There’s a lot going on and... there’s a lot not going on.
Years from now, when historians do what they do and capture this period of our history, that sentence will serve to succinctly capture at least some of what happened.
Basketball is no more, for now. Sports have been sidelined for the greater good. Chief among them is the recent decision to postpone the 2020 Summer Olympics due to the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.
Naturally, this confluence of no basketball and no summer Olympics made me start thinking: how would current Dallas Mavericks players fare in summer Olympic sports? (Look, we’re under state-mandated quarantine, time and rational thinking are fleeting concepts right now, okay?)
ARCHERY: Tim Hardaway Jr
Tim Hardaway Jr is currently shooting 40.7% from 3. Considering the fact that he shot 32.1% from deep during the previous season, this is a serious improvement. THJ harnesses his improving target hitting prowess and enters the Olympic Archery competition brimming with confidence. He shoots his quiver of arrows so stunningly accurate, producers of the “Hunger Games” movie franchise immediately recognize the mistake they made in not casting THJ as arrow-slinging hero Katniss Everdeen.
RESULT: THJ wins gold.
JUDO: Dorian Finney-Smith
Dorian Finney-Smith is a 6-7, 220lb defensive-minded scrapper. His length, toughness, and sheer athletic ability draws DFS to the art of judo. Competitiveness is one of judo’s prominent elements and DFS has this in spades. Tapping in to the same fortitude that DFS used in guarding premier NBA talents like LeBron James, Karl Anthony Towns, and James Harden, DFS sludges his way through the tournament. Much like his play on the court, it’s not perfect, but his competitive nature shines through when it’s most needed. DFS makes it to the final match but facing a 15-time international champion is too much of an ask.
RESULT: DFS wins silver.
TRAMPOLINE: Justin Jackson
Let’s get this out of the way: yes, trampoline is an actual, legit summer Olympic sport. I double checked this. Trampolining contests date back to the 1930s, but it only became an Olympic sport in 2000. Again, this is real, okay? Justin Jackson is a young, lithe 6-7 athlete with the supple grace needed for this sport. In a sport where the competitor is graded on precision and degree of difficulty while in a near constant up and down state, Justin gets at least part of this sport down. His play on the court has been a constant up and down with the only consistent factor being that Justin will be, in fact, up and down. Justin’s trampoline routine starts off promising, falters, then picks up again before completely devolving into a cringe-worthy ending.
RESULT: Justin Jackson does not medal.
TRIATHLON: JJ Barea
The triathlon is a grueling multi-sport race featuring three (swimming, running, and cycling) sequential races that are continuous. At its core, this Olympic event focuses on the persistence of its competitors. The athletes who, for some reason, make the decision to compete in this madness have to train nearly year round for the three different disciplines. Enter Jose Juan “JJ” Barea, the epitome of the persistent competitor. The 35-year-old is currently in his 14th NBA season coming off the bench for the Mavericks. JJ is the prototypical bench player: stays ready and delivers in different stages of the game — the same qualities a successful triathlon competitor has to possess. JJ completes the 1.5 kilometer swim with the ease of dolphin, hops on his bike for the 40 kilometer bike ride and finishes ahead of the pack. But just as JJ is flying through this competition, tragedy strikes. During the final 10 kilometer run with 2 kilometers to go, JJ’s troublesome Achilles Heel stiffens up on him. JJ grits his teeth and with the montage of his last Achilles rehab playing through his mind, he somehow finishes the race ahead of the pack.
RESULT: JJ Barea wins gold.
VOLLEYBALL: Kristaps Porzingis
Olympic volleyball debuted during the 1964 Tokyo games. Coming back to where it started in Tokyo, volleyball enthusiasts are excited to see if a new volleyball hero will be crowned. They’ll need a big ladder to crown the newest hero because Kristaps Porzingis is really tall and really excited to dominate the competition. KP is back to basketball after being out of the game with a knee injury for almost 2 years. And while the start of his season was slow, KP has found his groove, especially in games when the team’s phenom was out. KP is currently averaging 7.7 defensive rebounds per game (a career high), it’s this mentality that vaults him to crush the volleyball with devastating accuracy. His secret weapon is his ability to seemingly come out of nowhere and block a shot. His volleyball tournament stats will show that he did this more times than any other competitor ever. He dominates so convincingly that during his final match, Olympic overseers are observed bringing out a large ladder. They’ll need it to crown him.
RESULT: Kristaps Porzingis wins gold.
HANDBALL: Boban Marjanović
Here is a picture of Boban’s hands.
Would I have a chance if he slapped me? pic.twitter.com/LTDCxNPeO5— Ray McCallum (@RayMac3) September 25, 2016
That’s it. That’s the description of Boban’s Olympic handball experience.
RESULT: Boban wins gold.
3x3 BASKETBALL: Luka Dončić
Luka Doncic flies to the Olympic Games with 4 suitcases. One has his clothes. One has nothing but Jordan Brand sneakers. The other two suitcases are basketballs because this is the only way he travels (he Eurosteps!). The Mavs’ phenom, fresh off his first NBA All-Star appearance is riding this wave. In just two seasons in Dallas, Luka is now the franchise leader in triple-doubles. So when he got an invite to participate in a 3x3 Olympic basketball tournament, his only concern was which Jordan kicks would be coming along. The 3x3 Olympic basketball tournament is played on one main court, and lasts for 5 days. Luka, to no one’s shock (except maybe his opponents), manages to notch a triple-double in each game. But he doesn’t during the final game, that’s because he logs a quadruple-double in the final match. They crown him the Rookie of The Year, the first time anyone has ever received this honor at the Olympics.
RESULT: Luka wins gold.
ARTISTIC SWIMMING: Seth Curry & Jalen Brunson
Seth Curry just can’t miss of late. But he misses competition, and he misses his good buddy Jalen Brunson. So when Jalen tells Seth that he needs to get in the pool as part of his rehab after shoulder surgery, Seth has an idea. “Bro, we should do a synchronized water routine and win gold!”, an excited Seth tells Jalen via FaceTime (social distancing!). Seth expected Jalen to laugh this idea off so when Jalen replied with “you had me at ‘bro’, bro”, he was a bit shocked. They select “BOP” by DaBaby as their routine’s song and get to practicing. The duo arrive to the Olympics with nervous anticipation but with each successive performance, their confidence grows. They may have selected a song by DaBaby but their dominance in the water is anything but infantile. They are so crisp in their movements, there’s almost no water displacement. It’s not a duet, they are one.
RESULT: Seth and Jalen win gold.