After reading The Great Mambino's assertion last week that the Lakers would be this year's best reality show, I began to ponder a strange question: If each member of this Lakers roster were a reality show, which one would they be? Well, because there is nothing else going on around the team right now, I decided to answer that question. Did I put waaaay too much thought into this? Almost certainly. So buckle up, and settle in for this weird ride with me.
(For the purposes of this article, I defined "reality television" as any show that contains real life situations and is unscripted. VERY advanced metrics at work here)
Kobe Bryant is Man vs. Wild
This comparison is one of the more obvious on the roster. For the uninitiated, Man vs. Wild (and its many offshoots) mainly focus on host Bear Grylls being stranded somewhere outside of civilization, and his "do whatever it takes" efforts to survive in extreme conditions. On the internet, it is mainly known as "That one show with the guy who drinks his own pee to stay alive". This seemed to be an apt comparison for Kobe, who would probably drink his own urine for the entire season if it guaranteed him health and/or even one additional win the team would not have gotten otherwise. With his reputation as the ultimate "whatever it takes" player in the association, the Mamba is the Bear Grylls of the NBA.
Steve Nash is American Idol
Or Canadian Idol I guess. Do they have that? (They do). American Idol was the godfather of the American televised competition genre that is widely now seen by critics as in decline, with viewers beginning to exit as well. This seems a suitable comparison for Nash, a former two-time MVP who is now the NBA's oldest player, in the last year of his contract and no longer able to do things nearly as well as he once was. It will be interesting to watch for which one has a superior season in 2014-15.
Jeremy Lin is Jeopardy
While technically a game show, Jeopardy just feels like a good fit for Lin, and not just because the Harvard man could probably do okay for himself if he were a contestant. For one, it just feels as though some of Lin's more dedicated fans have turned his career into a game of Jeopardy, with their constant spouting of "well actually, [obscure stat x] paints Jeremy as an MVP type player". That is not something I have actually heard (yet), but instead an extreme statement meant to demonstrate the absurdity of it all. Why can Lin not just be an average player? Instead, he seems to inspire more arguments than occur in my family household during a typical viewing of Jeopardy.
Nick Young is Wipeout
On Wipeout on ABC, contestants face insane, sometimes nearly impossible obstacle courses, with most failing (or wiping out) many times before completing said challenge. The enthusiasm exhibited by the contestants in the face of the competition's lunacy gives me a feeling similar to the one I get watching Nick Young. When watching Swaggy, you know that what he is about to do may look crazy, or make zero sense in the context of the current play, but due to his infectious smile and ebullience while doing so, you can't look away or even stay mad.
Carlos Boozer is Jersey Shore
Loud, overly enthusiastic, seemingly hated by everyone; this description fits easily with either Boozer or one of Shore's male leads. Boozer's trademark bellow of "HOLDAT!" would also not sound out of place coming from the mouths of one of Jersey Shore's stereotypical Guido meatheads. The Lakers' claiming of Boozer off amnesty waivers inspired a lot of vitriol, but if he does not block Randle's development too much, and/or if he can be the sort of mentor posed in James' excellent profile, then his use of a roster spot will not be as harmful to the Lakers as Jersey Shore was to New Jersey's worldwide reputation.
Jordan Clarkson is Who Wants to Be a Superhero?
This title is a perfect summary of the opportunity in front of Jordan Clarkson. The Lakers selected Clarkson with their second round pick (purchased from Washington), and many immediately declared him one of the steals of the draft. As a second rounder, I would not say that there is a ton of pressure on Clarkson to perform, but if he shows any promise as a rookie, and as a young potential piece of the franchise's future, he has the chance to ascend to superhero status among the hope-starved LA fanbase.
Xavier Henry is The X Factor
This one is kind of obvious right? It is basically one of Henry's nicknames, or could be. Additionally, Henry's play (and by extension his health) will be a major X-factor in whether the Lakers wing rotation will have any depth this year.
Jordan Hill is Extreme Makeover
This one may be causing you to scratch your head, but let me explain. I am not saying that Jordan Hill is some type of living before and after picture, but instead that his Lakers career and this show covered similar trajectories. Parallel to how Extreme Makeover had many critics calling for its cancellation during its entire run but kept coming back for more until it finally was cancelled, Jordan has been rumored to be on his way out of the door for almost his entire time with the Lakers, most recently as he was all but traded to the Nets midseason, and then being widely assumed to be the surest of goners at season's end. The former Wildcat surprisingly re-upped with the team in free agency, but on what is basically an expensive one-year deal with a team option for a second. With seemingly one foot out the door again, Hill will almost surely be followed by trade rumors up until the deadline, at which point he will either be moved, or talked about as a goner once again at season's end. Rampant rumors and drama all year long? Sounds like a reality show to me.
Wesley Johnson is Teen Mom
Teen Mom is not a show that needs a lot of introduction. Its premise is exactly what the title sounds like--it is a reality show following the lives of teen mothers. Teen Mom could have been a realistic, informative documentation of the real life struggles associated with teen pregnancy, but instead turned out to be a sensationalized series about girls essentially getting knocked up to gain attention and fame, a show that most feel icky for watching. This is not dissimilar to the potential that Johnson held as a prospect, potential that he inevitably fails to live up to year after year. Despite this continuing disappointment in relation to the too high expectations for him, the former lottery selection has turned himself into a decent contributor for a minimum salaried player, and if that is all that is expected of him, then he will surely be less disappointing this year than the program I have compared him to.
Ed Davis is Kid Nation
Kid Nation, for those who never heard of it (which, given its viewership numbers, is likely), was a reality series focusing on children who were isolated on a ranch and asked to form a functioning society. It was cancelled after one season, in spite of its having a small vocal audience advocating for it to get more of a chance. Likewise, Davis has a small, vocal crowd of advanced metrics-wielding fans that have been advocating for him to get a larger role since his time in Toronto. It would appear that this is the year those fans will get their wish, and how Davis functions with the increased playing time will determine whether he lasts more than one season as a Laker.
Ryan Kelly is Naked and Afraid
Sorry for that visual, but the title of this show has to be how Ryan Kelly is feeling right now. Despite having his option picked up, Kelly has to be feeling a little bit scared with the front office loading up on so many big men options clogging his path to any real playing time. Probably not as scared as a contestant being asked to stay alive without clothes in the wilderness for a prolonged period of time (somehow a real show), but still at least a teensy bit nervous.
Robert Sacre is Keeping Up with the Kardashians
I know some would hesitate to call this show "reality" or even "unscripted", but the show does bill itself that way. This was another easy comparison to make because, and I am aware that this is going to sound harsh, both are people who are more famous than their talent would seem to warrant. The difference is that one of these things is loveable and filled with contagious enthusiasm, while one you could not pay me to watch. I don't think I need to elaborate on which is which.
Love you Big Rob.
Julius Randle is Big Brother
In Big Brother, contestants are put inside of a house where hidden cameras film their every move. This is a not dissimilar feeling to what Randle must currently be going through, as all eyes look to the prized Lakers' lottery pick for hope for the future in this likely lost season. Randle seems ready to handle such exposure, with his National Title Game appearance run in his lone season at Kentucky likely helping with that preparedness. All I can say is that I hope he can handle the exposure better than your typical Big Brother contestant
I am betting he will be just fine.
BONUS: Team Management Quick Hits
Byron Scott is Kitchen Nightmares
Given the coach's reputation for Pat Riley-esque practices, the Lakers players may be looking at Gordon Ramsey as a pleasant alternative for a boss.
Mark Madsen is So You Think You Can Dance
You guys should be learning by now I will use ANY opportunity to include that video in a piece.
Mitch Kupchak is The Apprentice
His apprenticeship under Jerry West seems to have taught him a thing or two.
Jim Buss is Rich Kids of Beverly Hills
This is not meant to disparage Jimmy, but more a reflection of how I think the majority of the Lakers fan base feels about him.
This was a silly exercise, and one that I probably spent too much time on and took too seriously, but what do you guys think? Did I miss the mark, do you have better comparisons, or just want to tell me how amazing I am? Debate away in the comments below, which is always my favorite reality show.