It’s a simple question, really: Do you think Cousin Greg — the sweet, lanky, awkward Roy-adjacent boy from Succession — can dunk a basketball? It shouldn’t require too much thought. A simple yes or no will do. And yet, here I am, after months — not an exaggeration — of debating both sides of the issue in my head, writing it up and presenting it to you. It’s my last hope. I have, at various times in various moments, convinced myself completely that both options are correct. It’s honestly becoming a problem. I have other things to do. Paperwork is piling up on my desk while my brain cranks itself into a smoking lump of ooze. That doesn’t even make sense. Ooze forms in pools, not lumps. This situation has ruined me.
It’s not even the first time I’ve debated the hoops prowess of characters on the show. I wrote a whole manifesto just last year about how good I thought each character was at basketball. I stand by almost everything I said then, but especially the things I wrote about Greg, who I ranked ninth for the reasons explained in this blockquote.
Toughest entry on the list. My sweet boy is very, very tall, and younger than just about anyone else on the show. He has all the physical advantages one could want. On the other hand, he is hilariously uncoordinated and passive and appears to be developing a secret cocaine habit. I’ve been trying so hard to envision a scenario where he can be a contributing member of a basketball team but every time I start to get there I see him tripping and falling on a fast break because he somehow got his shoes tied together in the middle of the previous play.
Still, he ranks this high because there is a bubbling rage inside that gangly body and we simply cannot rule out the possibility that he plays with the intensity of Kevin Garnett in the brief spells between him falling like a whirling cyclone of arms and legs.
Do you see what I mean here? Do you see why this is killing me? Both possibilities are reasonable. If the show would settle this once and for all — please, even just one line of dialogue confirming he can dunk or explaining that he can’t, for me, for my deeply troubled soul — I would happily accept whatever they put forth. I would put this issue to bed for good. This is a lie. I would not. Especially if they say he can dunk. Because then I would need to see it. It would tear me apart. But we’ll cross that shaky rope bridge when we get to it.
Below, I will lay out the case for and against Cousin Greg being able to dunk. We will really get into it. But first, I need to be clear about three things:
- I am not asking if Nicholas Braun, the actor who plays Cousin Greg, can dunk in real life
- I’m asking if Cousin Greg, the character on the show, can dunk
- I’m doing great
Okay, here we go.
CASE FOR: Cousin Greg can dunk, absolutely, 100 percent
The case for this breaks down as follows:
- Cousin Greg is very tall — Nicholas Braun is 6’7 and the show has never portrayed him as anything shorter than that — and has long arms
- He would not have to jump very high
- Like, we’re talking a 20-24 inch vertical leap, tops
- I believe in him
- He is young enough that we can assume he retains a solid amount of whatever athletic ability he had at his peak
- I would like it a lot if he could dunk
- He appears to have hands that are large enough to palm a basketball
- This would make it easier because he wouldn’t have to use two hands or cup/cradle the ball in his wrist on the way up
- He is so tall
- I know I said that already but still
- I saw this video of Nicholas Braun sitting courtside at a Lakers game and getting super pumped up about a cool windmill dunk and, even though I made a whole point a minute ago about how this question relates only to the actual character, I feel like it’s important
- I saved the file for this draft as “Greg Basketball,” which has nothing to do with anything but would be a pretty hilarious fake name
All fair points. But this brings us to…
CASE AGAINST: Cousin Greg cannot dunk, no way, be serious
The case here is also strong and looks like this:
- Come on
- Cousin Greg is the most awkward and uncoordinated person alive
- Just picture him trying to dunk
- Heck, just picture him in basketball shorts
- He would almost certainly injure himself
- I have this crystal clear image in my head of him trying to dunk and banging the ball into the front of the rim and falling down and knocking himself unconscious in front of, like, Beyoncé
- He could be eight feet tall and he still could not dunk
- There’s a principle here, like it would alter the dynamics of the entire show in irreversible ways if he was able to dunk
- I feel like it would have come up already if he could
- I feel like Kendall would be super jealous and bring it up a lot, in large part because Kendall named his son Iverson, which remains perfect
- If Greg could dunk then I think Tom would have challenged him to a game of basketball already, if only because Tom has the most “scored 2000 points at his small Midwestern high school and needs everyone to know it” energy of any character on television
- Be serious
Here’s the closest I’ve come to a solution, only because it feels right: I think Cousin Greg has dunked a basketball a few times, but only when he’s alone, and he’s tried and failed to replicate it numerous times in front of other people or on video, with the end result being that no one believes him. I’m going to stick with that until the show gives me a firm answer one way or the other. It’s part of my general life philosophy: When presented with two equally appealing alternatives, choose the one that is funniest.