Made Ya Look: How the NBA Resembles the WWE
I remember a conversation from my childhood concerning the rise ofBret Hart in the early 90s. At the time, I missed a week or two of WWE programming. A good friend of mine brought me up to date via a short phone conversation. I still can recall the disappointment in his voice. “Man, the doctors told Bret not to wrestle!” You see, it was reported that Bret had a temperature exceeding 100 degrees. Yet, being a man of conviction, Bret chooses to go out and defend his WWE Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship. Yeah, you guessed it, he lost.
Yes, I know. Wrestlers lose every day on and off TV. That’s not the bizarre part. This is: He lost to The Mountie! Yeah, that guy. To call The Mountie a mid-card talent would be a disgrace to this guy. If you could have seen the look on my face, you would have witnessed bewilderment at its most clueless moment. Yeah, that’s the only way a “less talented” wrestler with a corny gimmick could have defeated the singles upstart Bret Hart. Bret was clearly sick. At that moment, I felt bad for him. “What an unfortunate occurrence”, I thought. Little did I know, greater things were on the horizon for “The Hitman”.
Greater soon came in an “un-televised” WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory over The Nature Boy Ric Flair. As a pre-teen, I couldn’t see the masterful writing. The writers must’ve sat around a table discussing how to elevate Bret Hart from the mid-card to main event status without damaging his brand or in-ring credibility. “Let’s give the audience a valid excuse”, they must have conspired. “After we garner that sympathy, we’ll give him a clean submission victory over Flair.” The rest as they say is HIStory. Until his untimely retirement, Bret Hart remained a top draw and solid in-ring performer. Thanks to stellar writing, a star was born.
Stellar writing will make any story believable. If you don’t believe me, ask this gentleman. There are times I can’t clearly identify if I’m watching WWE programming or NBA programming. If you ask me, they are one in the same. Remember that Chris Paul to the Lakerstrade? I remember being so excited, I ordered take out to celebrate. Only to find that after I became a soldier in the General Tso Army, the trade was cancelled by David Stern. Wait! Maybe that was actually Vince McMahon. Does that not sound similar to this? That trade would have made the Lakers the most powerful team in the NBA. How? Well, the Lakers have not had a point guard close to the caliber of Chris Paul since Showtime. Dwight Howard has been desirous of playing with Paul since they were teammates on the 2008 Olympic gold medal winning Team U.S.A. Bryant/Gasol/Howard/Paul, how do you beat that? Answer: You don’t. This guy’s legacy had to be protected.
There you have it, protection from the highest power in the land. The trade was cancelled, thus changing NBA history forever. The Lakers have still not recovered, but there’s a new mid-carder wearing thechampionship gold. Shakespeare himself could not have penned a better drama. Wait, I think he already did.