Since NBA Live 2000, the NBA Live series and NBA 2K series have included a selection of all-time greats whom the user can play with or against in an exhibition game or sign for use in a Season or Dynasty game, collectively known as Legends. The roster of Legends consists mostly of retired players who are commonly considered to be among the all-time greats or were of particular significance or popularity during a particular decade. NBA Live 2000 and a few games thereafters' roster of Legends boasted a greater number of active players who were stars of the 1990s, however with the subsequent retirement of those players there are fewer active players in the Legends roster. (This is why Jordan appeared on the Legends teams during his comeback for example.)
Decade All-Star Teams
Decade All-Star Teams and All-Decade Teams are terms frequently used to collectively describe the individual All-Star teams in NBA Live and NBA 2K that are comprised of Legends from a particular decade, ranging from the 50s All-Stars to the 90s All-Stars. Decade All-Star Teams have been featured in every release since Legends were first introduced. NBA 2K divides the post 1960's teams by conference.
There were very few missing legendary players in NBA Live 2000, with the most noteworthy omissions being Clyde Drexler, George Mikan and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. EA Sports and 2K Sports are restricted in terms of the legends that can appear in the NBA Live series due to licensing/image rights and their agreement with the NBA Retired Players Union. Over the years certain former greats have been added while others have no longer been able to appear and subsequently removed from the Legends roster. Legends who are currently unable to appear in the game for legal reasons include Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton, Jerry West, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Shawn Kemp and Dennis Rodman. Until the licensing issues that prevent them from appearing in the game are resolved, the only way these former greats will appear in the game will be through unofficial patches.
Players who are not on the Legends teams are those who are not part of the Retired Players Union and negotiate their own licenses. This has become a increasing practice with modern players compared to those of the past who needed the Retired Players Union pension after leaving the NBA.