For Someone Who Doesn't Play Video Games, Jamal Crawford Is Really Good At 2K18

There we were in Shenzhen.

There were six of us in a van, leaving the gym and headed to an NBA 2K18 event. NBA 2K18 is a basketball video game, for those of you who aren’t single, own a cat and play video games constantly.

You’d think those participating in video game events would actually play video games. That’s a fair thing to think.

But you’re wrong.

Jamal Crawford was in the van (I don’t really know how we got in a van with Jamal Crawford, don’t ask questions) telling us that he hadn’t played video games since the 1990s, about 22 years ago. But there he was, going to join the Karl-Anthony Towns, Gorgui Dieng and Jeff Teague for a contest against the Warriors in front of a bunch of fans.

I can’t really tell you what exactly was going on because I couldn’t really understand what anyone was saying.

When we were on the way there, Crawford had a printed-out cheat sheet of Xbox controls that his manager or publicist or agent gave him. How to shoot. How to pass. How to turbo (something Crawford never used in the game against the Warriors, by the way).

My assessment of the video game talent from those who participated on the Wolves:

  • Karl-Anthony Towns: Good.
  • Jeff Teague: Good.
  • Gorgui Dieng . . . Eh.

And then there’s Crawford.

The Wolves lost the game against the Warriors, but who cares. The real show was Crawford.

Crawford scored somewhere between 15-18 points in the game (I lost track and deleted the note on my phone. I’m sorry. I’ll never be a statistician). And his baskets were slow. He just went up for layups at a very slow rate. He’d take contested shots. There was one shot he threw up behind his head in the game and it banked in because of course it did. And then I looked at Crawford and he didn’t look one bit surprised.

Then the event was over. I realize this won’t win a Pulitzer Prize for this, but it was amazing going from the van, where he said he never played, and you could tell right away. But then he led the team in scoring.

Jamal Crawford. Video game wizard.

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