This may be more relatable to my fellow 20-somethings, but stick with me because the similarities are uncanny. Specifically, the addition of Tyson Chandler has made this comparison inevitable and honestly I can't believe an article like this hasn't already been written. I've had a lot of time on my hands being cooped up inside due to the snow and all, so an explanation is probably necessary.
How exactly does the 2010-11 version of the Dallas Mavericks relate to Captain Planet? Am I losing it? What substance am I smoking? All these questions and more will be answered in due time. Read on.
First of all, let me give you a rundown of who "Captain Planet" is just in case you are unfamiliar with his work. Captain Planet is the main character in a self-titled early to mid 90's Saturday morning cartoon television show. He is devoted to protecting the Earth and he has ultimate power. For this comparison, Captain Planet represents the collective team effort put forth by the Mavs. CP is an incredibly powerful being who could take care of just about every problem by himself, but he can only be summoned when five people from Earth combine their efforts as a team. See where I'm going with this?
The five people of Earth are known as "Planeteers," aka your 2010-11 Mavs. Each of the five Planeteers is given a ring that exhibits a special power based on elements of the Earth. The five powers are Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart. In the case of the Mavs, certain players possess a hypothetical ring that represents what they bring to the team's table with their basketball talents. The symbolism is so obvious it's scary.
Earth - Dirk Nowitzki. Obviously, Dirk is the Earth of Dallas. He is the basis of everything the Mavs do. He is the reason. Everything runs through him, he's there no matter what, and the franchise makes all of their moves in order to accommodate him. Without the Earth, there's no reason for any of us to be here anyway.
Water - Jason Kidd. Without water there is no life. Without Kidd the Mavs wouldn't survive. Dirk is the base of everything, but J-Kidd is the coach on the floor. He's the one with his fingers on the pulse of the team. He decides when to push, when to get certain people involved, and as evidenced in Boston the other night, he's there when you need him. When he's flowing, the Mavs are elite.
Wind - Rodrigue Beaubois and Jose Juan Barea. The plan was for Roddy to push the sail of the Mavs' championSHIP to the next level from the start of the season, but that's been put on hold due to his foot injury. JJ has picked up the slack, as he is currently the only player on the roster who can consistently blow through the lane and get to the basket. If hope holds true, Roddy B will be back soon. And if he is, we all know how the kid can smoothly fly like the wind. The Spurs sure do.
Heart - Jason Terry and Caron Butler. It is consistently said throughout the Mavs locker room as it has been for years: Jason Terry is part of the heart of this team. On the Captain Planet cartoon, the Heart ring was powerful, but certainly couldn't do the job of eliminating pollution by itself. That is exactly the situation for Jet. Nobody works harder or wants it more than Jason Terry, but his recent playoff shortcomings have some questioning whether he can be a guy to deliver.
In Caron's case, he brought toughness to the team when he walked in the door. He hasn't quit on anything yet despite his devastating knee injury and constant trade chatter. If he isn't dealt before the trade deadline, Caron has made it clear that he will be fighting all season to be back on the court for the playoffs. It remains doubtful, but I dare you to count out the heart of the man they call "Tuff Juice".
Ah, and now we come to the ring that has been missing from the Mavs' collective "Captain Planet" for the last few years.
Fire - Tyson Chandler. All of the rings are necessary to success, but one of them has to bring the fear and the power. Erick Dampier was a whipping post during his time in Dallas, but he did enough good things to get by. Brendan Haywood came to the Mavs guns-a-blazin' after the Washington trade last year, but has since fizzled out. Tyson Chandler is a difference maker. Tyson went toe-to-toe with supposedly the most intense player in the league the other night with Kevin Garnett and didn't give up an inch. What's the saying? Fight fire with fire? All it takes is a spark, and the Mavs feel they have it in Chandler.
On Captain Planet, each individual is powerful on their own, but it's never enough. They have to come together with every piece in order to complete their mission. "With their powers combined" they form Captain Planet, who is the ultimate representation of teamwork. Based on their teamwork, they successfully protect Mother Earth from littering (Spurs), pollutants (Lakers), radioactivity (Thunder), smog (Boston), and global warming (Heat).
The mission for the Dallas Mavericks is a championship. In my humble, Saturday morning cartoon-based opinion, the Mavs now have all of the Captain Planet "rings" necessary to chase after an NBA ring. A little luck may be needed and injuries must be overcome, but all of the pieces to the puzzle are there. If the Planeteers can save the planet from pollution, then Dallas can win the championship. You are Captain Planet, Mavericks.
The power is yours.
Just watch the closing credits, listen to the song, and trust me.
Follow Kevin on Twitter @kevinbrolan