NBA WHAT-IFS: IMAGINE IF BOOGIE COUSINS HAD A ROBOTIC EXOSKELETON AND SIGNED WITH THE BOSTON CELTICS

By Chet Tinto

Boston, November 4, 2018

It was horrifying. DeMarcus Cousins went up to block a LeBron dunk so powerful, like a Category Five hurricane or the president of CAA, and got leveled into the floor of the new Golden 1 Center. They didn’t think Boogie would ever be able to play again after getting so viciously dunked on.

But we didn’t realize that top NBA scientists were at work developing a robotic exoskeleton that would allow Boogie not only to walk again but to play in the NBA. We all wept as Adam Silver had a surprise press conference saying “I know you all liked DeMarcus Cousins when he didn’t have churning, robotic claw feet that allow him to scamper inhumanly up and down the court like a terrifying basketball insect. But now let me introduce to you Boogie 2.0.”

The creation of the NBA’s first cyber-human led to all sorts of unanswered questions. Would Cousins be bound to his contract he signed as a human, before the scientists gave him a built-in rocket-powered grappling hook device that could attach to arena ceilings and allow him to block shots at impossible angles? How would NBA refs call fouls on Boogie 2.0 when his titanium bones were designed to withstand flying logs, tumbles down the Niagara Falls escarpment, and groin kicks far more damaging than anything Draymond Green can muster? How would this affect his status as an Alpha Ball Dominator and would I have to add in a new appendix to my book about cybernetic enhancements when I knew this would happen after I went to the Sloan Conference Basketball Robotics Networking Bumper Cars Event dammit what the hell was I thinking?

I’ll tell you who wasn’t daunted by this: Danny Ainge. You would have thought tech wizard Vivek Randive would be thrilled, since he is an investor in the BELVEDERE robot butler system. But the other front office doofuses there just did not want to take a risk on a player who could badly injure fans by leaping into the stands after a loose ball and bring the crushing weight of his 1,765 pounds of dribbling software to bear on their fragile, human tibiae. That would be The Malice in the Palace 2.0, and it would be worse than when they stopped airing that Mr. Belvedere episode where Wesley joins a motorcycle gang.

Ainge swept right in. Before, in 2016, the original, human Boogie was an enigma, an incredible player with a suspect attitude. Now, Cyber-Boogie’s emotions were even more of a mystery because no one knew if he had them, if he could handle coming off the bench after he needed routine maintenance, and if he would react to a technical foul by bludgeoning the referee to death with his shiny-metallic headband. But Ainge used these concerns to swindle those dumb-dumbs in Sacramento by unloading picks.

“Everyone knows you can’t win an NBA title without at the very least an Alpha Prime Dominator,” he said. “You can try winning with a Superstar-in-waiting with Latent Alpha Tendencies or a Host of All-Starish Guys Who Are Slightly Greater than the Sum of Their Parts but,” he said chuckling, “you would be an idiot. A dullard. A moron who doesn’t know anything about winning in the NBA.” And Ainge was convinced that Boogie 2.0 could be, the rares of NBA finds, a Dominant Champion Centerpiece.

Oh, people in Boston were a little skittish at first. WEEI took endless calls from people terrified of cyber-humans and the philosophical ramifications of technological modification of human beings in sport (even though we all know what Kobe was doing in Germany) and far more concerned about wasting those Brooklyn picks. But they began to take to him after he put up a 35/12 against Atlanta by unveiling his Motorcycle Mode. It was like how the Owens family slowly took to Mr. Belvedere and eventually he became part of the family.

Cyber-Boogie became a pillar of the community in Boston even as he led the Celts to their first NBA Finals in almost eight years. He handed out water and human nutrients to runners as the Boston Marathon passed his cavernous home/recharging station. He learned how to high-five fans without breaking all of their finger bones before disappearing into the forest for weeks, unable to contemplate how he fits into human society with his vast cyborg strength even though there was a big game coming up against Toronto. He paid for the Mark Wahlberg statue at Boston harbor celebrating his deep passion for human-robot relations. I never thought I’d say this, but Cyber-Boogie has become the most beloved Boston athlete I’ve ever seen; I call him Ortbradybird 2.0. Boston fans already want the Celtics to buy an enormous pneumatic lifting apparatus to hoist his heavy, metallic jersey into the rafters.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where I look at what would happen if a cybernetic Boogie Cousins ended up on the Celtics and it all went bad, if his circuitry went haywire and he ended up mangling fans with his claws and feet-rockets and the police and armed forces were unable to stop him, their conventional weapons bouncing uselessly off the armor plating that was designed to protect his hydraulic jumping mechanisms from Mike Dunleavy’s elbows.