JULY 3 HOME STRETCH COLUMN — PETE TEMPLE, SPORTS EDITOR
You might think the NBA season ended with Miami’s dramatic game seven victory over San Antonio a couple of weeks ago.
Not in the Temple household. Thanks to a Wii video game called NBA 2K13, professional basketball has the potential to be on TV year-round.
As I have written earlier, this was the year the NBA re-entered my life, thanks to a pair of sons who, without any warning, embraced the league with the whole of their hearts.
Each can name the entire rosters of their favorite teams, the Bulls (Levi) and Heat (Ian).
Levi and I attended a Bulls-Orlando game in Chicago in April, which we also DVR’d from Comcast Sports. It gets played repeatedly in our house. I have seen Nate Robinson’s off-balance three-pointer that ended the third quarter at least 10 times.
And we all watched, and Ian squealed with delight, as his Heat rallied to win the NBA title. Game Seven, too, is on our DVR. I do wish we had also recorded Game Six, which, with Ray Allen’s dramatic game-tying three-pointer, was one of the best NBA games I’ve ever seen. By the end of the series, I found myself standing and cheering for Ian’s team as well.
The boys have also burrowed into NBA history, looking into the titles involving Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, even as far back as Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. I get a lot of who-was-better questions, and other questions about which of those players played at the same time. I find myself Google-ing for answers, as well.
So when the 2012-13 season finally ended, NBA 2K13 began. You can use any of the current NBA teams, in a surprisingly realistic television format. You can also use many of the greatest teams in history, from the Boston Celtics of the 1960s to a couple of the Jordan-led Bulls teams, all the way to the current Heat.
There are also East and West current-day all-star teams. Levi and I are involved in a best-of-seven between the two (I have the West); we are tied 2-2 at this writing.
The best part was discovered this past weekend. There is a feature on there called “create a team.” OK, not bad. You can assemble your own all-star team of best or favorite players.
Then, there is one that says, “create a player.” This seemed too good to be true. I tried it, and sure enough, you can invent a player, make him any height and weight you want, pick a position for him and give him skills that fit that position.
It seemed only natural, then, that I should create: me. And my sons. And a neighbor boy who comes over a lot. And the neighbor boy’s dad.
We assembled a team, the M-Trail Dragons (named after our street, Monterey Trail), picked up several real NBA players to fill out the roster, and started taking on NBA teams.
It’s amazing. Because the name Temple somehow made the Wii game’s list of possible last names, announcer Kevin Harlan actually says our name during the action: “Temple for three … can’t get it to go.” “Temple with the rebound.”
It’s enough to make a (somewhat) grown man giggle like his 8-year-old.
We haven’t figured out how to make our starting five be on the court at the same time. They keep substituting real players. Why I keep getting benched in favor of Dwyane Wade is beyond me.
But it is more fun than I could have imagined. And to the boys’ delight, it guarantees that the NBA season never really ends.