James Crooks asks:

React to this: https://www.sbnation.com/secret-base/22177214/which-pokemon-would-make-the-best-basketball

“Which Pokémon would make the best basketball?”… hmm…

Well… the answer’s obviously Jigglypuff, right? Round, bouncy, probably about the right size?

I guess it’s worth further investigation…

This article only examines five Pokémon, which… I mean, I think there are many other possible choices not considered here, but they do correctly assess that Jigglypuff is a good choice. Yes, technically Ditto can just Transform into a basketball, but I don’t think that’s really in the spirit of the exercise. Even if we allow it, there are better choices – Mew can also Transform, but is much less likely than Ditto to faint and lose its shape, while Arceus might be able to just conjure a real basketball from the void. These suggestions are unworthy, in my learned opinion. Disqualified.

I agree that Voltorb is manifestly unsuitable because of its propensity to explode. A particularly cooperative and sporting Gastly could certainly be used to play a fast-paced and exciting game of levitation, illusion and supernatural dunking. That game would not be basketball. It would arguably be better, but it would definitely not be basketball. I think this article is too quick to reject Solosis, since I have to imagine that its liquid cytoplasm is – like a real cell – encased in an elastic membrane that would give it a decent bounce. Of course, without knowing exactly how tough that membrane is (though given Solosis’ solid defence stats I’d assume it’s decent) we can’t make too many assumptions about its durability. We wouldn’t want our basketball to burst in the middle of a particularly intense play and cover all the nearby players with “special liquid.”

Which brings us back to Jigglypuff – again, the obvious choice, but as the article notes, not without problems. Jigglypuff is clearly too cute to expect players to dribble and dunk it indiscriminately. I also wonder if it could be too spongy for a basketball; its body might absorb too much impact force to be dribbled properly. So it’s worth looking further, just in case there’s a better candidate.

Wailmer: unfortunate that Wailmer is clearly far too large, because I think it would otherwise be an ideal basketball – bouncy and resilient.

Ferroseed: shaped like a rugby ball, extremely spiky, covered in a hard shell of iron.

Koffing

Koffing: levitation is a problem, and so is the constant expulsion of poisonous gas, which is unfortunate because I think a small Koffing would otherwise make a pretty good basketball.

Spheal

Spheal: significantly larger than Jigglypuff, and just as cute (it is literally a baby seal; at least basketball doesn’t use clubs…), but I think it would have some good bounce to it.

Rolycoly
Geodude

Geodude/Rolycoly: clearly too heavy, would damage the floor, Geodude might explode.

Togedemaru

Togedemaru: cuteness factor negated by the fact that it’s a Pikachu clone and therefore deserves whatever it gets on the court, and it’s a good size. The only problem I can see is that it can stick up its fur into nasty spikes that will perforate the hands of any unfortunate players trying to bounce it, but… y’know, live a little! Maybe that could add a nice “hot potato” aspect to the game.

Whirlipede

Whirlipede: most likely a bit too big, poisonous spines a turn-off, but probably has a nice bounce and can open up some interesting plays with Rollout.

Marill

Marill: open to the same “cuteness” objection as Jigglypuff, but I think its texture would be superior. The extra ball on the tail might make it harder to dunk, but can also open up a bolas-like swing-and-throw manoeuvre that would be mechanically interesting.

Munna

Munna: probably not quite round enough, and I’m not sure it would be bouncy either. Also known for spewing hallucinogenic mist when threatened (whether this is a plus or a minus is left to the discretion of the reader).

Sandshrew

Sandshrew: Defence Curl makes Sandshrew into a pretty decent round basketball, and it’s very resilient when curled up, so you don’t need to worry about hurting it. It might be a bit too large, but it otherwise seems to me like a very strong choice.

Bounsweet

Bounsweet: cute, but arguably not as cute as Jigglypuff, is the right size, and literally has “bounce” in the name. The only objection I can see is that it constantly sweats a sticky, sugary juice when under stress.

Qwilfish

Qwilfish: absolutely fµ¢£ing not

It’s definitely hard to beat Jigglypuff’s pleasingly elastic body and I don’t think there’s any Pokémon that’s obviously better, but I really think Sandshrew and Bounsweet are both solid contenders for the big leagues (does basketball have leagues, or is that a baseball thing? I don’t know what basketball is). Spheal, Marill and maybe Togedemaru are also worthy of serious consideration. It is very unfortunate that round, bouncy Pokémon are almost invariably extremely cute and cuddly, but these are, alas, the sacrifices we make when we choose to use a Pokémon as a basketball.

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7 thoughts on “James Crooks asks:

  1. I don’t know about sandshrew. It’s a ground type, wouldn’t it just hit the ground with a thud and stay there?

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    1. Well, it definitely wouldn’t be as bouncy as Jigglypuff. My instinct is it would bounce, that the plated scales would have a little elasticity to them. I don’t think Sandshrew’s bounciness is a hill I would be prepared to die on, though.

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  2. I feel like you missed an important candidate in Solosis. Round, looks bouncy covered in a layer of protective gel, roughly the right size, durable, and has Regenerator as a HA.

    The one counterpoint I see is that in Sword’s dex entry it says “if it takes a heavy blow, the liquid will leak out”, but I’m not sure what constitutes a heavy blow. Would rapidly bouncing do that? Or does it need something heavier to leak liquid? In case of the latter we’re good.

    As for the cute factor you used, I think Solosis is absolutely adorable, but I’m pretty sure I’m biased and many people might not agree.

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    1. Solosis is there….

      “I think this article is too quick to reject Solosis, since I have to imagine that its liquid cytoplasm is – like a real cell – encased in an elastic membrane that would give it a decent bounce. Of course, without knowing exactly how tough that membrane is (though given Solosis’ solid defence stats I’d assume it’s decent) we can’t make too many assumptions about its durability. We wouldn’t want our basketball to burst in the middle of a particularly intense play and cover all the nearby players with “special liquid.” “

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