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The Friday Five: 5 Unpopular NBA Jerseys (I Actually Like)

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

The 2016 NBA regular season is winding down, and we’re still a couple of months away from getting a steady stream of concrete information about NBA Live 17 and NBA 2K17. In recent weeks, I’ve been talking a lot about what I’d like to see in the upcoming games, both on the NLSC Podcast and in the Friday Five, and I will continue to do that. However, I thought I’d change things up in today’s Five, and talk a little about fashion. Well, on-court fashion in the NBA, at any rate.

This week, I’m talking about NBA jerseys that tend to be unpopular, or make a lot of “worst NBA jerseys” lists, that I actually happen to like. I can’t defend them all as outstanding or timeless designs, as some of them are definitely products of their era, but I still like them all the same. I know that I’m definitely not alone in liking some of these jerseys, but some fans might declare it to be a sign of bad taste. Nevertheless, here are five unpopular NBA jerseys that I don’t dislike the same way a lot of people do.

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Wayback Wednesday: Rappers in NBA Live 2003

Unlocking Busta Rhymes in NBA Live 2003

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, digging into the archives to indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, reflections on big announcements from years gone by, and other flashback content.

Basketball video games have had their fair share of hidden players over the years, from the secret characters in NBA Jam to the dummied out and unlockable players in NBA Live and NBA 2K. In the case of NBA Live 2003, there were six players who were unlockable via codes, all of whom were rappers.

Granted, they weren’t as useful as the hidden rookies in NBA Live 2004, or the dummied out historical players in NBA Live 08. Nevertheless, the rappers in NBA Live 2003 were kind of a cool bonus, and could still be put to good use in special roster patches, such as the NBA Live Street mod. To unlock them, users simply had to input specific codes as the last name in Create-a-Player.

Do you remember which rappers were included in NBA Live 2003? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: What Is Constructive Feedback?

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

In case you’re unaware, we’re currently in the midst of compiling our Wishlists for NBA Live 17 and NBA 2K17. As always, our goal is to put together comprehensive lists of constructive feedback for the development teams at EA Tiburon and Visual Concepts, spotlighting the additions we want to see, issues that need to be addressed, and improvements that would make the things we like even better. If you take a look at the two threads, you’ll see that some great suggestions and feedback have already been posted.

The fact that we’re aiming to be constructive in our feedback is something that I make a point of mentioning whenever we tip-off our annual Wishlist threads. It’s also a reminder that I like to put out there for everyone involved in our modding community. After all, whether you’re talking about the people developing basketball video games, or the people who are making unofficial add-ons and modifications for them, it’s important to give them the kind of feedback that they can put to good use.

So, what do we really mean when we say “constructive feedback”?

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The Friday Five: My 5 Favourite Patches That I’ve Made

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

In this week’s Monday Tip-Off, I discussed our fondness for continuing to make patches for older basketball video games. As I said in that article, there’s a lot of nostalgia in going back and updating an old game, and it can also be a very rewarding experience, especially when there’s still a contingent of basketball gamers playing older releases. I certainly know a thing or two about that, as I was still releasing multiple roster patches for the last four PC versions of NBA Live up until a few years ago. As you may have noticed, I’ve also released a couple of smaller patches in recent weeks.

Since I’m still in the mood to talk about patches, I thought that for this week’s Friday Five, I’d take a look at five of my favourite patches that I’ve made for the NBA Live series. I’d talk about my work on NBA 2K, but I only have one release for that series: an open source roster with some minor edits and additions. Needless to say, when it comes to patching, I have a much longer history with NBA Live, and a much bigger catalogue of releases. So, without any further ado, here are my five favourite patches that I’ve made over the years.

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Wayback Wednesday: The Expansion Draft in NBA Live 96 SNES

Expansion Draft in NBA Live 96 SNES

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, digging into the archives to indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, reflections on big announcements from years gone by, and other flashback content.

As I discussed in a previous edition of Wayback Wednesday, league expansion can lead to some unique features being added to NBA video games. Such was the case with NBA Live 96, with the league’s expansion across the border into Canada and the addition of the Vancouver Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors. When the Grizzlies and Raptors joined the league twenty years ago, an Expansion Draft was held to help them fill out their rosters, as is the norm. The twenty-seven other teams were able to protect eight players, which needless to say limited the pool of available talent outside of the deeper squads.

In most versions of NBA Live 96, the rosters were updated for the 1996 season with Class of 1995 rookies and offseason transactions. This wasn’t the case with the Super Nintendo version of NBA Live 96, which was missing the rookies (though there were codes to unlock them, along with Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and some bonus Legends), and also did not account for major moves like the Chicago Bulls’ acquisition of Dennis Rodman, nor the results of the Expansion Draft. What the SNES version of NBA Live 96 did have was the unique feature of the Expansion Draft itself.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Modding Old Basketball Video Games

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

A couple of months ago, I talked about why we enjoy going back and playing old basketball video games. Dusting off an old favourite is almost always an enjoyably nostalgic experience; however, the further back you go, the more aware you’ll be of how much basketball games have improved over the years. Some games are fun to revisit, but you can’t always spend too much time with them as they’re just too outdated, too primitive compared to what we’re used to now. While that may mean a simpler experience with an appealing “pick up and play” factor, it can also feel a bit shallow after a while.

Of course, there are some gamers who still prefer playing older titles to newer ones, for various reasons. Whether you’re still actively playing an older basketball game, or you’re going back and playing an old favourite for a change of pace, the experience can be greatly enhanced by mods and patches. We still have quite a few people making updates for older titles, as we even had some uploads for NBA Live 2000 as recently as August last year. In terms of newer games, there’s still a thriving modding community for NBA 2K14 PC, even though a lot of gamers moved on to NBA 2K15, and subsequently NBA 2K16.

So, why do we still enjoy modding older basketball games, long after their popularity has started to fade?

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The Friday Five: 5 Predictions for Future Cover Players

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

The cover players for NBA Live and NBA 2K are admittedly an insignificant detail in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, it’s a subject that still manages to capture our attention every year, before the official announcements are made. In between talking about what we want to see out of NBA Live and NBA 2K, and speculating on each game’s features and improvements as we learn about them, we usually find ourselves asking: who’s going to be on the cover?

It’s a fun talking point, even if it does have little bearing on the games themselves. Throughout the years, we’ve seen some huge names lend their likenesses to the cover art of NBA Live and NBA 2K, as well as a few unorthodox choices for cover players. Since it’ll be a few months until the preview season really gets underway, I thought that for this week’s Five, I’d throw out some predictions as to who we might see on the covers of NBA Live and NBA 2K…perhaps as soon as this year.

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Wayback Wednesday: Oklahoma City in NBA Live 09

The Oklahoma City Thunder logo, as it appeared in NBA Live 09

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, digging into the archives to indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, reflections on big announcements from years gone by, and other flashback content.

The relocation of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City and their subsequent re-branding to the Thunder happened quite quickly during the offseason of 2008. On top of outrage and contempt, not only from Sonics fans but a lot of NBA fans in general, the rushed move also resulted in logos and jerseys that most people didn’t particularly care for. Disdain and animosity towards the Oklahoma City Thunder seemingly persists to this day, even after the team lost to the Miami Heat in the 2012 NBA Finals.

As you might imagine, the hectic relocation led to a late reveal of the Thunder’s designs, which ultimately had an impact on NBA Live 09. Because the official unveiling happened so late in the production cycle of NBA Live 09, EA Sports were forced to use placeholder branding for the Thunder, rather than their real logos, jerseys, and colours…at least initially. In the intro video for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 version of NBA Live 09, there’s even a clip of Kevin Durant wearing a Seattle SuperSonics jersey.

It was an unusual situation, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA Live 15 Ultimate Team Reel

Shawn Kemp dunks in NBA Live 15 Ultimate Team

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Begin your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and basketball gaming.

As you may have seen, in the past few months I’ve been making some videos for Wayback Wednesday. I’ve really enjoyed creating some video content for the NLSC, and I’ve been working on sharpening my video editing skills as I’d like to keep making them. To that end, I’ve made use of some NBA Live 15 clips that I’ve had saved, and put together a highlight reel of my exploits in Ultimate Team.

Since my NBA Live 15 Ultimate Team – the Breeze, named after Chicago’s team in World League Basketball – featured a healthy amount of NBA Legends from the 90s, I’ve used songs from the NBA Live 99 soundtrack as the score. Despite the fact I’m traditionally more interested in the franchise modes, I’ve become quite fond of Ultimate Team these past few years. I had a lot of fun assembling and playing with my 90s squad, but sadly, I wasn’t able to acquire Scottie Pippen. Perhaps I’ll have better luck in NBA Live 16. In any event, check out the reel below, or watch it here on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded video.

There are some rough animations in NBA Live 15, but hopefully, you still enjoyed the reel; I certainly enjoyed checking out some old highlights and putting it all together! More videos will be on the way soon, including commentary, excerpts from the NLSC Podcast, tips videos, and more. In the meantime, I invite you to check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel; I’d like to think we’re finally making good use of it! Have a great week, and be sure to check in later for Wayback Wednesday, Episode #148 of the NLSC Podcast, and The Friday Five.

The Friday Five: 5 Satisfying Moments in Basketball Gaming

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

There are a lot of things that feel good when you’re playing a basketball video game. Knocking down a three-pointer, whether it’s a wide open shot or you’re drilling it right in the face of a defender. Throwing down a dunk, especially when you see a brand new animation, or when the slam caps off a big scoring run. Great defensive plays that end with a crafty steal, intimidating block, or an embarrassing shot clock violation for your opponent, also feel pretty good. When you’re playing a basketball video game, you can sometimes get just as excited as you do when you’re watching or playing the real sport.

That’s what makes basketball video games such a satisfying experience. I mean, we wouldn’t be playing them, talking about them, modding them, and yes, even complaining about them, if we weren’t getting something out of them, and they didn’t hold any value to us. In this week’s Friday Five, I wanted to talk about some of the specific moments in basketball video games that I find to be the most satisfying. These are the moments that go beyond the thrill of simply nailing a triple, or rocking the rim.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Live 2004’s Extra Teams

The Charlotte Bobcats vs, Spain in NBA Live 2004

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

These days, we’re used to extra content in basketball video games, such as the historical squads in the NBA 2K series. While NBA Live currently doesn’t include any historical content outside of Ultimate Team (aside from retro jerseys, of course), the series used to feature All-Star teams comprised of players from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, along with a pool of Legends that could be placed on the current rosters. Of course, that’s not counting the historical teams that were intended to be in NBA Live 08, which were ultimately scrapped.

NBA Live 2004 featured the usual lineup of Decade All-Star Teams, which incidentally is the last time that Michael Jordan has (officially) appeared in an NBA Live game to date. However, NBA Live 2004 also featured two other bonus teams: the Charlotte Bobcats, who weren’t set to join the NBA until the following season, and the Spanish National Team. The former was revealed before NBA Live 2004’s release and available out of the box, while the latter had to be manually unlocked.

It was a somewhat unique situation as far as bonus content in NBA Live is concerned, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Support for Basketball Games, Then & Now

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to basketball video games.

When you’ve been playing video games for a long time, you can’t help but marvel when you look back at the games you used to play, and realise just how far gaming has come since then. This is particularly noticeable when it comes to genres that tend to see annual releases, as is the case with basketball games and other spots titles. Sometimes, it’s difficult to notice the changes and truly appreciate the improvements that basketball games make, until you go back and play an old release, or make side by side comparisons. While there’s still room for improvement and innovation, basketball games have undoubtedly come a long way.

Most of the improvements are obvious once you make a comparison, and they have been frequently spotlighted and discussed over the years. However, one improvement that arguably remains a little underappreciated is post-release support, specifically bug fix updates and new content. That’s not to say that there aren’t still problems and controversial practices, and I will touch on them as well. But looking back, you can see a steady improvement in this aspect of basketball games, which is encouraging as we look ahead to future releases.

So, what has the support for basketball video games been like, then and now?

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The Friday Five: 5 Worst AI Problems in Basketball Video Games

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to basketball video games, the real NBA, or another area of interest to our community, either as a list of five items or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

We’ve tipped off our Wishlists for both basketball games, and as I do every year, I’ve been making sure to put out a few reminders about the best way to provide feedback. The most common mistake when posting suggestions for NBA Live or NBA 2K is failing to provide relevant details: saying things like “deeper modes”, “better gameplay”, or “improved AI”. While these are certainly things that we do want to see, they don’t describe what we specifically want to see improve, or the problems that need to be addressed. It’s like going to a restaurant and ordering “tasty food”; there isn’t nearly enough information to work from.

Basketball has a lot finicky nuances that we want to see realistically portrayed in NBA Live and NBA 2K, and when our expectations aren’t being met, we need to be able to identify all those annoying quirks in the AI. Those moments of frustration we have when we’re playing a game, because the CPU is doing something that’s not quite right? Those are the issues that we need to bring up. To demonstrate what I’m talking about, here are five of what I feel are the worst problems with AI in basketball video games, along with some relevant examples.

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Jordan in Flight Video Retrospective

Michael Jordan in Flight Screenshot

Welcome to Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! This is a feature where we look back on yesteryear, dig into the archives, indulge in some nostalgia, and in some cases, wonder just what we were thinking. Check in every Wednesday for features and retrospectives on old basketball video games, old NLSC editorials published as-is with added commentary, and other flashback content.

February 17th marks the birthday of my all-time favourite basketball player, Michael Jordan. Since this week’s Wayback Wednesday coincides with MJ’s birthday, and I’ve been eager to do another video retrospective for a while, I figured it was a good time to look back at an old game featuring His Airness: Michael Jordan in Flight. Released exclusively for PC DOS back in 1992, it may seem primitive today, but for its time, it was quite technologically advanced.

Whether or not you’re a big fan of Michael Jordan, I hope that you’ll enjoy my video retrospective of another noteworthy, and somewhat unique basketball video game. With that said, let’s take a look back…way back…

Check it out here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before I can post another retrospective like this, so stay tuned for more videos, columns, stuff from the archives, and other Wayback Wednesday content, coming your way every week!

Monday Tip-Off: A Tale of Two Franchise Games

Chicago Bulls Dynasty in NBA Live 16

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Get your week started here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to basketball video games.

In the last couple of episodes of the NLSC Podcast, Arcane and I have gotten back to discussing what we’re doing with basketball video games each week, be it NBA Live 16, NBA 2K16, or both. If you’ve listened to Episode #145, you may recall that I mentioned that I’ve started both a Dynasty game in NBA Live 16, and a MyLEAGUE game in NBA 2K16. In each game’s franchise mode, I’ve elected to take control of the Chicago Bulls, and make one offseason move: signing Ben Gordon.

On the surface, the more logical course of action would seem to be opting for completely different experiences in each game’s franchise mode. However, I thought that it would be interesting to see how the same approach would play out in each game, and how the results of each franchise game would ultimately compare to one another. Aside from differences in gameplay, MyLEAGUE is also a much deeper mode than Dynasty, which is likely to be a big factor in changing up the experience.

So, as I look to tip off both franchise games, what are my expectations?

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