Kobe vs. Carmelo
Who took the glory in 2k10?
by Nima Zarrabi
Hollywood — What would Hunter Thompson do? That’s what I ask myself as I survey the media line at Capitol City. It’s Friday night and we’re all gathered at this lovely venue for a live gaming event put on by VersusSport, where Kobe Bryant will go up against Carmelo Anthony in the new NBA 2k10. The event was scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m. and it’s nearly 7:30 and nobody has strolled through the red carpet. The media line is saturated with photographers, television people and a couple writers who work for the tabloid rags.
I am certain Hunter wouldn’t be posted up amid the velvet ropes, patiently awaiting fashionably late celebs. Soon enough, I make my way to the bar and begin to crush tall glasses of Stella Artois. A half hour passes before I make my way back to the red carpet in time to catch the arrival of Earl Watson. I ask him why he chose to sign with Indiana.
“Larry Bird,” he says. “They’re committed to winning, not that Oklahoma City isn’t, but its two different time tables. If I was 25, Oklahoma City would be perfect for me. I’m 30 now, so the sense of urgency is built up. It’s an awesome team. Talented players. Two games away from the Playoffs last year.”
Earl is here to support his friends, Kobe and Melo, and mentions that he’s a fan of the 2k Sports series. A UCLA alum, Watson spends his off-seasons in Los Angeles. “UCLA is like a cult,” he says. “You never leave it. They took me in, coming from the inner city and changed my life forever, so I owe them everything. I workout there five days a week. You can’t find better games anywhere.”
Star of The Wire and the new 90210, Tristan Wilds cruised through looking sharp in a top hat and vest. Tristan is keeping busy these days with 90210 and he recently finished shooting a film called Red Tails, starring alongside Terrance Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr. He’s a huge fan of the NBA. “Dog, it’s funny because I never got into it where I played it as a kid but I always loved to watch all the games,” he says. “I have a nice jump shot though, don’t get me wrong. And I can play hella good D.” Despite his New York roots, Tristan has become quite fond of the Lakers. “I’m a Knicks fan to death,” he says. “I will die with the Knicks in my blood. But I have spent a lot of time out here and the Lakers kind of grew on me.”
Our discussion wouldn’t have been complete without some Wire discourse. Tristan’s portrayal of the character Michael was played with incredible depth. The arc of that role over the final two seasons was remarkable. “I started when I was 16 and being in those seasons made me grow up so much,” Tristan says. “Not even in a bad way. It prepared me so much for life. Being around all those people… it was a life changing experience.”
Kobe came through next. Flashing lights. Sporting an ill Nike tee with the Lakers championship rings screen printed, some Levis and his own Nike sneaks, Kobe walked by quickly and took one question from the E! channel before heading inside. Carmelo arrived about a half hour later in an ill Melo/Oak Hill inspired Letterman jacket. He stopped for the cute girl from Break.com (no idea what that is) who was next to me. “What’s it like to be on the cover of NBA 2k10?” she asks. Melo laughs and tells her that he’s not on the cover. “Tonight’s a face off between me and Kobe, but it’s his cover,” he explains. “I know Kobe got here early and is probably in there practicing.”
I was able to ask Carmelo what he thought of his new SLAM cover before he raced by. “I love it,” he says. “It’s the best one yet.”
I got a chance to chat with Juicy J of Three 6 Mafia next. He was happy to welcome Allen Iverson to Memphis. “We going to get behind him man,” he says. “He’s going to make a huge impact. We’ve needed someone like him down there.” J was sparkling up the red carpet with some major gleam on each wrist. “Some stuff I just pulled out the archives.” J says the new Three 6 Mafia album will hit stores November 17.
With Kobe and Melo inside, just about all of the media members packed up and bounced, except for the woman from US Weekly. She was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian. “They’re supposed to be getting married in two weeks,” she says.
With that, I moved back inside to continue my love affair with Stella. Dr. Dre was walking around looking swole. The party was in full swing by the time Kobe and Melo headed to the stage for their battle. Many in attendance rushed to the front of the stage to shoot photos with their cameras and cell phones. The graphics for 2k10 are incredible. A live feed of their contest played on the numerous flat screens throughout the building. The superstars repped their respective teams, playing for what seemed like a quarter and judging by his reaction, Kobe appeared to be victorious. No surprise.