Friday, March 22, 2013

The Denominational Dominion Tournmanet of Championships

basketball christmas, Santa Claus, basketball, dunk
Basketball Christmas!
by Ben Howard

Merry Basketball Christmas! It's the time of year when you call in sick to work, binge on college basketball, and lie vigorously about who you ultimately picked to go to the Final Four in your nine brackets.

A lot of places around the internet hold their own tournaments this time of year, whether it be to determine the Christian of the Year (or something) over at The American Jesus (go vote!) or whether it be to figure out who won Twitter in 2013 at Esquire.

Well, I've decided to take that idea and run with it, then fly with it, then make a canoe out of it and paddle myself into the middle of the idea jungle where rare ferns grow and animals we once believed extinct roam freely.

I've concocted four teams, the Anglican Avengers, the Catholic Crushers, the Mainline Marauders, and the Evangelical Evolutionaries (teehee) who will all face off in the Denominational Dominion Tournament of Championships.

This week I'll set the rosters (comprised of theologians, famous people, authors, whatever I felt like). Next week we'll play out the first round matches, and then the following week we'll crown our champion. I'll post a poll on the right side of the screen so you can vote for who you think will win.

Now to the teams!

Anglican Avengers

Queen Elizabeth II
Position: Point Guard
NBA Spirit Player: Steve Nash
Scouting Report: This crafty elder statesmen has overcome a lot of challenges in order to be known as one of the modern greats. She runs the point like a champion, though she does occasionally have to remember that her control over the team is in name more than in fact.

Desmond Tutu
Position: Shooting Guard 
NBA Spirit Player: Manu Ginobili
Scouting Report: An exuberant and determined player from outside the typical hotbed of ecclesial prominence. He is great for team chemistry and knows how to put points on the board in crunch time. Also, he giggles and laughs a lot.

George Washington
Position: Small Forward 
NBA Spirit Player: Paul Pierce
Scouting Report: A real team leader and floor general even when he doesn't have the ball in his hands, Washington knows when to take charge and when to lay back and let his team play.

N.T. Wright
Position: Power Forward 
NBA Spirit Player: Karl Malone
Scouting Report: A intimidating big man who is confident and not afraid of a little contact and conflict. He bounces around on the inside making room for himself, putting up big points and taking down big rebounds. Also, he recorded this video.

Henry VIII
Position: Center 
NBA Spirit Player: Shaquille O'Neal
Scouting Report: A larger than life player from the past whose legacy probably outpaces his still considerable talents on the floor. Similar to Shaq's relationship with his past teams, Henry has also ended many relationships on poor terms.

Catholic Crushers

Pope Francis I
Position: Point Guard
NBA Spirit Player: John Stockton
Scouting Report: Yay! Yay, yay, yay! Just read here, here, here and here. Unselfish player, perhaps too unselfish, but possibly the new leader the Catholics need to make it to the title.

Dorothy Day
Position: Shooting Guard
NBA Spirit Player: Dwyane Wade
Scouting Report: An innovative and revolutionary guard who doesn't mind getting down and dirty to get the job done. A great defender with a flair for the inspirational and who knows the kind of work it takes to be a winner.

Thomas Aquinas
Position: Small Forward
NBA Spirit Player: Scottie Pippen
Scouting Report: One of the greatest defenders of all-time and easily one of the best players in the history of the game. Occasionally underrated because of his stalwart consistency, which pales in comparison to the flash and brilliance of many others.

Augustine of Hippo
Position: Power Forward 
NBA Spirit Player: Rasheed Wallace
Scouting Report: Idealistic, emotional, and bombastic player who believes that the world is inherently dualistic. With that in mind he is convinced that he is right, the world is wrong, and everything else is a little messed up.

Gregory the Great
Position: Center
NBA Spirit Player: David Robinson
Scouting Report: A calm, stabilizing influence who always understands his fundamentals and knows that his goal is a championship, not just an individual game. Incredibly responsible and dedicated, known as one of the classiest players in history.

Mainline Marauders

John Wesley
Position: Point Guard
NBA Spirit Player: Jason Kidd
Scouting Report: The kind of player who just wants to get on a court and play. He doesn't care if it's on the big stage of the tournament or in a playground out in the middle of nowhere, he just wants to get out there and enjoy the game. His freewheeling spirit can make the more traditional bristle at what they view as excessive enthusiasm.

Hillary Clinton
Position: Shooting Guard
NBA Spirit Player: Ray Allen
Scouting Report: Hillary still plays at a relatively high level even though it feels like she's been around forever. Once determined to drive into the line and draw contact, Clinton, like Ray Allen, is now interested in more efficient and impactful methods of change - like corner 3's.

Barack Obama
Position: Small Forward 
NBA Spirit Player: Kevin Durant
Scouting Report: All he does is score and score and score and be awesome and dunk and shoot three's. Some of his detractors say he needs to be more assertive. Others say that Barack Obama is not nice.

Martin Luther
Position: Power Forward 
NBA Spirit Player: Kevin Garnett
Scouting Report: Explosive, irritable, and revolutionary player who plays some of the best defense of all-time. He is also an all-time trash talker, best exemplified by Martin Luther Insult Generator.

John Calvin
Position: Center 
NBA Spirit Player: Tim Duncan
Scouting Report: The Big Fundamental is a thoughtful, dedicated, and underrated player who anchors a team that has been winning for what feels like centuries. Though he is often cool and collected, Calvin can also be fiery and temperamental when things start to push him past his breaking point.

Evangelical Evolutionaries

Rachel Held Evans
Position: Point Guard
NBA Spirit Player: Kyrie Irving
Scouting Report: The future of the team and one of the most innovative and fun-to-watch players in the game today. Watching RHE dominate Biblical Womanhood was reminiscent of this moment between Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight during All-Star Weekend.

Rob Bell
Position: Shooting Guard
NBA Spirit Player: Kobe Bryant
Scouting Report: One of the great scorers, basketball artists, and winners the game has ever seen. A singularly divisive figure, both within his team and within the league as a whole. As he's aged and become more comfortable with his place in history, he's felt more free to be himself and let his opinions fly.

Francis Chan
Position: Small Forward 
NBA Spirit Player: Carmelo Anthony
Scouting Report: Like Carmelo, Chan knows how to score points by the bucket load. However, it's still uncertain whether a team led by either one of these can break through and achieve the championship both so desperately want.

Mark Driscoll
Position: Power Forward 
NBA Spirit Player: Shawn Kemp
Scouting Report: Dude. Man. Bible Bro.

John Piper
Position: Center 
NBA Spirit Player: Dikembe Mutombo
Scouting Report: You don't go inside on Mutombo, and you don't go inside on Piper! He will lay the smack down on you! He will block all of your shots and then he will dance and wag his finger at you! Also, he can't shoot or pass, but you know, whatever. Defense!

Who will win? Who will lose? Who will be the first to point out that Hillary Clinton isn't much of a shooting guard?

Be sure to comment on who you think should have made the team, which NBA spirit animal really fits your favorite player, and anything else you feel like you want to add to the conversation.

Also, enjoy this video of Roundball Rock performed by John Tesh!


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