The Backstreet Boys are the Golden State Warriors of boybands
How your favorite boyband resembles of one of the best line-up of the modern basketball
Ever since I first saw the ‘Get Down’ music video back in '96, the Backstreet Boys became the music I grew up with. Well, pop music to be exact. It wasn’t until junior high that I expanded my genre of interests.
While I also listened to and enjoyed other groups’ work, the BSB was my crème de la crème because they are the best. When boybands back then relied on one or two main singers while the rest of the group sings in the background, all of the dudes in BSB can sing and have unique characteristics. And for me, their voice complements each other, which take their synergy and harmonization to the very top.
Yes, N*Sync got prettier dudes (no homo!) but outside of JT and JC, they don’t really sing. Yes, all of the dudes in Westlife can sing too and got fair amounts of solos, but they just don’t have the synergy and harmony the BSB have. Yes, the One Direction dudes are talented, but their glory was short-lived.
This combination of talent was unprecedented. It wasn’t until 2016, when Kevin Durant decided to join the Golden State Warriors I witnessed a team oozing with talent which complements each other perfectly, like the BSB.
Both the GSW and the BSB had come a long way since then. But in their prime, 2016–2019 for the GSW and for the BSB was from their first (Backstreet Boys) until their fourth album (Black and Blue), they were very similar in terms of how each members talents and abilities performed in unity and catapults them to greatness. Let’s break down the parallels.
AJ McLean & Draymond Green — The Soul
Both AJ and Draymond are depicted as the bad boy of their groups. And both have uniqueness that give their group an identity. The GSW has long been a trigger-happy scoring bunch long before the days of Steph Curry, but with Draymond, he gives them a whole new identity; defense and switching. At 6–7, 220, he can defend bigger players as well as smaller ones very well. He is the Warriors quarterback on defense as he has high basketball IQ. He is also one of the more passionate and vocal leader of the Warriors, plays with high intensity and vigor, making him the soul of his team.
As for AJ, well boybands are dime a dozen back in the day. Compared to the other dudes in other boybands, AJ is something else. He has a unique, raspy and powerful vocal. His voice and style usually is found on the RnB genre, but it fits the group perfectly and it gives the BSB another dimension and character. AJ’s singing ability is key to the soul of the Backstreet sound, and has become one of his most notable trademarks. When he sings you can feel the vibrato of his voice resonate, as it send chills down your spine.
Kevin Richardson & Andre Iguodala — The Veteran
Both are not in the spotlight as much as the others and are the eldest, but what they do is integral to their group. What Andre does usually doesn’t show up in the box score, as a veteran player the team leans on him to provide leadership, defense and other intangibles, such as playmaking and reading the game for strategy adjustments. And in crunch times, you bet that he still can hit those big shots.
Kevin is the oldest member of the group, doesn’t get as much solos as the others and usually sings in the background. He is a baritone with a deep and smooth voice, which became the foundation of the group harmonization. And just because you don’t really hear him, doesn’t mean he’s not important. Kevin left the group for a while and BSB wasn’t the same.
Howie Dorough & Klay Thompson — The Roleplayer
You know there’s no I in TEAM? Yeah, you probably had heard that a thousand times already. See, it’s not enough just by being talented, but you need the right attitude for your group to succeed. And that’s what Klay and Howie are all about. Klay Thompson is a very good basketball player. He is one of the most lethal shooter the NBA has ever seen. Once, he got hot and scored 60 points in just 29 minutes of playing. Before that, he once scored 37 points in just one quarter. Furthermore, he is a great defender who guards the opposing team’s best player night in and night out. He can definitely be the main guy of a team if he wants, but he accepts a less of spotlight role so the GSW can achieve its max potential.
Did you know that Howie was supposed to be the lead in the beginning? He formed the group with AJ and Nick, then later on when Brian and Kevin joined, he accepted that it would be better if Brian gets more spotlight as one of the main vocalist. It’s not that he’s less of a singer though. Howie is a tenor who can consistently sings in the falsetto range, singing melodies that usually belong to Soprano voices with skill and accuracy. He can easily be the lead singer of other group if he wants.
Brian Littrell & Stephen Curry — The Heart
Both are very talented at what they do. Both got crazy range (in one of his MVP season, Steph made 51.6 percent of shots between 28 feet and the half-court line (47 feet) in 2015–16. The rest of the NBA hit 20.8 percent — Brian, a tenor, can easily hit two-octave range), and to top it all off, they can hit those difficult shots and notes, effortlessly. Look at how Steph create space between him and his defender and just shoot a pull-up jumper. And look at how Brian hits a long note at the 3:12 mark. Effortless.
And the similarities goes on. Both are baby faced. Both got image of nice, catholic, boy-next-door. Both battled injuries in their careers (Steph with his ankles, and Brian with Muscle Tension Dysphonia which impaired his singing ability) and won. But in the end of the day, both got a special ability that defined their respective groups. They are the heart of their groups.
Nick Carter & Kevin Durant — The Luxury
Remember when KD entered the league. A tall, scrawny kid that looked like he was going to snap in half, but he really can play ball. He averaged 20 points a game as a rookie, with 43 percent efficiency. Not many rookies can do that. Hell, not even many veteran NBA players can do that. Now that he’s grown up, he’s one of the most complete player. He can score whichever he wants, defend and run point to some extent. Bottom line, he is one the greatest player of his generation.
Remember Nick back when the BSB debuted. He was the youngest of the bunch, with bowl-cut blonde hair that parted perfectly in the middle as if Moses cut it with his staff. But he can sing his ass off. Though the youngest, he shared the stage and spotlight with older dudes and even become one the group’s main vocalists. Now that he’s grown, he’s a complete package. He become a tall hunk who even got voted into People Magazine 50 Most Beautiful People in the year 2000 at No. 9. And his singing ability matured too. When Brian was dealing with his health issue, Nick become the main guy of the group.
Both the BSB and GSW are talented enough, even without Nick and KD. Their presence become added luxuries, which gives their groups more versatility to experiment their crafts, and also gave them extra edge against others. But in the end of the day, everybody knows that GSW is Steph’s, and BSB is Brian’s.
Now, even though both groups are past their prime (KD left the team, Klay is injured, BSB latter albums, while good, are not as great as their early ones), let’s remember the best version of them, and cherish the fact that we had time to enjoy their greatness.
(EDIT: Click here to see the BSB’s A Capella performance and know that I am right)