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The Friday Five: 5 Single-Season Detroit Pistons

The Friday Five: 5 Single-Season Detroit Pistons

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five players who had single-season stints with the Detroit Pistons

So, this might seem like a weird topic for me to cover in The Friday Five! The Detroit Pistons are hardly the only NBA team whose all-time roster includes a number of players who only stuck around for a year. I’m also generally not inclined to focus my content on the Pistons; indeed, as a Chicago Bulls fan, it would be rather unusual for me to celebrate the team from the Motor City! However, I do love basketball and basketball gaming trivia, and it’s fun when real hoops reminds me of something from a video game, or revisiting an old title brings to mind some tidbit about the NBA.

While writing about my Minnesota Timberwolves Franchise in NBA Live 2003 for Wayback Wednesday, I noted that Joe Smith was on the roster, also mentioning his brief time with the Pistons. In the weird way that a mind that enjoys trivia works, I began trying to recall other players who only spent a single season of their career with Detroit, resulting in an often overlooked stint. Some of these players are bigger names than others, but they all have one thing in common, that being multi-year careers in the NBA with only one in Detroit. With apologies to fans of Korleone Young, that disqualifies him from this particular list, but here are five other single-season Pistons!

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NLSC Podcast #528: Best Three-Point Shooters in Video Game History

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #528 of the NLSC Podcast!

A recent interview with EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson bleakly hints at a future where games are riddled with intrusive ads. We’ve already seen attempts at this before, but as you can imagine, we’re not thrilled at the possibility of it becoming commonplace! However, most of this week’s show is dedicated to the deadeyes from downtown on the virtual hardwood, as we join the community in reminiscing about the best three-point shooters in the history of basketball video games. We also recall the players that we preferred to overwrite when customising the rosters in classic titles, whether we were making current roster updates or putting ourselves and our friends into the NBA.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Monday Tip-Off: Defining “Retro” in Retro Gaming

Monday Tip-Off: Defining Retro in Retro Gaming

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on the accuracy of the word “retro” when it comes to retro gaming, basketball or otherwise.

For a few years now, I’ve preferred playing old favourites and discovering new retro kicks to spending time with the latest NBA 2K. I do always want to give the newest release a chance, but beginning with NBA 2K21 – both versions, in fact – I’ve found more joy in revisiting older titles. It’s something that Dee enjoys as well, and we’ve often advocated for retro gaming on the NLSC Podcast, as well as through our other content. “Retro gaming” is the term that we often use, but considering the recency of some of the titles, it leads one to wonder: is “retro” really the right word?

Indeed, this is a question that goes beyond basketball gaming: how old does a game need to be to truly qualify as “retro”? Is there a generational cut-off? Is there a term that’s more appropriate, or less misleading? After all, “retro” means different things to different people. Depending on how old you are and when you started gaming, the primitive titles of your youth will seem like truly ancient history to some, while others remember them as landmark jumps and technological feats. While I’m generally fine with using “retro gaming” as a blanket term for the hobby and practice of playing older video games, there’s ambiguity to the term that invites a thoughtful discussion.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 11th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I don’t care what analytics and the box score watchers claim: give me breathtaking and downright vicious poster dunks over three-pointers any day of the week! It’s clear that I’m not alone in that philosophy, as this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays is another celebration of the most exciting moment in basketball, real or virtual. A combination of tough defense, pinpoint passing, and ankle-breaking moves set up these spectacular slams across four different games, from NBA Live 09 through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

Wayback Wednesday: The Jail Blazers & Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: The Jail Blazers & Video Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the “Jail Blazers” era of the Portland Trail Blazers, and their presence in basketball video games.

When my cousin and I were looking to move on from our 1995 Season in NBA Live 95 PC and dive into the all new Franchise mode in NBA Live 2000, we obviously had to choose a team to play with cooperatively. In the interest of neutrality, we opted not to use either of our favourite teams (the Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics). After discussing it on the phone – this was the year 2000, after all – we ultimately went with the Portland Trail Blazers, and agreed on a few trades. I set everything up ready for his arrival in the school holidays, and we won the title playing a 28-game season.

It’s one of my favourite memories, both of basketball gaming and hanging out with my cousin as a teenager, but why the Portland Trail Blazers? Neither of us had an attachment to the club, and there were other teams that could’ve been just a fun. Well, while the off-court incidents that branded those early 2000s Trail Blazers the “Jail Blazers” may have caused a number of legal headaches and chemistry problems in real life, on the virtual hardwood, they had some deep rosters that were enjoyable to play with, as well as reshape with trades. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Makeshift Classic Teams & Other Minimalist Rosters

Monday Tip-Off: Makeshift Classic Teams & Other Minimalist Rosters

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on my recent habit of creating and playing with makeshift classic teams – and other minimalist rosters – while retro gaming.

There are multiple ways in which I can indulge my NBA nostalgia. I can simply revisit an old game and play with rosters that are now a time capsule. For over a decade now, the NBA 2K series has provided a plethora of historical content, from classic teams to All-Time squads to the Decade All-Stars. There are also mods that I can download, or I could always create my own retro rosters in one of my favourite games. In short, if I feel like taking a trip down memory lane on the virtual hardwood, it can be done with impressive accuracy.

As such, I will absolutely do all those things! However, cobbling together makeshift classic teams has become a consistent part of my basketball gaming over the past year or so. I’ve also tinkered with the rosters of old games I’m dusting off by rolling them back to the previous season, or creating minimalist Legends squads. It may sound highly unnecessary when there are games that already provide that content, not to mention strange that I’m not opting for more accuracy with a full retro mod. However, I’ve had a blast incorporating some minimalist modding into my retro gaming. There’s an undeniable appeal to assembling something new with only the content on hand.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 4th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

May the 4th be with you, basketball gamers! With this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays falling on a day that’s obviously very special to Star Wars fans – no matter what side of The Force you’re on – the countdown not only features players defying gravity, but also a couple of familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away. As always, it’s not just about spectacular virtual hardwood moments but also entertaining variety, as eight different titles are on display from NBA Live 2001 all the way through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

NLSC Podcast #526: Worst Voices of the Virtual Hardwood

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #526 of the NLSC Podcast!

Who are the worst and most annoying commentators to be stuck listening to in basketball video games? This week, we join the community in picking our least favourite voices of the virtual hardwood, whether it’s due to the opinions that they share, their delivery in the booth, or simply the sound of their voice. Of course, it probably won’t come as a huge surprise that we’re generally not fans of them in real life, either! We also recap a fun session with Basketball Classics that concluded in exciting fashion, and quiz the community on the top-rated point guards in NBA 2K9. Not to sound like a clickbait article, but the answers – and at least one noteworthy omission – may shock you!

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Monday Tip-Off: Not So Fast, Past Me!

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off by revisiting an article I wrote in 2019, in order to discuss just how much I disagree with Past Me.

Normally, I reserve revisiting and republishing articles for Wayback Wednesday, though it’s one of my more rarely-used topics. However, this is more of a sequel column; a follow-up to opinions I expressed going on five years ago, that I strongly disagree with now. That’s not a bad thing, of course. It’s a positive trait to be able to remain open-minded, changing your stance when new evidence is presented and not just continuing to believe something because it’s been your view for so long. Ideally, we should be able to look back at what we’ve said and who we were, and see growth.

While browsing our archives, I was reminded of a Monday Tip-Off that I wrote back in 2019: “The Difficulty of Going Back“. As that title suggests, Past Me was opining that it was becoming increasingly challenging to return to older releases, and bring them back into my basketball gaming rotation. Considering how passionately I’ve advocated for retro basketball gaming since then, it should be obvious how much my opinion has changed! Of course, just as there are reasons I’ve become more receptive to going back to older hoops titles once again, there were reasons why Past Me felt it was growing difficult; even with a long history of retro gaming. Allow me to explain.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 27th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Two things that we love to see in the NLSC Top 10 Plays are new titles making their first appearance, and re-creations of real life highlights. This week’s countdown delivers on both fronts, as you’ll see the debut of Michael Jordan in Flight, and a play that resembles a furious finish that we’ve just witnessed in the 2024 NBA Playoffs! On top of that, there’s the usual assortment of spectacular dunks, jaw-dropping ankle breakers, and other plays that make real and virtual basketball alike so entertaining. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

The Friday Five: 5 Contentious Basketball Gaming Debates

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five weighs in on five contentious basketball gaming debates.

When you’ve been around a while, both in terms of a gaming community and life in general, a couple of things usually happen. You may well lean into that curmudgeonly aspect of aging, becoming the proverbial old man yelling at clouds. At the same time, you also realise that certain things aren’t as important anymore, if indeed they ever were. Leaving high school is a liberating experience, as problems that once seemed all-important and dramatic now feel like petty non-issues (because they often were!). The flipside of this is dealing with all of the new challenges that come with adulthood.

Of course, being an adult doesn’t necessarily mean avoiding petty drama, especially in hobby and fan communities. As the saying goes, growing older is mandatory, but growing up isn’t. Fanbases have strong opinions that make them prone to contentious debates, and the basketball gaming community is no different. As with any other gaming community or group of fans, there are popular and unpopular opinions, issues that are divisive, and a selfish desire to be right and get what we want. We’re not all going to get along one hundred percent of the time, but there are some basketball gaming topics that are often contentious. Here’s my take on five of those matters!

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NLSC Podcast #525: Check My Stats

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #525 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which basketball video games have been the easiest and hardest to put up stats in over the years? This week, we join the community in discussing the titles that stick out in our minds, as well as the statistics that either eluded us or seemingly piled up way too easily. Additionally, following a session with Virtua NBA – an arcade release that a few people in our community have taken an interest in lately – we give our thoughts on what is certainly an intriguing game. We also provide an update on our journey in the original NBA Jam, pick our ideal hoops games for an annual tournament, and reflect on how it feels to shelve a beloved favourite that’s unfortunately grown stale.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 20th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Allow me to begin by declaring my fondness for the #1 entry in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays. Surprisingly, it doesn’t feature Michael Jordan, but to say any more would be a spoiler, so let’s leave it at that! You’ll also see some spectacular slams from recent retiree Blake Griffin in NBA Live 10, cocky long bombs from a Celtics fan favourite, unlucky defenders being put on posters, fancy passes, and a broken backboard that’ll have you bellowing Boomshakalaka! Nine different games are featured in this week’s countdown, from the original NBA Jam right through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Features Seemingly Gone For Good

The Friday Five: 5 Features Seemingly Gone For Good

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five features that unfortunately seem highly unlikely to return.

There are reasons that certain features from older basketball video games have fallen by the wayside. As I’ve discussed before, even though some of the annual games may seem like mere roster updates, the code still has to be rewritten every year. If there’s a feature or function that doesn’t work properly with the new code, and if it isn’t a particularly popular or necessary part of the game, it may end up on the chopping block. Additionally, some features evolve into new concepts, or a technological advance or design change elsewhere will render them redundant.

This is how we lose some of the features that we really like. It’s not something that’s done out of spite, though when microtransactions are involved, there may certainly be a lack of goodwill. Mind you, a reasonable explanation for the absence of a beloved feature doesn’t remove the sting for gamers who were passionate about it. Sometimes we’re lucky and a mode or feature is brought back, though not always exactly how we wanted it. However, other features are seemingly gone for good, much to our dismay. We all have our own examples here, and to that end, here are five features that I wish basketball video games still had, but sadly doubt that we’ll ever see brought back.

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NLSC Podcast #524: NBA Jam & Borrowing From Other Games

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #524 of the NLSC Podcast!

After feeling inspired to revisit the Super Nintendo version of the original NBA Jam, we were reminded of just how fun the game still is in 2024…and also, just how unfair it can be when the AI is determined to win and begins rubber-banding! Once again we draw comparisons to the NBA Playgrounds games, while a couple of interesting ratings led us to dive into some statistics from the 1993 season. We also join the community in discussing which ideas we’d take from other sports games – from modes and features to settings and roster customisation options – to improve future NBA 2K releases (and potentially, a new NBA Live some day as well).

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!