This piece was written by new staff writer, Matthew Contaldi.
The 2015-2016 season is slowly crawling to an end for the Milwaukee Bucks. It’s been filled with many patented Giannis “gyrostep” dunks, Jabari Parker posters, and Miles Plumlee two-handed blocks. Sadly, however, it has not been filled with many wins. Excitement for the future aside, it’s easy to get down on and criticize our lowly Bucks. I ask you to carefully descend from this pedestal of judgement and pessimism for just a few minutes and follow me into the realm of the creative and fun.
The Milwaukee Bucks and movies, what’s better?! I’ve decided to combine my two passions to distract my Bucks-related disappointment. Each post in this series will feature a Bucks player and movie characters said Bucks player reminds me of. Make sure to let us (@CreamCityCtral) or me (@MatthewContaldi) know if you agree, disagree, or have any better fitting movie personalities in mind. Enjoy!
Movie spoilers below.
Movie Character: Lieutenant Dan Taylor
Movie: Forrest Gump (1994)
The life trajectory of Lieutenant Dan Taylor and O.J. Mayo is surprisingly similar. Lt. Taylor grew up in a military family, and eventually it was his turn to live and die in war. Death and only death would allow him to be the hero his family expected him to be. Thus, when Forrest carried his injured lieutenant away from combat and into safety, Lt. Taylor was considered by others and himself a disappointment. Now, think of Mayo, who came out of high school and college destined for NBA stardom. Despite some early success on the Memphis Grizzlies, this fate never materialized, and he too was eventually considered a disappointment.
As consequences of their failures, both Lt. Taylor and Mayo became disheveled and lost. For Lt. Taylor, this was evident through his drinking problems and subsequent disorganized behavior. For Mayo, this was seen through his inability to find a longterm NBA home, unfit body (never forget Fat O.J. Mayo, never), and suspension problems.
Alas, both conquered their respective demons and found meaning in their new lives. Lt. Taylor got sober, found a girlfriend, and finally thanked Forrest. Mayo embraced his veteran, scrappy uncle-esque role with the Milwaukee Bucks. Also, is it a mere coincidence that both Lt. Taylor and Mayo are dealing with some serious leg (or lack thereof) problems? I think not. O.J. Mayo is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Lieutenant Dan Taylor.
Movie Character: Patches O’Houlihan
Movie: Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004)
I can’t stop laughing at this comparison. Seriously, Patches O’Houlihan is the greatest past-his-time scrappy old dude out there. What better fit for Juice than the scruffy old coach who thinks throwing wrenches at his players qualifies as dodgeball practice? Sure, Mayo is definitely not the best basketball player of his era like Patches is the best dodgeball player of his era (unless we choose to think about high school or runner-up for
Rookie of the Year Award O.J.), but the similarities are nonetheless evident. Anger, borderline wisdom, and combativeness embody what both characters stand for. Also, similar to Lt. Taylor, Patches is wheelchair bound. This doesn’t mean anything, but I’m sorry I keep comparing Mayo to such physically handicapped individuals… it just works. O.J. Mayo is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Patches O’Houlihan.
Movie Character: Brooks Hatlen
Movie: The Shawshank Redpemption (1994)
Before I begin this one, I’d like to formally apologize for the fact this comparison inevitably relates the Milwaukee Bucks to prison. I swear, this is only just a coincidence.
I’ve been unfair and mean to Mayo. He seems like a genuine dude who I’d be privileged to meet. Brooks Hatlen, the old librarian in The Shawshank Redemption, represents the good, but often unnoticed, parts of Mayo. Hatlen is the oldest convict at Shawshank State Penitentiary similar to how Mayo is the oldest member of the Bucks squad (albeit Steve Novak, whose presence on this team left as sudden as it came). In this way, both represent the wisdom of their respective realms. Also, I imagine post-contract-expiration Mayo will follow the same path that Hatlen took when he was finally granted parole. Hatlen is lost outside of prison, unable to function in the normal American society that he has become grossly unfamiliar with. Has Mayo grown too accustomed to his role on the Bucks? How will the NBA treat our wise and scruffy uncle when his free agency begins? Similar to Hatlen, he surely will not hold the same rank and power he held in prison on the Bucks. I apologize Mayo, this got grim once again. O.J. Mayo is the Milwaukee Bucks version of Brooks Hatlen.