After seeing The Avengers earlier today, I got to thinking about the current Detroit roster and wanted to connect the two. Here are my thoughts; what connections between the Pistons and superheroes would you make?
Ben Wallace – Thor: Wallace is super-strong (his nickname is ‘Body’), has been around the game of basketball for a very long time, and rebounds seem to gravitate to him much like Thor’s hammer Mjolnir. He’s essentially a “god” in the history of Pistons basketball, while Thor is a god in Norse mythology. Wallace also guards the rim much like Thor protects mankind; it’s not the easiest of jobs, but they know it must be done.
Ben Gordon – Captain America: How could someone born in England epitomize the quintessential American patriot? Well, he was nearly unstoppable in the 1940s-1950s (much like Gordon was unstoppable during his time in Chicago) and still can be extremely effective today. At times, though, he can seem quite out-of-place (once you see the movie, you’ll understand). His time with the Pistons - tumultuous but at times rewarding - has also been a bit of an experiment, much like Captain America’s beginnings.
Jason Maxiell – Hulk: Maxiell doesn’t anything without some serious force involved. Sure, he’s got good basketball IQ, much like Bruce Banner, but once he ‘Hulks up,’ there’s no stopping him. That’s both good and bad, of course, because it can lead to thunderous dunks or sloppy, out-of-control play. Some nights you get Banner, some nights you get the Hulk; it’s all about control with Maxiell.
Rodney Stuckey – Batman: Stuckey has had bumps in the road with the Pistons organization, much like Batman has ruffled the feathers of plenty of Gotham’s inhabitants. He’s one of the best guards the Pistons have, yet there are plenty of detractors who want him gone. Batman may cause some serious problems in the city, but in the end, he makes amends and continues to protect them, just the same. The love-hate relationship with both of them makes it an appropriate comparison.
Greg Monroe – Superman: Monroe is the driving force and the savior of Detroit basketball, much like Superman is always the one to save the day. Monroe has carried the team for long stretches of the two seasons he’s been in the NBA, and has come to symbolize everything “good” in young players: high basketball IQ, strength, good head on their shoulder, and quick to deflect excessive praise. All of those qualities are helping Monroe become extremely popular with the fans at the Palace, much like Superman has endeared himself to the people of Earth, his new home.
Brandon Knight – Spider-Man: “With great power comes great responsibility,” a phrase synonymous with the Spider-Man universe, is one that would seem to reflect Knight’s beginning as a Piston. He has essentially been handed the keys to this franchise (along with Monroe) and plenty of people are counting on him to steer the team to it’s former glory. He’ll make mistakes along the way, much like Peter Parker has during his time as the ‘friendly neighborhood Spider-Man,’ but everything seems to work out in the end. Knight’s agility, speed, and high basketball IQ are also very similar to Parker’s “Spider-Sense,” genius-level intellect, and superhuman physical attributes.
Charlie Villanueva – Aquaman: His size (6’11”, 232 pounds) and unique skill set (long-range shooting) are surely effective… in the right setting. Most of the time, however, he just seems extremely ineffective and is the butt of plenty of jokes around Detroit. When he isn’t hurt, his lack of effort seems to keep him glued to the bench, much like Aquaman’s ability to control marine life sort of limits his influence out of the water.