National Bebop Association?

So, it’s pretty safe to say that 2020 hasn’t turned out like anyone was expecting so far. Not only did we not get the things sci-fi movies set in the repeating-digits year had so often promised, like flying cars and robot butlers, but the coronavirus pandemic even took away non-futuristic aspects of daily life, like getting to eat in restaurants, go outside without a mask, and watch professional sports.

That last one is slowly coming back, though. For example, after a four-and-half-month suspension of play, professional basketball returned with the restart of the American/Canadian National Basketball League. The league’s playoffs started on Monday and to celebrate, sports news website Bleacher Report posted a video merging the stars of the NBA with the style and sound of Cowboy Bebop.

▼ “Basketball playoffs” reads the katakana Japanese script.

Starting off with the instantly recognizable brassy blast of the opening notes of Cowboy Bebop theme “Tank!”, the first face that fades into view isn’t interstellar bounty hunter Spike Spiegel, but Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James. From there, we get a loyal and loving recreation of the legendary 1998 anime’s opening sequence, with some clever substitutions like a pair of Nikes for Faye’s high heels and the triple animation sequence showing shots of a basketball, not a pistol.

▼ Pretty much every Bebop fan has the show’s opening animation burned into their memory, but if you need a refresher, here it is.

While Bleacher Report’s video is an abridged version of the opening animation, it’s clear its creators have a deep affection for the Shinichiro Watanabe-directed series, even giving its English-dub dialogue a shout-out by posting “Whatever happens, happens…The 2020 NBA playoffs are here!” along with the video, echoing a line from Spike as he rolls the dice on a ride in a rickety space shuttle.

Now I can’t help wondering how the NFL, NHL, and Major League Baseball would look set to musical scores from Yoko Kanno.

Source: Facebook/Bleacher Report via Anime New Network/Lynzee Loveridge
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where yes, he is rooting for the Lakers.