By Maurice Brooks
My wife and kids play video games at home all the time, but me? Not so much anymore. Still, that didn't stop me from attending the media hospitality event for EA Sports' NBA LIVE 09 a couple of nights ago.
Although I'm not much of a gamer, how could I pass up free food, drinks and a visit to the legendary Hardwood Suite inside the Palms Casino?
By the way, the Hardwood Suite -- which I heard was around $25,000 a night -- is like going to an adult playground. It is 10,000 square feet spread out over two floors and has an indoor basketball court, complete with a scoreboard and professional locker room. If that weren't enough, there was a huge Jacuzzi tub, a bar with a lounge area, plasma televisions all over the place and a pool table.
I'm going to start putting a little money aside every check and in about 100 years, I'm going to spend the night there.
OK, back to the event. The Hornets' Julian Wright and the Bobcats' Jared Dudley participated in the 12-person NBA Live 09 Challenge, which was played on an Xbox 360 system. Although they both held their own, neither made it to the tournament final, which saw Brendan from Synergy knock off Wright's buddy Dre in overtime.
While getting some food, Wright told me that the game, which won't be released until the fall, is still ironing out some kinks. For instance, it has him wearing No. 30 -- Wright's real jersey number is 32.
Rockets' general manager Daryl Morey and NBA LIVE 09 producer Brian Ullrich gave a presentation about the use of Dynamic DNA -- a feature that lets the game emulate players with absolute precision.
I played using the Celtics and after falling behind by 20-plus to the Grizzlies, Ullrich came over and gave me a personal demonstration on how to run the pick-and-roll, call plays and lockdown on defense. His advice helped me a little although I still got blown out in easily the most realistic hoops video game I've ever seen.
(UPDATE: As I glance over the comments at the bottom of this page, I notice that readers are making it seem as if I've never played NBA LIVE or any other video game before. For the record, I own every version of NBA LIVE and Madden that have come out the past dozen years. As I've got older, I simply don't get the opportunity to play as much as I used to.)
Maurice Brooks is an NBA editor for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.