Shoot ‘Em Up: Building The Best Call of Duty Squad From The NBA

Liberation - Fall Capture

Skyrim is perched over my shoulder like a dark cloud, so I’m extra grateful the guys at Activision hooked me up with an Elite subscription. Now Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 can’t get old. For those of you who have the Elite pass, you’ve probably spent the last few days scampering around the endless staircases of Piazza, and slipping from bush to bunker in Liberation. It’s been a week now since the first content drop, and in-between Blake Griffin dunking on Kendrick Perkins so bad he had to delete his Twitter and the Orlando Magic turning into the Orlando Tragic, I’ve logged my share of time in the trenches.

So how good are the maps? It’s hard to compare the two since they are so incredibly different. I haven’t used a sniper rifle since MW3 came out, and yet it took me all of one match on Liberation to say, “F— it, I’m bringing out the .50 Cal.” I’m an assault rifle-touting soldier through and through, so it takes a lot to get me to give up my Scars and my M-16s. But unless you’re some type of God shooter with those weapons, you’re at an extreme disadvantage on this map. We asked for less short-distance maps, and they gave us one.

Liberation is set in Central Park and is centered around dry creeks running underneath a couple of open bridges. To the corner are buildings and walkways that offer ideal camping sights. Add in a couple of underground bunkers, and this mostly flat area suddenly feels quite vertical. If you somehow find yourself stranded on the ground in the middle of the map, it’s a breath-stopping race to get to the edges. That’s the only way to survive.

Piazza is completely different. It’s a small map, probably one of the smallest in the game, and is set in a tiny Italian village along the sea. The colors are duller, but the action isn’t. Every corner, every stairway, every winding road puts you on the edge of your seat. Especially in the middle of the map, it’s almost a death sentence. There are too many narrow alleys and too few places to hide; you’re inevitably getting popped in the back within 20 seconds. So plan accordingly with your weapon choices.

Me, I stick to the perimeter, flank the choke points and pick people off who aren’t looking. Just like Liberation, there’s a vertical feel to this map, except on this one, it’s even more pronounced. When two sides are camped out, trading bullets along an alley, no one bothers to look sideways at the patios below them or the lookouts above. That’s where I come in.

Two maps. Two wins in my opinion. While I haven’t mastered the maps or even had a single great game on either one, I’m assuming there are a few guys who have.

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We’ve all heard about the video game culture that Oklahoma City has. Their idea of a fun date is hitting up someone’s crib after practice for a five-hour gaming session. That might be extreme in NBA circles, but there’s no denying the pros love to play. And the Call of Duty series is at the top of the list.

Over the past year, I’ve chatted about Call of Duty with a numbers of players. Tyreke Evans. Deron Williams. Jason Terry. Rudy Gay. They’re all into it, and all considered themselves prestige-level nice on the sticks. But I never got to actually play with them, never got to spray them with assault rifle bullets.

I am, however, willing to bet most of us could predict how certain NBA guys play. Michael Beasley is gonna be rushing from corner to corner, wielding SMGs and flinging grenades, the loudest dude in the chat room. Joe Johnson will have his Ghillie suit out, silencers armed and ready.

One of these days, I’m going to recruit a team of Call of Duty players from the NBA to play with me online. I’ll take myself, and five NBA players into Team Deathmatch. My own personal vanguard. Here’s the guys I would choose to watch my back:

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