Welcome to “What Are They Smokin’?” a semi-weekly column questioning sports stars and those within the sports world over their latest, ahem, antics.
Two of America’s favorite pleasures start this week: the NBA playoffs and Better Call Saul. And the duo have much more in common than you think.
In fact, the pair are so connected that we envisioned what the NBA postseason would look like in the Breaking Bad Universe, so we matched up the most popular players in both the NBA and Albuquerque for this week’s What Are They Smokin’?
LeBron James – Heisenberg
When it comes to the NBA playoffs, LeBron James is the “one who knocks.” He’s always one step ahead of his competition as he’s been in six straight NBA Finals. He is the danger in the postseason.
Kyrie Irving – Saul Goodman
Even Heisenberg, aka King James, gets in trouble sometimes. And that’s where Kyrie Irving, James’ own Saul Goodman, comes in handy. The sleazy criminal lawyer is always there to get his biggest client out of hot water. Just like Irving helped save the Cavs when he hit that three-pointer against the Warriors in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
Stephen Curry – Walter White
Sure, Stephen Curry—like high school chemistry teach Walter White—looks harmless, but don’t set either of them off. For Chef Curry, he cooks up three-pointers at an unbelievable rate, while White cooks up his blue meth to his adoring fans.
Russell Westbrook – Tuco Salamanca
Both of these guys are crazy af and will do whatever it takes to murder you, whether that’s on the court or in the Albuquerque drug trade game.
Isaiah Thomas – Jesse Pinkman
Everybody loves to make fun of Isaiah Thomas and Jesse Pinkman, but, no matter what, they both seem to deliver in the end.
Kevin Love – Skyler White
Kevin Love, like Skyler White, just wants to do right and keep his family (the Cavaliers) together. But everyone still hates him, which is pretty much life for the poor Mrs. White.
Klay Thompson – Mike Ehrmantraut
Mike Ehrmantraut and Klay Thompson have a plethora of things in common: They both are great at having resting bitch faces, and the pair are cold-blooded killers. For Klay, he’s shooting dagger threes that rip the soul out of his opponents, while Mike is a killer in a much more literal sense of the word.
Dwight Howard – Todd Alquist
C’mon, this is too easy. Todd is an infuriating character who effectively rips the Breaking Bad team apart from the inside. And Dwight Howard is an infuriating character who rips every single team he’s ever been a member of apart.
Kawhi Leonard – Gus Fring
Kawhi Leonard, like Gus Fring, is a quiet, calculating force who will do whatever it takes to beat you. They both don’t smile often, but when they do, you must expect the worst. Gus probably has monster-sized hands like Leonard’s claws.
Draymond Green – Jimmy McGill
Draymond, like his counterpart in Better Call Saul Jimmy McGill, is always in trouble for something. And the pair are experts at trying to get by without following the rules.
Chris Paul – Chuck McGill
Both Chris Paul and Chuck McGill are seasoned veterans at the top of their game in their trades. But both suffer from a debilitating flaw that is ruining their legacy. For Chuck, it’s his electromagnetic hypersensitivity, while Paul suffers from a fear of winning in the playoffs.
Marcin Gortat – Huell
Can’t you imagine that after Gortat has retired from the NBA that he’ll be a bodyguard for a shadowy international organization? I could totally see Gortat lying on a bed of money like Huell did in Breaking Bad.
Kevin Durant – Kim Wexler
Both Kevin Durant and Kim Wexler are highly efficient and extremely good at their jobs, there’s no denying that. The duo also seem to flip-flop on which team they’re actually on.
Paul George – Hank Schrader
Paul George, like Hank Schrader, is on his own trying to take down the evil operation.
Blake Griffin – Walter White Jr.
You just know that Blake Griffin loooves eating breakfast, while he’s oblivious to the drama inside his own house.
DeAndre Jordan – Marie Schrader
Jordan just looks like his favorite color is purple, which just so happens to be Marie Schrader’s color of choice in Breaking Bad.
John Wall – Ignacio (Nacho) Varga
Both of these guys are smart and quick on their feet, while trying to make a name for themselves in a big spot.
Giannis Antetokounmpo – “The Cousins”
The Greek Freak and the Salamanca cousins are all very quiet, but you’ll definitely know when they’re coming.
James Harden – Hector “Tio” Salamanca
Both Harden and Tio are brutal offensively, albeit in different markets. Harden definitely answers the bell when it comes to leading the Rockets to one of their best seasons in the past 20-plus years.
Bradley Beal – Ted Beneke
Bradley Beal is amazing to watch … when he’s healthy. Here’s hoping that Beal doesn’t pull a Ted Beneke and fall and hurt himself during what could be a breakout postseason for the former No. 3 overall pick.
Javale McGee – Badger
The Warriors’ top four players get all the pub, but we should all be thanking our lucky stars that JaVale McGee will be in the playoffs this year. McGee, like Badger, is comic relief for an NBA postseason that can take itself too seriously sometimes.
Lance Stephenson – Skinny Pete
The NBA playoffs are the best. Seriously. Not only do we get McGee on the Warriors, but we also see the return of Lance Stephenson to the postseason. The enigmatic baller will also give fans a laugh or two during the first round of the playoffs.