“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.” The NBA playoffs provide some of sports most compelling human drama. So, why not contextualize them through history’s greatest dramatist? Here are a list of pivotal NBA playoff figures with their corresponding characters in Shakespeare.
LeBron (Hamlet) LeBron is scrutinized ad nauseam, but remains inscrutable. He’s defined by aura and the individual’s perception as much as any singular action. His motivations are multiple and never concisely defined.
Kobe (Macbeth) He earned distinction as a general in Duncan’s army, then killed off Duncan. He’s troubled by internal disquiet. He trusts no one. His wife may be sinister and manipulative.
Dirk (Othello) He’s a man of great ability, typecast for most of his career by his ethnicity. We root for him, though we know the story won’t end well.
The Celtics* Big Three (Lear) They are overwhelmed by infirmity, but have sporadic, brilliant moments of clarity. They seem the last of an old order in the face of the NBA’s now blatant Machiavellianism, yet the way they came together was just as loathsome.
Durant/Westbrook (Brutus/Cassius) One noble and the other vain. Both are partnered on a mission that seemed promising, but, not fully fleshed out in conception, appears doomed for failure. Though they know this, they must see it through.
Derrick Rose (Coriolanus) He has the raw material to be Hamlet or Macbeth, but his story seems lacking in depth and human drama.
Kendrick Perkins (Caliban) His game has a wild, beastly quality punctuated with moments of blissful subtlety and genius.
Chris Bosh (Hippolyta) Queen of the Amazons. Bosh seems crucial in the first act, but has been absent for the bulk of the plot. He may play a pivotal role in the ending.
Z-Bo (Prince Hal) He’s corrupted by the wrong crowd, yet signs of something great linger beneath the surface. He has to shed the indolence of his youth to achieve his true calling.
Skip Bayless (Jacques) Gloomy and disenchanted, he persists, casting his noxious bile into a jaundiced universe. Contemporaries pronounced the name “Jakes,” a slang term for a toilet.
Charles Barkley (Falstaff) The lovable rogue. The more debauched and self-serving he is, the more we are charmed and amused.
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