Basketball is about to get serious. The NBL and WNBL tipped off over the weekend, and the NBA is only two weeks away. The time for fun is almost over. Our lives will soon be dominated by shooting splits, coaching controversies and everything a summer of hoops has to offer.
In anticipation of the next six months being controlled by serious business, I needed one final reminder of what a stress-free evening of basketball felt like. So I called upon a classic formula. I spent Sunday evening watching Space Jam for the millionth time. It was glorious.
Like many kids who grew up loving sports, Space Jam was the pinnacle of my youth. I mean, Michael Jordan and Looney Tunes – how could you ever beat that? This made news of a potential sequel my highlight of 2016.
Now, will a second instalment be as legendarily awesome as the original? Most likely not, but who cares. We could get more Bugs Bunny wisecracks, more Daffy Duck hate and more of the Tasmanian Devil making us all lemony fresh. This is exciting stuff.
As my excitement rose over the past few months, a distressing thought has entered my mind: what if the Monstars invaded Australia? What if the very existence of our southern land was at stake? Could we defend ourselves on the basketball court?
Before you laugh at my little premise, just remember that Space Jam is serious business. Heck, there is even a Harvard University run blog that reviewed the tape and collated the box score from the original. You do not take chances when the Monstars come calling!
Don’t worry Australia, I am here to help. I have created a ‘break in case of emergency’ line-up that can be thrown into to battle when the Monstars eventually come calling (stay with me on this, it will happen). In selecting a squad, the rules are simple:
We are sticking to the same roster rules of Space Jam. We are allowed one import to captain our team. We will also need some comic relief in the Bill Murray role. The roster restrictions on intergalactic basketball are strict!
Aside from our one import, the team must be made up of Australians.
Everyone is available and basketball experience is optional. The fate of our country is on the line so it’s all hands on deck.
Our first option will be to offer up Eddie McGuire, Tony Abbott and the remaining members of Australia’s exclusive ‘I’m an idiot’ club in exchange for our freedom - I doubt the Monstars are that stupid.
Now to those charged with defending our freedom (with their Space Jam equivalent in brackets):
Tim Cahill (Bugs Bunny) We need a hero to save us, we need Timmy. The man who has provided more great Australian sporting memories than any other athlete is exactly what we need. He has a great vertical leap and his hands have been well rested for three decades. He is ready.
Lauren Jackson (Lola Bunny) Silky smooth handle, three-point range and an abundance of class. Check, check and check. By the way, it sure helps that she is one of the greatest female basketballers of all time. An out and out matchup nightmare for the Monstars. Cop that aliens!
Nick Kyrgios (Daffy Duck) A talented sportsman that nobody really likes, Little Nicky fits the bill. Could you imagine the arrogance of Kyrgios as he is guarded by a clumsy alien? He’d be talking smack and taking it hard to the hoop every time.
Barry Hall (Tasmanian Devil) We need an enforcer and who better than the AFL’s greatest ever hit man. Just remember, if anyone asks Brent Staker is now Monstar.
LeBron James (Michael Jordan) Just like the original movie, we are hijacking the planet’s greatest basketball player. James will be a great addition to our starting five, a very strong unit on paper.
Starters entrance music: Down Under by Men at Work (Technotronic by Pump Up The Jam (same) It was very tempting to stick with the original, but we must follow our rules and go with the very best Australia has to offer. Nothing is better than witnessing drunken Australian yobbos belting out Men at Work before a must-win sporting contest.
Joe Ingles (Elmer Fud) We need some bona fide basketball talent to bolster our bench so let’s call upon the most interesting man in Australian basketball. Ingles will be our sixth man and a valued three and D wing to combat the Monstars' size.
David Warner (Tweety Bird) Who better to play the pint-sized dynamo role than David Warner? Basketball ability is a concern but we need his attitude, swagger and tremendous trash talking abilities. Cricket bats will be allowed on the bench and Warner’s main role will be intimidation. Well, as much as any 5 foot 7 man can be intimidating.
Shane Warne (Foghorn Leghorn) This is how I’d describe poor old Foghorn: old rooster with a dismissive attitude and a penchant for finding mischief. These are the 12 perfect words to describe one S.K. Warne. If the Monstars have attractive girlfriends, we’ll be sending Warnie to Moron Mountain a few weeks before the big game.
Ross Lyon (Wile E Coyote) Just like Wile, Lyon has spent his life chasing an illusive goal. Sorry St Kilda and Fremantle fans, is it too soon? An eccentric competitor who utilises overly complex strategies to chase a moving target without success - Ross is our man.
Shane Watson (Sylvester the Cat) The comparisons are striking. Sylvester was a sloppy competitor who kept making the same mistake over and over again, something the LBW King of Australia could surely relate to. While Watson is a persistent competitor, he will likely be rooted to the end of our bench. There's a reason Sylvester barely saw the court in the original Space Jam.
Manu Feildel (Pepe Le Pew) Given his well-known character flaws, finding a comparison for Mr. Le Pew is fraught with danger. So we are playing it safe. We need a French Australian with a distinct odour. We need Australia's most charismatic chef.
Tony Lockett (Porky Pig) This selection was too easy. Even in his advanced age, Plugga should be able to throw his weight around and make his presence felt. Imagine Lockett down low in the post? That's just unguardable.
Clive Palmer (Stan Podolak) We needed a short, voluptuous sized crazy man to round out our roster. Enter one Clive Palmer.
Hamish & Andy (Bill Murray) If there was ever a role these two irritants were born to play, this is it! I can already imagine them ghosting up and down the court. Our country is in good hands.
What did you think of Ben’s All-Australian Space Jam team? Did he get it right, or has he overlooked an important contributor? Leave a comment and let us know.