As I watched one of my favorite childhood movies recently (the live action TMNT), I was reminded of the importance of teamwork and cohesion amongst a group. This spurred my focus onto the game of basketball and the remarking similarity between the mutated turtles and one basketball team in particular: the Los Angeles Lakers.
The classic characters each have their real counterparts in the form of large, athletic basketball players. Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, Michelangelo, Splinter, and Casey Jones each parallel a current player/coach for the Lakers (not including the unsigned Lamar Odom).
The obvious choice for the turtle with the blue headband, Bryant is a fearless as he is talented. Leonardo, the leader of the turtle squad, represents the ability of a young “man” to grow into a responsible and under control adult. Kobe parallels this sentiment, maturing in front of heavy media scrutiny and expectations, coming to the Lakers straight out of high school and becoming a MVP. The most naturally gifted and dedicated, Leonardo mirrors Kobe in nearly every way.
Donatello was the brain of the operation for the turtles, guiding them through the new age technology and plotting out the next plan of action. Pau, according to Bryant’s commentary on Kobe Doin’ Work, is one of the most intelligent players in the NBA. Naturally, Kobe would fit in this category as well, improving his knowledge and awareness of the game each year. But Kobe fits nearly all of the categories while maintaining his uniqueness.
The hot head, the teakettle set to explode at any second, Raphael’s color of red represented his passion and burning fire inside of him. Artest has become infamous outside of just the basketball diehards and regular fanatics for his insane antics. He has the unique ability to get inside of the heads of opponents as well as crowd members. His exploits of failed crowd surfing has earned him scowls as well as suspensions.
Mikey, being the youngest of the group is naturally the goofball whose sense of humor often shines during the most inappropriate times. Andrew Bynum is the young stud of the Lakers, often relied on despite his age to perform big. His myspace is also stuff of legend, bringing laughs and enlightening all who grace the page.
Casey Jones-Adam Morrison
The outsider of the group and not actually a turtle, Mr. Jones used his hockey experience to help the turtles fight crime and overall badness. Coming over to the Lakers midseason, Morrison never really found his grove or the court in his still brief stint with LA. The Casey character ended up helping the turtles greatly in rescuing Splinter from the clutches of Shredder. Morrison helped the Lakers by playing in place of the important players during pointless minutes of blowout games, preventing potentially season crippling injuries.
The spiritual leader and father figure of the turtles, Splinter is wise and has a tremendous ability to calm his sons. Jackson is referred to as the “Zen master”, guiding his team not only physically but mentally. Clearly wise enough to win 10 championships as a coach, Jackson is more than just speeches and motivation. He was once a professional basketball player himself with the Knickerbockers of New York.
April O’Neil-Sasha Vujacic
The turtles eternal friend and lone female presence in the movies, April’s career as a TV journalist allowed for her to cross paths with the turtles. I am not accusing Sasha of being a woman or anything close to that. I am saying that Sasha maintains a healthy mane of hair that is usually corralled by a headband.
A young, physical freak of nature, Tokka was a mutated alligator snapping turtle that Shredder intended to use to defeat the turtles. Amar’e has, on more than one occasion, challenged the Lakers with his beastly body and attitude on the court. Even with all of his abilities, Amare was unable to unseat the Lakers this previous year because of an unfortunate eye injury.
(No, this is not a member of the Wu Tang Clan) Like Tokka, Rahzar was just an infantile wolf that was mutated by Shredder in order to fight the turtles. Howard, much like Amare, is an absolute physical specimen whose corporeal prowess are heads and shoulders above nearly the entire league, enabling him to experience much success. However, even with all of his advantages, Howard, like Rahzar, is unable to defeat the Lakers/Turtles.
The Foot Clan-The Boston Celtics
The turtles’ main rival in a broader sense, the foot as they are colloquially referred to, battle the teenage fighters in a seemingly endless struggle. The Celtics defeated the Lakers in the 2008 Finals, forcing the Lakers to improve and grow in order to better themselves for a possible future meeting. However, the Lakers needn’t worry about Boston, as they would instead face the Orlando Magic, who is more like the police who aren’t exactly on speaking terms with the turtles.
The single greatest warrior outside of the Turtles’ clan, Shredder was also single handedly responsible for defeating the mutant clan. However, he was unable to finish the job as Splinter easily defeated him after fighting each of the turtles. While LeBron is not the chief rival of Phil Jackson, he represents the largest single player challenge to the Lakers in the league. His actions alone nearly topple the Lakers plans and greatness, but usually end in victory for Kobe and Los Angeles. A great basketball warrior, LeBron continually carries his teams to near victory against Los Angeles.