Is former basketball superstar Todd MacCulloch still actively playing pinball?

Yep. Had a blast playing with him in a group at pinburgh. We had a long break between our round and the next so we chilled and had some beers. Very chill guy. Hopefully I’ll get to play with him again.

we were sharing the same row on the way back and he spent 3/4 of the flight in the back standing talking to the flight attendant as it is the less crowded space in the plane.
I understand that he got us, through his discussions with the flight team on the way in flight, a “good luck to the pinball wizard” from the flight team on the PA as we landed in PIT :wink:


"IFPA rank above about 500 or so is basically meaningless. You can get that ranking by simply showing up and being a warm body at a decent volume of tournaments and occasionally spiking a top-10 finish. Don’t assume because his ranking is 3K+ that that has anything to do with his ability.’

Sounds legit what you’re saying about the IFPA ranking in general. I was already assuming that and therefore Todd’s ranking must have another reason. Ok, it’s neither the prize money nor his ability, he’s a very competitive guy and in the interviews he gave he said that he takes pinball serious. My friendly question is: “What is it then?”

Before somebody will now attack me:
Yes, everybody who payed the entry fee can play how he likes.
Even though I don’t know him personally I think he’s a very humble guy.
He’s a great communicator and has done a lot to advance pinball - thx a lot!
My intention is not to mock him bc of his low ranking.
It’s more of a reflex trying to help when I see somebody having a ranking below his potential.

I remember him saying, he could reduce without problems negative side effects like nervousness, pressure, increased heart rate etc. (because of his earlier nba career), but he doesn’t want that because the excitement is an essential part of the game for him that he loves.


What is… what?

I’m not attacking you, but I’d certainly suggest that Todd can take care of himself just fine and doesn’t need unsolicited assistance. And I don’t know if this is the case with Todd or not, but there are plenty of hardcore pinball fans who could not care less what their IFPA ranking is. Just be satisfied knowing that Todd is a great player, a great guy, and involved in the community.


I have had the pleasure to hang out with Todd at various tournaments since I met him at Chicago Expo in 2014. He will tell you himself he is a solid pinball player who enjoys the game but not an elite competition player who strives to be one of those top 25 guys. I can tell you thou he is an elite individual who has mass respect within the pinball community. Todd will talk to anyone, he allows people to come up with him to take pictures, people ask for autographs and he is very accommodating, he answers questions people may have, and he really enjoys interacting with the pinball community in general. He is one cool dude, the best complement I can give Todd is I am a better person by just knowing him, best of all he is Canadian.

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The reason why he’s lower ranked than I expected. That was what I was talking about before.

I talk about Todd MacCulloch as a public figure, representing many others. I don’t think I need permission before I can do so.

I give you an example: If I had played pinball, in a tournament on video, the ball was heading between in- and outlane, I nudged and the ball drained and a commentator said / a guy wrote in the youtube comments that I better shouldn’t have nudged bc the ball would’ve found its way naturally into the inlane, then I’d consider this comment as absolutely legitimate. I don’t expect each and every comment patting my back. If somebody said: “This idiot nudged this ball out.” Then I’d be not amused bc it’s not what one says but how he says it.

From 70K ranked players maybe 69K+ are occasional tournament players who don’t have ambitions to achieve a high IFPA ranking. And I see nothing wrong with it. Also they are in the pinball community. The difference between them and Todd is that they didn’t say in various interviews that they’d take competitive pinball serious. Taking competitive pinball serious but being ranked 3K+ is indeed somewhere between very unusual and unique. That’s why I brought it up.

Anytime someone’s name comes up I feel like @chuckwurt is like, “Oh yeah, I played with them at Pinburgh this year”. How were you in a group with EVERYONE!


*Looks at 80 tournaments. Looks at 2088 ranking. Sobs in corner *


I’m lucky! Actually I played 10 rounds day one instead of 5. That’s the only way I could’ve gotten 44 after day one.


Now you made me curious where I was… 8 tournaments, 1950th. You need to step it up and I need to get out more LOL


I think the reason he is ranked lower than you expected is because you seem to have warped expectations of the ranking system.

Ranking is not determined by your success in a previous sport, your level of “seriousness” when competing, or a perceived ability to be an ambassador for the game. Todd has played in X amount of tournaments worth Y value and his ranking is based on his performance during those events. Just like the rest of us.

Just because youve assigned him that role, doesnt make it so. Public figure? Representing many others? Who does he represent? Pinball? Basketball? Sure you dont need anyones permission to talk about him, but whats your goal of singling him out? Let the guy play pinball for pete sake. when he played at TPF this year, his ticket said Todd MacCulloch, not “former basketball superstar and serious pinball competitor and ambassador Todd MacCulloch”.


This thread has gone full pinside.


Excuse me, that’s “former basketball superstar and serious pinball competitor and ambassador and super nice guy Todd MacCulloch” :slight_smile:

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Go Huskies!

I didn’t assign him that role. I didn’t conduct interviews. I didn’t make him appear at conferences. I didn’t make him a commentator.
“XY being a public figure, representing many others” is a metaphor which explains exactly that talking about somebody in a field of public interest is not a taboo but indeed allowed.

Apparently you call talking about a specif person “singling someone out”. Then there’s nothing bad about it. My goal was obviously to find an answer to the question I posted above in the headline.

You mean my little comments here prevent him from playing? I think you have strange and negative fantasies. The opposite is true, if I could I’d encourage him to play as I think he’s a positive factor for pinball.

I see no reason to not mentioning that bc it belongs to his personality. If Keith Elwin would retire from tournament pinball and I’d talk about him as a game designer at Stern I’d surely mention his past as a pinball superstar.

Pinball is many things, a game for kids, a recreational activity and a sport. In sports it is absolutely fine to talk about a person’s playing strength. If you think this would be an insult, you’re dead wrong. I could for example talk about Snailman not performing as well in final rounds as in previous rounds. Actually I can’t bc I don’t know that. It was just an example. All I know is that he’s currently ranked No. 13. I’ll check on when I have time. I can talk about Daniele Acciari being always very unlucky when he’s up against Johannes Ostermeier and that I think Acciari is the stronger player despite he lost all or most duels. I can talk about Europe’s top player density being smaller than the US’. I can say that Jack Danger is a funny guy who knows how to make interesting videos but that he often plays without concentration.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t like or hate Snailman, Ostermeier, Europeans and Jack Danger. Got it?


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Seems like a good time to lock this bizarre thread.


I agree. We’ve resolved the question posed, which is that TMac is indeed still actively playing pinball. No need to go in circles about it any further.