Katy Perry's halftime performance was the highlight of this year's Super Bowl. Sure, the game came down to the final seconds, but many of the millions who tuned in didn't care who won either way -- thus, Perry stole the show. It was the best halftime show in recent memory and I say with aplomb that it was superior to Beyonce's performance two years ago. Yes, I know a bounty (Bey-ounty?) has now been placed on my head but I don't really care. Perry rode out on a mechanical liger and then danced with singing palm trees, beach balls, and sharks. But her performance, remarkable and the undisputed highlight of the evening, was overshadowed by something even bigger: two dancing sharks on her right and left.
Left Shark became an internet sensation spawning memes and listicles as fast as the web could churn them out. Whereas Right Shark was known for the precision of its routine, Left Shark danced as if it were a free jazz tune or a white person at any concert. It was a mesmerizing performance. The dichotomy between the two sharks lends itself to a wider cultural discussion as well: which shark are we?
There are broad implications to this question but for our purposes we will limit them to basketball and, more specifically, to the Dallas Mavericks. Which of the Mavs players are Left Shark and which are Right Shark? Let's find out, but first, a visual reminder.
Al-Farouq Aminu - Left Shark
Aminu shows remarkable potential and occasionally does something spectacular. However, he is raw and hasn't fully developed consistency.
J.J. Barea - Left Shark
I'm not sure there is a player on the Mavericks' roster that is more Left Shark than Barea. He dribbles around almost aimlessly at times and hoists up needlessly difficult shots from the perimeter and in traffic. However, sometimes he makes it all look good while convincing us that we could do what he does.
Tyson Chandler - Right Shark
Chandler is the anchor of the defense and a focal point of the offense. He knows his role and plays the part well even if everything is crumbling around him.
Monta Ellis - Both Sharks
Declaring Monta to be both sharks might be considered a cop out. Hear me out, though. For much of Ellis' career, he was regarded as an inefficient scorer who hampered a team's offense. In Dallas, he has transformed his game, becoming an offensive weapon known for consistency, especially in the final few minutes of a game. When recovering on defense, however, he sometimes flails his arms in a fashion reminiscent of Left Shark's fins.
Raymond Felton - Left Shark
He could be good, right?
Devin Harris - Left Shark
Maybe his next 2-for-1 will splash the nylon and be worth it. It probably won't but he'll be damned if he doesn't at least take the shot.
Richard Jefferson - Right Shark
Jefferson is nothing but consistent. When he is confronted with an open corner 3-point attempt he puts the ball on the floor and drives to the rim...only to be rejected.
Ricky Ledo - Left Shark
Ledo spends the majority of his time in the D-League. It's essentially a school of Left Sharks.
Dirk Nowitzki - Right Shark
Dirk's game is based on precision. He works tirelessly on his mechanics and shooting form. The effort has paid off too as younger players are starting to incorporate his one-legged fade into their repertoire. He's a consummate professional unless he's rapping.
Chandler Parsons - Left Shark
After a rough start to the season, Parsons as seemingly found his game and is one of the reliable players on the team. However, his off the court persona is on the cusp of becoming a meme with his flamingo socks endorsements and being recently voted the most handsome player in the NBA by Japanese fans.
Dwight Powell - Right Shark
He may not light up the box score but Powell displays all the characteristics of a player destined to become a Right Shark.
Rajon Rondo - Right Shark
Rondo has taken his unique skill set and elevated it to an art form. We watch him expecting to be wowed.
Greg Smith - Left Shark
The kid has moxie in spades.
Charlie Villanueva - Right Shark
We know what we're going to get from Charlie V. He's out there to put up shots with that pretty stroke of his. When they're falling, he transcends his corporeal state and becomes Tha Rippla.
As with any good team, the Mavericks are a diverse bunch, not hedging too far towards favoring either shark. Individually, though, the Mavs players fall neatly into the two categories that now represent us. Embrace our new sociological identifiers; they're here to stay.