You can only look at a ball-shaped Pokémon so many times before certain questions start worming their way through your brain. Why is this thing so round? What would it be like to throw one? Would it bounce? Could I play basketball with it?
These questions may seem heartless, even cruel. But don’t feel guilty: it’s only natural to wonder which round-ish Pokémon would make the best basketball. Secret Base is here to help.
According to the Gen I Pokédex, Voltorb is “Usually found in power plants. Easily mistaken for a Poké Ball, they have zapped many people.” So it’s definitely round, which is a mark in its favor. You’d be able to throw and catch one of these with no problem.
Playing basketball, on the other hand, would definitely be a problem. Voltorb is apparently both the size of a Poké Ball, which easily fit in one hand and also 0.5m tall, which gives it a diameter twice that of a basketball. This is presumable some sort of macro-scale quantum effect, and unless we could somehow take the average diameter, basketball seems challenging.
There’s also weight to consider. Voltorb is extremely dense, and appears to be made of metal. Even if it was basketball sized, dribbling would be both impossible and upsettingly loud. Passes would invite serious injury. Also, Voltorb likes to electrocute people and sometimes explodes. The union would never agree to this.
We award Voltorb zero points, and may Ash Ketchum have mercy on its self-destructing soul.
So it’s a little bit big for a basketball. It’d be hard, for instance, to squeeze Jigglypuff through a basketball hoop. But look at that picture! The damn thing looks so squishy that I’m pretty sure you could squeeze its little body into the right shape. It also looks bouncy as hell, ripe for dribbling.
While I’ve obviously never experienced the tactile sensation of throwing a Jigglypuff around, it seems like it has exactly the right heft and plushiness to make it a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Frankly, dunking one of these seems like an absolute dream.
There are downsides, of course. It’d probably be really sad about being dunked and/or dribbled, and I’d feel pretty guilty about all the tears. Then again, I watch the NFL so I’m CLEARLY OK with guiltsports.
On the face of things, playing with a haunted, fanged basketball might sound like a terrible idea. And yes, this is probably a terrible idea. Look at that thing. If it’s not clearly evil it’s definitely indifferent to your well-being as compared to its own amusement. Like a cat that can float and/or possess you.
But. But but but. What if this hideous Pokémon of the dim darkness could be tamed? What if it could be taught to enjoy basketball? What if we could teach it to love the sport? Then its powers could be used for
I mentioned above that dunking a Jigglypuff sounded like a great time. But since I can’t actually dunk anything, it’s not a great time I could possibly experience. If Gastly was the basketball, however, I bet it could fly me around and let me dunk at will. Games would turn into ridiculous supernatural spectacles. The highlights would be unbelievably cool.
It’s still a terrible idea.
Solosis is our first (and only) non-Gen I candidate, so I imagine familiarity with the lil’ critter is lower than for the previous entries. Overall it’s the right size and shape, and even has about the right weight to be a pretty decent basketball. It can use psychic powers to protect itself from the rigors of dunking etc., and, like Gastly, might even be able to use its special skills to make the game itself more exciting.
There is, however, a downside. If you look at the picture, you may notice that the outer layer of Solosis’ body looks a bit ... goopy? Checking the Pokédex confirms our worst fears: “Because their bodies are enveloped in a special liquid, they can survive in any environment.”
Basketballs absolutely cannot be ‘enveloped in a special liquid.’ Pass. And not in the sports sense.
Ditto might look like an amorphous blob in the picture above, but that’s actually what would make it such a good basketball. It is so shapeless it can in fact assume the shape and size of anything it sees. Presumably, this includes basketballs, making Ditto seem like the perfect choice.
There are a couple of caveats. First of all, when Ditto is knocked unconscious, it loses its transformation. Dribble it a little too hard and suddenly your basketball turns into a horrific pink mess (this would be a good prank if the players didn’t know they were playing Poké-basketball). You’d need to have an army of Poképlacements lined up to get through a game.
Second, note the phrasing just now: Ditto can assume the shape and size of anything sees. First, you’d have to coax it into wanting to be a basketball, which would presumably require teaching it to enjoy basketball. The downside there is the prospect of you screwing up a play badly enough for it to judge you. Eating a block would be bad enough without the basketball transforming into, I don’t know, a perfect copy of yourself as punishment.
Anyway what I’m saying is that although Ditto seems a perfect fit, there are enough risks inherent to transmogrification that I’m not so sure it’s a slam-dunk after all.
I think we can discard Solosis and Voltorb from the get-go, which leaves us picking between Gastly, Ditto and Jigglypuff. Given that I don’t trust Gastly not to do some horror-movie stuff to the participants, we’re left with the choice between Ditto and Jigglypuff, which is to say between unpredictability and guilt.
You can make your own choice from here.