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Return of the Wildcats

In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, we see Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker — now, of course, Darth Vader — as former brothers at odds. Once both Jedi, the two men are now sworn enemies. We will also see this dynamic tonight among University of Kentucky alumni. Many former Wildcats will be in the Smoothie King Center tonight, such as Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Darius Miller.

And Karl-Anthony Towns.

Like Obi-Wan and Vader, Towns and Davis in particular have often played each other aggressively over the past few seasons. Towns came into the league and stole Davis’ mantle as the NBA’s next bright young star. Davis has not forgotten, often going off against Towns to prove he is the superior talent.

In the last Timberwolves appearance in New Orleans, Towns was held to a mere two points. Davis — now with help from Cousins — made sure that Towns did not have a good night among members of his former organization. While the Pelicans lost that contest, the team has gotten much better in the interim, due in no small part to the return of Rondo and emergence of Miller as a legitimate scoring threat. More former Wildcats to enter this epic, ongoing battle.

It is muddy who are Jedi and who are Sith in this analogy. Perhaps Davis is Luke, Boogie is Han, and Rondo is Obi-Wan. Or maybe Davis is Vader, Boogie is the Emperor, and Rondo is…Darth Maul? Or Towns is Luke and Jimmy Butler is Han, which works because Han technically wasn’t a Jedi. Your stance on which players represent the dark side likely depends on whether you are a Pelicans or Timberwolves fan (as Obi-Wan says in Return of the Jedi, “many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view”). But what is clear is that these former Wildcats — particularly Towns and Davis — will play each other hard, going after each other with all they have. It remains to be seen who will end up with the high ground, but it is safe to say the former Wildcats will come to play tonight.

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Rory Callais is a New Orleans-based writer and musician. In addition to covering the Pelicans, Rory's work has been featured in Offbeat, Antigravity, and Where Y'at? He is also the lead guitarist for Darcy Malone and the Tangle and Vox and the Hound, who provides the theme music for the Locked On Pelicans daily podcast.

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