It's a cultural thing, definitely. When we see the likes of David Beckham or Thierry Henry prissing it up in some backwater slum in FIFA Street, we laugh. Laugh, and then tear it apart like the Piņata that wandered onto the COD3 battlefield. It seems ridiculous to us, even though we all know that as kids every major football star first kicked a ball in anger either on a dangerous minor road or in some squalid suburban wasteland.
Over 'the pond', they see things differently. Basketball might seem to the uninitiated like a poncey sport played by lanky idiots in plimsolls, but you'd be wrong. It's actually played by UTTER MANIACS from THE BRONX who will KILL YOU IF YOU GO NEAR THEIR BINS, and NBA fans embrace the idealisation that their heroes are, or were, just like them. In the fourth edition of NBA Street, the first on Xbox 360, EA Sports hope to bridge the gap between spectator and superstar further by allowing us, we, the people, to play as their favourite baller, on the very same court on which they made their name.
BOWLING FOR HOOPS
So while the concept of assisting a young Wayne Rooney in dribbling around shards of glass and brain-matter in a Toxteth park might seem unappealing, the pre-release hype around NBA Street Homecourt centres on coverboy Carmelo Antony waxing lyrical about his grand return to the court where he first learned his driblling skills, a Baltimore court named Cloverdale, which certainly seems very... urban (or very dilapidated, depending on how kind you are).
This is this year's 'new' thing for the usually very good NBA Street series, and we don't expect EA Sports to dick around too much with the winning three-on-three formula which has won them so many plaudits. Although no other new features have been announced, we can read between the lines and suggest that a nicely beefed-up single-player campaign is on the cards. The official press release makes grand claims of working your way up the ranks and progressing along your journey and earning respect, giving the impression that you'll be following your baller's meteoric rise from the homecourts to the national leagues. As Carmelo himself states: "I didn't think about the future. We couldn't. We never thought dreams were possible. Dreams of making it to the NBA were too far away". Not too far away for his 6ft8" frame to reach up and grab by the rim, and in Homecourt a similar fairytale is only 1000G away.