Features

The Friday Five: 5 Players & Their Forgotten Final Seasons

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of five NBA players whose careers petered out, with their final seasons being somewhat forgotten.

Not all NBA players get a big send-off, or season-long retirement tour. Even if they were big stars at one point, some players end up spending their latter part of their careers in relative obscurity. There are many causes of that phenomenon, from injuries and basketball-related reasons to unfortunate personal problems. Whatever the case may be, for some fallen stars, it’s easy to forget the brief stints they had with certain teams towards the end of their careers. Indeed, it sometimes comes as a surprise when you look back and realise how long their careers lasted, or how recently they retired.

You’ll often come to those realisations when you fire up old basketball video games. When I cover those older titles for features such as Wayback Wednesday, I’m not only reminded of the experiences I had with those games, but of what the league looked like at the time. Old games serve as a time capsule for seasons gone by, making them effective reminders of the often overlooked later seasons of many players’ careers. For this week’s Friday Five, I’m taking a look back at the forgotten final seasons of five players who were big names at one point, but became somewhat overlooked as their careers wound down.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2003’s Elusive Post Move

Karl Malone Posts Up (NBA Live 2003)

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at a post move that I’ve never been able to perform in NBA Live 2003.

There’s a distinct satisfaction that comes with mastering advanced moves in basketball video games. Whether it’s pulling off the Dream Shake, or performing a beautiful combination of dribbling moves that leaves a defender stumbling, developing superior skills on the sticks is supremely satisfying. Sometimes, however, there’s that one move that you’re just never able to perform. You’ve seen it in trailers and other people’s gameplay footage, but for whatever reason, you just can’t perform the move yourself. Alternatively, it may be a contextual animation that very rarely triggers, even when you appear to do everything correctly.

For me, my white whale of basketball gaming is a post move that can be seen in the introduction video of NBA Live 2003. Try as I might, I’ve never been able to perform it in all the years that I’ve had the game (which is to say, since late 2002). What is this elusive post move? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Value of Virtual Currency in The Neighborhood

2K Pro-Am Player of the Game (NBA 2K18)

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a breakdown of the in-universe value of Virtual Currency in The Neighborhood in NBA 2K18.

Yes, I’m writing about Virtual Currency and NBA 2K18 again. I guess I’m a hater, a biased NBA Live fanboy looking to bash 2K at every turn. According to at least one disgruntled former reader, that’s exactly what I am. Or maybe, just maybe, I’m simply a dissatisfied consumer who believes that all of us who play NBA 2K18 deserve to be treated more fairly. Whether it’s NBA 2K, NBA Live, NBA Playgrounds, or any other game that we play, we do ourselves a disservice by not speaking up when there are issues. There’s no guarantee that we’ll get the result we want, but if we don’t speak up, we can pretty much guarantee that we won’t see the changes we desire.

Frankly, I’m still talking about Virtual Currency because it’s an on-going issue. After dropping the prices of hairstyles, facial hair, and hair colours in an early patch, Visual Concepts haven’t made further adjustments to VC earnings and in-game prices. Well, that’s not entirely true. They’ve reduced the reward for Player of the Half and Player of the Game in 2K Pro-Am. What they haven’t done is increase the VC rewards, bring back the difficulty multiplier, or reduce the prices of clothing and consumables. This is particularly infuriating when you consider the actual in-universe value of Virtual Currency. Thanks to our MyPLAYER card, that’s something we can easily figure out.

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Still Active in Games After Their Careers Ended

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of players who remained active in basketball video games after their careers ended in real life.

The rosters in basketball video games are, quite obviously, affected by events that occur in the real NBA. With strange and unfortunate twists of fate, as well as other unusual circumstances, video game rosters can quickly become outdated, or contain other oddities. I discussed the unusual situation with Michael Redd in NBA Live 2003 in last week’s Wayback Wednesday, as it was a particularly rare curiosity. A more common phenomenon is the continued appearance of players in the active rosters of basketball games, a year or more after they’ve played their final game. That’s what I’m taking a look at today.

Keep in mind that I’m not talking about players who have simply remained playable in video games after their retirement. With all the historical content in Ultimate Team and MyTEAM, as well as the extensive roster of retro teams in NBA 2K, there are obviously a lot of retired players who are still in the games. I’m also not counting appearances on the previous season’s All-Star squads in the default rosters. This is a list of players who, for one reason or another, remained in the active rosters of video games after their careers came to an end in real life. These players facilitated a few “What If?” scenarios, and at times, made maintaining roster updates a little tricky.

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Wayback Wednesday: Reconstructing Jordan’s Bulls in NBA Live 2002

Michael Jordan on the Bulls in NBA Live 2002

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m dusting off NBA Live 2002 to see if I can reconstruct Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls in Franchise Mode.

Even though it’s definitely not the pinnacle of the series, NBA Live 2002 is a game that I find myself thinking about and returning to every now and again. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s a game that I’m oddly nostalgic for, in large part because of a memorable Sacramento Kings Franchise that I finally gained closure on years later. Of course, I also had a less successful Franchise experience with the Utah Jazz, in which things got a little too wacky. As I previously remarked, if I wanted to shake things up and do something a little unusual, it might’ve been more fun to try to reconstruct Michael Jordan’s championship-winning Chicago Bulls.

It’s not too late to explore that idea, though. Just as I recreated my Kings Franchise to finish it off all these years later, I thought that it’d be fun to attempt to reconstruct the core of the Jordan-led Bulls teams. Not all of the key players from those squads are still active in NBA Live 2002, but more than a couple are available to acquire. Can it be done? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: A Call For More Nicknames

2K Magazine in MyCAREER (NBA 2K18)

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on nicknames in NBA 2K.

When I finally succeeded in getting my face scanned into NBA 2K18 – or more specifically, The Prelude – it didn’t turn out anywhere near as good as my NBA Live 18 scan. As I noted on my Twitter at the time, it ended up looking a little like a combination of young Adam Sandler circa Billy Madison, and young Alan Ruck from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Once the full game came out and I was able to visit Doc’s barbershop – expensive haircuts and all – I was able to add a beard. While it still isn’t a great likeness, at least it looks a little less like a Sandler-Ruck mash-up.

A few weeks back, I ended up giving my MyPLAYER longish hair, in the process making him look a little like Jaime Lannister from the early seasons of Game of Thrones. I briefly reconsidered renaming him, and even went so far as to outfit him with some yellow wrist tape, in an effort to imitate Jaime’s golden hand (uh, spoilers for anyone who still hasn’t gotten into GoT yet). I also looked at changing the audio nickname, but the most appropriate choice was probably “Cold Hands”. It got me thinking that the selection of nicknames for MyPLAYERs in NBA 2K could definitely stand to be much larger, and more varied.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Pet Peeves (I Can’t Justify)

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a list of basketball gaming pet peeves that I can’t really justify.

When it comes to basketball gaming, we all have our major and minor complaints. Major complaints encompass issues that significantly affect our enjoyment of a game, and if it’s an obvious design flaw, a lot of gamers are probably going to share the same view. Minor complaints, on the other hand, may not be as broad. They tend to be more a matter of personal preference, and there’s likely to be more disagreement as to their importance. Beyond that, we have pet peeves, which tend to come across as being far pettier and nitpicky.

That is the nature of pet peeves, of course. They’re things that are that non-issues or mild annoyances at worst to most other people, but for whatever reason, greatly bother us personally. To that end, you might suggest that most pet peeves are difficult to justify, even though they can certainly be based upon understandable and logical reasoning. However, the pet peeves that I’m discussing today are tough to justify beyond my own personal preference, and in some cases, I would have to admit that they’re largely inconsequential. They do bug me all the same though, so without any further ado, here are five of my pettiest pet peeves in basketball gaming.

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Redd’s What If in NBA Live 2003

Michael Redd in Dallas (NBA Live 2003)

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at an oddity with Michael Redd in the default rosters of NBA Live 2003 PC.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s fun to go back and play an old basketball video game. Even though our old favourites tend to be far surpassed by new titles, we can usually still find nostalgic enjoyment in the familiarity of the gameplay. It can be satisfying to dust off an old save file, and pick it up again for a while. Sometimes, it’s interesting to just go through the rosters and be reminded of when a certain player was playing for a particular team. If you do that in NBA Live 2003 PC, you’ll be reminded of when Michael Redd played for the Dallas Mavericks. Only, that never actually happened. Yet there he is, on the bench for the 2003 Mavs.

Did EA Sports mess up here? Was someone paying too much attention to those infamous Courtside Comedy cutscenes, and not enough to the default roster as it was being finalised? In truth, there’s no error here; not at the time of the roster’s creation, at any rate. Confused? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Planning a Return to Franchise Modes

Starting a new Franchise Game (NBA 2K18)

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on making a return to franchise gaming this year.

My recent Wayback Wednesday series on franchise modes in NBA Live and NBA 2K served to remind me of just how much fun I’ve had with them over the years. I’ve wanted to return to franchise gaming for a while now, and writing those articles only added to my enthusiasm. I’ve gravitated towards MyCAREER and other modes in recent years, which is funny given that in MyLEAGUE and MyGM, we now have some of the deepest franchise experiences in the history of basketball video games. There are reasons why my habits have changed, of course, but I do feel like it’s time to make a return to franchise modes.

Now that NBA Live 18 and NBA 2K18 have been out for over a month, receiving multiple official patches and roster updates, it’s an opportune time to dive into the franchise experience. With the 2018 season tipping off, my interest in creating a fictional reality on the virtual hardwood has also been piqued. I do still have an interest in the card collecting modes, online team play experience, and MyCAREER, so I’ll have to ration my basketball gaming time accordingly. Beyond that, however, I do have a few other matters to consider as I plan a return to the franchise experience that I enjoyed so much as a younger basketball gamer.

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The Friday Five: Ranking the MyCAREER Stories

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is another countdown, as I rank the MyCAREER stories from worst to best.

Through the course of many previous articles and episodes of the NLSC Podcast, I believe that I’ve made my stance on MyCAREER stories very clear. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with my view on the matter, while I can appreciate the effort that goes into them, I’m not a fan of the concept. To me, it’s felt more intrusive and annoying, rather than enhancing the experience. It’s obviously not going anywhere, so hopefully the approach can be improved upon in future games. To get an idea of how Visual Concepts may achieve that, it’s worth reflecting upon the approach they’ve taken to previous MyCAREER stories, and determining which has been the best.

We’ve had five MyCAREER stories in NBA 2K at this point, enough to rate and rank in a Friday Five countdown. In ranking the stories, I’m taking into account the overall quality of the narrative, the likeability of the characters (including the MyPLAYER protagonist), the impact on the gameplay experience, and how well the approach fits with the RPG elements of MyCAREER. As always, please keep in mind that this is just my take, and I certainly invite you to share your rankings in the comments section below. With that being said, let’s tip off the countdown with number five.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Association in NBA 2K

Headlines in The Association (NBA 2K14)

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m concluding my retrospective on franchise modes with a look back at The Association in NBA 2K.

While NBA Live was offering multiseason management modes in the form of Franchise and Dynasty, NBA 2K was also providing basketball gamers with its own take on the franchise experience. The franchise modes in both games have had their ups and downs, but the 2K series has done a very commendable job from year to year, in many cases implementing features that have yet to be seen in EA’s game. For those of us who were mostly playing NBA Live back in the day, we looked on in envy as 2K implemented several of those much-desired features in its modes.

As of now, NBA 2K has featured the deepest and most advanced franchise modes in basketball gaming. For many years, that franchise experience went by the name of The Association, and it admirably paved the way for MyLEAGUE and MyGM in recent games. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Late 90s Basketball in NBA 2K18

NBA 2K18: Michael Jordan Dunk

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a handful of screenshots from a game between the ’98 Chicago Bulls and ’97 Miami Heat in NBA 2K18.

Today, I turned 33. It’s funny to think that I’ve now been running the NLSC for around half my life! As I’ve said in previous articles, it’s hard to say just how long I’ll keep doing this, but I’m not intending on giving it up anytime soon. I still have a great deal of passion for basketball video games, as well as creating content based on them. After all, I’ve been playing basketball games and watching the NBA for a long time now. It’s a little overwhelming to think that it’s been twenty years since I was getting ready to watch the 1998 season, the last year that the Chicago Bulls were champions. Unfortunately, I don’t think that they’ll be anywhere close to that this season!

It’s important that we keep moving forward, and as I said in Episode #226 of the NLSC Podcast, it’s my intention to try to enjoy this season a little more than I have in recent years. There’s nothing wrong with reminiscing from time to time however, and thanks to the historical content in NBA 2K18, I can indulge in that nostalgia on the virtual hardwood. For this week’s Tip-Off, I’d like to share some screenshots that I took during a game of NBA 2K18 PC, using the 1998 Chicago Bulls against the 1997 Miami Heat. It was a fun game to play, and I’m looking forward to using the historical squads a little more often this year. Without further ado, here are the screenshots!

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The Friday Five: My Top 5 Unluckiest Basketball Gaming Moments

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown. This week’s Five is a top five countdown of my unluckiest moments in basketball gaming.

Another Friday the 13th is upon us, which is bad news for anyone who suffers from paraskevidekatriaphobia. I’m not a particularly superstitious person myself, and no Friday the 13th has given me reason to be wary of the date. In fact, given that one of my weekly features comes out every Friday, it’s conveniently provided me with a ready-made topic that can be easily tied into our interests as a community that loves basketball and basketball gaming. I’ve previously written about some of the unluckiest moments in NBA history, unlucky moments in basketball gaming, and even my favourite players who have worn number thirteen.

For this Friday the 13th, I thought that I’d revisit that second topic with a few personal anecdotes. We’ve all had our unlucky moments on the virtual hardwood, and since we tend to get somewhat invested in the video games that we play, those moments can certainly be rage-inducing. I feel as though I don’t do enough top five countdowns for the Friday Five, so I’ve decided to rank these moments according to the amount of frustration they caused me, and how unlucky they felt. Without any further ado, these are my top five unluckiest moments in basketball gaming.

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Wayback Wednesday: Dynasty Mode in NBA Live

Select Dynasty Mode Team in NBA Live 2004

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, my retrospective on franchise modes continues with a look back at the history of Dynasty Mode in NBA Live.

Franchise Mode was one of the best additions in the NBA Live series, delivering a multiseason experience that gamers had been wanting for some time. By NBA Live 2003 however, it was unfortunately getting stale. Despite a few noteworthy new features and AI enhancements, the experience hadn’t become much deeper over the course of four years. Franchise gamers still enjoyed the mode and it remained popular, but there was also a certain amount of frustration, as we wanted to see more innovation. Fortunately, by the time NBA Live 2004 rolled around, EA Sports were ready to deliver.

The introduction of Dynasty Mode in NBA Live 2004 was part of an effort to rebrand Franchise Mode throughout all EA Sports titles, but thankfully, it turned out to be much more than a name change. It marked the introduction of a deeper mode that continued to evolve through the years, until it too fell on some rough times. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Roster Editing & NBA Live

Kyrie Irving dribbles the basketball in NBA Live 18

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games. This week, I’m tipping things off with a few thoughts on the current lack of roster editing functionality in NBA Live.

With NBA Live 18, EA Sports’ long-running basketball series has taken some pleasing steps forward. While there’s still room for improvement, it’s had the best reception of any NBA Live game on the current generation, among gamers and reviewers alike. There’s more fluidity on the sticks, the controls have been expanded, and with The One, the game has a much deeper career mode along with some solid connected experiences. NBA Live appears to be on the right track, and even cracked the top twenty downloaded games on the PlayStation Network in September.

The team at EA Tiburon has to feel pleased with the more positive reaction to NBA Live 18, not to mention motivated as they begin work on next year’s game. However, there is one feature that’s conspicuous by its absence in NBA Live 18, and that’s roster editing. We haven’t seen roster editing in the series since NBA Live 10, and gamers are understandably getting impatient to see it return. While other areas of the game have rightfully been prioritised, roster editing is a staple that must return in NBA Live 19. That’s assuming, of course, that there isn’t a way for it to be implemented in this year’s game.

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