by Michael Levin
Last week I assigned every Western Conference NBA team a band that (I feel) best matches their talents, auras, and sensibilities. And as not to leave my Eastern Conference friends hanging, I’ve got 15 more teams/bands mash-ups for you below. Part Two!
Unsheathe your hipster swords and follow me after the jump.
Boston Celtics = Aerosmith
Listen, I like Aerosmith. I think their prime is a lot closer to the Stones than most people give them credit for. But they’ve been on a reunion tour for like 65 years and their skin has passed “shriveled” by more than a few go-rounds. I doubt there’s a more Kevin Garnettish leading man than Steven Tyler — they even hit the same octaves. But while you can make the groupies younger (Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley), the whole thing still feels pretty perverted. They’re also from Boston, which is conveniently unintentional.
Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo dueting “I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” with Stiemsmsmsmsma on air guitar.
Brooklyn Nets = Coldplay
Is there a more genetically-modified-feeling band than Coldplay? Maybe, but I didn’t think of it while writing this so this is what you get. Presumably backed by a Russian tyrant, Coldplay appeals to a minor subset of people, yet in a mind-controlling Prokhorovian way, everyone knows at least 4 Coldplay songs by heart. Especially The Scientist, which replays non-stop in your head during a breakup.
Fun fact: “Yellow” actually describes in great detail the Gerald Wallace trade. Look it up.
New York Knicks = The Jackson 5
The style of play comparison probably fits better with the D’Antoni Knicks, but the personnel still breathes TJ5 even under Woody. The mass ensemble of talent, though occasionally brilliant, that didn’t ever really work. Jackie Jackson = Baron Davis. Tito Jackson = Carmelo Anthony. Jermaine Jackson = J.R. Smith. Marlon Jackson = Tyson Chandler. Randy Jackson = Amar’e Stoudemire. Michael Jackson = Jeremy Lin.
Wouldn’t it be better if the Knicks all had afros?
Philadelphia 76ers = Relient K
Is it weird that I’m comparing my Sixers to a Christian rock band? Undoubtedly. But it also fits. Though the Sixers are great in transition when pushing the tempo (“Sadie Hawkins Dance”), they’re completely unwatchable when they slow it down (“Let It All Out”). The frantic texting of Doug Collins also reads slightly non-secular, plus the team does engage in a few halfcourt prayer circles in many post-games.
I can also acknowledge that they suck, but I still like them. Oh and Lou Williams rapping to “Manic Monday” would do the trick.
Toronto Raptors = Jeff Buckley’s band
While I suppose the Raptors haven’t died, they have lost an astonishing number of great players for nothing in return. Vince Carter. Tracy McGrady. Chris Bosh. Damon Stoudamire! I’m crying just thinking about it. Plus the Canadian thing matches and you really can’t ignore the roots.
I’m gonna be really sad when DeMar DeRozan goes to the Clippers while singing “Hallelujah” in mid-air.
Chicago Bulls = Jethro Tull
I have an affinity for bands in which the name sounds like a person’s name but isn’t. The Bulls managed to be the best team in the league despite the fact that everybody matches up well with them. Maybe it’s because nobody’s afraid of Luol Deng and Carlos Boozer. Or maybe it’s because Joakim Noah is wicked on the flute. But they’re awesome, and seriously, if any coach is going to have a flute player out there, it’s gonna be Thibs.
“HEY AQUALUNG” – Kyle Korver.
Cleveland Cavaliers = The Decemberists
There’s something really sad about listening to the characteristic whiny drawl of The Decemberists. A melancholy. The music pushes things but even in the fun songs, it’s depressing in a totally satisfying way. Like in a way that you want to be depressed just to feel it hurt. Watching Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson is like that. The outright Clevelandness of two crazy talented young kids is impressive, but LeBron James towers over them. Pangs in the heart means we’re alive.
If you have 9 minutes, listen to “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” and imagine the LBJ metaphors. It’s beautiful.
Milwaukee Bucks = Modest Mouse
There’s only one excuse for combining Monta Ellis with Brandon Jennings. Insanity. And it could be just crazy enough to work. The helter-skelter, non-musical music of Modest Mouse matches the randomness that defines the Bucks. Signing Drew Gooden to a 78 year, $500 billion contract, for one. I heard somewhere that the Modest Mouse frontman tried committing suicide on stage. Sounds about right.
Carlos Delfino screaming “Float On” in his car on the way to the game every night.
Indiana Pacers = Pink Floyd
“By the way… which one’s Pink?” This couldn’t apply more to Indiana’s hazy style of play. The band may not suffer from the same underratedness that surrounds the team, but there’s still some snubbage that goes on when Best Bands Ever gets tossed around. Pink Floyd was also notoriously terrific at getting to the line.
Fun fact: “The Wall” is actually Tyler Hansbrough.
Detroit Pistons = Sum 41
There’s something about owing Tayshaun Prince and Charlie Villanueva almost $40 million that makes me want to rage. Sum 41 has the same effect. To think of the Pistons makes me thing of middle school successes. Same with the band. A ton of hits, a ton of facepalms, and somehow, still going strong. We’ll always have Greg Monroe/Fat Lip. Nickname idea.
A band consisting of Austin Daye and Jonas Jerebko would definitely be smooth jazz, wouldn’t it?
Washington Wizards = Phish
Phish would absolutely endorse a team with Nick Young, Jordan Crawford, Andray Blatche, and Javale McGee. Unfortunately for the world (but not the Wizards), two of them are playing elsewhere. That doesn’t make the franchise less Phishy, even though John Wall and company are trying to push away from the carefree genrelessness that defines them. Gilbert Arenas! Rashard Lewis, even!
“Can’t this wait til I’m old? Can I live while I’m young?” – The Wizards, forever.
Atlanta Hawks = Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Nothing has encompassed the post-Mookie Blaylock Atlanta Hawks more than mediocrity. But you have to admire their staying power. Thus, my assignment of BRUUUCE to them. Other, Bossier fans will disagree, but The Boss (not Lou Williams) invented Dave Matthews Band disease. The utter sameness that is their overwhelming mediocrity feels eternal. Just doing that is impressive. For both of them.
Zaza Pachulia balling out to “Born in the USA”.
Charlotte Bobcats = Nickelback
We feel bad for the Bobcats. I do. You do. They don’t deserve this. They try their best and do their work and try to remain mostly quiet, but everybody just poops on them. All day long, someone is pooping on the Bobcats. It’s a sad, sad life to live. So you decide — whatever, I’m gonna give them a shot. Maybe they’ll surprise me. Maybe there’s something to hang onto. So you watch. And then your eyes bleed and your ears pus and then you didn’t win the Anthony Davis Lottery and all the Unibrow Puns that you came up with are worthless and then you hate the Bobcats for even making you hate them.
Miami Heat = Bob Dylan
Bring on the hate. The Heat are as much of a traditional basketball team as Bob Dylan is a band, titles be damned. Misunderstood initially, the Heat coming together to form a superteam could not do better justice to “The Times They Are A-Changin’”. Miami’s become an idea, a symbol of defiance against the old guard of Michael Jordan and those proponents of “winning one by yourself”. They are the poisoned berries in the hands of Katniss and Peeta in front of the Capitol. They are every genre, blended up and spit out in a weirdly awesome, traditionally frightening megacomputer of lyrics and fast breaks.
The Miami Heat see you more than you do. They are going to change the world.
Orlando Magic = The Killers
All the potential the world, just the wrong generation. If Dwight Howard’s Magic played in any time before Michael won his first ring, they’d be a powerhouse. A dominant big with a plethora of shooters on the outside and a decent coach. That’s a dynasty in the 60′s. Not anymore. Same goes for the rockers from Vegas. We live in an age where there’s no dominant band. Hipsters are in full force. They heard of them before you. Then they’re not cool anymore. The Killers would have thrived in a Beatles/Doors/Who area popularity-wise (the style obviously would be less electric) but not today. They’ve got a bunch of hits, but they can’t take over a generation as their predecessors did. And that’s kind of sad.
“Stan’s Town” fits, if only Dwight would let it. If only.
Murder me in the comments, please.