The NBA has been inside the Disney bubble for nearly a month and will resume play next week at several different sites across the vast Walt Disney World property in Orlando. There seems like no better time to take a look at a few NBA players inside the bubble and their counterparts in costumes at the Disney parks.
Disney Character Equivalents of NBA Players
LeBron James as Mickey Mouse
One is the face of the NBA, and the other is the face of a multi-national entertainment brand. The similarities between these two do not stop there. Mickey Mouse, much like LeBron James is commonly shown only wearing shorts and no shirt. When LeBron is off the court you’ll be hard-pressed to find him fully clothed. These two have done more for their respective brands than anyone has. Mickey has LeBron when it comes to longevity, but LeBron has arguably had a bigger cultural impact despite being on the national scene for just roughly 20 years. Their final similarity lies in public perception. Some people would argue that both of these figures are wildly overrated.
Russell Westbrook as Donald Duck
Donald Duck is known for his outlandish antics and his, at times, completely unnecessary temper. You could go back and replace Donald Duck with Russell Westbrook and the previous sentence would still hold true. Everyone remembers the videos from their childhood of Donald stomping around yelling about some injustice that was done to him by another character. The same can be said for videos of Westbrook becoming aggrieved by the latest bad call an official made. Also, it is safe to say that Donald, much like Russ, was pulling off some major fits with his sailor’s cap.
Giannis Antetokounmpo as Hercules
Giannis Antetokounmpo has long been referred to as The Greek Freak. Has there ever been another person of Greek descent that peers referred to as a freak? That’s right, Hercules spent many of his younger years being mocked as a freak by the people around him. Both of these gentlemen did not start out as the stars they went on to become. Hercules needed the help of Phil, and all it took to unlock the talent within Giannis was Mark Budenholzer. Hercules’ story ended in the ultimate triumph, but Giannis has yet to conquer the NBA’s Mount Olympus.
Jayson Tatum as Simba
Jayson Tatum just can’t wait to be king. Many people believe Tatum could be the future of the NBA, much like Simba was the future of Pride Rock. Tatum came into the league as a heralded newcomer, ready to explore the NBA landscape. Simba often looked to the kings of the past for answers when he needed them most. Tatum has been known to seek the advice of those who came before him and use that advice to advance his career. If Tatum truly is Simba that would make the late Kobe Bryant his Mufasa. Tatum long strived to be the player and leader Bryant was, and often sought him out for advice. The only fear for Boston Celtic’s fans going forward is that Tatum strays to the Elephant Graveyard.
Zion Williamson as Pumba
Both of these individuals were relentlessly mocked for their weight. Similarly, they both overcame that ridicule to become immensely powerful. For Zion Williamson, the mocking came from everyone, but nobody more so than Mark Jackson during Zion’s first game of the 2019-20 season. Pumba had to endure taunts from animals all over the Savanah, but the worst came from the Hyena’s who called him a pig. Zion and Pumba both laughed at their haters to use their size to their advantage, and to help their teams.
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard as Woody and Buzz Lightyear
The two biggest toys from Andy’s bedroom are strikingly similar to the Portland Trailblazer’s backcourt duo. CJ McCollum is Woody. He is the more calculated member of the pair and the one who is more likely to devise a plan to get out of a predicament. Damian Lillard is Buzz Lightyear. Dame and Buzz would both rather shoot their way out of a problem. These two pairs find their way into many different situations and have to rely on their skills, as well as the skills of their partner, to effectively overcome the obstacles.
Joel Embiid as Sulley
James “Sulley” Sullivan was one of the top employees at Monsters Inc. He was on pace to break all of the records set by previous scarers. On the inside, he was a humble guy who wanted to put the success of everyone ahead of his individual success. Joel Embiid does many of the same things that Sulley is known for. When it comes to his abilities, few within his profession can match what he does. However, he also is all about “Trusting the Process” when it comes to organizational success.
Kawhi Leonard as Stitch
This one may require some imagination. For our purpose, we are talking about Experiment 626, which was created in a lab, and later named Stitch. Stitch’s creator is known to have created the experiment as one that would be “bulletproof, fireproof, and able to think faster than a supercomputer”. The only instinct that Stitch had upon his creation was to “destroy everything he touches”. That all sounds oddly like a certain forward for the Los Angeles Clippers. It is often said that Kawhi Leonard was created in a basketball lab, built only to destroy NBA foes. That instinct was a major key to Leonard leading the Toronto Raptors to the 2018-19 NBA championship.
Boban Marjanović as Goofy
Are they both tall? Check. Are they both a little awkward looking? Sure are. Are they both almost universally loved for their awkward yet hilarious antics? You’re darn right they are. The other similarity that exists for these two is that most people could not tell you the other half of either of their names. Also, if we are being completely honest here, it would be awesome to see Boban Marjanović on a skateboard just like Goofy.
Ben Simmons as Captain Hook
Captain Hook lost his left hand as part of a sword fight against Peter Pan. He then replaced the lost hand with a metal hook. This is where the comparison to Ben Simmons starts. When Captain Hook uses the wrong hang, like scratching his nose with his left hand, the results could be catastrophic. The same can be said for Simmons. When Simmons insists on using his left hand to shoot jump shots the results are much the same as using a hook to scratch your face. Simmons has long brushed off suggestions of switching to his right hand, but NBA fans cannot help but wonder if maybe he would be more effective if he made the change.
The Best of the Rest
Here are a few more comparisons that deserve mention here, but maybe do not need much of an in-depth look.
Rudy Gobert as Gaston
A Frenchman who seems popular at the beginning but ultimately becomes horribly unlike, even by his teammate, Lefou. Rudy Gobert can certainly relate.
Chris Paul as Olaf
Chris Paul, much like his Disney counterpart, is well known for melting when the heat is on.
Dwight Howard as Jafar
Dwight Howard is a well-documented “snake guy”. He would certainly feel right at home with Jafar’s serpent-shaped staff in his hands.
What’s Next for the NBA?
Up next for the NBA’s cast of characters is a season resuming tip-off set for July 30th. Each of the 22 teams inside the Orlando bubble will play a series of eight seeding games before we finally get to see the 2019-20 NBA Playoffs.
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