We’re at the conclusion of my 2v2 basketball movie stand (albeit a month and a half after part one). Let’s skip the song and dance and continue the show.
Michael Jordan and Lola Bunny (1st seed) (“Space Jam”) against 8 seeds of Jackie Moon and Clarence “Downtown” “Coffee Black” Withers (“Semi-Pro”)
The Tropics are definitely more competitive than Josh Framm and Air Bud. However, it doesn’t matter who keeps who here. Neither Withers nor Moon can choke Jordan, and on the other end Jordan is a lockdown defender, while Lola has the hops (get it? Bunny jumps) to protect the rim against both ABA-ers. I have to give this one to the Tune Squad, but Jackie and Clarence don’t come down without a fight (literally, Jackie will try to brawl with Jordan and get hit all over the place from armpit to jejunum).
Calvin Cambridge and Tracy Reynolds (2 seeds) (“Like Mike”) against 7 seeds Uncle Drew and Big Fella (“Uncle Drew”)
He’s a young gun and his future adoptive father against an elderly couple. Honestly, if it was Kyrie Irving and Shaq against Cambridge and Reynolds, I would go with the former duo. However, you have to take their age into account during this game. Sure, Big Fella could still dominate the paint, but despite the huge height difference (4-foot-8 Cambridge vs. 7-foot-1 Big Fella), Cambridge can still use Jordan’s skills to get his shot low. Uncle Drew can cook either of the LA Knights on the dribble, but he’s not as consistent on the defensive end. In the end, the youngsters win as Father’s time catches up with Drew and Big Fella. LA Knights advance to the semi-finals.
Bobby Joe Hill and David Lattin (“Glory Road”), 3 seeds, against Kyle Lee Watson and Thomas “Shep” Sheppard (“Above the Rim”), 11 seeds
It’s difficult here because we compare across the ages. Even so, there are similarities between Hill and Watson, as seen in the athletic playstyle of the former, which was progressive in the 60s. However, we have issues with Sheppard trying to deal with Lattin. Shep’s khakis are starting to take their toll on her here, along with her age. He just can’t match Lattin’s stamina and strength, and Watson also doesn’t have a prayer against Big Daddy D. The miners take him.
Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane (4 seeds) (“White men can’t jump”) vs. Troy Bolton and Chad Danforth, 12 seeds (“High School Musical 3”)
A little more “Ebony and Ivory” action here. I want to give the boys at East High some credit for getting here, even if it was by disqualifying their first round opponent. That said, street scammers are taking it. Hoyle and Deane are still clicking all the reels, and they each bring something to the table (three-point shooting and ball-handling magic, respectively) to accompany their plays with an advantage the opposition doesn’t have. Let’s face it, Cal and Arizona don’t get much from Bolton and Danforth other than a few decent singing chops. (Who am I kidding, better than decent; that’s not just the three HSM soundtracks?)
Michael Jordan and Lola Bunny, 1 seed, against Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane, 4 seeds
It’s sad to see the race come to an end for Hoyle and Deane, but it has to be at this point. Their relationship has grown closer and closer, and it comes to a head as they begin to break down in the face of fierce competition. It would be interesting to see how Jordan’s self-described “competition problem” (NOT a gambling problem) impacted him by betting on this pointless tournament against two street scammers. Either way, the Toon Squad takes it, but I’m going to give Hoyle a two-handed slam just to show that white men can actually jump.
Calvin Cambridge and Tracy Reynolds, 2 seeds, against Bobby Joe Hill and David Lattin, 3 seeds
It’s been mostly chalk throughout this tournament, but the responsibility (and the chalk) ends here. As much as I’d like to see Jordan face someone in his lace-up sneakers (I guess Spike Lee was right that it really had to be the shoes), it just isn’t. Reynolds fights, but Hill and Lattin both have a lot less miles on them and a bit more athleticism. However, the real kicker (no pun intended) is that Cambridge’s kicks rip. Sorry to tell you, kid, but you can’t be content with someone else’s abilities for your entire career, or even this entire tournament. The minors access the championship.
1-seeded Michael Jordan and Lola Bunny vs. 3-seeded Bobby Joe Hill and David Lattin
Well, we’ve finally reached the final showdown. It’s Hill and Lattin versus MJ and Bunny. I will say that while they weren’t employees of intergalactic theme parks, Hill and Lattin are the closest thing to the Monstars Jordan and Co. had to face (they faced Air Bud and Will Ferrell in the first two laps for shouting. noisy).
The problem here is that we are playing on the half court, which means that each team gets an advantage. MJ (circa 1996 and still rusty after a stint in baseball) performs better in seclusion than on the open court, and he presents a fighting nightmare for both Miners with his combination of size and speed. Similarly, Lattin is going to benefit from half-court play as a powerhouse, and Jordan has historically struggled against teams with a quality big man (OK, Olajuwon and the Rockets pretty much were, but Knicks / Ewing and Orlando / Shaq gave him some problems).
It’s killing me inside to choose between these two teams, but I’ll go with the Tune Squad. Lattin gets physical in the stretch and ends up throwing Lola out of the contest. As MJ searches for a sub, Bill Murray suddenly appears in the clutch. He explains that he knows the producer (in this case me) and manages to stop the bleeding just enough to give Jordan the winning penny as he stands up and plays with one hand on Lattin and Hill for the winning double. (well, not a heck of a technique since it’s one and two at 21, but you get the idea).
Here. MJ walks away tonight with six championship rings, six final MVPs, two gold medals, an Emmy for “The Last Dance” and – perhaps most impressive – a basketball championship 2- counter-2 fantasy bracket. He had something to prove, and he proved it, but don’t disrespect Lola Bunny or Bill Murray for their contributions (but you can omit what the latter contributed to “Garfield”).
The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.