In September of 2014, President Obama outlined his strategy to counter the expansion of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, formerly known as ISIS) across Syria, Iraq and the Middle East. He proposed crushing pressure by reinforcing the Iraqi Army and Syrian resistance fighters on either side of ISIL, denying their financial resources and tactically air-striking vital targets without sending American troops on combat missions.
However, the following February Obama sent an Authorization for the Use of Military Force request to Congress to address the growing ISIL threat, making it near certain our troops will engage. US special forces are already on the ground in Syria. It’s only a matter of time.
This is a terrible fork in the road. If we send troops, we will suffer tragedy and expend resources on further engagements abroad. If we don’t, it’s feared our allies won’t finish the fight and many will die horribly while ISIL expands its vicious empire. The atrocities they will commit are already apparent online.
We need a non-violent solution to this problem, but it must be effective and absolute in defeating ISIL’s belief that they can win against the world. We must demoralize them on terms that will forever prove the might of the free against violent oppressors.
To truly win against them, we should challenge ISIL to a Space Jam.
With Congress’ approval, the US would formally challenge ISIL to an all-star game of basketball, or rather streetball to keep in the spirit of the classic ’90s film Space Jam featuring the Looney Tunes and Michael Jordan swan diving from the height of his credibility. But we won’t be able to play all our best ballers. We know what happens at the Olympics; no one’s going to agree to those terms.
Fortunately, we could put ISIL up against a moist sack of suspiciously docile puppies and, as long as they were submerged in American waters, the transient property would probably imbue their zombies with enough game to win the day. We should add insult to injury by choosing players whose victory would be especially humiliating to ISIL, as well as entertaining to us, the audience.
Why Basketball? Why Not Tomahawk Missile Tag?
ISIL, formerly al-Qaeda in Iraq, consists of men so vile that OG al-Qaeda actually cut ties after too many acts of brutality. These nutters are too crazy for al-Qaeda. ISIL has murdered numerous journalists and thousands of Yazidi of Northern Iraq, whom they believe to be devil worshipers (ISIL also believes music shouldn’t be heard in public). Those who aren’t murdered are robbed, tortured or sold into slavery. Where ISIL reigns their subjects are overtaxed and threatened, beaten, imprisoned or killed for the slightest indiscretion by predominantly foreign mercenaries, and it is alleged Saudi immigrants are being given important civil positions in ISIL-held cities in Iraq. Only Sunni Muslims loyal and obedient to ISIL’s immediate interests are allowed to live mostly unaccosted, presuming they are not conscripted.
Defeating ISIL with traditional warfare is sure to result in further tragedy and genocide. ISIL knows no mercy even for their own, nor honor, nor sense enough to not piss off just about everyone in the world. We need a non-violent alternative to warfare.
Space Jamming ISIL is the perfect solution.
Basketball’s purity proves without recourse the might of democracy and affects much of the same ferocity as combat. With the limited rule set, both sides will be able to express their full physical and mental strength to see who alone is best. And we’ll beat them with such speed, power, precision and flair that every ISIL supporter will see for themselves what totalitarianism begets: weak shit on the court.
Where Would We Jam on ISIL?
Considering the talent disparity, it’s only fair that we give ISIL home-court advantage, but it’s not fair to murder innocents so fuck ISIL and there’s only one place this is going to happen: Rucker Park in Harlem, New York. If we’re gonna go, we’re gonna go hard, son.
Rucker Park is the legendary court that helped build greats like Kobe Bryant, Dr. J, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Lebron James, but it’s not about the prestige. The Park notoriously draws enormous local crowds and we want that energy thundering while we rain dunks on shame-soaked cowards. ISIL is welcome to bring supporters as well, however their safety cannot be assured while surrounded by New York’s realest.
When Do We Do This?
The ISIL problem must be handled soon. They aren’t capable of taking much territory at the moment, but they do pose an escalating threat in that they’ve already formed a stable base within two unstable nations and around vast oil reserves, as well as laying claim to a variety of terrorist cells. They pass freely between Iraq and Syria and work at destabilizing both while soliciting foreign psychopaths to commit acts of violence abroad.
It has been projected that in short time ISIL will completely divide all but the furthest portions of eastern Iraq and western Syria and bleed south into Jordan. That would effectively make them a super power in the region. We need to “extend” our challenge immediately.
We’ll put our best psychologists, anthropologists and marketing moguls to work on a propaganda campaign so elaborate yet intimate that it will be impossible to ignore. Rain flyers, officially endorse Anonymous vandalizing their websites, steal ISIL secrets to use as blackmail and air strike anything that might distract them from our message; everything necessary to goad them into accepting a 5v5 full-court game in Rucker Park against a team of our choosing and, preferably, leading terrorists from the region.
If ISIL refuses, they’ll become a wretched joke as we shed light on unfavorable truths and create pervasive new ones. Ultimately though, the UN will have to execute a solution when ISIL has made enough mistakes, and already they have nearly crossed that limit.
Space Jamming is their only chance to regain some footing, even if that chance is nearly zero.
- If ISIL Wins: The US will withdraw entirely from the Middle East and ISIL’s team will be returned home safely, albeit on Delta. We will nonetheless continue defending our allies, but US bases will close and engagements will cease while troops disperse outside the region. This would be a great setback in our fight against ISIL, but being forced to leave would ultimately make most people happy, including American citizens. In that way, we still “win” either way.
- If the US Wins: ISIL will immediately cease all operations, return all land and property to the rightful owners and disappear entirely from existence forever. All members of ISIL’s team will be tried by an international court and the UN will be immediately authorized to seize and destroy all remaining pockets of ISIL resistance.
We can’t be sure who ISIL would play or how they would position themselves on the court since there are no civilians to hide behind, but this game a foregone conclusion. Still, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan ahead.
The Monstars (ISIL)
Point Guard: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Obviously, ISIL leader and self-declared Caliph of Islam Abu Bakr will head Team Monstar.
Little is known about Abu Bakr. Detained by the US in 2004, at the time he was thought to be little more than a “living letter box”, someone to hand-off packages between al-Qaeda’s operatives. However, he must’ve had greater involvement to have been promoted as he was so Abu Bakr poses a real wild card threat on the court.
Multiple sources confirm Abu Bakr showed some passion for soccer in his youth, thus his athleticism should not be underestimated. No doubt he will foul like crazy so we’ll want him against our biggest, most aggressive players. We’ll give them a standing order to swing ‘bows like their shoulders are on fire to bust him up and get him playing angry, stupid. Then we should keep the ball away at all costs just to make him look as impotent on the court and his cause has been with the Muslim community at large.
Most importantly, there should be a real training regime to ensure we crash on Bakr as hard as possible. I want to see him knocked on his ass every time he tries something. Ideally, he’ll change it up to lay on the 3, but we’ll swat those away like nothing to send our message home: “Bakr’s cause represents nothing.” The goal is to embarrass Abu Bakr and thus his organization as much as possible.
Small Forward: Fadil Ahmad Abdallag Hayyali
Abu Bakr’s second-in-command Fadil Ahmad is no doubt just as aggressively dedicated to the cause. Expect him to sacrifice to earn fouls as well as cause them, playing ISIL’s ruthlessness as his strength. We’ll want our biggest and strongest defending him as well. Bakr and Ahmad will likely coordinate effectively so any play between them should be stopped immediately.
Shooting Guard: Ayman al-Zawahiri
Zawahiri is the current leader of al-Qaeda and was number two under Osama bin Laden. He likely wields great field wisdom and dead-eye aim so we’ll really want to watch how well he works the 3. If he’s a sniper then he gets a little more D, but chances are he places like mortar fire and we’ll get to ignore the decrepit bastard for most of the game.
Power Forward: Abu Mohammed al-Golani
Al-Golani is head of the al-Nusra Front, an arm of al-Qaeda operating out of Syria. I chose him to represent the consistent in-fighting between top insurgent leadership. Al-Golani and Abu Bakr have a trying past so they probably won’t coordinate well, and as the impending loss settles in the tension between them should flare and the Monstars will probably start in-fighting once again.
Center: Amr al-Absi
Amr al-Absi is a Saudi-born Syrian who rose in rank after his brother was killed leading a pro-ISIS group. Amr helped Abu Bakr establish a base in Syria and is directly responsible for the expansion of ISIL, earning him a well-deserved beating alongside the rest of Team Monstar.
Tune Squad (United States)
Space Jamming is serious business, but not too serious thankfully. There’s a lot at stake, sure, but the odds favor us excessively. With that liberty in mind, I’ve carefully chosen a team with the skill to disarm and destroy the Monstars both on the court and in their heart.
Center: Kevin Hart
Comedian Kevin Hart is famously short. At 5’4″ and sporting a goofy grin to boot, he’s the farthest thing from intimidating. That’s why he’ll be first on the court.
What the Monstars won’t know is that Hart consistently shows his prowess during celebrity All-Star NBA events. He clearly knows how to ball with 3 celebrity MVP awards in 4 years to prove it. So we’ll have him play soft at first and work the comedy angle distracting and mocking incessantly. With the Monstars sufficiently frustrated we’ll have him refocus on denying the ball, cutting for layups and fouling whenever he can.
Shooting Guard: Arne Duncan
US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan played professional basketball in Australia and was named Academic All-American of his Harvard varsity team, even though he looks like he should be managing a Tesla dealership. He’s a solid shooter and natural pick for team leader too, partly because he will also be the liaison between the court and state interests. Whatever instructions or spy gadgets the White House feeds him are sure to be secret, but also much to our advantage.
The Monstars won’t know what hit ’em, and neither will we until a Freedom of Information Act request discloses it years later.
Point Guard: Kevin “Special K” Daley
It’s incredibly tempting to add Michael Jordan to this team. He’s a veteran of the Jam, his skill is undeniable and he stands extremely tall as a peak example of democratic prosperity. But I just can’t do it while he continues to wear those silly piercings. Instead, I chose the man who played a younger pre-pierced Michael in a Nike commercial, Harlem Globetrotter Kevin “Special K” Daley:
On that note, perhaps we should offer a bonus cash incentive for every dismounted turban.
Small Guard: Bill Murray
As a Jam veteran, who better to crash with this team than Admiral Bill Murray? Well, maybe Michael Jordan, but, again, the earrings.
Murray’s role on the court will be much like Hart’s except with no real focus on play. He’s outside his physical heyday so instead his job will be distraction and energizing the crowds. Maybe have him field 2’s and sag a little to setup teammates.
Critically, Murray is the only player required to show up to the after party, otherwise what’s the point of this whole thing? Definitely not to disguise an elaborate scheme to meet and hopefully befriend Bill Murray, that’s for sure.
Small Forward: Lebron James
Obviously, we’re going to play someone from the NBA. We’re not stupid.
Lebron will also do his own thing, which is likely to be a lot of give-‘n-go with Special K, but we’ll also want him to press the better Monstars, if any of them turn out to be adequate at all.
Really though, what could I say to Lebron James that would make him any better at dunking on filthy terrorists?
- No filthy terrorism.
- No blood, no foul, and call your own.
- An Arabic translator cannot be provided due to federal budget cuts.
- All Monstar players will be neutralized immediately if anything happens to Bill Murray. Anything.
A Personal Touch
I’ll admit, this one’s for me.
We want to authenticate the record for future generations, so Bob Costas and Marv Albert will MC the event. We’ll hire a tolerant prostitute for Albert and give him the script from NBA Jam. Afterwards, anytime someone dunks on a terrorist, I want to hear a spirited “BOOMSHAKALAKA!”
But should any terrorist dunk it’ll be “BOOMSHAKA-ALALALALA!” instead.
I’m a man of simple pleasures.
Best Luck to US, Team Tune Squad
Look, there’s no way to be sure how this would go, except for maybe 60 years of clear and thorough precedent on the court. Nonetheless, I trust we have what it takes to send the Monstars back to Moron Mountain.
All we have to do is pray ISIL is looney enough to accept our challenge, but I’m sure they’re rather in tune.