Reasonable arguments can be made by reasonable people that my two favorite things in the entire universe are the game of basketball and the collected films of the Fast & Furious franchise. This might seem odd to you. It might seem unhealthy. I can understand that. I can even accept it. But, like, Ludacris and Tyrese went to outer space in a NoS-powered Pontiac, you know? I’m helpless in the face of that kind of cinematic spectacle. I feel okay about it.
And so, what I am going to do here, for a number of very good reasons that I don’t have to explain to any of you, is rank most of the major characters in the franchise based on how good at basketball I think they are or might be. That’s all. There’s nothing else happening here. Please read this paragraph again to be sure you know what you’re getting into.
A few preliminary notes:
- I am kind of an idiot
- This is my list
- Make your own stupid list if you’re so great
Away we go.
26. Queenie Shaw
I think it’s really cool that these silly car-racing movies just up and added freaking Dame Helen Mirren something like 15-20 years after the first one debuted and I think it is extremely cool that they let her drive a car in F9 after she basically shamed them into it in the press while promoting Fate of the Furious.
But sadly for Mirren, Fast 8 won’t feature her behind the steering wheel. “I wanted to be driving, but unfortunately, I’m not,” she says, shrugging. “Maybe that will come in the future, in Fast and Furious 12.” She pauses. “I’m probably one of the few people on the set who know how to drive a gear shift car. I doubt the Rock knows,” she jokes. “But I do. I know how to double declutch.”
That said, I cannot see any situation where a character played by Helen Mirren is good at basketball. I say this with nothing but admiration and respect. Also, I kind of wanted to write about her first. So, there we are.
25. Mia Toretto
Hmm. Nope. Can’t see it.
24. Owen Shaw
23. Deckard Shaw
This might be unfair. The Shaw brothers are criminal masterminds and appear to be reasonably athletic. At the very least, one could assume they would know how to cheat their way to success on a basketball court. But my ranking of them reflects three important factors:
- I feel like they would have grown up playing soccer
- I cannot for the life of me picture Jason Statham shooting a basketball
- It’s pretty funny to me to put them below, like, Roman
So that’s settled.
These are the guys played by Tego Calderon and Don Omar who show up and bicker and fight like children. I love them very much. Part of me wants them to get their own spinoff television series. Maybe an animated one. I would watch it while eating cereal.
They are not good at basketball.
20. Sean Boswell
19. Elena Neves
Sean (the main character of Tokyo Drift who was looped into the main cast for F9) and Elena (the cop from Fast Five who popped up here and there, sometimes with blonder hair) both strike me as limited players. Like, I suspect Sean can shoot but has no lateral quickness and can’t play defense. Elena, on the other hand, strikes me as a scrappy on-ball defender with a limited game on offense.
If you could combine them, you would have a solid player. Which is a fair note to make because we absolutely cannot rule out these movies introducing some sort of science machine that mashes characters together to create superpowered eight-limbed crime fighters. You know I’m right.
18. Roman Pearce
A pickup basketball game on an outdoor court. Roman is talking trash. So much trash. He made one jump shot 20 minutes ago and is still reminding people about it. But then someone makes a move and comes flying down the lane. And Roman doesn’t see him. And just as Roman turns around BLAMMO he gets dunked on something vicious. Then he whines a lot. And goes home.
This happens every time.
17. Giselle Yashar
Ranked ahead of Roman for three important reasons:
- I believe in Gal Gadot
- I could see her as a kind of stretch-four who makes threes and blocks shots
- I believe, based on nothing but vibes, that she could execute a decent Eurostep
16. Dominic Toretto
15. Luke Hobbs
Am I putting these two together just to use that picture? Maybe. Do I think it’s extremely funny to slot The Rock in one spot ahead of Vin Diesel? I do. Would I pay something like $100 for a video of the two of them playing a game of one-on-one in an otherwise empty gymnasium? Yes. I’ll go higher if I have to.
Dominic Toretto was the toughest ranking on the board for me. By far. On one hand, I do not believe Vin Diesel can play basketball, not at all, not even a little. On the other hand, I know for certain that if a basketball scene gets written into one of these movies, he will, in defiance of all logic and good sense, rain threes on his opponents and maybe catch an alley-oop and dunk it with such force that it shatters the backboard. Even if the backboard is metal.
Vin Diesel is a fascinating man.
13. Monica Fuentes
Let’s knock these out quick:
- Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) is a nerdy hacker who has probably never played basketball but I’m ranking her this high because I feel like she could pick it up fast
- Monica (Eva Mendes) definitely played point guard in high school and led her team into the second round of state playoffs
- Twinkie (Bow Wow) should not be ranked this high, probably, but I’ve seen Like Mike and that’s clouding my judgment so here we are
I somehow stand by all of this and none of it.
11. Letty Ortiz
Huge Draymond Green vibes from Letty. Like, she puts up horrible stats. Averages of like 7 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists every game, but her +/- is somehow a +34. Strong defense. Takes no crap from anyone. Might cheat a little when the ref isn’t looking. Makes everyone else on the court better by a factor of three.
Just a winner.
10. Johnny Tran
Johnny Tran, the villain in the first movie something like 20 years ago now, absolutely grew up watching bootleg copies of the And 1 Mixtape VHS tapes and spent hours practicing Hot Sauce’s moves in his driveway.
You will never convince me otherwise.
9. Hattie Shaw
8. Brixton Lore
Two characters from Hobbs and Shaw. Both British. Both ranked higher than you’d expect them to be given my rankings of the other members of the Shaw family and my stance that they probably grew up watching soccer instead of basketball. All that said, I have them in my top ten for two reasons:
- Brixton (Idris Elba) was literally fueled with some sort of glowing cyber things that made him a little superhuman, and I bet he could do a lot of sick dunks
- I think it would be funny if Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) could just destroy both of her brothers at basketball
Not up for debate.
7. Han Lue
Han, dribbling at the top of the key with one hand while holding a bag of Flamin Hot Cheetos in the other, does a casual little left-right faint with his upper body to get his defender off-balance, dribbles twice to his right, and then pulls up off his left leg for a running right-handed floater that slips through the basket so smoothly that it barely moves the net.
He admires it briefly and then pops another Cheeto into his mouth.
6. Jakob Toretto
Jakob Toretto is played by John Cena and is Dominic Toretto’s evil secret brother, which is something that’s a lot of fun to type and say to people. I know because I do it a lot. I like to picture him playing basketball alone in his driveway as a teen in the late-’90s, listening to Eminem and wearing nylon shorts that are so huge he can’t dribble between his legs without getting the ball stuck in the fabric.
D.K., the villain from Tokyo Drift, can dunk, and nothing you can possibly say will change my stance on this.
4. Mr. Nobody
Mr. Nobody is played by Kurt Russell and is older than everyone on this list other than Helen Mirren’s character, who I ranked in last place. Still. We know so little about him. He’s mysterious and appears to be good at a lot of things and I would not be entirely surprised if he called everyone in one day and was just casually shooting hoops while explaining a situation to them and made like 46 straight free throws during his speech.
Kind of the opposite of this scene from Bad Boys.
Hmm. It’s almost like I did all of this just so I could post that scene in here. Again. Almost like it’s my favorite scene in any movie ever. Almost like I occasionally mumble “ You’re him, I don’t wanna hear it, you’re him. And you, you’re you, you be you, but not in front of her. You’re him, you’re you” to no one while heating up leftovers in the microwave.
I would not be surprised even a little if the next movie in this deranged franchise opens with her spinning a basketball on her finger while laying out a new plan for world domination. Possibly doing that thing where you move the spinning ball from finger to finger without interrupting its rotation. Maybe with a giant fish tank full of sharks behind her.
I hope she has a Mohawk this time.
2. Tej Parker
What I believe:
- Tej (Ludacris) can do lots of sick dribbling tricks
- Tej can bomb threes like a madman
- Tej is basically Steph Curry
Do not take this from me.
1. Brian O’Conner
Brian O’Conner scored 2,000 points as a high school basketball player. Brian O’Conner was offered a number of Division I basketball scholarships. Brian O’Conner was set to accept one of them (I’m going to guess it was UCLA), but then he blew out his knee playing pickup basketball the night of high school graduation. Brian O’Conner was never quite the same athletically after that, at least not consistently. Brian O’Conner gave up on his basketball dreams eventually and signed up for the police academy and one thing led to another and now we’re here.
But still, even today, many years later, if the weather is nice and the air pressure isn’t making his knee feel a little clicky and tight, Brian O’Conner could drop 40 points in a rec league game without breaking a sweat.
I am as sure about every statement in this section as I am that Ludacris and Tyrese went to outer space in a NoS-powered Pontiac.