The Disney/Kentucky crossover you never knew you needed.
As a few Cats settle in for this month’s NBA playoffs, I felt it necessary to compare them to some of the most well-known rides from the amusement park. Of course, they won’t actually get to ride the rides, considering they would get tossed for ordering Postmates or playing doubles ping pong, I doubt the league would approve of the players fully emerging themselves into sweaty, screaming Disneyworld crowd.
Here are some of the former Cats in the bubble, along with their Disney World ride counterpart:
Anthony Davis as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror:
This was the easiest connection to make. Davis, with his 6’10” stature, is the tallest Cat in Orlando. The Tower of Terror is the tallest ride at Disneyworld. With its unique randomized ride mechanism, two rides on ToT are never the same. The drops come out of nowhere, much like Davis’ long, swinging arms swatting baskets away from competitors. The ride is also set in old school Hollywood, which is where Davis currently resides as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The ride is menacing, and it looms over nervous kiddos as their parents make them wait in line for one of the only thrill rides at Disney. Still, it’s classy and understated, just like the man who invented the Unibrow. A fan favorite, but not for the faint of heart.
Tyler Herro as Big Thunder Mountain:
Another convenient connection. A lost mine car rollercoaster winds through the canyons running away from an underground explosion. Herro has exploded in his rookie season with the Miami Heat, being voted best rookie shooter by his NBA class. After bends and turns during his tenure at Kentucky, he has embraced his rocky roadway to become arguably one of the best rookies in the NBA.
There is also a certain animal featured on Big Thunder multiple times throughout the track that completes the ride’s desert-like landscape: a goat. Herro’s nickname is baby goat (apparently), a nickname so well known in the league the Heat advertised shirts with “Baby Goat” emblazoned on them. Interesting.
It’s a movement. ??
— x – Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) April 10, 2020
Fun fact: a pro Disney tip is to watch the goats hidden within the ride for a more dizzying experience. I suspect we should watch the Baby Goat as well during the playoffs and continuing on into his career.
Devin Booker as Splash Mountain:
We all know that in basketball, “splash” is reserved for the greatest of 3-point shooters. Booker is one of the best shooters in the NBA, just as he was during his time in Kentucky in the glorious platoon era.
As you sit in an obnoxiously large log and continuously get splashed by spitting animatronics, you always know that big drop with the huge splash is coming for you. There is no evading the wet-sneaker squeak the second you get off of the ride, as there is no avoiding Booker’s sweet-n-smooth shot. And you may be walking around for hours with wet pants until you recover. Splash Mountain is visible from different places in the park, always watching you, even from atop Dumbo’s flying ears.
Splash Mountain has your number, and it’s coming for you. Watch out for Booker and his splashin’ threes.
Enes Kanter as It’s a Small World:
We don’t have to reignite the cute vs. annoying argument that has plagued this ride and its forsaken song for years (spoiler alert: it’s both).
From a historical perspective, this ride was created to teach children around the world about diversity and peace, in a medley so simple it could be translated into many languages. Kanter is the resident peacekeeper of this bunch. Kanter has been outspoken about his heritage in Turkey and the oppression people there face, even going so far as to speak in Congress about human rights issues in Turkey. As you sail along on the “happiest cruise that ever sailed around the world,” hearing this little song in many different languages with so many cultures represented is touching. As much as you say you hate it, a trip to Disney isn’t complete without it. Although we never got to see Kanter play in a Kentucky uniform, he is something to be proud of. It is a small world, after all.
Patrick Patterson as Peter Pan’s Flight:
A classic Kentucky player paired with a classic Disney ride, an original that opened with the park. A survivor of the Gillespie era, Patterson is a representative of Kentucky everyone seems to like.
He is one of the older Cats currently in the NBA, but that doesn’t make him any less youthful, just like the never-aging Peter Pan himself. As you sail in your pirate ship over the clouds of London and into Neverland, it produces a childlike euphoria. He’s someone UK fans feel as if they need to protect at all costs, or maybe I just feel that way. I remember crying in ’08 when he got hurt at Ole Miss. I was eight years old. Every time I see that he’s still out here doing well, I just fill up with joy.
Those Gillespie years were tough. He was Kentucky’s second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning to get to Neverland.
Neither Disney nor the NBA sponsor this post (sadly). This all came from my head. Next time you’re at Disney, remember these useless comparisons. They will do nothing for you, but they were done in the most ridiculous manner possible, obviously.