A live chat with Todd MacCulloch, former Washington and NBA player who's now a world-ranked pinball player.
Todd MacCulloch, the former Washington and NBA 7-footer who is now a world-ranked pinball player, talked about Husky basketball and his love of Slurpees and pinball in a live chat Wednesday with readers.
Q: Do you still follow the NBA?
MacCulloch: I watch a lot during the playoffs, so right now is a great time to be an NBA fan. I’m sort of torn with how well Oklahoma City is doing. I really like their youthful play. … I wish they were still representing Seattle, but I really like their style of play and their coach. …
That being said, San Antonio looks pretty good, not having lost yet, with a nice mix of talent and youth, they look like they could be the team to beat. I think the winner of this series between San Antonio and Oklahoma City will be the eventual champion.
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Q: How did you get into pinball in the first place?
MacCulloch: And I’m from Winnipeg, which is the Slurpee capital of the world. I would go to 7-Eleven and get my daily or bi-daily Slurpee and play a game of pinball. I think pinball is designed to attack you or come at you from a lot of different senses. There’s lights and bells and whistles and magnets and ramps, so I think it engages you in a different way than a virtual machine would or something that’s a little more two-dimensional. I think the tactile feel and the kinetic energy is something that never changes. I’ve been playing for 20 years and it hasn’t changed. It’s an amusement park under glass is what I’ve heard it referred to.
Q: What do you think of what Lorenzo Romar has done with the Husky program?
MacCulloch: I think Coach Romar has done a great job with the guys that he’s brought in and the defense they’ve been playing, the up-tempo basketball, the unselfishness, really putting in the effort on defense, even if the shots aren’t falling. I like the culture that he’s created there. He’d be the kind of guy I’d love to play for.
I had the basketball team come over in September to just have a team-building event, where we could watch the Huskies play Nebraska in football and play some pinball.
Q: I hear you were a world-class curling captain until you grew too tall.
MacCulloch: My mother used to be in a curling league, and I hear that there was a lot of fun to be had at the bonspiel (the name of a curling tournament). I find curling to be a lot of fun, and one of the few games that there used to be ashtrays within a few feet of the playing surface. Canadians take their curling very seriously. I used to baby-sit for a family where the father when he died, he had his ashes placed in a curling stone. And part of the ceremony was that he was curled down the ice.
Q: Do you mind updating on your nerve condition?
MacCulloch: As of right now, it’s a bilateral neuropathy, some nerve damage in the soles of my feet. It hurts all the time; there’s always pain in my feet. I find when I keep on a sport sandal, the nerve pain is reduced a little bit. So it all depends on how much I’m on my feet and what I’m doing.
Q: Tell me about the pinball tourney you’re hosting in June?
MacCulloch: It’s the International Flipper Pinball Association (IFPA) championships. Sixty-four of the world’s top players from 12 different countries will be competing in the tournament, here at my house. It’s June 8-10. … Unfortunately, it’s not a public event.