Parks and Recreation means a lot to me. It's my favorite television show of all time. I'm not exaggerating, and I don't care if that sounds crazy. No work of art has ever meant as much to me, and I'm not sure one ever will.
So before I begin the exercise of recasting the show with Grizz-related figures in a highly irreverent manner, I'm going to get overly emotional about a television character.
We start at the beginning with Leslie Knope.
The Grizzlies - Leslie Knope
Leslie Knope cannot be one person.
She is everything.
She cannot be contained.
She's fiercely optimistic.
She's a role model.
She's hilarious both unintentionally and on purpose.
She's worth rallying around.
She's ready for her blessings AND her miracles.
She works and smiles and fails and cries.
She is a force.
She is an ultralight beam of optimism in a world that equates cynicism with coolness.
Leslie Knope is cool.
Hilarious yet optimistic comedy can be hard to come by, but Parks and Rec gave us seven miraculous seasons of it. It all starts with Leslie.
I don't know how much or how little a sports team can truly change the perception of a city, but to whatever extent it's possible the Grizzlies have done that. I never want to be the person who overstates the importance of a sportsball game but the Grizzlies mean a lot to a so many people in this town. At their best, even if only for a night or a playoff series or a moment, they are everything.
Leslie has the power to soften the hearts of everyone from apathetic teenagers to jaded accountants.
The Grizzlies have the power to make pessimists and cynics proudly display towels that read "BELIEVE MEMPHIS" without an ounce of irony.
In other words, Leslie gets us.
Look, I'm not crazy. I know Pawnee isn't Paris or London or Chicago, but it's a great place to live and work. And serving the goofballs in this town is an honor and a privilege. And yes, every town claims its diner's waffles are the best in the world, but somewhere in some town there really are the best waffles in the world. So delicious, and rich, and golden brown that anyone who tasted them would decide never to leave that town. Somewhere those waffles exist. Why can't it be here?
Now wipe your eyeballs and let's get totally ridiculous.
Mike Conley - Ann Perkins
Ann and Mike are team players willing to do whatever is needed. Need someone to run an offense that may not highlight his strengths but helps the team overall? Mike Conley is your man. Need someone to essentially change careers so she can
share more screen time with the main cast be a better friend? You have Ann Perkins.
They may not have the biggest personalities, but Mike Conley and Ann Perkins are there for you every time.
Tony Allen - Donna
Donna and Tony are fierce yet funny. They both know how to treat themselves, whether it's manicures at the mall or the finest hoverboard on the market. We all know they both command respect in the Twitter streets.
Still don't see the similarities? Check out this video of Tony going for a steal right after missing a blown layup.
Chandler Parsons - Tom Haverford
Zach Randolph- Ron Swanson
Zach and Ron live by a code. They believe actions speak louder than words. They love both food and stuff. They are pretty good with these hands.
For more fun check out this video of Zach Randolph at a local grocery store.
Lastly, in a bizarre coincidence both men are known to wear red the day after a good night.
Marc Gasol - Ben Wyatt
Marc and Ben. Ben and Marc. Okay, I'm struggling to make some of these fit. Both of these fellas might seem cold at first, but they've got a lot of love to give. Peel away their business-like exterior you'll find a pair of real nerds. The stories of Marc trying to find a new hobby when he was depressed about his injury are legendary. Remember when he wouldn't stop talking about his claymation video?
Chris Wallace - Andy
Andy and Chris are teddy bears cut from the same stuffing. Despite what often seem like terrible decisions, things always seem to work out for the best. Chris Wallace drafted Thabeet and built an NBA contender. Andy fell in a pit and ended up married to April Ludgate.
Enjoy this exclusive video of Chris Wallace trying to use the internet at the Grizz offices.
Jordan Adams - Mark Brendanawicz
Oh what might have been. These noble men showed early promise before fading into the distance. Their disappearances were somewhat mired in controversy, but we wish both of them well.
Deyonta Davis - April Ludgate
April and Deyonta both started their careers as promising prospects with questions about motor. They have plenty of raw talent, but suffer from resting apathy face. We can only hope that Deyonta follows April's footsteps and fulfills his potential.
Jeff Green - Jerry, Larry, Terry, Barry, Lenny
Jeff Green may be partying with Mickey these days, but he will always be our Jerry. J&J are just a couple nice guys who seem to get blamed for just about everything. To be fair, they usually deserve it.
Remember that time Jeff tried to give the team a pregame pep talk?
How about when the team tried to throw Jeff a going away party after the trade?
We will end on a lighter note with that time the team went to Jeff's for Christmas and found out that he's a nice man with a great life off the court.
Vince Carter - Chris Traeger
Chris and Vince both hold onto to their youth with a firm grasp. They achieve this through a steadfast devotion to health and fitness, as well as an upbeat spirit. They are both old.
Sean Tuohy - Perd Hapley
Troy Daniels - Craig
Craig and Troy are bound to annoy some fans. Admittedly, they aren't the most well-rounded guys. However, they are both elite when it comes to their respective specialties. Craig yells. Daniels makes threes.
Pistol Pete - DJ Stephens
Pete and DJ share a strikingly similar curse. Both men are famous for their dunking prowess but long to be known as so much more. (h/t to @youngblood_901)
John Hollinger - Barney the Accountant
John and Barney both lead important departments at their respective jobs. While they are all business when it comes to getting the numbers right, they love a little math-related humor. Here's a video of what John calls his favorite day ever.
John Hollinger's Machine - Congressman Murray