Aug 16, 2011, 9:20 AM EST
Todd MacCulloch was a good NBA center a decade better, a career cut short by injuries. If you are a good big man you get paid handsomely in the NBA.
What did MacCulloch do with that money? He bought pinball machines. Seriously, it is estimated right now he has about 60 machines in his home. Which means that he has a pretty big home and his wife is amazingly understanding.
It also means he gets to practice a lot — which is why MacCulloch can be found paying pinball professionally. Seriously, you can do that. And when the World Pinball Championships came to Pittsburgh, MacCulloch entered, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (via Eye on Basketball).
When standing over a pinball machine, Todd MacCulloch, who is 7 feet tall, cuts a striking figure. As he approached the 10 machines in the B division bank Wednesday afternoon, several of his fellow competitors did double-takes.
Mr. MacCulloch, 35, retired from the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association eight years ago for medical reasons and resettled in Bainbridge Island, Wash. He’s now a full-time father to his two children and a part-time competitor on the professional pinball circuit.
“I always loved pinball growing up,” he said as he sat near the front entrance, collecting nods and greetings from competitors he has encountered on the circuit before. “Now that I can’t compete [in the NBA], pinball has filled that void of camaraderie.”
A chronic foot condition forced MacCulloch out of the NBA early (after four seasons plus a full one on IR. It’s still troubling enough that he has to play pinball sitting on a special stool.
But is a pinball event really able to replace the camaraderie of an NBA locker room? Well sure, maybe. My limited experience with pinball tournaments — I’ve never been, just seen a move about them — suggests there are huge cheering crowds, contestants wearing ginormous shoes, wild costumes, exploding scoreboards and reckless destruction of musical instruments. Not sure every pinball tournament is like that, but it sure looks like fun. And the movie’s soundtrack is pretty catchy.
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