Your own sports shrine

By Andrew Gilstrap

You’ve seen this picture before, only smaller. This machine I’m shooting on is the cornerstone of a basketball game room I put together. There is a key piece of the room now that is missing in this picture; in fact, it’s contained in the box you see below the basketball machine. I quickly found out my RhinoPlay system is very loud while shooting. I had to shoot around on eggshells the first few weeks, being that there are neighbors just on the other side, until I ordered the white box you see above from This box contained 32 Styrofoam square pieces for soundproofing a room.

Little by little, I affixed each 1′ by 1′ Styrofoam square to the wall behind the basketball hoop. I did a few each week. I used 3M Command poster strips to stick each square to the wall. My pattern eventually evolved to four squares across and six squares high, going all the way to the ceiling. I even put two Styrofoam squares on the back of the backboard.

My game system, by the way, gives you 30 seconds to shoot, and it counts shot in the last 10 seconds as three points — normal shots counting two. If you surpass 29 points in 30 seconds, you get a second round of 15 seconds, in which each basket counts as three. What I like about the rounds, compared to other commercial Pop-A-Shot games, on this machine is it gives you a second to breathe before the next one starts. If you reach 60 points by the end of the second round, you get one more round of 10 seconds and three points per basket. If there’s a round past the third, no one likely knows, since I’ve reached 109 points on this machine (the scoreboard

Soundproofing behind the hoop

only holds two digits, by the way). I’ve started playing the game with my left hand, too, and my high score with it is 54 points.

To complement the Pop-A-Shot in the room, I used a swinging arm mount to attach a 32″ Sony to the wall, as you can see in the picture at the top. I used to have the Cox digital cable box hooked up to this TV so I could have NBA TV on all day in the room, but with the current state of the league, and at my wife’s behest, I moved the cable box into the living room.

The TV and the arcade basketball machine were just the start. The top of our small bookcase in the room became reserved for old, I mean classic basketball magazines, books and trading cards. In the picture at right, you’ll see old game programs, Sports Illustrated editions and a basketball guide. Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan grace the covers of two of these.

To the left of the TV in the room, I eventually hung a large cork board that my wife has had since her dorm days. Yeah, I saved room for a calendar and important documents and reminders we need to pin up — we’ve only used the former so far — but the bottom half of the cork board is now adorned with classic trading cards from the vast collection I accrued as a kid. The left page of cards has superstars of the Golden Era of the NBA — the ’80 and ’90s — including two just elected into the Hall of Fame this year: Chris Mullin and Dennis Rodman. The middle page has the Suns players I grew up with when I first moved here, including Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle and even the late Wayman Tisdale for good measure. I went to the store and bought a couple packs of cards, for the first time in more than a decade, to fill out my ‘new school’ squad: among others, I have Kevin Durant, Dwyane Wade, Blake Griffin, and I even included Jason Kidd, in honor of his first championship. These three pages are flanked by some special edition cards I’ve collected, such as two Barkleys, a Reggie Miller and a Michael Finley rookie.

Displaying trading cards is a must


Last, but not least, I used the room’s closet to showcase rest of my sports collection. When you walk in, you’ll see jerseys hanging, old trophys of various sports during my playing days, some bobbleheads and autographed baseballs, some more trading cards and memorabilia of teams ranging from the ASU Sun Devils and Kansas Jayhawks to the Detroit Pistons. Some of this game room ‘shrine’ will have to come down when the baby arrives, but I thought I’d immortalize it here before its transformation. I offer these photos and depictions not champion my game room over another, but to give you ideas on how you can deck out a guest room to your liking — whether now or in the future. So, what do you think? Think there’s anything I could add? What ideas might you borrow? Let me know if there’s anything here that has inspired you to build your own game room — for whichever sport is to your liking.

Even your closet must contribute to the festive atmosphere


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