Happy Star Wars Day!
Go anywhere on Earth, and it’s likely you’ll meet someone that knows Star Wars. It’s one of the biggest brands in entertainment and storytelling, and its characters are absolutely iconic. In fact, you can probably find their equivalent in any group you come across. So to celebrate Star Wars Day, that’s what we’re doing here. These are the NBA players and the Star Wars characters that they most resemble. May the Fourth be with you.
Lebron James is Luke Skywalker
If ever there was an anime protagonist in the NBA, it’s LeBron James.
Burdened with great destiny, immensely well-traveled, The Chosen One became a hometown hero before leaving with a bitter taste in the mouth. He’s been compared and contrasted with the legends of the past, and while some will say he can’t live up to the expectations of his predecessors, he has an argument to be the greatest of all time at his craft.
Sure, he’s a little whiny, pretentious, and his otherwise poetic and poignant last act is emotionally confusing and controversial in a super petty way (shoutout to The Last Jedi).
But LeBron, like Luke, is a hero in every facet of the word. They were a hero, longed to leave home in search of life’s meaning, came back stronger to bring glory back, and were able to change the world around them. Luke toppled an empire, James is changing lives everywhere he touches aside from the NBA.
Between their unrivaled skill, manic hard work, semi-cyborg bodies (seriously, how is LeBron just now starting to age), and heroism off the court/outside of the X-Wing, LeBron James and Luke Skywalker are the heroes of their age.
Steph Curry is Han Solo
Curry is one of the more underrated superstars in the NBA. Han Solo is left out of the power rankings of influential characters in Star Wars lore since he’s not a Jedi. What can one smuggler with no Force powers do against space wizards?
Well, he can be one of the best shots in the Republic, and easily its greatest pilot. Curry can be the greatest shooter of all time.
Disrespect them, underestimate them at your peril — after all, it’s definitely more believable to be a great shooter than it is to have the athleticism of other NBA greats, just like it’s more believable that you can be a great pilot and shot than you thinking you have power over the Force.
But that’s what makes Steph Curry and Han Solo both great. They are the everyman — they just happen to do the whole everyman thing better than anyone ever did. They’re also both frustratingly charming and charismatic — who doesn’t want to play or work with them?
These two are testaments to what “regular people” can do to match up against the giants and titans of their worlds. Any one of us could be just like them — we just need the hard work and discipline to get there.
Chris Paul is Princess Leia
Prickly, temperamental, and the best damn leader in the galaxy/NBA.
Wherever Chris Paul and Princess Leia go, they end up making that place better. Sure, they might ruffle some feathers along the way and upset some people, but no one has a better track record of leadership than they do. Look at Paul’s resume: from the Hornets, to the Clippers, to the Rockets, Thunder, and Suns, every team that he’s touched has comfortably been in playoff contention. Those Hornets and Thunder teams stand out in particular: with Chris Paul there alone, they had nobody to support him.
Outside of LeBron James, no one has a better track record of improving the players around them than Chris Paul. Is he constantly underrated like Steph Curry/Han Solo because of his lack of explosion or size? Yes. Is he as charming as Steph Curry/Han Solo? Hell, no.
Chris Paul and Leia are undeniable leaders. They are demanding, wily, and sometimes extremely petty, but the point is that they get the job done.
Russell Westbrook is Anakin Skywalker
Historically talented? Check. Betrayed and scorned? Yup. Intimidating and terrifying? Definitely. Fueled by anger and rage that kinda sorta makes them better at what they do? You bet.
We’re essentially talking about the same person when we’re discussing Russell Westbrook and Anakin Skywalker. Anakin was a prodigy in the Force, and Russell Westbrook is the most athletically gifted point guard the NBA has ever seen. Both were a part of something with the potential to be great, only to feel betrayed by the ones closest to them.
As their careers have gone on, both went from heroes, to tragic figures, to wildly entertaining villainy. Sure, it’s infuriating to watch Brodie play, but there is no better show in the NBA (cue that hallway scene from Rogue One).
We only hope that both of these figures can finally find the peace, closure, and respect that they deserve in their worlds.
Damian Lillard is The Mandalorian
Multi-talented. Complicated. Deep. Closed off, but fiercely loyal to their chosen family.
Damian Lillard and The Mandalorian don’t mind being on the fringes of the story, even if they’re only spoken about in whispers. As long as they have their family, they’re content. Just don’t mess with them. Seriously.
Kawhi Leonard is Darth Maul
Dynamic. Deadly. Silent.
No matter how “fun a guy” Kawhi Leonard is, he is an absolute assassin on the court. His game is dynamic, he is wildly athletic, and after feeling betrayed by the NBA’s evil empire (*cough*San Antonio*cough*), he forced his way out.
As a two-way player, there is no better than Kawhi Leonard, but he abandoned potential greatness to try and find it on his own, and has been seeking redemption ever since.
Hell, even his own shoe brand is slept on, and not really a part of the culture.
Luka Doncic is Rey
You know that super-talented kid in your class that just came out of nowhere, but is somehow filled with pure joy? That kid is Luka Doncic.
Raise your hand if this story sounds familiar: a generational talent is discovered from the edges of popular knowledge, and is passed on or forgotten because no one knows where they come from. But for whatever reason, that talent was immediate, and its owner inexplicably became one of the most skilled and powerful of their kind to ever exist. They are unproven, and naive to the larger world around them, but they possess world-changing power, and are unafraid to use it.
No one had heard of Luka Doncic, the Eastern European prodigy who became an instant NBA sensation and top-5 MVP candidate in only his second year in the league, before he was drafted. No one had heard of “Rey from nowhere”, either. After all, Jakku is just a crappier Tatooine.
But both are the heirs to eras gone by: Luka is like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird reborn, chosen to be the heir of Dirk Nowitzki as the Dallas Mavericks’ European superstar and leader. Rey is the heir to all the Jedi and…well, something more.
Both are just adorable to watch too. The joy they have to be a part of something bigger than themselves is evident, even if they supposedly come from nowhere.