The movie Hoosiers turned 30 years old this week. That’s right, it’s been three decades since audiences first saw lil' Jimmy Chitwood hit that jumper to win the game over South Bend.
While the real person that Chitwood was based on, a guard named Bobby Plump who was the state of Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 1954, went on to play at Butler, his fictional counterpart is not bad. He's got a decent jumper, moves well without the ball and is all about winning.
He's a'ight, but with all of this talk this week about how great Hoosiers was as a movie, we got to thinking about some of our favorite cinematic ballers. With that in mind, we came up with separate lists of characters that would wash Jimmy Chitwood up if they got the chance.
Maurice Merrell and I sat down to have a serious conversation, diving into an alternative universe to break down the one-on-one matchups.
Scott Howard, Teen Wolf – Howard was out here serving dudes when he transformed into the Teen Wolf. He had style, flash, athleticism; he was like a hairy Pistol Pete!
No way Jimmy could’ve stayed in front of him or got a shot off. Let us not forget that Teen Wolf had some hops.
Jamal Wallace, Finding Forrester – Believe it or not, Jimmy Chitwood would have one advantage over the NYC blacktop bred Jamal Wallace: Clutch Factor. Chitwood did hit the game winning shot in the championship game.
Wallace bricked two free throws at The Garden, losing the chip. Lucky for Wallace, with his evolved style, size and basketball I.Q., a game between the them probably wouldn’t come down to the last seconds.
Will Smith, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air – The show that brought megastar Will Smith into American living rooms for most of the 90’s came with some great, terribly choreographed basketball scenes on 8-foot rims. Will was out here getting buckets and kisses from chicks on the sidelines.
And he probably would’ve led his Bel-Air squad to a state title too, if his cousin Carlton ain’t want to be a damn hero and cost the team a win with his bum-ass jumper. In a related note, I’d pay to watch Chitwood play Carlton 1-on-1.
Butch McRae, Blue Chips – Yeah, there’s an obvious size advantage here. McRae, played by Penny Hardaway, is six-foot-seven. Jimmy Chitwood is six-foot-one.
But Lil Jimmy from Indy does have mad heart. He’d get washed and might not score more than once, but take he'd take that washing like a man.
Kyle Watson, Above The Rim – Kyle had mad reasons to play: Buy his mom a house, prove he was the best player in New York, get that scholarship from Georgetown.
Not to mention the “suggestion” to throw the game from the local hood-dudes. Jimmy Chitwood ain’t built for that. Nor is he built to go toe-to-toe with the rose that grew from concrete.
Neon Boudeaux, Blue Chips – No character in the history of film has a chance against Neon. He dunks everything in sight, his shooting percentage has to be 90%, and his name is Neon!!!
If this was a free throw contest, though, Chitwood wins easily. But one-on-one, Neon smacks him around like Jake did Mrs. Mulwray in Chinatown.
Jesus and Jake Shuttlesworth, He Got Game – We all know how nice Jesus Shuttlesworth was, but how come nobody ever talks about old man Jake’s skills?
Chitwood ain’t ready for that New York City, in the park-bump while Jake is trash talking about what he did to his moms at the short-stay the night before. Jimmy would run back to Indiana in tears.
Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle, White Men Can’t Jump – Another dynamic duo that Chitwood would have no answers for matched up one-on-one. After getting served by Jesus and Jake Shuttlesworth in Coney Island, Jimmy might be better prepared to meet up with Sidney and Billy on the playgrounds in Venice Beach. But he still ain’t got no wins against either of them.
Jimmy might be able to frustrate Billy by calling him white and unathletic, talking some trash about his gambling problem or trying to slip his digits to Gloria Clemente, but we all know he ain’t built like that, so, Sidney and Billy serve him up.
Moses Guthrie, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh – Moses is a Pisces. Pisces are very friendly and selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back.
Their ruling planet is Neptune, so Pisces are more intuitive than others and have an artistic talent. They are wise, generous, compassionate and extremely faithful and caring. I don’t know what Jimmy’s astrological sign is, but Moses will bust his ass wearing polyester slacks and dress shoes!
Uncle Drew, Pepsi Commercials - Uncle Drew is a real baller. He came up during the real times, watching The Big O, watching Wilt, watching real ballers get buckets! He gets buckets!
The old man would school Chitwood, laughing at him as he pleads, "Don't reach, Youngblood. Don't reach!", along with edifying him on the most important skill necessary to succeeding on the court: you already know what it is, Gettin' Buckets!!!