March 14, 2011
If you have a smart phone or tablet, you're probably familiar with the popular game Words With Friends, a sort of off-brand Scrabble where point values are a little different and bonus spaces appear in different spots. It's like the Kirkland Sport Drink I get at Costco: not the original, but an equally effective substitute.
The game has now become popular enough to be a hit around the NBA, as well. As reported by Brian Schmitz for the Orlando Sentinel, it's a source of pride for the winners, too:
Adonal Foyle(notes) retired as a player last season after 12 seasons, ending it with the Magic. Now the club's player development director, Foyle gets his competitive kicks through a popular iPhone game called Words With Friends. [...]
"Vince is so mad at me. I murdered him. I've beat him like 15 straight times," Foyle laughed. "He can't beat me --- and he knows it."
Foyle was always one of the league's most voracious readers during his playing days, so it's not surprising that he'd be great at the game. However, Carter isn't exactly a dummy -- as has been noted roughly 700 million times in his career, he considered his college graduation important enough to attend the morning of a huge playoff game. He's been derided for his lack of competitive spirit ever since, but he obviously cared about his studies.
Of course, it's easy to imagine Carter playing Words With Friends with the same laidback approach that's typified his NBA career. I can easily see him wasting his Q to make "qi" for a measly 11 points when he could easily hold out a turn and hope for an I to make "quiver," "quill" or any number of game-changing words. Perhaps he even averages a reasonable amount of points per game but always opens up triple-word scores for Foyle in the final few turns.
For now, Words With Friends appears to be a perfectly safe -- and even educational -- pastime for players between games. Then again, maybe it's only a matter of time before they start arguing over unpaid Words With Friends wagers on the team plane. Kurt Thomas(notes) knows all the two-letter words, and he's not afraid to use them.