So, you think you’re a true fan of the lovable hoop shooting pup? Well, it’s time to put your knowledge to the test! Below are five questions that only a true Air Bud fan can answer – let’s see how you do! And of course, no cheating!
1. What was Air Bud’s name?
Seems easy, right? Not so fast. This is the gatekeeper question in the Air Bud fandom – a poser would say “Air Bud” instinctively. The answer is, however, Air Buddy. It takes only a fraction of true devotion to solve this, so let’s get the real quiz on a roll.
2. What gender is Air Bud?
Many viewers of Air Bud will be quick to say Air Bud’s a male, given the fact that many characters in the film refer to it as such. However, this question extends beyond the mere confines of the films. What gender was Air Bud, the dog actor? Now, your confidence may be shaken if you said male, due to the lack of visible genitalia. So, it’s a female in that case, right? Nope! The answer was indeed male – Air Bud’s genitals were digitally edited out of the films to keep things family friendly.
3. What is the origin of Air Bud’s name?
Let’s take a moment to think about this one – Air Bud, or Air Buddy, the name of a dog which can play basketball with ease. While you may be tempted to say that Air Bud simply refers to his friendly nature, coupled with the large amount of time he spends in the air. But that’s only half right – the origin of the name Air Bud is none other than Bud Dwyer, former State Treasurer of Pennsylvania. In a subtle use of gallows humour, Air Bud was thus named for his accuracy when shooting – in this case, basketballs.
4. What is the significance of the number 419?
The seemingly innocuous number 419 holds a very special significance in The Fandom. The reason being, 419 was the address of Air Bud’s Malibu home, and the site of his death in late 1998 due to complications related to chronic traumatic encephalopathy sustained from the filming of Air Bud: Golden Receiver. The property has since become a pilgrimage site for those wishing to pay their respects to the Golden Good Boy.
5. What is the Riddle of the Jersey?
The Riddle is by far the most effective means of separating the wheat from the chaff amongst those claiming to be hardcore fans. The answer is rather complex, and requires a great deal of research and meditation. The answers provided will ultimately show one’s devotion to Air Bud, as will be made evident in a convenient tiered list, from least to most devoted. It’s now time to shed some light on the ever elusive Riddle.
I. The jersey represents Air Bud’s canine status.
This answer is the most common to the unenlightened. Yes, Air Bud’s jersey does indeed say K9 which read phonetically yields the word canine, seemingly referring to Air Bud’s being a dog. This is, unfortunately, not the answer to the riddle. If you gave this answer, it is best if you stop reading now, so you may continue to ponder the Truth, for it is the journey which must be properly traveled for the destination to be truly reached.
II. K9 shows the duality of Air Bud.
You’re getting warmer, but you have not yet found the true answer. It is true that upon some more rigorous investigating, the theme of duality reveals itself – in a literal sense, given the presence of two characters, K and 9, and when reduced numerologically as well, given that K is the 11th letter of the English alphabet – 11 + 9 = 20, which can be further reduced to 2 by adding all digits of the product. This also works as 11 being rendered 1+1 which yields 2, and thus 2 + 9 = 11, 1+1 = 2.
This is a very tempting answer – Air Bud does show many qualities which are dual in nature. He is both a bud, and spends a lot of time in the air. He is a dog and athlete in equal proportions. But alas, the answer to the Riddle still eludes oneself, if this is the answer produced. Fear not, however – the tools are well chosen, it is merely the method which requires refinement.
III. K9 is Wisdom.
Wisdom is the next, and penultimate destination in the journey towards the Truth of the Riddle. Understanding this answer requires one to have a steady grasp not only on philology, but Kabbalah as well. We begin our path much like our previous discovery – through means of numerology. However, this time we will look beyond the personal in an attempt to grasp something much greater.
Yehudah of Breslov once wrote that Air Bud is the Divine Light, or Keter – literally translated, “Crown”. As the name implies, this answer postulates the Truth to be Air Bud’s divinity, as the manifestation of God’s light, which gave existence where there was once nothing. Yehudah’s thesis reaches this conclusion by noting that Kappa, the Greek equivalent of the letter K, is the 10th letter of the Greek alphabet. Thus, 10 + 9 = 19, 1 + 9 = 10, 1 + 0 = 1, or alternatively, 1 + 0 + 9 = 10, 1 + 0 = 1. The first of the Sephirot within Kabbalah is Keter, thus providing us with Yehudah’s conclusion.
Later, in his seminal work On the Mysteries of the Air Bud, Polish scholar Krzysztof Sienkiewicz debates this conclusion, suggesting it would be a jump to conclude the key to the Riddle lies in Greek, and not Hebrew, as one may imagine would be more appropriate for a Kabbalistic interpretation. Whether through the art of gematria which assigns Kaf, the Hebrew equivalent of K a numeric value of 20, or through merely looking at Kaf’s placement within the Hebrew alphabet as the 11th letter, the results are the same – through the same process mentioned previously, we are given a final product of 2 through either interpretation (20 + 9 = 29, 2 + 9 = 11, 1 + 1 = 2; 11 + 9 = 20, 2 + 0 = 2).
The number 2 thus changes the Kabbalistic method’s conclusion entirely – it is not the first Sephirot, Keter which yields us our answer, but rather the second Sephirot, Khokhmah – or so it would seem. Khokhmah means wisdom, or the brief witnessing of the Divine Light, Keter, the ultimate wellspring of earthly knowledge. Does the jersey, and thus Air Bud, represent wisdom? Surely, a dog must be wise indeed to master the art of basketball. However, these theses are ultimately flawed – Air Bud is neither the Divine Light, nor is he Wisdom. The reason lies in the unreliability of Kabbalah itself, and more specifically, the Tree of Life which contains the 10 Sephirot – some omit the first, Keter, entirely as it is beyond the grasp of mortal man. This would mean that the first Sephirot is in fact Khokhmah, and the second is Binah, understanding, the grasping of wisdom. The multitude of answers leaves much to be desired – the final and truest of Truth is within our grasp. We journey now to the final destination.
IV. K9 is Ib – The Heart.
If you have arrived at this answer independently, congratulations. You are among the few who may consider themselves a true adherent of Air Bud. If it was a struggle to reach this destination, worry not – Air Bud does not discriminate among his devotees. To those having just now arrived here, you may be wondering – what is Ib? How does this relate to the jersey? What was the key all along to the Riddle? The answer, you see, lies not only in the jersey itself – one must also consider the wearer. What is Air Bud? Air Bud’s a dog – to be more precise, a golden retriever. Therein lies the key to this riddle – Gold.
If one seeks gold, will they look to Kabbalah as previous scholars have, and have likewise failed to achieve enlightenment? What gold can be found within the quiet introversion of attempting to understand man and his relation to the divine? One may hope to eventually find gold within Kabbalah, but it is not immediately available. No, if gold is what you seek, you must journey westward – towards the lands of Egypt. Golden sands, golden pyramids, gold adorned pharaohs – a land of unrivaled splendor. The number 2 features prominently here – it is the land of Upper and Lower Egypt, of the Mediterranean and Red Seas, the Eastern and Western Deserts, the Eastern and Western Banks of the Nile, of the unification of Heaven and Earth, through the mediation of the Pharaoh. As per the Egyptian custom, there are seven aspects to the human body and soul, among them we will assign the value of the number 2 to Ib, the Heart.
Ib possesses many qualities which find harmony in the number 2. The heart has two ventricles, two atria, and serves the dual purpose of purifying and delivering blood to the body. Ib is likewise, the second most tangible of the Egyptian souls – it is material, like the Khat – the physical body, unlike the Ka, the soul’s body. However, it is also the seat of a person’s immaterial qualities – their mind, will, and so forth. Just as Ib is the key to entering the afterlife and thus, in a sense, enlightenment, through its weighing against the Maat to determine one’s righteousness, it is likewise the key to understand Air Bud.
Air Bud is very much a vessel for will and purpose, that which drives the conscious being in life. Air Bud, though born a dog, willed his way to stardom through mastery of basketball. Air Bud is a good boy – his heart is gold, pure. Unlike man, Air Bud cannot conceive of sin – he is the ideal Ib embodied within the noble canine, the most loyal of creatures. The true nature of K9, the jersey, and Air Bud has thus been revealed to us, and the journey is at an end. May your Ib guide you as righteously as Air Bud guides a basketball.
And that’s it for today’s quiz! So, how did you do? Hope you had fun! Don’t forget to check back for more movie and pop culture trivia, and enjoy the rest of your week!