Sure, there’s nothing in the rules that says a dog can’t play basketball, but there’s also nothing in the rules that says we can’t talk about how much that dog actually sucks. A new article from Mel Magazine (which, full disclosure, is written by ClickHole and Onion contributor Rajat Suresh) does just that via a much-needed gameplay analysis of the 1997 children’s movie Air Bud. In that film, a Golden Retriever named Buddy becomes a local sports hero after discovering his uncanny ability to knock a basketball into a hoop with his damn face. In the end, Buddy’s skills help the ragtag team of kids win the big game or, at least, that’s what the movie would like you to think. As Mel points out, the statistics just don’t back up the narrative.
Using custom metrics designed to analyze Air Bud’s specific style of play, we can see that our canine friend is 80% from the field when his friend Josh is throwing the basketball full force at his head. Unfortunately, when a ball is not being thrown at his head, Buddy is worse than useless, making 0% of zero shots. Your average human player may have a lower overall success rate, but they’re at least able to take shots with or without a friend throwing a ball at their face. “No two ways about it: This is absolutely damning for Air Bud,” writes Mel.
The more you look at Air Bud’s gameplay footage, the more obvious his lack of skill becomes. This dog never gets a single rebound and only seems capable of passing or shooting as soon as he gets his muzzle on the ball. He gets a couple nice steals over the course of the game, but those come as a result of the opposing team essentially passing him the ball, seemingly thrilled at the chance to see a dog play basketball.
Finally, if we’re going to be frank about Air Bud’s abilities on the court, we must address the fact that this dog is, without a doubt, absolutely pissing everywhere. One look at his Piss Chart—a new data visualization tool created just for this purpose—and it’s easy to see that Air Bud is more of a hinderance to a team than a help. How he fairs in other sports, such as football, baseball, and volleyball, remains to be seen.
Read Mel Magazine’s full analysis here, with accompanying visual aids.
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