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Monday Tip-Off: Hey, That Meme Looks Familiar!

Monday Tip-Off: Hey, That Meme Looks Familiar!

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 encountering a familiar image in a meme, and other moments of recognition.

It’s good advice to be careful about what you put out there on the internet. We’re not always as anonymous as we think, and poor behaviour can come back to haunt us. In general, it’s prudent to exercise caution in sharing personal information and even photos, as it can compromise one’s safety. It’s something to keep in mind when you’re a content creator, even in a niche community. Someone with an axe to grind may be petty enough to use it to directly harass you, or talk trash about you elsewhere online. I’ve encountered both during my time running the NLSC.

On a lighter note, when it comes to the content you create for one and all to see, you never know where it will end up. It’s both exciting and humbling when something gains traction, as my article on the Rising Cost of MyCAREER did last year, or when your work is referenced, as a WhatCulture video did with a post about NBA Elite 11. On the other hand, it’s funny when parts of your content end up being recycled, or shared outside of the original context. In particular, I’ve seen some of my screenshots show up in other articles, or on social media. And, speaking of the latter, there’s one familiar screenshot that has been used in a meme shared by several accounts.

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NLSC Greatest Performances: The Delonte West Deluge

NLSC Greatest Performances: The Delonte West Deluge

If you’re subscribed to the NLSC YouTube channel – and you absolutely should be! – then you may have seen that Dee4Three has tipped off a new video series: NLSC Greatest Performances! This series spotlights incredible performances on the virtual hardwood, and first up is Delonte West.

As you may recall, Delonte West had himself a night during our NBA Live 10 Tournament! In a series featuring LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, it was West who stepped up for Cavs4872 in the second half of Game 2 against QB1120 and the Lakers, scorching the nets for 39 points in just 12 minutes. Dee has compiled a highlight reel of Delonte’s scoring deluge, which came from a barrage of cold-blooded jumpers and fearless forays to the rim. Watch as West turns King James and the Black Mamba into mere spectators!

These epic performances by Virtual Hardwood Legends are as entertaining as putting up numbers with the all-time greats, and they stick in our minds for years to come. As this series continues, Dee will be spotlighting many incredible performances in basketball video games, new and old. From the superstars of the sport to Virtual Hardwood Legends to career mode avatars, stay tuned for a dazzling array of highlights in NLSC Greatest Performances!

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 14th, 2022

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.

This week marks the one year anniversary of the reboot of the NLSC Top 10 Plays, and we have a great countdown to celebrate the occasion! From a long bomb in Double Dribble to a classic Jason Kidd behind-the-back pass in NBA 2K19 using the 1995 season mod, there’s plenty of flair on display. There’s also a very rare defensive highlight from NBA Live 2003, and yes, an assortment of jaw-dropping dunks! A big thank you to everyone who has gotten involved with the Top 10 over the past year. It’s not going anywhere, so please keep the highlights coming!

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 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 13)

The Friday Five: 5 Retro Teams I'd Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 13)

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 thirteen in a series discussing retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

This isn’t the first time I’ve revisited the topic of retro teams that I’d like to see in NBA 2K in back-to-back weeks. Although I do like to spread out sequel articles in the name of variety, sometimes I’ll stick with a topic if the next part is in the can, and it still feels relevant. Parts eight to eleven of this series came out in consecutive weeks back in 2019, and as I mentioned in part twelve, I’ve already shelved the topic for so long that I needed to take new screenshots from the latest game. Also, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to post the thirteenth instalment of the series on Friday the 13th!

With that being said, let’s get into the next five retro teams that I’d be in favour of the developers adding in future NBA 2K games. Actually, I’m cheating and suggesting six teams in a list of five, but you’ll see why when you get there. As I’ve previously noted, since 2K has ventured beyond the parameters of iconic teams, such as former champions, their opponents, and other perennial powerhouses, my lists have likewise explored some more unorthodox choices. My aim is to suggest teams that are fun to play with, historically significant in some way, and would allow for some handy new assets to be included for modding projects. I believe these five – uh, six – fit the bill.

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Wayback Wednesday: The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14

Wayback Wednesday: The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14

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 OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14.

Is there a more important and impactful trailer in the history of basketball gaming than the OMG Trailer, promoting NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One? While there have been other fantastic trailers and promotional spots for basketball video games, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that turned as many heads, and that gamers still know by name. It boldly announced the arrival of a new generation, and made a statement that Visual Concepts were eager to make full use of the technology they now had at their disposal.

The OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14 is something you can still appreciate today. It still looks amazing almost a decade and entire console generation later. In a way, it’s even more impressive now that we know the game lived up to the hype; even if a few of us discovered that later than others! There’s more to the OMG Trailer for NBA 2K14 than just reflecting on how awesome it was, though. It’s had a lasting impact on the series and basketball gaming as a whole, but has also proven to be a hard act to follow. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Community, Or The Wrong Parts of It?

Monday Tip-Off: The Community, Or The Wrong Parts of It?

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 blaming the entire basketball gaming community for changes and additions that only a vocal minority asked for.

Even though everyone in the basketball gaming community shares a common passion, we’re not always on the same page. We’re divided along several lines: mode of choice, online or offline gaming, ideal controls and mechanics, how much realism the games should have, and so on. This makes it impossible for anyone to speak on behalf of the entire community, and no one person’s vision alone is right for basketball gaming. In turn, developers have many voices to listen to – some offering up conflicting feedback – and so are guaranteed to disappoint a contingent of the fanbase with certain choices.

While we collectively understand that, in our disappointment and indeed our outrage, it’s difficult to accept. When we’re disappointed and angry – whether it’s about video games or anything in life – we want to lay blame. We point the finger at developers, the suits, and even ourselves. In all three cases, that blame isn’t entirely misplaced. However, when it comes to blaming ourselves, we’re talking about a much larger group; a group that has less control than the other two, and is less likely to be wholly in agreement. As such, when we blame what we see as an undesirable aspect of NBA 2K on the community, we’re often pointing the finger at the wrong parts of it.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 7th, 2022

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.

Whether it’s real basketball or basketball video games, dunks will always stand alone as the supreme highlight of the sport. With that in mind, this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays is dedicated to dunks, but slams aren’t the entire story. It’s the slick dribbling moves that set them up, the ambitious tricks with the ball once the player is in the air, and the posterised defenders that dared to attempt a block. The seven games featured in this week’s countdown stand as proof that no matter if it’s NBA Live 98 or NBA 2K22, virtual dunks never go out of style!

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 Retro Teams I’d Like To See in NBA 2K (Part 12)

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 twelve in a series discussing retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K.

This is one of my longest-running series of Friday Five articles, yet somehow, I haven’t posted a new instalment since 2019! It’s not that I haven’t had any ideas for retro teams that I’d like to see added to NBA 2K, either. In fact, I had ten further suggestions when I posted Part 11 in this series, all ready to be written about. I even had screenshots prepared for those articles. Indeed, the series has been on the shelf for so long while I discuss other topics here in The Friday Five, that it only felt right to get brand new screenshots using a newer game!

With that out of the way, what other retro teams could I possibly suggest that haven’t been mentioned already? Obviously I’ve covered a lot of ground so far, and a few of the teams I suggested in earlier instalments have actually been included since. I’m not claiming credit here, but since I was genuinely keen to see those retro teams be added to the games, I’m pleased that it happened! Once again, I’ve been delving into some unorthodox suggestions, since 2K already made the wise decision to expand beyond conventional choices of champions, their opponents, and other celebrated squads. Without any further ado, here are five more retro teams that’d I’d really like to see.

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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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Monday Tip-Off: Could College Basketball Be EA Sports’ Niche?

Monday Tip-Off: Could College Basketball Be EA Sports Niche?

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 the prospect of EA Sports using college basketball as a springboard for their return to the virtual hardwood.

Excluding the mobile version of NBA Live, we haven’t seen a new basketball video game from EA Sports since 2018. There was time when such a thing seemed like an unthinkable prospect. Sure, NBA Live had had a rough release here or there, and NBA 2K steadily rose to become the premier brand by the end of the 2000s. We still expected a basketball game from EA, though; two in fact! With the NCAA series ending in 2009, and NBA Live missing several years beginning with the cancellation of NBA Elite 11, we’ve grown accustomed to their hoops titles being benched.

Not everyone has a problem with that. For some gamers, it’s EA Sports’ just deserts after failing to develop a satisfactory basketball title, or perhaps moving away from the PC platform (or indeed, both). I do understand that sentiment. However, for all the good things that NBA 2K has done, we’ve seen the downside of 2K having a virtual monopoly over the virtual hardwood. Unfortunately, while there would be a benefit to competition and choice in the space, NBA Live has not been able to deliver and be that viable alternative. With that in mind, eschewing the NBA in favour of a new college basketball game could prove to be EA Sports’ best move at this juncture.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 30th, 2022

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’m a little late in sharing this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays, as I was out of town and then travelling home. As such, there’s a chance that you’ve already seen the full countdown over on YouTube, or perhaps the equally excellent abridged version that Dee shares on Twitter. However, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s worth another watch, as eight different titles from Team USA Basketball to NBA 2K22 have provided the community with some more memorable virtual hardwood moments. We’re grateful that those moments have been shared with us, so once again, check out this week’s assortment of poster dunks, flashy passes, and clutch plays!

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 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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Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

Wayback Wednesday: Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08

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 Go-To Moves in NBA Live 08.

These days, unique signature animations and a variety of animation packages are staple features of sim basketball games. We’re a long way from the days of every player having the same shooting form, the same dribbling style, and in some rare games, a handful of signature moves for star players. That’s not to say that every player in the game has unique mo-capped animations, but the most distinctive styles are usually accounted for. Of course, there were some intermediate steps between everyone using the same animations, and the signature styles of today.

NBA Live began taking steps towards player differentiation by including a second jumpshot animation intended for big men, as well as slower and simpler dribbling moves for weaker ballhandlers. The next step was Freestyle Superstars. Both of these forms of player differentiation were based on qualifying ratings, which sometimes made it difficult to assign players appropriate attributes and still have the desired movesets and animations. After signature jumpshot styles were added in NBA Live 06 for Xbox 360 and expanded upon in NBA Live 07, NBA Live 08 introduced Go-To Moves. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Mentoring Terry Hanson & Making a Star

Monday Tip-Off: Mentoring Terry Hanson & Making a Star

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 tales of mentoring Terry Hanson, and trying to turn him into a star in my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER.

I’ve always enjoyed generated rookies in franchise modes, and later career modes as well. While NBA 2K’s franchise modes have allowed for custom Draft Classes – and this customisation is important to have – I personally prefer fictional players as the years progress. They become Virtual Hardwood Legends in our save files, weaving stories of Hall of Famers, breakout stars, and unfortunate busts. We can do that with actual NBA players too, of course, but generated rookies are a blank slate with no real world comparisons. We can completely indulge our imaginations with them.

Terry Hanson is a generated rookie in Year 3 of my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER, a game that I just can’t get enough of right now. To date, I’ve done all the things that all of us always do in the NBA side of MyCAREER. I’ve set records, averaged a triple-double, and won championships. I’ve levelled up my MyPLAYER, maxing out at 97 Overall, as was the case with some builds in NBA 2K14. I’ve turned my avatar into an All-Star and punched his ticket to Springfield when the time comes to hang it up. Inevitably, if we play NBA MyCAREER long enough, we’ll fulfil a destiny of superstardom that’s at the heart of the story. Now I’m writing a new chapter: making Terry Hanson a star.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: April 23rd, 2022

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.

There are some familiar games in this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays, including NBA 2K22 Next Gen, and NBA 2K14 for PlayStation 4 (spoilers: it’s a highlight from my MyCAREER). However, we’ve also got a fun moment from Dunk Dream, also known as Street Slam and Street Hoop. Nine games in total are represented once again this week, ensuring a great variety of thundering dunks, flashy passes, and impressive defensive plays. Check out this week’s countdown to get you in the mood to hit the virtual hardwood or blacktop this weekend. If you do, you know where to send your spectacular plays!

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.