Do you remember the game "ChuChu Rocket!"? In its original incarnation, it was a charming little puzzler for the Dreamcast - a severely underrated game for an severely underrated system.
The goal of ChuChu Rocket! was to guide a group of mice (or "ChuChus") around a board while avoiding several nefarious cats (or "KapuKapus"). Despite garnering fairly decent reviews, it really never gained much traction here in the States. In fact, unless you actually played ChuChu Rocket! (or unless you're big into anime), you've probably gone your entire life without ever fixing your face to say the words "Chu Chu".
In the biggest deal on one of the busiest days in NBA history, the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Chu Chu Maduabum (his government name is Chukwudiebere, but feel free to call him Chuck) from the Denver Nuggets. Don't be fooled by the spin that the lamestream media put on the trade: JaVale McGee and the heavily-protected first-round pick that the Sixers received in addition to Maduabum were mere throw-ins. This trade was all about Chu Chu.
It was a masterstroke by Sixers' general manager Sam Hinkie, who pulled off the move while in the midst of a TED Talk marathon, and mere minutes before submitting his travel expense report from his last trip to Murray State. To many, Maduabum is an international man of mystery, but to Hinkie, Chu Chu represents peak optionality.
Hyperbole aside, 6'9", 210-pound power forward Chu Chu Maduabum is to basketball what Chi Chi Rodriguez is to golf. When asked about Maduabum during the 2011 NBA Draft, Jeff Van Gundy - an "NBA analyst" by trade - said that he had "never heard of him." One year later, ESPN NBA analyst (and executive director of the Pro Training Center in Clearwater, Fla.) David Thorpe said that Chu Chu "might be the smartest player I've ever coached in my life."
Thorpe's glowing review was a testament to the work Maduabum put in preparing for his NBA career. Visa issues and a U.S. State Department that didn't want Chu Chu to be great prevented the Nigerian forward from joining the Nuggets' 2011 summer league entry, but the following July, he showed up in Vegas with a vengeance (and a chiseled frame, to boot).
The numbers (2.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.0 BPG) don't tell the full story: Chu Chu was a PROBLEM in the 2012 Summer League. Sadly, the Nuggets' depth at the forward position meant that there wasn't a spot for Maduabum on the active roster, and the former second-round pick spent the next couple of seasons honing his craft for top-level teams in Qatar and Estonia.
In 2014, Chu Chu enjoyed a breakout campaign in the Mongolian National Basketball Association where he earned All-Star honors while leading Khasiin Khuleguud to the coveted MNBA title. If I had to guess, I'd say that Maduabum's recent performance has made Fran Fraschilla re-think his 2011 rant against the Nigerian superstar.
I trend on twitter but only 8 followers FOLLOW CHUKWUDIEBERE MADUABAM— Chu Chu Maduabum (@ChuChuMaduabum) June 24, 2011
A cursory Internet search shows that Maduabum hasn't tweeted in nearly four years. That's OK, though: Twitter isn't for everyone. Maybe he's on Ello.
Or maybe... just maybe... he's been so busy working on his craft that he couldn't be bothered with the time drain that is social media. After all, one doesn't average 6.8 PPG and 5.7 RPG in the Estonian Basketball Premier League (as Chu Chu is currently doing) without spending every waking minute shooting in the gym. Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000 Hour Rule" be damned: This Maduabum mixtape makes it clear that the Nigerian Serge Ibaka is well on his way to putting in 20,000 hours of work as he chugs along towards his NBA dream (Warning: Background music EXTREMELY NSFW, MUCH LIKE CHU CHU'S GAME)
After the acquisition of Maduabum, it's painfully obvious that the Sixers are the lead ChuChu in the NBA and the 29 other teams have been relegated to playing catch up as the KapuKapus. The rest of the league is playing checkers - Sam Hinkie is playing "ChuChu Rocket!"
.@ChuChuMaduabum welcome to Philadelphia! I'm on the Chu Chu Train!— Spike Eskin (@SpikeEskin) February 19, 2015