A Celtics Pep Talk in NBA Jam

Sean Adams coaches the Boston Celtics in the 2010 NBA Finals as they would be played in the early ’90s video game NBA Jam.

Everybody come on in, we only have a minute here… although if we run out of time, I can always hit pause.


First off, KG, be careful on those Super-Dunks. I know that jumping twenty feet in the air gets everyone going, but if we want to bring home another banner, we’re going to need your knees intact. So make sure to really stick the landings. And Big Baby, be ready to get under Kevin and break his fall if he needs it, okay?

All right, let’s talk defense. We’re keeping them out the paint and protecting the perimeter, but we need to do a better job on the Hot Spots. Fisher is gunning right past us, getting in there, and banking in nine-point shots.

But Fisher isn’t the worst of our problems. Kobe is absolutely trampling us. I know you all want to stay out of foul trouble but we’re letting him get On Fire at will. He’s killing us on both ends of the court right now, with his unlimited turbo to drive to the hoop and free reign to goaltend as much as he wants — I mean, it’s almost like we’re playing against Lebron out there.

I’ll give it to you straight, guys — we’re playing sloppy and they’re walking all over us. I know it hurts to touch a basketball that was aflame during the previous possession. I know that they’re getting all the calls and all of the power ups. Well, guess what? We need to get past all that because it’s not going to get any easier. Earlier, Lamar Odom literally set off a bomb that knocked down everyone on the court except Odom himself. In fact, he remained miraculously unharmed despite holding the bomb at the time of its detonation. You saw it, I saw it, the refs saw it, but still no whistle. That’s just the kind of physical game we’re playing tonight.

We have to focus here! We can’t let them get into your heads, which, by the way, are huge right now. I don’t know who triggered Big Head Mode, but just be aware that if we start throwing giant heads around, things could get ugly. And I’m talking to everyone this time, not just Shelden.

When we started this series and I announced that I was setting the difficulty at “Hard,” nobody thought we were capable of that. Everyone said we should play at “Medium,” maybe even “Easy.” Let’s prove the nay-sayers wrong tonight!

So you’re probably wondering, what are we going to do? How are we going to get out of a slump like this one? We need to pull out all of the stops! We need to make a big move! That’s why I’m taking Pierce out and putting in Bill Clinton. Hopefully his leadership and surprising athleticism will give us a push and get under LA’s skin.

If that doesn’t work, I’ll wait until right before time runs out and “accidentally” slip and hit the reset button. After that, we’ll regroup, go back to the beginning and play the whole game over again, but this time, we’ll run all of our plays through the Game Genie.

All right, all hands in. Boom-shaka-laka on three.

Sean Adams lives in Seattle, where he works as a staff writer for Woot.com. His stuff has been published on McSweeney’s, The Morning News, and elsewhere in print and online.