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Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should: A Frank Conversation About Air Bud

“Ain’t no rule says the dog can’t play basketball.” BUT THERE SHOULD BE.

Golden Retriever by Golden Retriever Carlos is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Just Because You Can, Doesn’t Mean You Should: A Frank Conversation About Air Bud


Estimated Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Air Bud is probably one of the most recognizable movies of all time. And it happens to be the movie that gave us one of the greatest lines in all of movie history.

“Ain’t no rule says the dog can’t play basketball.”

This is the most absurd thing a human being has ever said, and I’m not talking about it in the context of the movie. I mean, in life. Imagine, if you will, the writers pitching this movie:

“So the dog hits the basket, and everyone’s like ‘hey, that dog can’t play with us.’ And the ref is like, ‘let me check the rulebook.’ Turns out, there is no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball. So the dog does, and they win a ton of games. And also Tony Award winner Michael Jeter plays a clown who absolutely sucks.”

Sidenote: This is Michael Jeter doing some truly extraordinary things. Get into it.

And here’s his Tony Award Acceptance speech.

Anyway, the whole premise of Air Bud is absoulutely ABSURD.

No one is asking if the dog can play basketball or not. The dog most certainly can play basketball and is very talented. The question that no one is asking is “SHOULD the dog play basketball?”

To quote another fantastic movie from my childhood, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

And frankly, the dog should not play. That’s insane, people. Absolutely no way that dog should be on the court.

And if you’re sitting there saying, “Hey, take a chill pill, dawg. It’s just a movie.” You’re totally right. I’ll take a chill pill and calm down the minute you admit to yourself that it’s absolutely nonsensical for a dog to play basketball against children. Imagine if you’re playing little league and the other team has a bull as the first baseman. It doesn’t matter if the pitcher throws meatballs, no kid is going to want to run at a bull who is playing first base. But, ya know, ain’t no rule says the bull can’t play baseball.”

There’s also no rule that says a dolphin can’t be on the swim team either. WHERE DOES IT STOP?

At this point, I am beginning to hear how insane my argument sounds. And I’m starting to understand the predicament these adults were in. While there is certainly no rule that says the dog can’t play, there’s no rule that says the dog CAN play. So it’s a rulebook gray area, creating a world where neither side can win.

All this to say, that at the end of the day, Air Bud hinges on a league not being able to tell a kid and his dog that they can’t play basketball. And that to me is absolutely insane.

Justin Colombo is a 2017 Broadway Show Softball League All-Star at 3B/SS. He's essentially the Manny Machado of the Kinky Boots team. Justin has been writing about Baseball since he was a little kid. Now that being an actor in NYC has given him a lot of free time, in 2015 he decided to take his passion public and founded Three Up, Three Down as a way to express his love for the game. From there, Three Up, Three Down grew from a hobby to an obsession. After years of growth and one insult from MLB's Historian, Justin launched The Turf, a way to expand into all areas of the sporting world. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter. LET'S. GO. METS.

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