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Joe: Batman is a study in psychological underlay printed on an ostensible crime fighter in superb physical shape. Sports teams are athletes in (for the most part) superb physical shape. The psychological underlay is not so exposed by sports writers, but I suppose that an argument could be made for anyone willing to take steroids to enhance themselves has some kind of psychological underlay going on.
Brad: Batman has some crime fighters that fight with him like teams have teammates that help each other win over other teams.
Chris: Dynamic duos have been a part of sports since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig wore the same socks. Not literally the same socks, but each had a pair of the same of socks. Since then, talented teammates have long been the topic of cordial banter, debating exactly who is Batman and who is John Blake. Scottie Pippen was Robin to Michael Jordan’s Batman. But is LeBron James Batman and Dwyane Wade Robin, or is it vice versa? Is Russell Westbrook content being Robin to Kevin Durant’s Batman? Is Chris Bosh content being Catwoman?
Ralphie: Batman and being on a sports team are alike because everybody in Batman's group and everybody on a sports team have their own special talents, and everyone has his own job to do.
Chris: Every athlete has a desire to be Batman for their team, while simultaneously viewing their teammates as young orphan boys. Some athletes have gone so far as to incorporate masks into their uniforms, as Kobe Bryant seemed a little too attached to his mask last season and at one point considered prosthetic surgery to give himself 6-inch tall, pointy ears.
Ralphie: Masks act as protection--from the bad guys for Batman and his friends and from the game and their opponents for athletes.
Brad: Masks are valuable because they give the characters and villains a kind of mystery to them, and also the masks offer some protection while fighting. This is similar to athletes wearing their protective gear; it unites them and gives them coverage.
Joe: Masks for Batman, football helmets for players could both be interpreted as hiding the person inside, as well as having a protectional factor. Let’s not get too literary with our sports persona.
Chris: Has anyone ever verified that Christopher Nolan and NFL czar Roger Goodell are two separate individuals? If Goodell were to play Nolan’s part and recast “The Dark Knight Rises” with only figures from the sports world, I’m assuming the Pittsburgh Steelers would feature prominently. Hines Ward could play himself. And if Bane claimed to be a quarterback, he could completely be exonerated, allowing Goodell to heavily fine the Gotham Rogues for having their stadium explode.
Ralphie: I think Albert Pujols should play Commissioner Gordon.
Brad: I think that Kordell Stewart would be Robin, always striving to be a hero but always falling short.
Joe: Alfred the Butler—wise, a little crusty and always the take-charge guy. I liken him to the late George Steinbrenner—the take charge guy of the Yankees’ brain trust, wise in his foresight of the Yankees’ domination of the American League and a little crusty (especially in later years).
Chris: Every equipment manager in the NFL and a couple of seasoned spelunkers auditioned for the role of Lucius Fox, who was Batman’s equipment manager. Seeing as how none of those individuals have recognizable names, not expanding the casting call would make it difficult to put together an all-star ensemble. Rumors abound that Larry Johnson’s Grandmama is seeing someone with an incomparable likeness to Fox. Congratulations to Kyrie Irving and Kyrie Irving’s makeup artist. Their creation of Uncle Drew won the part. (It has not yet been confirmed if Grandmama and Uncle Drew are an item.)
Ralphie: I would cast Lolo Jones as Catwoman.
Brad: Hulk Hogan could be a good Bane. Hogan is a huge guy and can growl and look the mean villain part.
Chris: I’m not sure which is more difficult: surmounting Everest or distinguishing Liam Neeson’s daughters from “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Taken.” Miranda Tate was Bruce Wayne’s only hope for regaining his finances, and she had the inside track at becoming the eventual Mrs. Wayne. Stabbing her would-be husband did not help their relationship, nor did revealing herself to be Talia al Ghul, a much more vengeful offspring than Inigo Montoya. Winning her part should not be difficult for a two-time Olympian who recently made the cover “Newsweek” and who has also openly criticized a coach, teammate and commentator. Assuming she does not attempt to murder anyone to play Talia, the part goes to soccer’s only Hope, Solo.
Joe: Batman—powerful, becoming dark then returning to form, albeit an older perhaps wiser form. I liken him to Mark McGwire—powerful home run king, falling from grace and returning to form as the St. Louis Cardinals current hitting coach.
Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.