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Dreaming of 1992: An Olympic basketball movie trilogy

In 1992, the landscape of international basketball was changed forever. While most recall the dominance of the USA’s Dream Team – quite probably, BuckBokai asserts, the greatest squad ever assembled in any sport – the hoops in that famed Olympiad of 20 years ago were packed with dozens of compelling backstories, the least two of which were certainly not the silver- and bronze-medal winning Croatia and Lithuania teams.

On the eve of the opening of the XXX Olympiad and with that 20th anniversary observation firmly in mind, BuckBokai recommends a loosely connected trio of films that’ll make for fantastic viewing for the sports history nut. In the virtual screening room, we’ll run this trilogy in order of subject’s finish in the Olympic games.

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William Webb-Ellis: Locus of alternate histories

You want to talk what-if scenarios, serious parallel universe-creating moments from the world of sports? Forget relatively trivial stuff like Michael Jordan going to the Portland Trail Blazers in the draft or Harry Frazee taking up the Chicago White Sox’ offer for George Herman Ruth: Go back to 1823 to find a guy that, through simply wanting to gain an advantage in a sports match literally changed world history.

The overwhelming majority of North Americans have never heard the man’s name, despite his literal hand in the creation of three sports currently played and enjoyed by billions. Though he never recorded an official statistic, his effect on the sports universe was a cataclysmic bolt that changed everything. Though his innovation was sometimes called “cheating” by contemporaries, his mode of play now defines leagues all over the world.

Ladies of gentlemen, BuckBokai presents the single most important figure in the history of modern sport itself: William Webb-Ellis!

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Only 106 more shopping days until Tron: Legacy

Tron: ÖrökségIn the 1970s, we got Rollerball. In the 1980s, we got The Running Man. In the 1990s, we got Space Jam. Last decade, the subsubgenre was won by Shaolin Soccer – oh yes, we’ll be calling that sci-fi. To get the science-fiction sports film started right in the 2010s, December sees the apparently simultaneous worldwide (yes!) release of Tron: Legacy.

Though BuckBokai is sure you’ve seen this promo poster (from Hungary, location of the BuckBokai.com home office), featuring the gorgeous Beau Garrett as Frisbee- weapon-supplying program Jem, by way of io9 or Slashfilm, it’s definitely worth another repost.

BuckBokai does fear that Tron 2.0 will be bogged down in a lot of self-referencialism and continuity that only nuts of the first flick will get. Geekspeak, too, is sure to be rife in this thing, so it may be best to hope for mere coherence and nice f/x, although we’re essentially guaranteed the latter.

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Kobe Bryant vs. the Martians

If, in fact, the terrifying events speculated upon in Space Jam ever do come to pass, we can rest assured that any would-be alien conqueror (or maybe that should be conquistador, as in the San Diego Conquistadors) will find a Terran team ready with a gameplan.

Though Michael Jordan, having now been enshrined in the Hall of Fame twice to definitively end his basketball career (really), probably wouldn’t suit up for Team Earth, prospective on-court leader Kobe Bryant is ready.

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Ultimate championship: Dream Team vs. Redeem Team

As you may have heard, the 1992 version of Team USA was inducted into the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame last Friday.

Team USA, 1992

Over at BuckBokai’s sister site BallinEurope.com, this writer enthused that “the only two teams … who *might* possibly give the Dream Team a series [were] Dream Team III, with much of Dream Team I plus Hakeem Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal, who probably should have been on the roster in lieu of the more politically-correctly chosen Christian Laettner in ‘92; and the Redeem Team of 2008, Generation Y’s own Dream Team.”

Which got BuckBokai to thinking later … Why not face ‘em off through the miracle of the virtual sports time-travel website What If Sports?

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“It was real”: The Space Jam trailer recut

From the Shameless Cross-Promotion Department comes an excellent YouTube clip BuckBokai stumbled across for his other website, BallinEurope.com.

To quote myself (o how gauche), “one of the greatest phenomena on YouTube is the recut movie preview. BuckBokai believes that this recut Space Jam trailer is the best in the genre since the immortal Shining.” You gotta love the way Charles Barkley is given the lion’s share of trailer time, too.

(Incidentally, YouTube user Royalplinko proclaims the ‘Jam to be “the greatest film of the 90s”: a sentiment which with BuckBokai is hardly prepared to disagree.)

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The brilliant, albeit brief, science-fiction career of Sir Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is a two-time NBA MVP (well, they *did* rook him out of it that one year), a Hall of Famer, an Emmy winner, a future governor of Alabama and/or general manager of the Atlanta Hawks, and the greatest interview subject of all-time – but Buck Bokai loves his acting the best of all.

A brief look at the short-yet-inspiring science-fiction career of the coolest man in existence, Charles Barkley.

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“What if?” sports moments (or Without “Without Bias”)

One sphere wherein science-fiction and sports meet nicely is in the realm of alternate universes. O sure, in sports they call it the “What If” game, but endlessly do fans debate what might have been…

Infinite are the parallel universes that splintered off from reality when Bobby Thompson missed Ralph Branca’s inside fastball for strike two, when Harry Frazee took the Chicago White Sox’ offer of $60,000 and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson for Babe Ruth; when Scott Norwood makes the field goal; when the Portland Trail Blazers draft Michael Jordan at no. 2.

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