Monday, June 13, 2011

Brain-mapping the Dallas Mavericks

Dallas Mavericks just won the NBA title. Watching them was a true enjoyment due to the diversity of the playing styles that this team showed.
When combining together all these playing styles it is easy to see the resemblance of this team to another remarkable machine - the brain. Here is a short list of the key players and their role / playing style as if they are regions in the brain:

Jason Kidd -  Prefrontal Cortex: This region is responsible for planning and decision making (amongst other things). This is the type of basketball that Jason Kidd is playing - very smart and focused on taking the right decisions while planning two moves in advance.

Dirk Nowitzki - Cerebellum. This region is responsible for repetitive motorical tasks, such as climbing stairs all the way to doing calligraphy. Dirk Nowitzki's game is all about doing several things over and over again, regardless of their complexity - jump backward on one leg, re-balance in mid-air and then throw the ball accurately to the hoop. from the outside it seems complicated, it is if you stop and think about every step. It isn't if done automatically.

Jason Terry - Amygdala. This region's key functionality is handling the limbic system, i.e. emotions. Jason Terry's game is all about emotions - if he feels that he needs to shot, he'll shoot, no fear, no stress, it can be a win or loose shot, if he feels it, he'll do it.

Jose Barea - Brainstem - This region is responsible for the basic bodily functions - breathing, temperature control, etc. Jose Barea's game is just as primal as this region- no, thinking, just doing - you are faced with a higher, stronger defender (or two), run into them and throw the ball.

Sean Marion - thalamus - This region is the communication relay system, just in the middle of so many processes. Sean Marion's game is similar, he is everywhere, does not start anything,  may end plays and glues numerous processes together.

Tyson Chandler - Astrocytes - this is the "skeleton" of the brain - it give structure and holds everything in place. Does not do any calculation, but everything would collapse without it.

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