By Sam Rubenstein

It doesn’t have the same ring to it as Madden Challenge, or at least not yet. But the NBA Live Challenge has begun. The prize is $50,000 at the final tourney in Vegas at the true life NBA All-Star game. I would enter myself, except for some of the guidelines:

  • Players will refrain from the use of vulgar language, if such language can be heard or seen by spectators, other players or any other person.
  • Abusive behavior, including harassment and threats is prohibited.
  • Physical abuse, fighting or any threatening action or threatening language, directed at any player, spectator, official or any other person is prohibited.
  • Abuse to game stations, controllers or any tournament equipment is prohibited.

I can not play by these “rules.” If you can, more power to you. You know the NBA is involved in this tourney because:

  • Players must wear attire appropriate to the circumstances and location at which an event is taking place.
  • Dress code violations will result in a warning. If the player fails to correct the violation, he/she will be disqualified.

Then again, maybe the NBA is not involved at all:

  • Use of alcohol or drugs is prohibited on the premises of, or during the attendance of live events or tournaments.
  • Players must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while participating.

Of course there is a tournament blog sponsored by Best Buy.

As someone that once competed in the Madden Challenge back in 2003, let me offer some advice:

You are not ready. You really are not. The people in line that make small talk with you are not your friends. Do not give away any strategy or favorite teams and/or tricks. This is competition at its highest level. You don’t want to be fresh meat in a feeding frenzy.
Expect to run into someone that knows every cheap trick in the book. You can either maintain your dignity and try to play the right way, or you can stoop to their level and try to win the game. Stoop. Stoop low. Stoop like Bob Stoops.
If someone tries to trick you into not playing as one of the elite teams cause it’s corny to just be the best team, don’t listen to them. You need to take advantage of every little opportunity. This is kind of like being in the NBA but more serious.

All right, good luck to those of you who choose this road. If you’re playing online, watch out for the guys that log more minutes on their My EA stats than there are hours in the day.