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As I watched last night’s 2012 NBA Finals Game 1, I had an epiphany. This year’s Finals feature a cast of characters eerily similar to a story that took place a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away … With of course the Oklahoma City Thunder representing the Rebel Alliance, and the Miami Heat playing the role as the Galactic Empire. Thus, every Star Wars fan (especially those like myself that have been patiently awaiting the ridiculously delayed live action Star Wars television series) should be just as enthused for this year’s finals as they are every time George Lucas decides to milk the devoted Star Wars fan base for everything they have. Think of this year’s Finals as the seventh Episode (or fourth if you refuse to recognize Episodes I-III) except this episode is broken into a basketball best of seven game series. If you are still wondering what the NBA Finals could possibly have in common with the greatest movies of all time, fear not as I have laid out a “who’s who” for you —
LeBron James as Darth Vader —
At a very young age LeBron was proclaimed the “chosen one” much like Vader was. Both were then tempted to the dark side and ultimately became the most hated men in their respective galaxies. Finally, LeBron incredibly thin skinned, has always found peoples’ lack of faith [in him] disturbing.
Kevin Durant as Luke Skywalker —
Luke chose the opposite path of Vader in almost every way imaginable. Durant when compared to LeBron, has done the same. He went to college, he has stayed with his small market team, and he has been amazingly humble despite his incredible accomplishments in his young career thus far.
Pat Riley as Emperor Palpatine —
Riley tempted the “chosen one” to take the easier, but darker path and built his empire in the most evil way possible, stealing from the already deprived small market NBA teams. Palpatine followed a similar blue print in tempting Vader and becoming Emperor.
Sam Presti as Yoda —
If Riley built his empire with the dark side of the force, Presti built his using the light side of the force, accumulating young talent through the draft and managing his salary cap wisely. And as a result, effectively and efficiently built the youngest and most talented team in the league, he has.
Dwyane Wade as Grand Moff Tarkin —
Despite LeBron possibly being the best player in the league, the Heat is clearly Dwyane Wade’s team. This is totally legitimate despite LeBron being the more talented and athletic player. This situation is mirrored by that of Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. Vader was naturally gifted in the Force, but Tarkin out ranked him on the original Death Star. Plus, Tarkin was more cutthroat, destroying an entire planet in the blink of an eye, while Vader couldn’t even take out a farm kid when he had him right in his cross hairs in the Battle of Yavin. This could be compared to Wade’s ability to finish in the clutch and LeBron’s propensity for choking at crucial moments.
Russell Westbrook as Han Solo —
The ideal sidekick. If you know anything about Han Solo, he was never afraid to shoot first and the same could be said for the Thunder’s shoot first starting point guard.
James Harden as Chewbacca —
If Russell Westbrook is the ideal sidekick, than James Harden is the ideal #3. Harden and Chewbacca are both committed team players that rarely complain or demand to be in the spotlight.
Eric Spolestra as Admiral Ozzel —
This video depicts what will happen to Spolestra in the offseason if the Heat fail to win a championship for the second straight season. [Keeping in mind LeBron is Vader.]
Scott Brooks as Obi-Wan Kenobi —
Obi-Wan swore to protect and develop Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. Scott Brooks has has done the same for his Luke Skywalker in Oklahoma.
Chris Bosh as Jar Jar Binks —
This one may be a bit confusing. Jar Jar was never a part of the Empire, but he looks so much like Chris Bosh it’s creepy. Plus just like Jar Jar becoming irrelevant after being a center piece character in Episode I, Chris Bosh has largely become irrelevant as a high paid roll player after being a center piece in Toronto.
Now, with all that in mind, how will Episode VII end you ask? Let us compare it to the previous
good Episodes of the Star Wars series —
Episode IV — If it ends like the original Star Wars A New Hope, you can expect a close back and forth battle, with Kevin Durant closing out game seven with a jump shot dagger, just slipping by a swatting LeBron James who was pushed aside by a well timed screen by Russell Westbrook.
Episode V — Ending like the Empire Strikes Back, you can expect a dominant performance by the Heat with LeBron James leading the way to a championship and along the way proving Kevin Durant is not yet a worthy challenger to LeBron’s claim to best player in the league.
Episode VI — As Return of the Jedi concluded, you can expect Kevin Durant to lead the Thunder from an incredible come from behind victory at the latest possible moment … which leads to an intense and emotional postgame press conference featuring a remorseful LeBron James declaring he’s going back to Cleveland!
Or maybe we are in store for something George Lucas has been unable to recreate since the 80’s; a new, enjoyable, and satisfying conclusion to the greatest movie franchise of all time … However it ends, may the Finals be with you.
Lewis Brooks IV is is a recent law graduate with a penchant for politics, strong drinks, and mostly painfully mediocre sports teams. He will own the Milwaukee Bucks one day, so follow him on twitter today,@SKOORB_SIWEL.