Star Trek, one of the most iconic American television series ever, celebrates its 50th anniversary today. Behind the scenes at Blazer’s Edge, several of our editors and writers are huge Trekkers - rarely does a week go by without a Star Trek conversation sneaking into our Slack channel. Thus, to mark the show’s semicentennial we’re nominating Blazer players to fill the role of Star Trek characters for an imaginary crossover episode.
Photo Credit: Steve Dykes
Damian Lillard as Captain Kirk
Captain Kirk moved with confidence throughout the Enterprise, willing and able to match wits and strength with any alien, rogue officer, or unidentified entity who threatened his ship. A mentor to young ensigns like Chekov, a friend to peers like Spock and Bones, and student of legends like Captain Pike, Kirk was comfortable in any role, and relished the responsibility of leading his crew through pressure situations.
Much like the intrepid Capt. Kirk, Lillard serves as the undisputed leader of the team. Lillard is decisive, charismatic, and willing to put himself to the test. At once he takes criticism and doles out praise. The crew, er, team, naturally believes in Lillard’s mission and follows him willingly, to bravely go where no Blazers team has gone . . . in a long, long time. And much like Kirk, when faced with a Kobayahsi Maru (no-win scenario), Lillard always finds a way to manufacture victory in the face of certain defeat.
Happy Saturday! Why not start your morning with a Scottie Pippen 2000 playoffs game winner? https://t.co/0GA5SsQ2VM— Blazer's Edge (@blazersedge) September 3, 2016
Scottie Pippen as Mr. Spock
Spock was the logical, supposedly emotionless, and ever-focused first officer of the Enterprise. Always inquisitive, he preferred the role of science officer to command, although he was a knowledgeable and brave captain when called to fill that role. By virtue of his mixed Human and Vulcan ancestry Spock spent much of his time caught between two worlds - never truly at home except for when he was behind the science console of the Enterprise.
For much of his career, Pippen was a fundamentally sound defensive master and loyal second in command to Michael Jordan. Similar to the first officer/scientist role that Spock played, Pippen was content to handle the less glorious but indispensible tasks while his co-star received the lion’s share of the attention. Both had the capacity to serve as leader in their own right, but were most at home as a first officer.
When Pippen came to the Blazers in 1999, it was as if Spock had finally gotten his own ship to command. He took control of an already talented team and guided them with confidence. While Pippen did not stay with the team as long as Spock stayed with the Enterprise, his abilities as a leader and long-tenured position as first officer to Michael Jordan makes him the closest fit.
Buck Williams as Dr. McCoy
Dr. McCoy joined the cast late--he first appeared after two other doctors didn’t gel with the rest of the crew. But his addition proved integral, as his chemistry with Kirk and Spock pushed the show’s potential from above average to phenomenal. McCoy was old school, seemingly wielding a tongue depressor instead of the Starfleet-issued tricorder at times. He loved the fundamentals, he poked at people with newfangled ideas and when all else failed, he poured out a big slug of hooch and told his friends he loved them.
Similarly, the Blazers struggled to get over the hump through the 1980s until Buck Williams joined them. His rebounding and toughness were the essential addition to Drexler’s athleticism and Porter’s sharp shooting. Buck was the consummate teammate who injected the missing pieces of chemistry into the Portland lineup. Much like McCoy, he proved to be the essential third element for a legendary team/crew.
Terry Stotts as Engineer Scott
Scotty couldn’t change the laws of physics, but he could keep a starship running in battle using only a burned out Dilithium Crystal, drained phaser battery, and broken tricorder. His inventiveness saved the ship on more than one occasion.
Stotts has taken the same mindset with the Blazers by, for example, coaxing 54 wins out of a team with a bench of Mo Williams and....not much else. Or by winning 44 games and a playoff series despite losing half his roster from the season before. Both Stotts and Scotty will find a way to succeed, no matter how impossible the odds, or how insufficient resources appear.
Bill Schonely as Lt. Uhura
Lt. Uhura served as the communications officer for the Enterprise. She was the voice of the ship when outsiders hailed, and spent much of her career managing the radio communication.
Bill Schonely was something of a communications officer for the Blazers. He became the team’s unofficial ambassador and is the voice many fans associate with the team after years of tuning in to his radio broadcasts. Both seemed like peripheral elements but ultimately became icons.
Rudy Fernandez as Ensign Chekov
The Russian-accented Ensign Chekov was added to Star Trek in the show’s second season to attract younger, pre-dominantly female viewers. He was a precocious officer, right out of the academy, who seemed to have all the promise in the world.
Similarly, Fernandez was the sexy foreign wunderkind expected to make a major splash for the Blazers. But, much like Chekov, his career path was sabotaged by an opposing super villain as he tried to ascend the NBA ladder. For Fernandez, his career was sabotaged by an undercut from Trevor Ariza , while Chekov was nearly taken out by super villain Khan’s Ceti Alpha eels.
Rasheed Wallace as Tribble Trader Cyrano Jones
In the classic episode The Trouble With Tribbles, a mischievous trader named Cyrano Jones sells Uhura an innocent looking pet, a tribble, that ends up causing all sorts of dramatic consequences. While creating headaches for the space station on which they multiplied unabated, the tribbles ultimately exposed a plot intended to undermine the United Federation of Planets.
Like Cyrano Jones, Rasheed Wallace waltzed into town with a sweet shot, deadly defense and endless energy. His flaws, however, nearly destroyed the team before his actions helped to reveal weakness in the front office and a scumbag among the league’s referees. Consequently, both tribbles and Wallace are looked back upon with fondness, despite the disruptions they instigated.
Russell Westbrook as Khan
Khan was a terrifying villain with Superhuman intelligence and superior physical prowess, but he allowed overwhelming emotions and overwhelming pride to rule his judgements.
Russell Westbrook is going to be using overwhelming physical power to wreck the Wrath of Khan all over the Western Conference this season, but it’s unclear if he’ll be able to keep his emotions in check well enough to be effective. Similarly to Khan, Westbrook is also stranded on a far-away outpost after being slighted by a former associate.
Brandon Roy as Capt. Pike
Captain Pike was the original commander of the Enterprise. His career was cut short by a tragic accident when Pike sacrificed his mobility to rescue several inexperienced cadets.
Roy also saved the day by almost single-handedly dragging his team out of the depths of the “Jail Blazer” era and distracting everyone from Greg Oden’s injuries. Roy ultimately sacrificed his health for the team’s success, but not before one final blaze of glory.
Readers - what do you think of our casting choices? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!