Philadelphia 76ers center (technically, we suppose, as he's yet to play a minute with the team) Andrew Bynum has been roundly criticized of late for deciding to subject his oft-injured and surgically beaten knees to the slicked-up hardwood of local bowling lanes. Bynum, who was originally diagnosed to miss the start of the 2012-13 season but might be out past the All-Star break as he recovers from his latest setback, admitted last month that he caused new damage to his knees while engaging in the most recreational of all sports. Admittedly, bowling isn't a contact sport; but the game's gather and stop motion isn't really conducive to a return to full health for 7-footers attempting to rehabilitate a knee injury.
As such, as Ball Don't Lie's Twitter account pointed out Wednesday night, Bynum has found a new hobby. It's Pop-a-Shot, played in a Philly-area Dave & Buster's, pictured by whoever whipped out their smartphones as he shot. Since Bynum's appearance at the adult arcade, news of the night out has spread a bit. Mainly because everyone has phones that can take pictures now, a 7-footer playing Pop-a-Shot in public isn't the most common occurrence midseason, and Twitter and blogs tend to do the work from there.
Crossing Broad was sent another picture from about the same vantage point, and it includes some Twitter reaction to Bynum's work in its post:
We've had major issues with all manner of Drew Bynum missteps in the past, but this one doesn't register because this sighting is so innocuous.
It's not that Bynum's playing an arcade game related to basketball — one that moves beyond the twirling of fingers to NBA Jam, one that actually asks him to shoot a leather basketball at a metal rim — though that helps. It's that he's not grabbing a bowling ball, striding confidently to the edge of a lane while not wearing athletic shoes, and then stopping on a dime to hurl a ball 60 feet down the boards.
We're not happy with Bynum's rehab so far, but there is nothing wrong with heading out to do what Bynum did on his and his team's day off on Wednesday night. The fact that he was pictured taking set shot free throws and likely making them at a rate far higher than Dwight Howard's current regular-season mark of 46.9 percent probably helps, too.
Now, if he's folding his 7-foot frame into a gear-throwing, clutch pedal-using, high-revving Fast and Furious-type street racing game — something that would seem to be right up Bynum's non-bowling alley -- that's something else entirely.
For now, shoot away. And spend your prize tickets wisely.
(They give out prize tickets at Dave & Buster's, right? We've never been in a Dave & Buster's, because it's a … well, it's a Dave & Buster's.)
Shouts to Adam Reigner for the original tweet from Wednesday night, and for Chris Chase at USA Today to alerting us to the Crossing Broad post.