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What the Hell Happened to… Todd MacCulloch?

December 18, 2012

Features

THIS GUY!

THIS GUY!

I’m sure we all remember big, bad Todd MacCulloch, right? He was the Canadian basketball sensation with a stellar career at the University of Washington; he led the PAC-10 for three years in shooting percentage; he was 47th overall pick in the ’99 draft; HE WAS UNTOUCHABLE. Until he found out he had a rare neuromuscular disease affecting his feet and was forced to retire from the NBA.

He had what is called Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Basically, muscular dystrophy of the feet (that’s what Wikipedia told me). Wikipedia also told me that Todd was 7’0, 280lbs and used that frame to muscle down in the post for the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets in his four-year NBA career. Albeit shortened due to his disease, MacCulloch paved the way for all inner-city Manitobans hoping to one day follow their own basketball dreams and play in the NBA like “Big Todd” (none of that is verified, just a certain reality of mine).

So, what’s a behemoth of a man with particularly good hand-eye coordination going to do once he is unceremoniously forced to quit his job? Probably not play pinball for a living, right? WRONG. Todd MacCulloch plays pinball for a living.

Big Todd (he had to have been called that growing up) had a certain affinity for paddles and springs his whole childhood. Growing up, he played whenever he had the chance and, in 2001, he bought his first machine. Since then, he has won several tournaments in Europe (…?) and defeated a few former world champions en route to his first major pinball title last summer at the Chicago Pinball Expo. You can’t make this stuff up.

Just picture it. Big Todd slapping those paddles around, 4 feet taller than anyone else, and just overjoyed he’s playing pinball and not getting posterized by freaky athletes in the NBA. So that is what the hell happened to Todd MacCulloch

Stephen Kersh (@KaptainKersh) is majoring in jogging at the University of Portland.

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