Wayback Wednesday

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Legends in NBA Live 2000

Michael Jordan in One-on-One in NBA Live 2000

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.

Today, December 7th 2016, is Larry Bird’s 60th birthday; Happy Birthday, Larry Legend! To mark the occasion, I’ve been trying to think of basketball video gaming topics that are related to the Boston Celtics great. Since I’ve already talked about Bird’s presence in NBA Jam Tournament Edition as a secret player, that idea is out. Glancing at the list of topics that I’ve compiled for future Wayback Wednesday features, I noticed one that’s probably overdue, and certainly has ties to Bird: NBA Legends in NBA Live 2000.

I remember that many of us were very excited to hear that a selection of NBA Legends from the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s would be featured in NBA Live 2000. The long-awaited addition of Michael Jordan was obviously a huge selling point, but the inclusion of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Isiah Thomas, and other all-time greats, also came as very welcome news for basketball gamers who wanted to see some historical content in NBA Live.

It’s the kind of content in basketball video games that helps us reminisce, so it’s only appropriate that we take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: The Original NLSC Roster Updates

1998 Bulls in the NLSC Roster Updates for NBA Live 97

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.

Years before I was maintaining the NLSC roster updates for NBA Live, Tim and Lutz were creating the site’s original patches. We’ve seen a lot of fantastic roster updates over the years that have brought attention to the NLSC and been very popular in the community, and that great work certainly continues to this day. However, when you’re talking about the roster updates that made this site what it’s become and inspired so many other people to get into the hobby, you can’t go past those original releases by Tim and Lutz.

Those roster updates are still available in our Downloads section, and if you’re ever in the mood for some retro basketball gaming, I’d definitely recommend downloading them. If you’re newer to the NLSC community though – and especially if you’ve mostly been involved with the NBA 2K modding scene – it might be difficult to appreciate how important and influential those original NLSC rosters were. While I do encourage you to experience them for yourself if you can, I feel it’s important that those early roster updates get their due, especially in light of 2016 marking our 20th Anniversary.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live Championship Screenshots

Boston Celtics Championship in NBA Live 08

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.

When posting bulletins about the NBA Champions around ten years ago, I included screenshots of the winning team taken from the current NBA Live game. With the standalone Playoffs mode, it was easy enough to fire up the PC version, load up the latest NLSC roster update, and sim through a postseason. Because NBA Live’s simulation engine could be unpredictable, I usually had to place star players on the injured reserve so that the appropriate teams could make it through to the NBA Finals, and the correct team then win the championship.

I usually held off on capturing the screenshots until the series was close to being decided, so that I could make sure the teams were playing in the correct venue (and in one instance, wearing the correct jerseys). I came across those old NBA Live championship screenshots while digging through my archives recently, and I thought that they’d be fun to share for this week’s Wayback Wednesday.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: My Player in NBA 2K10

Summer Circuit Game in NBA 2K10's My Player

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.

On this day in 2001, the NBA D-League (then known as the NBDL) tipped off its inaugural season with the Greenville Groove hosting the North Charleston Lowgators. The league may have changed its name, and neither of those teams is still active, but over the past fifteen years the D-League has become a stable farm league for the NBA, with several noteworthy alumni. Despite its growth and increasing importance to the NBA, to date the D-League hasn’t had much of a presence in basketball video games. However, it played a significant role in NBA 2K10’s My Player mode, the first incarnation of what is now known as MyCAREER.

Since it’s the fifteenth anniversary of the inaugural D-League season, and I’ve been playing quite a bit of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, I thought I’d look back at My Player in NBA 2K10, while also touching on the D-League’s role in the mode. The possibility of starting out in the D-League is something that quite a few gamers have expressed an interest in seeing return, and the prospect of multiple career paths is something that I find intriguing as well. My Player itself has undergone a lot of improvements on top of being rebranded into MyCAREER, but what was that first version of the mode like?

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Remembering Roster Players

Roster Player dunks the basketball in NBA Live 98

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.

The issue of missing players isn’t as prominent as it was in the early days of basketball gaming. Video games have become a huge industry, authenticity is the name of the game, and the licensing agreement with the NBA Players Association ensures that all active players are represented in NBA Live and NBA 2K. These days, active players who aren’t included at launch are added via official roster updates, so most of the issues with missing players involve historical players that couldn’t be licensed. Fortunately, as the addition of Steve Nash in the latest NBA 2K17 roster update demonstrates, that doesn’t have to be a permanent problem either.

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, this wasn’t always the case. Due to certain players retaining full control over their likeness rights, and sometimes signing exclusive deals with specific developers, some of the biggest names in basketball have been missing from classic hoops games. In some cases, however, they didn’t leave a vacant spot on their team’s roster. Some games elected to include placeholder players, which many old school basketball gamers came to call Roster Players, after the name they were given in various editions of NBA Live.

Roster Players have an interesting legacy in basketball gaming, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Jordan Challenge Highlight Reel

Michael Jordan vs. Shawn Kemp in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

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.

A few weeks ago, I ran a series of Wayback Wednesday articles documenting my attempt to complete the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11. I was ultimately successful, taking care of my unfinished business and unlocking MJ: Creating a Legend without resorting to the cheat code. Despite some frustrating moments, I ultimately enjoyed the experience, and felt a sense of accomplishment when I finally completed all ten challenges.

While playing through the Jordan Challenge, I captured several videos of moments that I really enjoyed. I didn’t want those clips to go to waste, so I’ve put together a highlight reel from the seven challenges I went back and completed for the feature. Check it out below, or catch it here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

In case you’re wondering, the music is from NBA Live 99, which seemed appropriate given that the game came out the year of Michael Jordan’s second retirement. I hope that you enjoyed the reel; stay tuned for more throwback content, each and every Wednesday here at the NLSC!

Wayback Wednesday: October 26th NBA Debuts

Michael Jordan palms the basketball in 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.

The 2017 NBA season has just tipped off, with a couple of big names making their first appearances for new teams, and a few rookies making their league debut. While the start of a new season is a time to look forward to what will hopefully be another great year of basketball, it’s not uncommon to take the opportunity to look back on the debuts of all-time greats. If you look up “On This Date” lists for October and November, you’ll usually see the debuts of some of the biggest names in basketball history among the dates that are noted.

On this particular date – October 26th – Hall of Famers and 1992 Dream Team members Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and Patrick Ewing all made their NBA debut; Jordan, Barkley, and Stockton in 1984, and Ewing in 1985. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I thought I’d share some screenshots of those players’ first appearances in basketball video games, as well as their last appearances as active NBA players. Of course, all four players appear in NBA 2K17, as members of the aforementioned Dream Team.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Dynasty Cutscenes in NBA Live 2004

Training Cutscene in NBA Live 2004's Dynasty Mode

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.

The next game that I’ll be looking back on as part of our ongoing (and belated) 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations is NBA Live 2004. It’s one of my all-time favourite games in the series, and a title that I know a lot of other long-time basketball gamers also remember fondly. As I’ll discuss in my forthcoming retrospective, NBA Live 2004 did a great job in correcting course after NBA Live 2003 was skewed too much towards a casual style, with more realistic gameplay and the inclusion of sliders for the first time in the NBA Live series.

If there’s one thing that most people remember about NBA Live 2004 though, it’s the cutscenes in the newly rebranded Dynasty Mode. Whereas reactions to the “Courtside Comedy” cutscenes in NBA Live 2003 were mixed at best, it seemed like most of us felt that the Dynasty Cutscenes really added to the atmosphere, bringing life to events that were taking place in the menus. Given that it’s such a memorable part of the game, I thought I’d talk a little bit about it, ahead of my full NBA Live 2004 retrospective.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Recreating Magic & Bird’s NBA Debuts

Moses Malone and Larry Bird in the Ultimate Base Roster for 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.

On this day in 1979, NBA history was made on opening night. In a 114-106 victory over the Houston Rockets, the Boston Celtics’ Chris Ford made the very first three-pointer in league history with 3:48 remaining in the first quarter. In that same game, the legendary Larry Bird made his professional debut, scoring 14 points to go along with ten rebounds and five assists. Elsewhere, Bird’s rival Magic Johnson also made his NBA debut, scoring 26 points and enjoying a 103-102 victory over the San Diego Clippers, courtesy of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s gamewinning skyhook.

The arrival of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, along with the debut of Michael Jordan five years later, propelled the NBA into a new golden age. All three legends appeared on separate covers for NBA 2K12, but since I’ve already talked about NBA’s Greatest in a previous Wayback Wednesday feature, I thought I’d do something a little different to mark the occasion. Using HAWK23’s amazing Ultimate Base Roster, I replayed the NBA debuts of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird using NBA 2K14 PC. Could I replicate their numbers and success?

With the help of UBR, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 4)

Michael Jordan celebrates title number six in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

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.

Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals came down to one final shot by Michael Jordan, so it seems only appropriate that my attempts to go back and finish the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11 come down to that same game. The last challenge standing between me and finally finishing the mode (and unlocking MJ: Creating a Legend) all these years later is Michael’s Last Dance, which involves re-creating the performance that clinched MJ’s sixth NBA title.

Now, the outcome of my game probably isn’t going to come down to one final shot, but out of all the games in the Jordan Challenge, this is the one that I expect I’ll need to attempt at least a few times before I complete it. I’ve tried it a few times in the past, and have always come up short on one statistical mark. However, it’s time to give it another try, in order to finally finish the Jordan Challenge. Join me as I re-live Michael’s Last Dance with the Chicago Bulls…most likely more than once.

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 3)

Michael Jordan celebrates title number four in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

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.

With only three games left to complete, I’ve almost finished the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11. As you’ll know if you’ve caught the first two parts of this series, I haven’t been completing them sequentially. Instead, I’ve been playing through them according to how difficult and frustrating I expect them to be. My goal has been to avoid getting burned out on NBA 2K11 or the Jordan Challenge before I can finish it; to that end, I’ve tried to leave the harder games – or at least, what strikes me as the harder games – until last.

On one hand, mission accomplished, as I’ve been eager to keep playing through the Jordan Challenge even though NBA 2K17 is out now. On the other hand, the time has come to play through those final challenges, if I want to complete the mode. In Part 3, I’m taking on 69 Points (the game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in which MJ scored his career high) and Father’s Day Victory (Game 6 of the 1996 NBA Finals). Read on to find out how they went down.

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 2)

Michael Jordan vs. Larry Bird in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

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.

NBA 2K17 is out now, so my retro gaming is temporarily on hold. However, before I got my hands on this year’s release, I did manage to complete another couple of games in NBA 2K11’s Jordan Challenge. I expect that I’ll mostly be playing NBA 2K17 over the next couple of weeks, but my inner completionist is definitely eager to once again pick up NBA 2K11 in the not too distant future, so that I may continue taking care of my unfinished business.

In Part 2 of this feature, I’m tackling the challenges from Michael Jordan’s second year in the league, and second-to-last year with the Chicago Bulls: The Arrival, and The Flu Game. Both contests were defining moments in the career of His Airness, with statistical marks that are tough to match. Needless to say, the eight minute quarters of the Jordan Challenge make them even tougher, especially The Arrival. Join me as I continue my quest to finally complete the Jordan Challenge, and unlock MJ: Creating a Legend without the cheat code!

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Wayback Wednesday: Finishing The Jordan Challenge (Part 1)

Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

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.

Going back to NBA 2K12 and completing the games of NBA’s Greatest that I never finished has inspired me to revisit NBA 2K11, and take care of some unfinished business in the Jordan Challenge. I’d actually made a couple of attempts to play the Jordan Challenge games before going back to NBA 2K12, but found the gameplay too frustrating. Having spent a little more time with both games and reacquainted myself with the controls – while also avoiding doing the things that only work in more recent NBA 2K titles – I’m finding that I’m far better on the sticks, and the games are less frustrating…for the most part.

When I first bought NBA 2K11, I was still making the transition from NBA Live, and NBA 2K’s controls felt very foreign. As such, I only completed three out of the ten challenges back in the day. Clearing the remaining challenges by hitting all of the necessary statistical marks was beyond my abilities as a relative newcomer to the series, and after some frustrating attempts, I ended up leaving them uncompleted. Now that I have some more experience with the series, and I’ve brushed up on NBA 2K11’s controls, I’m giving the Jordan Challenge another try. In Part 1 of this challenge, I’m attempting The Shrug and the 1991 NBA Finals.

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Wayback Wednesday: Courtside Comedy in NBA Live 2003

Rasheed Wallace argues with a referee in 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.

Our (belated) 20th Anniversary of NBA Live content is on-going, and next up will be a retrospective of NBA Live 2003. Before we get to that, however, I wanted to profile one of the game’s most notorious features: its “Courtside Comedy” cutscenes. On top of gameplay that wasn’t quite as sim as most basketball gamers would’ve liked, NBA Live 2003 also took a more light-hearted approach to its atmosphere, with several cutscenes involving players joking around and goofing off.

While the comedic cutscenes weren’t universally disliked, I think it’s fair to say that most gamers were not sorry to see them gone in NBA Live 2004. For my part, I can see the humour, and I do have a certain amount of nostalgia for the sheer oddity of them, but they definitely didn’t create the atmosphere that I wanted for NBA Live. Nevertheless, they are fun to look back on, especially because some of them could be truly ridiculous. Ahead of my detailed retrospective of NBA Live 2003, here are some of the most memorable courtside comedy cutscenes.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12

NBA's Greatest Menu in NBA 2K12

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.

I’ve been watching some classic NBA games recently, and it got me in the mood to play with some retro teams in NBA 2K. I can do that in NBA 2K16 of course, but only NBA 2K11 and NBA 2K12 have dedicated modes for the historic squads, namely the Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest respectively. After catching Michael Jordan’s 63 point game against Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics, I originally opted for NBA 2K11, with an eye towards finishing the Jordan Challenge games I never completed. When that didn’t go so well, I turned my attention towards NBA 2K12, and my unfinished challenges in NBA’s Greatest.

I’d ultimately complete my unfinished business, clearing all of the remaining challenges over the weekend. I found myself having a lot of fun, and the experience certainly made me appreciate NBA’s Greatest all over again. In fact, it had me wishing that we still had some sort of mode for the classic teams in the newer games. Since I’ve finally completed all fifteen games and unlocked all of the included retro teams at long last, it only made sense to profile NBA’s Greatest for this week’s Wayback Wednesday feature.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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