I'm talking old-school video games with the Knicks David Lee when he starts talking about his skills from back in the day: "I was one of the best Cyrax players in 'Mortal Kombat 3' of all time. I challenge all takers."
And while Cyrax is no Sub-Zero in my book (frozen assassins over cyber assassins any day), what's cool about hearing a statement like this from an athlete is that right away, you know you're talking to someone who actually knows what they're talking about. And for Lee, his passion for gaming is actually a love for everything retro.
"I played a lot of Nintendo growing up and recently I've actually gone around and bought some of the old games to play again like 'Contra' and 'Paperboy,'" he says. "I grew up with all those games, and of course, 'Mortal Kombat.' It seems like every time a new system came out, I was begging my mom to go get it.
"I remember playing Duck Hunt with the gun. I even had the old Power Pad that was useless for like every game but two, but it was still a necessity to own. I remember the day I figured out that you could sit behind it and use your hands to hit the pad so you could run faster. But then my mom figured out how useless the gun and the Power Pad were for all the other games, so she said, 'No more accessories.'"
And that meant one thing: No Nintendo robot (sorry R.O.B.).
These days, Lee keeps his gaming simple — "Call of Duty" and no plastic guitars or skateboards cluttering his house. "I have an Xbox 360, two controllers, and a headset," Lee explains. "But my girlfriend always makes fun of me when I wear the headset, so I don't wear it too often."
As for "Call of Duty," Lee plays online with teammate Nate Robinson. "He's got a group of friends that are about as good as anybody at the game," he says.
"'Call of Duty' is one of those games that's great because it's so competitive online. It's also fun to go on a rampage and take some anger out if you had a bad night on the court."
If only there was a way to import Cyrax's funky friendship dance into "Call of Duty," then we'd be talking.