Imagining Portland Trail Blazers players as Disney+ characters

PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23: Portland Trail Blazers react from the bench during Game Five of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - APRIL 23: Portland Trail Blazers react from the bench during Game Five of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Portland Trail Blazers
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 21: Damian Lillard #0 talks with CJ McCollum #3 of the Portland Trail Blazers during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /


Damian Lillard – Simba, The Lion King

Once upon a time, the Portland Trail Blazers ruled over the entire NBA kingdom. In fact, a man with a mane as long as Mufasa’s was the reason they domineered over the league. Unforeseen circumstances — whether they be brotherly betrayal or devastating injury — unfortunately cut that time short. The responsibility to reclaim the throne now fell directly upon his heir, Damian Lillard.

Although this new band of heroes may seem like rather unconventional rulers and directly opposes the focus on analytics and statistics, they are incredibly charismatic and impossible to root against. Lillard must beat the odds and defeat the pack of Hyenas all around him forming super-teams to get the job done. Simba’s catchy classic songs also go hand-in-hand with Dame’s successful rap career.

CJ McCollum – Genie, Aladdin

Is there a better sidekick in Disney history than Genie from Aladdin? Is there a better sidekick in the NBA than CJ McCollum? Of course not, and CJ is so effective at his job you might think he’s been imbued with a little of Genie’s signature magic. Genie may owe the lamp’s owner three wishes, but McCollum owes it to the other team to deliver a deep 3-point dagger. His career 40.1 percent shooting from deep proves this dog has a nasty bite to pair with his bark.

Speaking of barking, boy does this pair sure love to run their mouths. Genie will never hesitate to deliver a punctual joke, even in the most awkward of situations. McCollum on the other hand will take advantage of his platform to speak out, hosting his own podcast, “Pull up with CJ McCollum” with co-host Jordan Schultz. CJ also majored in journalism in college and has advocated a desire to get involved in sports media after hanging it up in the NBA.

Pau Gasol – Rafiki, The Lion King

Rafiki the mandrill (yes a mandrill, not a baboon) is the wise advisor to King Mufasa and serves as a walking talking index of all relevant historical information for the animal kingdom. Conveniently enough, Pau Gasol possesses a wealth of useful basketball knowledge and experience that makes him a valuable asset to any king even at 39-years-old.

If not for Rafiki, the pride would have never reached its full potential and retaken its place at the peak of Pride Rock. Having access to the two-time NBA database of information as he serves a mentor role could be the intangible ingredient the Portland Trail Blazers have been missing all this time. Gasol has served alongside many kings throughout his career, including the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. If anyone knows what it takes to take back the rock, it’s Rafiki.