In an effort to expand our readship here at Fleece & Flog, our crack staff decided to do some marketing research to find new and unique ways to increase readship. Well, we came across the intriguing idea of cross-pollinating sports and fantasy fiction fans. We know Lord of the Rings
is so 2004, but since we too have been a continuing reader of J.R.R. Tolkien since 1980 (rereading the trilogy on average of once a year), the idea had an unshakable appeal to our inner geekiness. We only wish we had thought of the idea ourselves. That's like, very cool, man.
So without further ado and mostly because the roster is finally set, we compare each of the '06-'07 Bulls players to characters from the Lord of the Rings
books. And I emphasize books and not movies; they were weak representations of the original creations. (Now the readers know just how much of a geek the Fleece & Flog crew -- okay, main administrator -- really is.)
Your 2006-2007 Chicago Bulls, starring...Ben Gordon as Frodo Baggins.
Tough start. I think Frodo's character was hardest to compare because he was the closest to becoming evil. Maybe Ben's untimely turnovers rate the main comparison, but at the heart of the story is a character who had to grow up essentially overnight and thru very dire circumstances. Like Frodo, Ben has a golden heart but in the end he just can't get the job done himself and needs help from another character to throw the Ring into the fire. But also like Frodo, Ben'll carry the story for the length of season.Kirk Hinrich as Sam Gamgee:
I know, I know. Kirk and his ears are taylor made for being compared to an elf, but his hair cries out hobbit, and like Sam, he's the unwitting defensive backbone of the team. He strikes fear in no one until they face him in a pinch after which they come away with a very noble opinion of him. Like Sam he's the dogged and rugged little man with a will of steel and a heart of gold. He is the quiet hero and the spirit of resolve. He never quits even if it means carrying Frodo on his back.Chris Duhon as Peregrin Took (Pippin):
One of two supporting, child-like hobbits (the other being Merry) accompanying the main character on his adventure. Pippin was the lesser involved of the two, the more inclined to duty, the one with the least impact on the outcome of the story. Like Pippin, Duhon is a no nonsense and straight forward player, not flashy by any means. His minutes will probably decrease a tad this season, but he will save a game or two with his headiness like Pippin's saving of Faramir from the pyre.Luol Deng as Merodiac Brandybuck (Merry):
The other of the two supporting hobbits. Luol's shot-happy playing style compares nicely with young Merry's happy-go-lucky outlook on life. Merry enjoyed hanging out with the King of Rohan, smoking his pipe, singing his songs, but his slice to the back of the Witch King's knee led to the death of Gondor's biggest foe. Luol will play a major part in slaying the Eastern Conference foes this season.Ben Wallace as Aragorn the Ranger (Strider):
The man on a mission. Like Aragorn, Ben left the comforts of royalty to lead a group of ragtags to the promised land. They both defend like no other, they both have been thru the wars, they both look foul but smell fair. Ben had tough choices to make, and like Aragorn has his faults (poor free throw shooting), but in the end it'll be the 'fro that leads the assault and meets his friends in victory in the middle of the battle field.P.J. Brown as Tom Bombadil:
Tom (a figure not featured in the movies) saved the hobbits from certain failure by rescuing the the wayward boys from the clutches of a Barrow wight. Tom was also called "first" and "old". He was around to see the first trees grow and the first of the children of Illuvatar to awake. P.J. Brown is older than me, and he'll play an essential role in saving the season at some point, but I feel his contribution won't be that great beyond a few a games.Tyrus Thomas as Legolas the Elf:
Legolas could walk on the snow, Tyrus can walk on air. They're both tall and skinny and extremely talented, but each one's contribution will probably be better judged over a longer expanse of time.Andres Nocioni as Gimli the Dwarf:
A smaller man playing in a bigger man's world. Like Gimli, Noc will jump into the fray without reguard for his well being. He'll defend the honor of his team the way Gimli defended Galadriel's honor in the face of steep odds. Also (and this is more of a movie comparison) like Gimli, he'll provide a moment or two of comic relief. Stay out of this dwarf's way or he'll cut you at the knees; stay out of Noc's way or you may find a foot or elbow or knee in your chest. (Sadly, Noc is starting to remind me of Bill Lambeer.)Malik Allen as Barliman Butterbur:
The inn-keeper of the Prancing Pony in Bree, Barliman wasn't that good at much, other than hearing his name yelled at him for days on end. But he meant no harm and on one occasion actually provided relief for the adventuring hobbits. Malik will not rebound or defend well, but he may just shoot well enough to help the Bulls win a game or two.Thabo Sefalosha as Arwen the wife of Aragorn:
Arwen was the hidden gem of the elves; Thabo hopes to be the hidden gem of the 2006 draft. Oh, and he can speak other languages like Arwen can too.Viktor Khryapa as Faramir, Steward of Gondor:
He greatness isn't immediately revealed but in time all will come to know and respect the Krapman just like Faramir, and he'll keep the home fires burning until the King returns.Michael Sweetney as the hobbit Fredegar "Fatty" Bolger:
Yeah, that was too easy.Adrian Griffin as Old Man Cotton:
Cotton defended his fields with the zeal of a patriot, and shows up in the beginning and the end of the story. Griff will be the spot minute defender, showing up when Skiles gives him a chance.Martynas Andriuskevicious as Treebeard the Ent:
The size alone dictates the comparison. Big Marty is 7'3", Treebeard is 12'+. Any questions? Maybe the younger Skinbark the Ent is the better comparison.Andre Barrett as Bill the Pony:
He's a cute little reclimation project who has impressed the coaching staff this preseason enought to take Luke Schenscher's roster spot. Unfortunately, I believe that, much like Bill the Pony, he'll have to be let go later on in the season.Scott Skiles as Smeagol Gollum:
The crotchity coach has changed a little to reflect a softer, warmer coach. But it won't last. The first sign of trouble Scott Smeagol will molt back into Gollum Skiles, but it'll be his constant conflict with his team that will either save the day or push it over the edge or do both in the process just as Gollum did for Frodo after he refused to throw the ring into the fire.John Paxson as Gandalf the Wizard:
He put the team together. He pulls the strings behind the scenes. He travels to countries far and wide to better his situation at home. He know the spells to make the team gel. He is the power behind the story. He is the man with the plan. He has been to the mountain top (3 rings as a player) and has fallen into the abyss (coached and broadcast for some pitiful teams). He rides his horse of power (the Bulls in general are not unlike Shadowfax, Gandalf's horse), and he comes back from the dead. He fleeces the enemy (Isaiah Thomas, the Portland Trailblazers) like Gandalf did to Denethor, and he just plain rocks.Benny the Bull as Boromir, Steward of Gondor:
He acquitted himself of charges that he assaulted an officer just as Boromir acquitted himself of actions with Frodo. Luckily for Benny the Bull he doesn't die in the process like Boromir did.