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Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

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 players who only played a single season in the NBA, but ended up being regular starters.

On top of the players that have just one appearance in the NBA – “cups of coffee“, as Basketball Reference labels them – there are many players who spent just a single season in the league. While this is still a tremendous accomplishment, it may be surprising, not to mention disappointing for seemingly promising prospects. Usually, these players only appeared in a handful of games, playing sparingly. You generally wouldn’t expect them to be starters, at least outside of a game or two when injuries opened up a rare opportunity.

Surprisingly, several single season players were starters for a respectable chunk of their only NBA campaigns. For the purposes of compiling the most interesting and relevant list – i.e. not just including anyone who played one season and started a few games – I’ve set the cut-off at starting in at least 20% of their appearances. That might still seem generous, but considering that most single season players have ridden the bench, it represents some regular forays into the starting five. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Tips & Tricks You May Not Remember

The Friday Five: 5 Tips & Tricks You May Not Remember

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 basketball gaming tips and tricks that you may not remember.

To state the obvious, success in basketball games comes from employing basketball strategies; at least to some extent. Older games have more primitive mechanics, arcade titles facilitated strategies that wouldn’t work in sim games (or real life, for that matter), and even newer releases aren’t entirely free of exploits. Still, then and now, most tips and tricks for basketball games adhered to concepts that also applied to real hoops: take the open shot, pound the ball inside for higher percentage looks and to draw fouls, position yourself properly, take advantages of mismatches, and so on.

Those are all important points to remember, and they generally apply to all basketball games, new and old. Of course, because they are video games at the end of the day, there are predictable moments and useful tricks that are more “video game tactics” than “basketball strategies”. Outside of exploits such as Curry slides and zigzag cheese, these have become less common as games have become more sophisticated. Trying to play old games with a realistic approach that’s more suited to modern titles can work, but you’ll have more success if you use some antiquated tips and tricks. Here are five examples of such strategies, some of which you may have forgotten.

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Monday Tip-Off: Fantasy Concepts In Sim Games

Monday Tip-Off: Fantasy Concepts In Sim Games

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 my thoughts on sim basketball games adopting fantasy concepts.

The concept of “sim” in basketball and sports gaming raises many questions. Just how much realism should a game strive for? For that matter, what is “sim”? Obviously it implies realism, but just how closely should it resemble reality? Does it mean accurate down to the last detail, or can it take some liberties for the sake of accessibility and enjoyment? It’s a balancing act that sim games have been attempting for decades now. From a gamer’s perspective, we can sometimes tailor the experience through the use of gameplay sliders, but they aren’t available in all modes.

Of course, when it comes to fantasy concepts in sim games, the issue goes beyond the action between the lines. Franchise modes are based on real aspects of the NBA, but they invite us to create our own reality with fictional results and player movement. When we place ourselves into the games to play out a career and participate in the connected online modes, it’s indulging a fantasy. Realism also goes out the window with the card collecting modes, where we can assemble fantasy lineups with players from different decades. Even the All-Time and All-Decade teams count as fantasy concepts in sim games! The question is: can we, or indeed should we, draw a line?

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The Friday Five: 5 Side Effects of Unlicensed Players You May Not Know

The Friday Five: 5 Side Effects of Unlicensed Players You May Not Know

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 side effects of players going unlicensed, some of which you may not be aware of.

The vast array of historical content in NBA 2K is more than we could’ve dreamed of in the late 90s and early 2000s. Even the Legends and All-Decade teams that came along in NBA Live 2000 were obviously a big deal in their day. While there are issues with accuracy and detail, having retro content in the games is better than not having it at all. With that being said, players that remain unlicensed are definitely conspicuous by their absence. I’m sure that you’re aware of the key names, with Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Rasheed Wallace, being among the most frequently mentioned.

Their absence has an obvious effect on the historical content that has been included, and what can’t be included. The 2000 Portland Trail Blazers and 2004 Detroit Pistons don’t look complete without Sheed in the lineup. We didn’t get any challenges based on the 1993 NBA Finals in The Jordan Challenge, as they’d be pointless without Sir Charles. As it stands, the ’85 76ers were an oddball retro team, as Chuck was a rookie on that squad. There are other teams that won’t be officially included because Miller, Barkley, and other players are unlicensed. That’s widely known and understood, but there are other side effects of 2K being unable to come to terms with certain players.

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Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

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 oldest rookies in NBA history, and their subsequent video game debuts.

One of the interesting oddities about early iterations of MyCAREER is that you were able to set your age. This meant that if you wanted to role-play as an established pro that was finally making their way to the NBA, then you could effectively make that part of your bio. These days, your MyPLAYER avatar has a fixed age that fits their back story, that generally being a young player coming out of college. It makes sense, but considering that there have been many rookies that are new to the league but not to professional basketball, it’s a shame that such an option is no longer available.

Of course, we still see real examples of latecomers to the NBA in the official rosters, and there have been some noteworthy stories over the years. I’ll admit that since I’ve entered my 30s, I have a greater appreciation for the NBA’s oldest rookies, especially in an era where there seems to be a Logan’s Run approach to veteran players. In fact, referring to them as the “oldest rookies” feels rather strange now that I’m older than they were at the time! Between these rookies being the oldest debutants and some of the games that they were featured in, this is definitely one for the “old heads”. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: My Basketball Video Game Collection (2022 Edition)

Monday Tip-Off: My Basketball Video Game Collection (2022 Edition)

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 a look at my basketball video game collection, as of 2022.

Back in March, I tweeted out a photo of my entire physical basketball video game collection, with some follow-up screenshots of the digital releases I own. I’m proud of my collection and satisfied in how I’ve been able to amass it, so I was pleased with the reception. While collecting is something that I do for my own enjoyment – and create content for the NLSC, of course – I was naturally hoping that my fellow hoops gamers would be impressed and get a kick out of the photo. I wanted it to inspire nostalgia, intrigue, and yes, a slight touch of good-natured envy. I’d say mission accomplished!

Given the old maxim of a picture being worth a thousand words, I could just leave it at those Tweets. However, I would like to talk a little more about my basketball video game collection, and provide a comprehensive listing as it’s impossible to get every title to be clearly visible in one photo. There are also a few digital releases that I didn’t display in my follow-up screenshots, including a couple I neglected to mention since they’re standalone releases and not on a digital platform such as Steam, Xbox Live, or the PSN Store. Finally, it’s been almost seven years since I wrote about my basketball video game collection, and I’ve been able to make some exciting additions since then.

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The Friday Five: 5 Coincidental Names in Basketball Games

The Friday Five: 5 Coincidental Names in Basketball Games

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 provides five examples of coincidental names in various basketball video games.

Something that I’m sure is readily apparent across my various articles is that I’m a fan of interesting trivia and obscure tidbits. Whether it’s the players that appeared in more video games than real NBA games, phantom stints captured on the virtual hardwood, rare features, or other unusual facts, I find them fascinating, and enjoy talking about them. Strange and humorous coincidences would definitely fall under that umbrella. To that end, today I’m talking about coincidental names that I’ve encountered in various basketball games over the years.

Generally speaking, the default rosters of an NBA game likely won’t have too many coincidental names. At least, nothing out of the ordinary, or anything that doesn’t reflect a real life coincidence, such as the time there were two players called Marcus Williams in the NBA. “Coincidence” is also a word that we use, shall we say, quite flexibly. Sometimes “coincidences” have flimsy connections, or are in fact deliberate and thus not coincidental at all. To that point, I’m taking some liberties with the term, as I suspect some of these coincidental names were intentional. They are fun though, so if you’ll indulge me, here are five coincidental names that I’ve encountered.

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 6)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 6)

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 ten more players who became familiar faces in strange places.

With decades of NBA history and basketball video games to draw upon, are you surprised that I’m up to the sixth instalment in this series? For the uninitiated, this series looks back at stars and other noteworthy players who are usually associated with a particular team, having spent most of their career or enjoying the most success there, only to move on to another team where they looked very out of place. They are the familiar faces who wind up in strange places. This is in contrast to the players that become familiar faces back in familiar places, which is a different series altogether.

As I always explain with both series of articles, I’m looking back at these strange and sometimes forgotten stints from the perspective of basketball video games. This is keeping in line with our content – we are a basketball gaming site and community, after all – and as I always say, I love the interactive almanac aspect of retro basketball gaming. Not all of these stints can still be seen in games due to roster updates (or a lack thereof), but at some point, they were represented on the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 5)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 5)

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 another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

If you’ve been checking out my Wayback Wednesday features for some time now, you probably know the drill when it comes to this topic. For those who are new or perhaps missed the first four instalments, this is a series in which I profile stars and other noteworthy NBA players who returned for a second stint with a team that they previously played for. In other words, they’re the familiar faces back in familiar places. It’s a counterpart to my familiar faces in strange places series, which profiles players in stints that were unusual and sometimes forgotten.

As always, I’m looking at these familiar faces back in familiar places through the lens of basketball video games. I do so because we are a basketball video game site, and as I’m so fond of saying, basketball video games serve as interactive almanacs. When you’re a retro basketball gamer, you’ll often stumble across familiar faces in familiar places and strange places alike, reminding you of stints that may not be talked about all that much. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Aiming For Stats & Records

Monday Tip-Off: Aiming For Stats & Records

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 what it’s like when we aim for stats and records on the virtual hardwood.

Not to sound like a grumpy old man or anything, but there’s a big emphasis on stats and records in the NBA these days. That’s not to say they weren’t ever relevant, or something that fans and players alike never cared about. Wilt Chamberlain was very much aware of his stats and records, so this mentality predates the three-point era, let alone the past couple of generations. However, it does seem like everyone is obsessed with numbers these days – including rather obscure statistical achievements – to the point where actually winning games and even championships seems secondary.

It’s interesting how this mentality also applies to basketball gaming. Of course, we’ve long used hoops games to put up crazy numbers, leading to a big night for players in real life to be referred to as a “video game performance”. A handful of video games over the past couple of generations have even challenged us to put up stats and beat NBA records for Trophies and Achievements. The funny thing is that it’s not always easy to post ridiculous numbers on the virtual hardwood, or to replicate the feats of NBA greats and record holders. Also, while it’s fun to try alone, chasing records and stats can be a disastrous approach in online play, coming at the expense of winning.

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The Friday Five: 5 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 5)

The Friday Five: 5 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 5)

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 Part 5 in an ongoing series listing players that appeared in more video games than actual NBA games.

Due to the interactive almanac aspect of basketball video games – yes, there’s that phrase again – they’re a great way of remembering players long after they’ve retired. If you spent a lot of time poring over the rosters in old games, either while modding or perhaps playing a franchise game, you might even find that you’re able to recall the names of benchwarmers from years ago, without even firing up those titles. Even if you can’t recall them off the top of your head, once you dust off an old game and start browsing the rosters, even the most obscure names will likely come back to you.

Indeed, you’ll probably only recall some of the most obscure names because of the time you spent on the virtual hardwood. As is evident by this being the fifth article covering this topic, there are a number of players who made their way into the official rosters of video games despite never actually playing in the NBA. If you follow the NCAA or foreign leagues, some of these players may be familiar due to their stints and accomplishments elsewhere. Most of us probably remember them as names in the Free Agents Pool, or on the deep bench in the default rosters. Those players do have some interesting stories though, especially when they end up being in multiple titles.

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NLSC Podcast #418: House Rules, Epic Duels, & Offline Views

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #418 of the NLSC Podcast!

Mad as it may seem, we were compelled to revisit NBA Live 07 for Xbox 360 this week. It’s as rough as we remembered, and doesn’t hold a candle to NBA Live 06 on the same platform, which was a far more fun game to dust off! The College Hoops 2K8 Tournament has also been a blast to play and to watch, with the Sweet 16 almost in the books. After catching up on some recent stories from NBA 2K14 MyCAREER, we discuss house rules when playing against the CPU. What’s the best way to ensure fairness, and challenge? In this week’s mailbag, we’re talking about ideas for offline modes and content. As you might expect, the community isn’t just about the online experience these days!

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (Part 3)

The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (Part 3)

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 Part 3 in an ongoing series where I look at players who only appeared on certain teams in video games.

Yes, it’s time to take a look at another five players who only made appearances for certain teams on the virtual hardwood! As much as old basketball games can serve as interactive almanacs, they do lack context that tells the whole story. The snapshot of the NBA that they preserve may just be a fleeting moment, which doesn’t always make them a reliable reference. Of course, if you’re working on a retro roster project, you’ll probably be using a resource such as Basketball Reference instead. Then again, it’s not infallible, either.

Indeed, one of the players that I’m discussing today had a “phantom stint” that isn’t adequately explained over on Basketball Reference. On top of its inclusion in a video game serving as a reminder, this article will probably end up being one of the few places online that mentions it; hooray for search engine visibility! It’s not the only interesting story though, and the five players that I’m covering here in Part 3 are not the final examples of players who are members of the Phantom Stint Club. That means more instalments of this series in the future, but for now, here are five more stints seen only in games. A couple of the names will probably be a surprise!

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NLSC Podcast #417: Picking an All-Virtual Hardwood Team

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #417 of the NLSC Podcast!

Our College Hoops 2K8 Tournament is set to tip off! Talking about college basketball games leads us to ponder whether EA Sports’ best move would be to revive their NCAA series before they attempt another comeback with NBA Live. We also reflect on the madness of collecting retro basketball games, the size of our respective collections, and the current prices in retro video game stores and on eBay alike. We’re also interested in spending more time with a cancelled Sega Genesis game starring Shaquille O’Neal that was leaked a few years back. This week’s mailbag topic is all about picking our All-Virtual Hardwood teams. We share our selections, along with the community’s picks.

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Unusually Rare Basketball Game Features

The Friday Five: 5 Unusually Rare Basketball Game Features

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 basketball game features that are unusually rare.

Over the years, certain features and design choices have become standard in NBA-licensed video games. While that may seem counterproductive to creativity, it does establish some norms, and in turn, quality control. As much as it was fantastic to have so many different basketball games on the market several years ago, there were some titles that fumbled the basics due to trying their own approach when an optimal design had been devised. On the plus side, when it did work out, games included some nifty features when their developers thought outside the box.

Sadly, many of these creative basketball game features were short-lived, making them unusually rare in the genre. The two biggest brands in the basketball gaming space, namely EA Sports and Visual Concepts, have also dabbled with creative ideas that have only made it into a few titles. In many cases, it’s one-and-done for these features, making a game noteworthy for being the only appearance of an unusually rare mode or function that seemingly should’ve become commonplace. They’re the features that we find when we revisit old titles, leaving us to wonder why they didn’t last. It may be that they weren’t that popular, but it also feels as though some weren’t given a chance.

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