Warning: Before you continue reading this article comparing the Oklahoma City Thunder players to characters in Dragon Ball Z, please be aware of the following things:
- The next 1700 words will contain a bunch of references to the 25-year-old Japanese animation cartoon series Dragon Ball Z. If you've never heard of the series, this won't make much sense.
- There will be high levels of nerd-like radioactivity surrounding this post. Like DEFCON-1 levels of nerdiness.
- If you do love Dragon Ball Z and don't like the comparisons made in this piece, feel free to cuss me out in the comments section.
This all started as a conversation with my journalistic brother-in-crime David Dennis. On this day, we went from discussions about Macklemore and Daniel Bryan, The Walking Dead and Kendrick Lamar and CM Punk and All-Star Weekend, before David D. had a realization.
"You know, someone should write a story about how Goku is KD and Vegeta is Westbrook."
And that's when my head exploded.
Of course, the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat played Wednesday night, and at points during the third quarter, Kevin Durant and LeBron James seemed to be trading Kamehamehas with each other. That's when the inspiration hit me.
Here is the comparative list, which is not up for debate in any way, shape or form. Enjoy.
Kevin Durant = Goku
The thing that was annoying about Goku was how humble and unassuming he was on the show. No one ever had as much of an "aw shucks" attitude than Goku. Did you all hear Durant Wednesday night after that 112-95 trouncing?
"It could be my last game any time I step on that floor. Gotta give it my all."
"Thank God. That's all I can say, Jesus Christ."
Doris Burke was befuddled.
"I don't have anything to do with it. All Jesus Christ."
If the Ox King felt that Goku was a nice enough boy to eventually marry Chi-Chi, Durant could probably marry our daughters. (Although I'm not sure what happened with him and Monica Wright, but since the breakup 13 games ago, the man's averaging 38 points a game. Maybe he ate a senzu bean?)
Russell Westbrook = Vegeta
Russell Westbrook plays with the angriest attitude of anyone I've ever seen in the NBA. The man is always scowling, snarling and pantomiming to the people. He's known to say outlandish things from time to time. He does what he wants when he wants ... and he doesn't give a damn about what people think about him.
This is what makes him great. This is what made every Dragon Ball Z fan love Vegeta as the initial antagonist to Goku (KD). In the beginning, Vegeta was at total war with Goku, but after fighting with each other and almost killing themselves in the process, they figured out that they were plenty capable of being an outstanding duo. While Durant and Westbrook have never outwardly been against each other, many observers have often wondered if they could co-exist.
The true beauty of Westbrook/Vegeta's relationship with Durant/Goku is that deep down, Russ and Vegeta knew that they weren't better than their peer/rival. But when they begrudgingly accept (or continue to be oblivious to) it and shift their focus, they were an unstoppable force together.
Kendrick Perkins = Krillin
Kendrick Perkins cannot be defined by what he produces in the box score. Admittedly, he's kinda funny looking. Also, you look at him play basketball and it's not the most aesthetically pleasing. However, at times he's out there and he just does stuff. Everyone loves the guy, even if those who are against him mock him from afar. Also, he randomly provides comedic relief when the troops need it the most.
This is also Krillin to a T. To be honest, I can defend Kendrick Perkins with no hesitation. Krillin ... man, he literally was just out there cheerleading for Goku.
Reggie Jackson = Trunks
Trunks is the son of Vegeta. Reggie Jackson is like an 85 percent clone of Russell Westbrook. It's scary how much Jackson plays like Westbrook, especially when he does things like looking off Durant. Or just dunking on people. Or taking absurd threes that go in at big moments. Where did he get that from?
Oh yeah, of course, Westbrook. Jackson has elevated himself from being the King of the Summer League to a legitimate contender of the Sixth Man of the Year.
Perry Jones = Gohan
I only say Perry Jones is Gohan because he's built like Kevin Durant and actually is freakishly talented. However, he's young and still learning. Fortunately, Jones has someone to mentor him ...
Derek Fisher = Piccolo
Here's the thing about Piccolo. Early on, Piccolo was an enemy of Goku's. Fisher started as an enemy of the Thunder. Over time, Piccolo eventually came over to Goku's side to not only fight alongside of him in future battles, but also to serve as a mentor to Gohan and Trunks. Fisher, who initially was a mentor for Westbrook, now has largely been mentoring Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and Jones. Showing them not only how to play the game, but how to be professional.
Also, Fisher is mildly annoying, as every once in a while he tries to do way too much. Piccolo was annoying too, because Piccolo always talked tough and then eventually needed to be bailed out by Goku.
Serge Ibaka = Android 18
Serge Ibaka is a handsome man. Every woman I've ever been around when the name "Serge Ibaka" is mentioned immediately loses her mind. Moreover, Ibaka might be one of the 10 best athletes in the NBA. His mid-range jumper is so automatic that it's beginning to feel absurd, and he also maybe-kinda-sorta dated KD's old work in Keri Hilson.
Ibaka is the male version of Android 18. Android 18 is a gorgeous cyborg who also just so happens to marry Krillin. Krillin, if you remember, is Kendrick Perkins. Wait, what? This is weird. Oh wait, best defensive frontcourt in the NBA? Maybe? Still weird? OK, I'll move on.
Thabo Sefolosha = Tien Shinhan
Here's the thing with Tien. Tien would always try to fight characters that were WAY BETTER than him. This was noble of him, but eventually he'd get the wood laid to him and then Goku would have to save him. With Thabo, he always has to guard the best player on the opposing team, usually getting the work given to him in the process.
Thabo will give it the good fight, but really we know that Thabo's being sacrificed so that KD doesn't pick up all those fouls. This is okay for everyone.
Jeremy Lamb = Yamcha
Yamcha was an early character in DBZ who was young, dumb and really had no idea what he was getting himself into. Jeremy Lamb is just out there doing stuff for OKC, and when he actually does something useful, it turns things in OKC's favor in a huge way. Yamcha always had that one move he went to, the Wolf Fang Fist.
Lamb's moves are limited right now too, as he's either shooting that elbow three or he's taking a dribble and then pulling up for a mid-range jumper. If he ever gets another move or two, then he gets out of Yamcha territory.
Nick Collison = Chi-Chi
Scott Brooks = Turtle
Because for goodness sakes, the man is slow to make changes to his roster. It took until the 47th game of his sixth season behind the bench for Brooks to realize that MAYBE not playing Perkins against small lineups like Miami's could be a good idea. Hey, might've been a good idea to figure that out two years ago in the NBA Finals, Scott, you big slow turtle you.
(OK fine, Turtle was a coy and wise fellow, but he was still slow, so I'm calling Brooks the turtle.)
Happy Hour drink recommendation: Sapporo. You think after typing out almost 1500 words about Japanime that I'm not going to recommend a Japanese beer? Sapporo is always the choice. Better body, better finish, knock back 2-3 of these and then tell that one who you've had your eye on that you want to show them your Kamehameha.
On second thought, don't do that and just offer to buy them a drink instead.