhill, they went downhill fast. The brief moment of electronica before they ultimately disbanded registered the last gasp of desperation. They were never truly great, but the hints of what could have been make the end hurt worse than people would lead on. At least J.J. Hickson managed to scrape something out of it.
You feel bad for LMA, but he’ll count his money off the “Cherub Rock” royalties and will be juuuust fine.
Utah Jazz = The Smiths
Come on. Isn’t this the most Jazz? Not like jazz. But Jazz. Yeah, now you see it. Britishly Utah. Everything’s nice and neat. Could use some vocal help to fill out the back court but you can’t complain about the situation at the top. Depth and contingencies. Just a distributor short.
Just wait your turn Gordan OK? Jeez. Seriously, that’s enough. Everybody’s going to the same place anyway. Can Paul Millsap be Andy Rourke or is that just for me?
Golden State Warriors = OK Go
What with all the contraptions and trickery and excitement, there’s not much more of an OK Go team in sports than the GSW’s. Trading Monta Ellis didn’t help things, but as long as you’re employing Mark Jackson, Stephen Curry and David Lee, you’re OK Go enough for me. If you can’t imagine a foursome of Lee, Andris Biedrins, Stephen Curry, and Charles Jenkins doing the Million Ways to be Cruel dance, may God have mercy on your soul.
What I just said. Only maybe this time with a healthy Andrew Bogut.
Los Angeles Clippers = Maroon 5
Seriously, we get it. You’ve got a bunch of good players. That’s nice. You’re fun to watch. Also nice. But your gameplan is lacking, and you pale in comparison to bigger things. Whole lotta flash, not too much substance. I heard The Voice is fun, but Adam Levine spells his name with way too many E’s for my taste so I refuse to tune in on principal. You can play with all the broken hands you want, Caron Butler, if you can’t D up the Spurs on backcuts, you’ll get burned all series. Which you did.
Chris Paul singing “She Will Be Loved” could do it. Reggie Evans even listening to Maroon 5 does do it.
Los Angeles Lakers = Fleetwood Mac
I shouldn’t have to explain this one.
Phoenix Suns = Dave Matthews Band
“The Suns are my Western Conference team”. – Everyone.
You don’t just *get* another team. That’s not how it works. You don’t get a Western hemisphere child when your Eastern hemisphere one disappoints. But those rulebreakers have picked the Suns as their Western reps (maybe it’s because of the color) and there’s no reason why. Yeah they have Steve Nash. But he’s just one man. One tune. Again and again. If he’s got nobody to pass to, then it’s just 6’7 versions of Jared Dudley singing the same stuff again and again.
Do you think Marcin Gortat knows what a DMB is?
Sacramento Kings = The Clash
The name says it all. A ton of talent that will be eminently replicated (Paper Planes, anybody), but simply couldn’t get the reps down to a repeatable motion. Personalities got in the way and all the talent in the world couldn’t save them. Plus, “Should I Stay or Should I Go” can apply to any number of situations that arose in Sactown the past few years.
Just imagine DeMarcus Cousins with a British accent and that should hold you over for a few months of happiness.