The NBA announced plans today for its first Winter Classic, featuring an outdoor game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves on January 29th in frigid Minneapolis.
"Basketball has a great heritage of playing outdoors in the winter," said NBA commissioner David Stern. "I remember as a young boy going outside to shoot baskets, quickly freezing and being like: 'Oh, shit, this was a bad idea. I'm going back inside.' This game will celebrate that."
Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant says he is excited to play in the first NBA Winter Classic.
"I grew up in Pennsylvania. We have some pretty harsh winters there," he said. "I remember going outside to shoot for a few minutes, freezing and then going back inside to play video games for the rest of the day. My love of playing winter basketball for a few minutes helped me beat Contra on Nintendo, because I'd just stay inside all day doing nothing. And I beat it without the cheat code! I can't wait to see what video games they have for us in Minnesota."
The NBA Winter Classic will feature four, 1-minute quarters with a 30-second halftime highlighted by hot cocoa. After that, the players will go inside for six hours of Xbox.
Timberwolves center Brad Miller, who grew up in Indiana, is looking forward to jamming some fingers.
"I remember shooting outside with my dad one day when it was 20 degrees," he said. "He passed me the ball and I think every finger in my right hand snapped. That's what winter basketball is all about."
Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio says he will immediately move back to Spain if he has to play in the game.