NBA Guess Who? Game

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On this fine website, we appreciate creativity in all forms. We also love basketball! This “anniversary gift” from the interwebs fits into both of those categories. It’s an NBA version of Guess Who? and it’s quickly making the internet rounds. An utterly fantastic twist on a classic children’s game, but the player selection is far from perfect. Here at Dad Kingdom, we decided to improve upon a very good premise. We got an assist from the NBA-enthusiasts at California Stars, but our friendship may be on the rocks after excluding Kobe Bryant. Keep reading for details on our player selection process and some JPEGs that you can download and print to make your own game.

HONORING THE ORIGINAL GUESS WHO? GAME

Anyone that’s been alive for more than 25 years probably remembers the classic game Guess Who? (Click here to buy it). But, in our opinion, this fun project is not as simple as just randomly throwing popular NBA faces onto the original game. If you want to use it as more than just an amusing novelty item, we need to go through a careful selection process to maintain the original balance and gameplay mechanics.

What makes Guess Who? a great game is its balance. There are distinct qualities (gender, skin color, hair color, accessories) which are spread out among non-overlapping sample groups. Heavy emphasis on “non-overlapping.” For example, many of the faces are eliminated if you choose one gender, let’s say women. Then among the remaining men, there is an even distribution of other characteristics. If all the faces with eyeglasses were also men, then it defeats the point of having eyeglasses at all. It would be redundant with the gender category. So, we need to minimize the overlap.

PLAYER QUALITIES AND ATTRIBUTES

When it comes to Guess Who? strategy, “gender” is the lowest-hanging fruit. But, we don’t have that option without including WNBA players, so let’s replace male/female with active/retired. A historical sample of players is a glaring omission from the homemade game that serves as our inspiration. So, we’ll start with a 50/50 split of active and retired players. Let’s be honest, the next strategic division is probably skin color. (Kinda racist, but the original game was mostly white faces.) In order to minimize overlap, those two characteristics alone give us 4 equal groups with 6 players in each group.

Next, I’m thinking of splitting those groups of 6 into guards and forwards (3 each). Now it gets really interesting. We’ll sprinkle in some facial hair, head bands, a few shaved heads and championship rings into each sub-group. Then, we’ll have ourselves a well-distributed selection of players! Here’s what the cross-section might look like…

ACT./WH./GRD.ACT./WH./FWD.ACT./BL./GRD.ACT./BL./FWD.
1. K. Korver (HB)
2.
3.
1. K. Love (HB, Rg, FH)
2. M. Gasol (FH)
3. C. Parsons (Sh, FH)
1. R. Westbrook (Sh)
2. I. Thomas Jr. (HB, Sh)
3. S. Curry (Rg, FH)
1. L. James (HB, Rg, FH)
2. K. Durant (Sh, FH)
3.
RET./WH./GRD.RET./WH./FWD.RET./BL./GRD.RET./BL./FWD.
1. J. Kidd (HB, Sh, Rg)
2. J. Stockton ( )
3.
1. D. Nowitzki (HB, FH, Rg)
2. L. Bird (Rg)
3.
1. M. Jordan (Rg, Sh)
2. A. Iverson (HB, FH)
3.
1. B. Wallace (HB, Rg, FH)
2. C. Barkley (Sh)
3. K. Garnett (Rg, Sh, FH)

FILLING IN THE GAPS

After initial groupings and some quick plug-ins, I was left with a few challenging gaps to fill. Head bands were easy enough to find. Though, I quickly discovered it’s rare to find an active light-skinned point guard with a ring. I eventually landed on Klay (I know he’s mixed race, but don’t care). Conversely, most well-known retired players do have rings. Dan Majerle and Reggie Miller are notable exceptions. Also, Steve Blake was a natural choice because of his shiny dome, even though he’ll retire soon. Oddly enough, very few championship players are clean shaven! Maybe facial hair exudes excellence… I finally settled on the clean shaven and soon-to-be-retired Richard Jefferson. Whew! We have a group of Guess Who? players that may not be consistently prolific, but they are quite diverse.


Finally, as promised, here are the JPEGs that you can download and print yourself. If you fit them on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, they should print at the correct size to slide right into the classic game. The one without names is for the game boards (print it twice). The ones with names and question marks are for displaying your chosen player. They’ll need to be printed on some pretty thick photo paper. If you’re going to buy the game, please click through our amazon link. Also, check out our recent NBA Q&A for the 2017 season. Thanks and enjoy!

nba guess who 3a
NBA Guess Who? game pieces. (DadKingdom.com)
nba guess who 1
NBA Guess Who? game pieces. (DadKingdom.com)
nba guess who 2a
NBA Guess Who? game pieces. (DadKingdom.com)

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