Star Trek: New Orleans Hornets

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Published: May 7, 2009

I was talking with my buddy Josh about the Hornets yesterday, and he mentioned that he thought everything had gotten a little morose since the end of the season.  He thought that maybe I should try to inject a little levity into things, and you know, he’s right.  It’s kinda silly how much doom and gloom there is floating around because of worry about what the Hornets will do this summer.

Tomorrow is the opening night of the new Star Trek movie.  What better way to celebrate a new entry in one of my favorite series of all time than to indulge in one of my famous comparison posts?  So, ladies and gentlemen, I give you a comparison of the New Orleans Hornets with . . . Characters from the Star Trek Universe!  Enjoy!

Chris Paul as Benjamin Sisko, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Ben Sisko was by far and away the most warlike of the Star Trek Captains.  During his career on the DS9 space station he fought wars against Cardasians, Rebel Maquis, the Dominion, and engaged in running battles with Klingons and Romulans.  His ability to command a field of battle was without equal and he led from the front, taking his small but powerful warship in amongst the deadliest of his foes.  While that alone is a satisfactory comparison with Paul, this is easily the deepest of all my comparisons:

  1. Unlike Paragon Captains like Picard and Janeway, Sisko was perfectly willing to use underhanded tactics to win whatever battle he was in, epitomized by his frequent use of the talents of the resident arms dealer, smuggler, bar-owner and never-do-well Quark.  Paul, of course, isn’t above flopping or employing his own questionable tactics when competing on the court.
  2. Sisko was also annointed from the day he arrived at Deep Space Nine, as the inhabitants of the nearest planet designated him a religious figure called him the Emmissary, venerating him and following his lead.  From the moment Paul put on a Hornets Jersey, he was the man.  The Hornets are his team – and no one questions that.
  3. Both men posess a beautiful smile that cropped up frequently when amongst friends.  But when amongst enemies, when that smile appears, you knew someone was about to have their heart ripped out.
  4. Despite Sisko’s warlike nature, he was a master diplomat, navigating ugly poltical situations that arose between the Federation and the Klingons and on the nearby planet of Bejor, where many leaders were jealous of his influence with the people.  Chris Paul, of course, is one of the best interviews you’ll find in the NBA, displaying a ready wit, likeable personality, and surprising humility.  Class act.

David West as Commander Riker, Star Trek: The Next Generation
Commander Riker was Captain Picard’s second in command on the Enterprise.  He was capable, courageous and a tightly disciplined man, if a bit stiff.  When left in charge, he rarely made mistakes and could be very effective.  However, as the show continued, there was one overaching truth about Riker’s character:  despite his lofty rank and position of power, he couldn’t carry a show by himself.  Riker needed other interesting characters to keep storylines that focused on him afloat, and to me that seems like a pretty good analogy for West.  He’s a strong, dependable forward with a lot of ability, but he’s not going to carry a team anywhere without some pretty strong complimentary firepower.

Rasual “Phoenix” Butler  as Montgomery “Scottie” Scott, Star Trek(Original Series)
At first glance there doesn’t seem to be a lot of similarities between the cool, business-like Rasual Butler and the overexciteable engineer from the original Star Trek.  However, there are a few key things that made this comparison grow on me:  During the first season of Star Trek, Scottie was a minor character who rarely did anything but smile lecherously at alien females and dive over the railings of the bridge when the ship was hit.  But from that ignoble beginning Scottie eventually turned into one of the most beloved characters of the original Star Trek, with innumerable stories about the miracles he always pulled off at the last second to save the Enterprise.  That seemed like a pretty close analogy to the disaster 2007-2008 season Rasual Butler went through, followed by this season’s rise to starting two-guard and the fourth quarter daggers he delivered on a regular basis to put games away.

James Posey as Neelix, Star Trek: Voyager
James Posey was brought in to provide energy, defense, three-point shooting, and a tough mentality.  He ended up contributing post up moves, a primary offensive option for the floundering second unit, and at least one stupid foul per game, all while being out-of-this-world cool.  Neelix was an alien that joined the Star Trek Voyager crew and became, essentially, their procurement officer, responsible for getting his hands on any technology, supplies and food that he could manage.  While most of the time, he provided well, rarely the technology he brought in – or food he procured – were more harmful than helpful.

Peja Stojakovic as Odo, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Odo was the constable of Deep Space Nine, frequently spotted floating about the perimeter of the spacestation, making himself generally available should something needing his attention occur.  As a shapeshifter, he had a number of tricky weapons at his disposal, and was very effective at his job.  One of my favorite characters early in the show, by the end of the series, he had entangled himself with the leaders of the massive enemy fleet facing Deep Space Nine and became both very undependable and somewhat disappointing.  Not a bad description of Peja – floating around at the three-point arc, waiting for an open shot, posessing a good number of offensive tricks, and sadly undependable when the big games roll around.

Tyson Chandler as Worf, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation
This is a bit of a cop-out on my part really.  On the surface, Tyson is a big man who likes to use a hammer to hit things and Worf was a security officer and warrior who liked to use a sword – or his fists – to hit things.  Both are actually a lot more complex than that, but we’ll leave it there, because the comparisons widen if we explore too much.

Hilton Armstrong as Lieutenant Uhura, Star Trek(The Original Series)
In the Star Trek Sphere, there is a lot of hype surrounding Lieutenant Uhura due to the barriers she broke as an African-American woman cast as a Lieutenant on a warship.  She was billed as a strong woman character when those were few and far between on television, and that she was a minority made it even more special.  It all sounds good, but you realize when you watch the show that she’s actually been cast as the crew’s receptionist, taking phone calls and generally looking terrified and/or overwhelmed whenever an alien beams aboard.  What does that have to do with Hilton?  Well, he looks like he should be a beast out there, but when he gets minutes, you realize there’s not a lot to see.

Devin Brown as Ezri Dax, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Counselor Ezri Dax was brought in during the final season of Deep Space Nine to replace the very popular Jadzia Dax, who left the show the previous season.  Though she seemed likeable enough, Ezri was featured on most of the  episodes during that final season, way more than most of the established characters on the show, and in general became a little annoying.  Devin Brown, of course, got the job of trying to replace the popular Pargo as a scorer on the second unit, and managed to get more time than Antonio Daniels, Morris Peterson and Julian Wright, something that I know was definitely not popular with many of you.

Sean Marks as Julian Bashir, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Julian Bashir was a solid character, serving as the Doctor for Deep Space Nine.  He was a major player in some of the best “buddy” episodes on any Star Trek show.  However, Star Trek shows have a strong group of Doctors on them, with the great holographic Doctor on Voyager, Phlox on Enterprise, and even Bones on the Original Series.  When compared to them, Bashir has his moments, but in general pales in comparison.  Marks, in his own way, had some great moments this year, and I like his effort and energy, but really, he shouldn’t be getting as many minutes as he did as an NBA big man.

Antonio Daniels as Tuvok, Star Trek: Voyager

Tuvok was the vulcan security officer of Voyager, and was a valuable member of that cast.  However, when I think back on the Voyager seasons, I can only remember a handful of shows where he had a primary role, and his impact was nowhere as great as I thought it would be when the show started and he was playing an undercover spy.  Antonio Daniels was nice, but in general, he wasn’t good enough for Byron to give him enough minutes to have a lasting impact, and I had expected so much more when he was acquired.

Julian Wright as Pavel Chekov, Star Trek(The Original Series)
Ensign Chekov spent most of his time on the Enterprise not really understanding what was going on around him, and looking to Lieutenant Sulu to explain what was happening.  When put in position to take action, he had mixed results, sometimes succeeding, but just as often having to be rescued by Captain Kirk.  Eventually, he must have figured things out, because in the movies he rose to the rank of Commander.  Let’s hope Julian Wright does the same.  A Julian with fewer mistakes and who taps into that wild potential he exudes?  It would be nice.

Morris Peterson as Tasha Yar, Star Trek: The Next Generation
The first really strong woman of the Star Trek universe, Security Chief Tasha Yar complimented the rest of the cast  in that first season, providing some very solid storylines.  Then they killed her off really early in the show and only brought her back for infrequent cameos.  Peterson, of course, started the first nine games of the season, got hurt, and vanished except for very brief appearances later in the season.  Both are a bit of a shame.

Ryan Bowen as Quark, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Quark is a highly unattractive alien who seems out of place in a Federation run space station.  However, he ended up being a fan favorite, and I always looked forward to his shows.  Ryan Bowen just doesn’t look like he’s a basketball player.  He runs a little hunched, always seems a little awkward, but man, I love the energy he plays with.  And so do most of the fans.

Melvin Ely as T’Pol, Star Trek: Enterprise
There really isn’t any relation between T’Pol and Melvin Ely.  I just wanted an excuse to put up a picture of the smokin’ T’Pol for all of you to enjoy.

Hope you enjoyed it.  I’ll get back to my off-season discussions shortly.

[Update] Oh – and be sure to visit the News section.  The Times-Picayune is reporting that Byron Scott will be retained.

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