Not many people get the chance to dunk on Dwight Howard. So when EA Sports offered me the chance to play NBA Live 10 against Superman (this year's NBA Live cover boy), I figured this was my chance to show the big man what I was made of. At least virtually.
Dwight picks the Magic and I go for the Lakers just to get in his head. Dwight's first pass is to his cyber self, and after he throws down a two-handed jam, he jumps up and pumps his fist. "Did you see that?" he screams. "And one!"
So much for getting in his head. In fact, I might have actually psyched myself out at first. As ESPN's video game writer, I know I can't lose to Dwight, just like he can't lose to me in a real game of hoops. This is what I do for a living, and I need to represent. That's when everything starts clicking. Kobe nails a 3, Ron Artest grabs a defensive board and Pau Gasol throws down a dunk on Dwight.
"Who ain't blocking out?" he yells at the screen. "You're a beast on Live, I'll give you that."
Dwight dishes the ball back to himself but misses. "Does that make you mad at yourself or the game?" I ask.
"Always blame the game," he says. "But when I get a big dunk, it just means even more. I used to play Live all the time growing up, and I always created myself so I could play along with guys like Vince Carter. Now we're on the same team and I didn't even have to create me. It's sick."
Dwight sinks another shot, but after Kobe drains three 3-pointers in a row, the game's a wrap. "You play too much," he says. "I can't believe they pay you for this. You have the best job in the world."
"Funny, I can say the same thing to you," I tell him.
"You teach me how to play this game better and you can come train with me on the real court one day," he replies.