Gameworld: NBA All-Star brings users onto the court

Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:15am EST
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By John Gaudiosi

PHOENIX, Arizona (Reuters) - Imagine playing around with an NBA videogame and creating a custom jersey for your virtual NBA players to wear on the court.

Now imagine having that virtual jersey worn by some of the biggest names in the NBA on the real hardwoods of the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona during the 57th NBA All-Star weekend.

For 18-year-old gamer Tim Ahmed from East Meadow, Long Island, this will become reality when the NBA All-Star Rookie and Sophomore teams take the court February 13 during the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam.

The purple All-Star jerseys donned by the likes of Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant and Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose were created by Ahmed using a videogame and he won the inaugural EA Sports' NBA Live 09 Jersey Creator Contest.

While creating custom players and jerseys to be worn within sports videogames has been the norm for years, this contest marks the first time that a pro sports league has opened up its uniforms to gamers.

"I'm really excited about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that has been given to one of our fans, Tim Ahmed, having his NBA Live 09 jersey creation actually worn by the players," said Jeff Roth, marketing director of basketball, EA Sports.

According to Vicky Picca, senior vice president, Licensing & Business Affairs for the NBA, 85 percent of NBA players are avid videogamers.

This is one reason why the league is one of the few that awards licenses to multiple game makers -- something the NFL, PGA TOUR, NASCAR and FIFA do not do.   Continued...

<p>An undated screenshot from the videogame NBA Live 09, courtesy of EA Sports. REUTERS/Electronic Arts/Handout</p>