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GTA 6 better let me play jai alai

My cesta is ready

A jai alai player in white pants and blue jersey, reaches out with a hook-shaped basket on his right arm as he tries to catch a ball. Photo: David Lefranc/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Clayton Ashley , senior video editor, has been producing and editing videos for Polygon since 2016. He is the lead producer of the tabletop gaming series Overboard.

The next entry in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto franchise is returning to the Miami-inspired locale of Vice City. That means a new, high-fidelity version of the city, and if Grand Theft Auto 5’s San Andreas was any indication, it will be packed with references to the metropolis that inspired it.

Which is why I better be able to play jai alai in this dang game.

There are at least seven very good reasons that a new Vice City-based GTA should include jai alai:

1. It’s distinctly Miami. It’s where the sport originally exploded in popularity in America, with the state at one point hosting 10 frontons, which is what the court in jai alai is called! Today, the state’s last two frontons still operate in Miami, and it’s the location of the World Jai-Alai League.

2. It’s known as the fastest sport, which also makes it one of the most dangerous sports, with the pelota traveling at speeds well in excess of 150 mph. People are recorded to have died in the early years of the sport. How could Rockstar pass up such a (potentially) murderous sport?

3. It gives Rockstar’s writers the chance to make a joke that fans of Mad Men will lightly chuckle at.

Players throw balls using hook shaped baskets on their arms in a large Jai alai court, with the words “Miami Jai Alai” artistically depicted on the background wall. Photo: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

4. It’s yet another way to view the prism of American culture and its tendency to warp a beautiful thing into another form of crass commercialism and exploitation. The last jai alai frontons in Miami are actually part of casinos because gambling is the only thing keeping the sport alive, albeit on life support. That’s poetic as hell.

5. It looks rad. There’s a reason why the uniforms in that future sport in Batman Beyond look so cool, and it’s partly because they’re inspired by the curved baskets that jai alai players use, which are known as cestas.

6. GTA 5 is full of activities, from tennis to BASE jumping to arm wrestling, so it makes perfect sense to include an athletic activity like jai alai in GTA 6. This is the studio that made a meticulously accurate tabletop tennis game, after all.

7. Oh, and I almost forgot: It’s literally connected to American organized crime! In 1981, the owner of the World Jai Alai organization, based in Miami, was murdered under the direction of notorious Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger.

I wouldn’t be shocked if I’ve missed other reasons that jai alai absolutely needs to be in Grand Theft Auto 6, so please leave them in the comments below!

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