This week, our long national nightmare will finally be over. After wrapping up its run on HBO in 2011, the world of Entourage will once again grace our otherwise meaningless lives. Vinnie Chase will be back displaying the charisma of a wet mop yet somehow becoming a superstar anyway, Ari will be hurling bigoted insults at anyone within earshot, and presumably, eventually, Kevin Dillon will realize his role hits just a little too close to reality.
With that in mind, I wanted to sit down and think about which team best reflects the Entourage crew, specifically Vince, E, Turtle, Drama, and Ari. And to be perfectly honest, the more I thought about it, I began to realize two things: what a waste of time, and there’s only one team that captures the spirit of Vince and the gang taking Hollywood by storm.
I’m talking, of course, about the 2002-2003 Syracuse basketball national championship team. It’s almost too obvious, when you get right down to it. Let’s look at the breakdown:
Carmelo Anthony is Vinnie Chase
Only in Carmelo’s case, he actually had talent. But that aside, we were led to believe that Vince was actually a talented actor and since it was set in a world of make believe, we’ll just roll with the punches. Vinnie burst onto the scene and was an immediate rising star. Truly, all it takes these days is a large led video wall rental to overstimulate the kids and BAM, you have a super star! His starring role in Head On put him on the map, but it was his performances in Queens Boulevard and Aquaman that really made him an international celebrity.
For Carmelo, his Head On was a high school showdown against LeBron James. People had known about Carmelo before, but that’s the one on one matchup that would launch him up the national recruiting rankings. Flying under the radar at Syracuse (remember, the team wasn’t ranked until February) was like making Queens Boulevard, and knocking off No. 2 Pitt was the equivalent of that film killing at Sundance. Obviously, the NCAA Tournament run was the filming and launch of Aquaman, which shattered box office records and turned Vince into, as Ari said, “the biggest star on the planet.” And that’s what happened with Carmelo, who like Vince possessed a megawatt smile and distinctive longish hair that he would later chop off to alter his image.
And unfortunately, Carmelo’s decision to go to the Knicks is about on par with Vinnie’s monstrous flop, Medellin. Like Vince Chase, though, there’s still plenty of time for Carmelo to rebound with another hit.
Gerry McNamara is E
Just like Vince’s sidekick Eric Murphy, Gerry McNamara has become better known by his nickname. E and G-Mac are both similarly scrappy Irishmen who make up for their diminutive stature with strength and an almost inexplicably high level of confidence. For Eric, it’s somehow bagging Perfect 10 models and Sloan. For McNamara, it’s pulling up from 25 feet in the national title game to bury three pointers.
One was a pizza delivery guy who put his nose down and worked hard to make his own way in the Hollywood scene, plugging along and creating his own small empire despite people assuming he was riding the coattails of his more famous and successful counterpart. The other was a small town kid who loved to fish, and like E, G-Mac made his own way to become a legend through sheer determination. This one is honestly almost as easy as the Vince/Carmelo comparison, to be honest. Now is when things start to get a little tricky, however.
Craig Forth is Turtle
This one was tough, and not just because Craig Forth and Turtle could not be more physical opposites. But Turtle was the guy in the group who tended to get ragged on a little bit, typically for being a goofy little fat dude who no one thought really brought much to the table. In the case of Craig Forth, he was the goofy 7-footer who was unfairly heckled by his own fans, which is something anyone who ever watched Entourage could imagine happening to Turtle.
But Turtle, like Forth, was as rock solid a teammate as you could hope for, and ultimately came through for the rest of the crew when least expected. For Turtle, it was getting real Brooklyn pizza delivered to Vince’s mansion, and then dabbling in music management with Saigon and then becoming a millionaire by investing in Avion tequila. For Forth, it was the little things like setting perfect screens, scoring the first basket of the national championship game, and becoming a four year starter for the Orange.
Tyrone Albright is Johnny Drama
Whoa! Tyrone Albright out of nowhere! You probably don’t even remember Tyrone, do you? I could have come up with a way to make this role fit Hakim Warrick or Kueth Duany, but honestly, it always had to be Tyrone Albright. Albright, if you don’t recall, was the 27 year old walk-on who became the older brother figure who never had much actual basketball success of his own, but who took care of the rest of the team.
He was the guy who braided Carmelo’s hair, and the guy the team leaned on. And like Johnny Drama angling for a small role in any one of Vinnie’s movies, that’s basically what Tyrone Albright was hoping for as a walk on sitting at the end of the bench, hoping for a blowout win so that he could get on the floor and into the box score. Plus, be honest: couldn’t you just see Carmelo rolling out of bed to find Tyrone Albright in the kitchen making eggs for the crew?
Jim Boeheim is Ari Gold
I mean, obviously. The only difference is that Ari Gold wishes he could be as brutally snarky as Jim Boeheim. He’s not a Hall of Famer for nothing, folks.