NBA

The following is a trailer for the new Voltron series coming to Netflix in a few weeks.

There have been a few reboots of the classic series through the years, but this seems to be the one that will put the legendary lions back on the map with its notable creative team (the showrunners and voice actors come from places such as The Legend of Korra and Adventure Time) and Netflix backing. Based on the trailer, it’s the same robot as I knew before and loved, but with a different shine that appeals to the modern audience. It’s hard to say one is better than the other – especially since I haven’t watched a single episode yet – because each series is a product of their respective era, but what I do know is that each show will retain a fan base; one side will say the original is untouchable while the other will love this new take and defend their positions with a feverish pitch. And then there’s the other side (yup, this is a triangular relationship) that will love both the original and the reboot, appreciate both sides for what they are, critique their flaws and be done with it. Take a wild guess which side I’m on…

Basketball – and tangentially, its sneakers – are going through a similar phase that Voltron is undergoing. Stephen Curry is changing the way we enjoy basketball as he and teammate Klay Thompson and rival Damian Lillard have made the three-point shot just as exciting as the slam dunk. Under Armour basketball are actually becoming a thing thanks to Steph to the point where it might even outsell LeBron James’ Nike signature shoes. Watching Steph dribble his way through multiple defenders to put up a contested shot is like the computer-generated animation of the new Voltron; it’s mind-blowing to see how far we’ve come from the days when Larry Bird would use the three-pointer not as the go-to option, but a thing he could use when he felt like it.

Original Voltron is a lot like Larry Bird in that sense; it wasn’t the most graceful thing in the world but holy s**t did it kick ass when I was a kid. I’ve seen the evolution of the three from Bird to Ray Allen running around multiple screens to Dirk Nowitzki proving big guys can shoot the long ball to the dance Steph does today. For those in their 30s and older, they either went along for the ride and enjoyed the changes to the game or they never left and 80s and 90s and are steadfast in their beliefs that the game has peaked. Meanwhile, the kids who are growing up now are looking at Steph as their hero and everything else that came before their time as archaic.

NBA
NBA

The clash of ideologies hit its nadir when the Golden State Warriors won a record 73 games in the regular season, Steph won his second MVP, Under Armour started making an actual dent in the basketball shoe market – not to mention drop their Back to Back MVP Pack of Currys – and Riley Curry stalked press row once more. Last season was the honeymoon because the older heads thought what Steph and the Warriors did was “cute”; but now that they think it’s “threatening” their basketball world view – much like how some old school Voltron fans think the trailer is “cute” but will immediately go crazy when kids start saying it’s better than the original. You have Oscar Robertson, Charles Barkley and Tracy McGrady – who all come from different generations and probably hate each other’s guts too – calling the Warriors, Steph and the NBA they play in “watered down”. You have Sneaker Twitter trashing everything Under Armour does simply because they’re Under Armour when you know if the Curry One or Two had a swoosh instead of the UA it would be universally praised.

There was a time when I would have joined the likes of Chuck or T-Mac in saying today’s NBA is “watered down”. There was a time when I bought almost exclusively Nike sneakers. But as I’ve grown older and seen that generational arguments like this go nowhere (when you work for a blog for as long as I have, your eyes are opened to a lot of stupid opinions that fetishize the past to a disturbing degree), the truth is that time moves on with or without our curmudgeon-y thoughts. Back then it was Air and Pumps; now its Boost, Lunar and Charged. I’ve been watching clips of or original Voltron on Youtube lately and it was jarring to see just how trashy and lazy the animation was. But it doesn’t change the wonder and enjoyment I had for those cartoons when I was a kid, just like this new Voltron won’t change my opinion either. Just like basketball and Steph, it will have the some of the same trappings, but it will be a different thing to watch and appreciate.  While fair criticism is and should continue to be a part of sports, sneakers and Voltron, we also need to stop sounding like bitter old farts. Steph’s teammate Andrew Bogut isn’t the first to have this opinion, but it’s something I think we can all take to heart…

“I just hope I’m not a bitter old man in my 50s and 60s. Every generation says the next generation is softer and slower and not as smart and not as physical. So I hope I’m not one of those guys that does that. It’s unfortunate. I respect all eras. Every era brought something different.”