Thursday, January 22, 2009

LOST in the Raptors

Bryan Colangelo as Jack Shephard

Widely known as one of the top Executives in the NBA for having the ability to operate on a team as a kind of "spinal surgeon". Like Jack Shephard, who saves Sarah - a woman who was told would never be able to walk again - Bryan Colangelo saves the Phoenix Suns by acquiring Steve Nash from Dallas, a move that will see Phoenix as the top playoff seed in the West and as a result, Colangelo is rewarded with the 2005 NBA Executive of the Year award.

But Jack crashes in the island, while Colangelo lands in Toronto, where he will be forced to take on a new challenge. Like Jack, Colangelo has control issues (with MLSE) and trouble dealing with situations he cannot fix (the Raptors mediocrity), but his ability to solve problems through reason and his cool head makes him a trustworthy leader for the Raptors franchise.

Colangelo decides to operate right away on the team's spine in his first year. And just as Jack promised to fix Benjamin Linus in Season 3, Colangelo removes a "tumor" laid on by Rob Babcock by sending Rafael Ara├║jo to the Utah Jazz in exchange for Kris Humphries. This will dictate further moves that will immediately change the franchise and Colangelo will once again be rewarded with the Executive of the Year Award in 2007 as the Raptors clinched their first Division title in franchise history.

Jack leads his group of LOSTies to be rescued. Coincidentally, Colangelo seemed to have rescued the Raptors after his team finished first in their division. However, another season passes (in both the NBA/LOST) and we learn that both Jack and Colangelo's resolve has collapsed. Jack is a broken man, who wants to go back to the island because he feels he needs to save the other abandoned survivors and Colangelo has learned that his recent moves to sign Kapono long-term, the acquisition of Will Solomon and the O'Neal-Ford trade didn't exactly rescue the Raptors from mediocrity, but instead moved the franchise further away from being playoff contenders. Both Jack and Colangelo now know that they have to go back - Jack to the island to save the other survivers and Colangelo to his top Executive days, where his moves weren't so lame.

Sam Mitchell as John Locke

John Locke was disabled and unable to walk prior to crashing in the island, where he was miraculously healed upon the crash. Sam Mitchell also struggled with similar factors of disability (figuratively speaking). When he first became the Raptors coach, he found himself struggling to lead a Raptors roster that was encumbered by its handicap of always being in a rebuilding state.

But like John, Mitchell saw himself and his team instantly cured of its disability with the appointment of Colangelo as the new GM. With a fresh new roster and a very, very weak Division (except the Nets), Mitchell was able to lead the Raptors to its first Division Title and Mitchell would be awarded with the NBA Coach of the Year Award in 2006-07.

But of course, everything has its cause and effect. There was tension between Colangelo and Mitchell, just as Jack and John were seen as antithetical to one another and were philosophical opposites. John would separate himself from most of the camp in the island and likewise, Mitchell became the black sheep and would go on to be fired by Colangelo. But of course this decision didn't exactly rescue the team. And John Locke, whom everyone predicting is not really dead after seeing last night's Season 5 Premiere looks to redeem himself. Could this mean redemption for the ex-Coach of the Raptors as well? Was Colangelo too rash on firing Mitchell just as Jack now seems to regret not listening to the warnings of John?

T.J. Ford as Charlie

Charlie was in a rock band, but his drug addiction and growing self-doubt crippled him in his life. Likewise, T.J. Ford had battled against recurring back injuries after suffering a career-threatning spinal cord injury. For Charlie, crashing in the island gave him a fresh start. And for Ford, it seemed his stop in Toronto was also a blessing. Sam Mitchell mentored T.J. to overcome his disbeliefs and establish himself once more as a top PG in the league, just as John helps Charlie with overcoming his heroin addiction.

But in the Summer of 2008, T.J.'s role with the Raptors was questioned after his refusal to accept a back-up position to Jose Calderon. And like Charlie in Season 3, whose death was unpreventable; T.J. also faced the inevitability of being traded. Charlie's last act before his famous "heroic drowning" was to warn the rest of the survivors that the boat that was coming to "rescue" them was indeed, "Not Penny's Boat" or not a rescue boat. Likewise, the boat that was supposed to "rescue" the Raptors, in this case the "Jermaine O'Neal boat" did prove no more than a failure.

Chris Bosh as Sawyer

As Season 5 of LOST begins, Sawyer finds himself stuck in the island with only a couple of interesting characters: Daniel Faraday & John Locke. With the Oceanic 6 - the show's profound characters - having left the island after being "rescued" Sawyer finds himself among some really less interesting and mediocre castaways. Sound familiar? Another season begins for the Raptors and with little moves in the market, Chris Bosh, who aside from Andrea Bargnani and Jose Calderon finds himself burdened to save the rest of the Survivors on his own. And like Sawyer, we just don't know when or how Bosh will finally get some reinforcements to aid him.

Andrea Bargnani as Desmond Hume & Jay Triano as Penelope Widmore ("The Constant")

Everybody knows Desmond is a symbol of free will and determinism - that is people are capable of controlling their own destiny. Desmond, who had been in the island longer than everyone else has been trying hard to get back to his one true love, Penelope for the longest time. Desmond, who is alluded to Odysseus can't seem to find his way back home to Penelope and is told by time and course-correctors that he is destined to be on the island and not be with Penelope. But Desmond is committed to get back with Penelope at all costs. We find out that because of a timeshift, Desmond is out of sync with his reality and is told that he will die if he doesn't find a "constant".

In the Raptors world, Andrea's been committed to reaching his potential. He knows with hard work, he is capable of being a superstar in the league, but his growth as a player was hindered by limited minutes given to him by Sam Mitchell in his first two season in the NBA. Similar to Desmond's situation of inevitable death, Andrea needs to find his "constant" in order to overcome the inevitability of being traded.

Desmond figures out that his one "constant" that will save his life is Penelope and in Season 4, he finally gets contact with his Penelope - his "constant" - by way of satellite phone and escapes death. In contrast, Andrea was amidst incessant rumors of being traded throughout Christmas time. But Andrea would soon discover that his "constant" & his Penelope is indeed sitting right beside him on the bench in Jay Triano. So, Andrea finds his "constant" via combination of Colangelo firing Mitchell and appointing Jay Triano as interim head coach & O'Neal getting injured. Trade talk over Bargnani subsides as he is promoted as a starter , rediscovering his true form and achieving career-highs.


  1. I don't know how you found the Jay Triano + Andrea pic but that is awesomely romantic....

  2. hey that was a great read man! maybe as the raptors continue to sadden us, we should consider doing some more things like this. i love the tj charlie picture lol.

  3. Aldrin, BRILLIANT post. The TJ Ford "Not O'Neal's Boat" is absolutely hilarious!!! Great comparisons man.