Already four quarters into what has the makings of the most anticipated Finals in a long, long while, names like James, Bosh, Wade, Durant, Westbrook and Harden stand a few victories away from becoming immortal. Before the next game in the series, let’s take a moment recognize and pay homage to the a duo not often mentioned when the game’s finest tandems are praised – Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle.
White Men Can’t Jump came around in 1992 when my love for basketball was evolving thanks primarily to Michael Jordan and the marketing machine which was Nike. Even then, Wesley Snipes (Deane) and Woody Harrelson’s (Hoyle) silver screen chemistry was easy to digest. The scenes away from the hardtop went over my six year old head at the time, but everything ultimately reverted back to basketball. The trash talking was classic 1990’s lingo*. Sidney Deane somehow got away with the most blatant travel in the history of outdoor basketball. Between this and Above The Rim, Duane Martin starred in two of the greatest hoops movies in Hollywood’s history. And not that it had anything to do with basketball, foods starting with the letter “Q” could make you a shitload of money on Jeopardy.
Sidney and Billy were Shaq and Kobe before Shaq and Kobe. Two dominant personalities who butted heads so much it was almost weird to see them enjoy each other’s company. And also like Shaq and Kobe, the end was difficult to watch – Shaq and Kobe’s 2004 Finals and Billy screwing up his relationship with Gloria up thus having his own world crash around him. There was an overbearing feeling of disappointment throughout the movie looking back in hindsight. Sidney had a family, good job and all around steady life. Billy hustled his way through sunrise and sunset with a round ball and chain nets. They weren’t supposed hit it off.
I’ve always liked to believe Sidney continued his successful career throughout the rest of the ’90s and well into the 2000s. He grew into a great family man whose fashion sense didn’t evolve into Michael Jordan’s but remained a legendary figure in Southern California street hoops for eternity. Billy Ho, on the other hand, took sometime off from the game to get his life together. He and Gloria eventually rekindle the fire and maybe one day get married. He even gets a “real job” as a high school basketball coach one day.
And even if Sid and Billy never took he court together again, that would be fine. All I ask is to just remember them in their proper context; quite possibly the greatest accidental pairing since Ranch and lettuce.
* – Dwayne Wayne with the vintage Michael Jordan jersey on!