Roster Players refer to generic placeholder players (usually with the name Roster Player) used in early NBA Live games to represent players that could not be included due to licensing difficulties. Not including the Playoff games, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan would only ever appear as a Roster Player up until NBA Live 2000, when he was included as part of the roster of Legends available in the game. Charles Barkley also appeared as a Roster Player in NBA Live 97. The concept has not been used since NBA Live 99.
Traditionally, the roster player would have abilities similar to the player they are meant to represent, but use a generic appearance that does not resemble the actual player and similar (but inaccurate) bio data. In NBA Live 97, the bio data for the Roster Players representing Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley was very similar in terms of draft information, birth date and place and jersey numbers, but the Roster Player representing Michael Jordan in NBA Live 98 and NBA Live 99 made further disctinctions in the bio data, possibly to avoid legal issues.
The use of Roster Players came in handy in the PC versions with community made patching tools allowing users to quickly and easily edit and existing player and change them into the real players they were supposed to represent. For console users, they were more intrusive as their bio data could not be edited and the players themselves could not be deleted. Presently there is no need for Roster Players on the active rosters in NBA Live owing to the fact that no major active players are excluded from appearing in the rosters, however it has been suggested that generic Roster Players be used to fill in for missing Legends who are no longer licensed to appear in the game.