149 | Reyan Ali (NBA Jam)

My Summer Lair Chapter #149: Do You Have Any NBA Jam Feelings?

Starting in 1984 you could buy Michael Jordan’s Nike shoes with the hope and the expectation that you could “Be like Mike.” You know how the song goes: “Sometimes I dream. That he is me. You’ve got to see that’s how I dream to be. I dream I move, I dream I groove. Like Mike.”

Following Jordan’s inspired example so many kids were on the basketball court game clock winding down everything is on the line…the season the championship and they’re forced to take the final dramatic shot.

And…of course, because many kids were not Michael Jordan the shot didn’t always go in: so many championships were lost on playgrounds. Even harder was trying to dunk like Jordan: dude had hang time but all I ever had was just…time. According to my uber cool Casio calculator watch. Ladies.

So the idea of Be like Mike while a fantastic marketing hook was not going to be a reality; even with sweet Air Jordan 1s.

Unless…I had a quarter. For a quarter an actual physical economic quarter not an NBA quarter I could play NBA Jam.

I could leap into the heavens and bring down an earth-shattering dunk. I could launch threes with smooth peanut butter ease; sometimes if I hit enough shots I’d start to heat up like Jiffy Pop. Vicious classic New York City Knicks defense I can elbow and push and shove my opponents. Eat hardwood!

This quarter was an investment in NBA fun. And so when I discovered Reyan Ali’s NBA Jam?his book on the classic arcade game from Boss Fight Books?I’m like yo I got feelings. I got experiences. So does he.

And we’re not alone! As you’ll hear his 4 year journey to document NBA Jam included talking to DJ Jazzy Jeff and Shaq and the developers and so much more. Like us, they have experience and feelings about NBA Jam.

I’m grateful he wrote this book so we could have this conversation.

Reyan Ali @ WT F

Host & Photography Sammy Younan

Recorded: Wedneday April 8, 2020 at 4:30pm

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