Mango-colored hoop dreams: Freaknick’s quiet revolt against soccer.

by Nick Gibson

I used to school kids in Sega Dreamcast’s NBA 2K. I went to battle armed with the Portland Jailblazers, Brian Grant performed lightyears beyond his real life capabilities and Arydas Sabonis was dirty. My weapon of choice though, was Mighty Mouse, Damon Stoudamire.

That was when Stoudamire had a deadly jumper, a quick first step, a clean police record and Dreamcast was cutting edge stuff. Yet when I ducked into a sports apparel store on Barcelona’s famed Las Ramblas, there was that Trailblazers #3 jersey with “Stoudamire” printed on the back. Don’t get me wrong, I was overcome with nostalgia to be reunited with my old gaming partner, but this is Spain, not Oregon.

So after exchanging pleasantries with the salesman (my being from America made me an “Obama person” and he is from Peru which, to me, made him a “Peruvian”), I asked him where one might find a Rubio jersey.

“Ah! Ricky Rubio! Basketball, yes yes yes. I have plenty right here,” he exclaimed as he fluttered his hands through the collection of jerseys literally inches from our faces as we spoke. Thank you, kind sir.

I feigned the old “silly me!” then tried to clarify: “Thank you, thanks. Um, but European jerseys. Like, European basketball? Barcelona?” He sidled over a step or three and did the same hand wave through a nearly identical potpourri of apparel before pulling out something black, yellow and covered in roosters. Continue Reading…

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