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NLSC Podcast #330: The Price of Upgrading

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Episode #330 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

The three cover players and their editions of NBA 2K21 have been revealed, and it turns out our predictions were pretty good! We react to the choices, and some of the community’s opinions on them. We’ve also discovered that the Next Gen version will have cross-platform VC and MyTEAM progression, but more controversially, a $10 price increase. Breaking down the pre-order bonuses also suggests that the approach to microtransactions and grinding won’t be much different this year. With confirmation that NBA 2K21 PC is a Current Gen port, we weigh up the pros and cons, and what it means for our modding community. Elsewhere, reactions to Madden 21’s Franchise mode have made us wonder about the future of franchise gaming in basketball titles. Finally, we’re noticing some new waves of nostalgia among younger and older hoops gamers alike.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition, Other Info Announced

NBA 2K21 Mamba Forever Edition Announcement (Next Gen)

The final NBA 2K21 covers have been revealed! As expected, the third edition of the game is the Legend Edition, which this year is named the “Mamba Forever” edition after its cover player, the late Kobe Bryant. Additionally, the Current Gen and Next Gen versions of the Mamba Forever edition of NBA 2K21 will each have their own cover art, which you can check out below.

NBA 2K21 is now available to pre-order for all platforms. The Current Gen version, which refers to the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Google Stadia releases, will be out on September 4th (and not October, as previously reported). The Next Gen version will be a launch title for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X this holiday season. See below for details on the pre-order bonuses.

As reported by Operation Sports, the Mamba Forever edition of NBA 2K21 will also grant dual access to the Standard Edition on the other generation at no additional contest. This means that if you opt for the Mamba Forever edition on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you’ll get a copy of the Standard Edition on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X as well (and vice versa).

OS has also revealed that there will be cross-platform progression for MyTEAM, and your VC wallet will also be shared between Current and Next Gen. This comes as excellent news for anyone concerned about having to start over from scratch, or simply having to buy the game again for that matter, once the PS5 and XSX are released.

Once again, check out the cover art for the Mamba Forever edition below, along with the pre-order bonuses and reveal trailer. Got any thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments, as well as join in the discussion taking place here in the NLSC Forum!

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Zion Williamson Revealed As Cover Player for NBA 2K21 Next Gen

Zion Williams NBA 2K21 Next Gen Cover Reveal

Following on from the Current Gen reveal, Zion Williamson has now officially been unveiled as the cover player for NBA 2K21 Next Gen. Zion was widely expected to be one of the cover players for NBA 2K21 after featuring in the game’s announcement trailer at the PlayStation 5 event in June.

With Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson revealed as the Current Gen and Next Gen cover players, we’re just left with the unveiling of the Legend Edition cover. As I mentioned in the previous bulletin, Kobe Bryant has been a popular pick and sentimental preference for a lot of gamers. With his recent retirement, Vince Carter is also a name that’s been thrown around, and one that we mentioned among our picks in Episode #329 of the NLSC Podcast.

Speaking of Current and Next Gen, it appears as though the PC will remain a Current Gen port this year. Although this is a drawback in many ways, it also means that our modding tools will probably still be suitable for another year. It also means the PC version should be released in October, the same time as on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. No dates for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions have been announced as yet, but it’s safe to say NBA 2K21 will be a launch title for both consoles. Current Gen pre-orders begin July 2nd.

What are your thoughts on Zion Williamson being the Next Gen cover player? Have your say in the comments below, and join in the discussion here in the Forum! You can check out the full cover art below, along with the reveal trailer.

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Damian Lillard Revealed As First NBA 2K21 Cover Player

Damian Lillard NBA 2K21 Cover Announcement

The first cover player for NBA 2K21 has been revealed! Damian Lillard has been announced as the cover player for the Current Gen version of the game. Dame has previously graced the cover of NBA Live 15, as well as the Chinese exclusive NBA 2K Online 2. He is the seventh player to appear on the covers of both NBA Live and NBA 2K.

Pre-orders for the Current Gen version of the game will begin July 2nd, and the game is slated for release in October. As of this post, no details about pre-order bonuses has been released, but that information will likely be coming soon. We can assume that they will be quite similar to last year’s bonuses, except with Damian Lillard-themed content.

With one cover reveal down, we have two to go over the next couple of days. As per ESPN, the next two covers will be for the Next Gen and Legend editions of the game. Zion Williamson has been a popular prediction after being featured in the announcement trailer, while a lot of gamers are picking Kobe Bryant for the Legend Edition.

Check out the cover art below, as well as a reveal trailer! What are your thoughts on 2K choosing Dame for the Current Gen release? Who are your picks for the Next Gen and Legend Edition covers? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion here in the Forum.

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NLSC Podcast #329: Cover Songs & Trivia Notes

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Episode #329 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Derek (aka Dee4Three) and I are your hosts for this week’s show.

With the impending NBA 2K21 cover reveal over the course of three days, we speculate on possible players and editions, as well what other details may be announced. We also reflect on how it feels to move on to a new game after being hooked on its predecessor. Talking about vibe and atmosphere leads us to reminisce about some of our favourite soundtracks, and unusual song choices. Meanwhile, future rookies have been added to MyTEAM packs. It’s a first and a cool idea, but their ratings inspire another discussion of the state and general direction of both NBA Live and NBA 2K. Finally, Vince Carter’s retirement has marked the end of the last vestige of the NBA in the 90s. We celebrate his lengthy career, and share some trivia regarding longevity records in basketball gaming.

What’s your take on this week’s conversation? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

NBA 2K21 Cover Reveals Coming Next Week

Potential NBA 2K21 Cover Player Zion Williamson

The official NBA 2K TikTok account – yes, that’s now a thing – has announced that there will be three NBA 2K21 cover reveals taking place next week on June 30th, July 1st, and July 2nd. This suggests that there will be three editions of the game, and possibly three different cover players.

Since the announcement trailer has dropped, there’s been a lot of speculation that Zion Williamson will appear on the NBA 2K21 cover. Many gamers have also suggested that the late Kobe Bryant will appear on the Legend Edition cover, which seems like a solid guess given the circumstances.

There have been hints of other news coming through next week as well. My guess is that we’ll also learn some of the pre-order bonuses and possibly be able to pre-order the game as soon as next week, though there’s a chance we might receive some more substantial details. I’ll be sure to post any information as soon as I can.

In the meantime, feel free to speculate on the NBA 2K21 cover players in the comments below, as well as join in the discussion taking place here in the NLSC Forum! Once again, if you’d like to help keep our Wiki resources on NBA 2K21 updated throughout the preview season, you can find the article for the game here.

Wayback Wednesday: International Cover Players

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the history of international cover players for various basketball video games.

Cover players are an aspect of basketball gaming that has become more important over time. The player on the box and the title screen may not always have much of an impact on the game beyond pre-order cosmetic items in career modes and a card in the team building modes, but they’re nevertheless a talking point. After all, the reveal of the cover player generally signifies the beginning of a new game’s preview season, tipping off weeks and months of discussion about what we’re hoping to see from an upcoming release.

As basketball games have increased in popularity, cover players have become selling points and an indication of a game’s brand strength, if not necessarily its quality. Both EA Sports and 2K Sports have sought to appeal to local markets with regional covers that feature a player from the country in question (or in a pinch, have some connection with said nation). They’ve resulted in the international editions of games becoming collector’s items due to their novelty, and are of course interesting trivia notes. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #321: A New Look for Old Games

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Episode #321 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Dee4Three and I as we talk about the importance of historical content, and a rumour that’s making the rounds. We also reimagine covers for classic games, and discuss the issue of starting over every year.

The Last Dance has inspired an increase in gamers playing with classic Bulls teams in NBA 2K20. This leads us to reflect on how important it is to have historical content in games, and how our gaming habits are affected by what’s going on in the world of basketball. We also touch on a rumour about NBA Live that’s making the rounds, mostly due to wishful thinking and a desire to have another viable sim game. In our main discussion this week, we go back and reimagine covers for games beginning with Lakers vs. Celtics, including hypothetical Legend Edition covers. We also talk about the pain of starting over every year in MyCAREER and MyTEAM, and the likelihood of seeing certain Legends in NBA 2K.

Tune in below!

Who would you choose if you had to reimagine covers for old games? Are you weary of the annual grind in modern titles? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

Wayback Wednesday: Cover Players Who Changed Teams

Wayback Wednesday: Cover Players Who Changed Teams

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at cover players who changed teams not long after they made those appearances.

The choice of cover players is an aspect of basketball gaming that has become a bigger talking point since the early days of the hobby. The earliest NBA licensed basketball games tended to use photographs featuring a handful of players. Even in the late 90s, not all titles featured a single cover player, and more than a couple of cover players weren’t among the league’s elite. Since then, landing a big star has become an essential part of a game’s branding, and cover players have also influenced bonus content, including special game modes.

Sports game covers in general have their own lore and trivia. The infamous “Madden Curse” has been used to describe a string of misfortune suffered by NFL players who have appeared on the game’s cover. Basketball games have generally avoided such superstition, though a handful of players haven’t been so lucky. Arguably, it’s been their teams who’ve had the bad run of luck, as several cover players have ended up moving on not too long after becoming the face of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other titles. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #309: A Tribute to Kobe Bryant

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Episode #309 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, Dee4Three and I pay tribute to the late and legendary Kobe Bryant with reflections on his career, and impact on basketball video games.

It’s been almost a week, but it’s still hard to get our heads around the news that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter accident. We extend our condolences to the Bryants and the other families who suffered this terrible loss, and talk about how we came to hear the news. This leads into some reflections on Kobe’s career, and how we came to regard him over the 20 years he played in the NBA. We also talk about his connection to video games as a cover player, and discuss the idea of a challenge mode in NBA 2K21, along with a roster project.

Tune in below!

What are your memories of Kobe Bryant, in real life and on the virtual hardwood? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K13, Executive Produced by Jay-Z

Wayback Wednesday: NBA 2K13, Executive Produced by Jay-Z

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content. This week, I’m taking a look back at the role Jay-Z played as an executive producer on NBA 2K13.

Back in December, I wrote an article about Jay-Z’s forgotten cameo in NBA Live 07. I received some nice compliments from people who enjoyed learning about that for the first time, as well as some suggestions to look back at Jay-Z’s involvement as an executive producer on NBA 2K13. That topic was actually already on my list of ideas for Wayback Wednesday features, but since it’s been requested, I figure there’s no point delaying it any further. After all, it’s even better if I can cover these topics when there’s interest, and to that end, I’m open to suggestions!

For now though, let’s focus on Jay-Z and his role with NBA 2K13. Obviously, the rapper wasn’t actually spending hours coding at Visual Concepts’ studio in Novato, but as it turned out, he had a significant impact on the game. His title also briefly inspired a trend in our modding community. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #302: 25th Anniversary of NBA Live (Part 2)

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Episode #302 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! This week, it’s Part 2 of our celebration of the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live. Join Dee4Three and I as we cover NBA Live 07 through to NBA Live 19, look ahead to the future, and reflect on the series as a whole. If you haven’t caught Part 1 yet, be sure to tune in here!

We continue our conversation with a look back at NBA Live 07, a strong candidate for the worst game in the series. As we proceed to break down each game year by year, we reflect on the downfall of NBA Live, and the mistakes that have led to its continued struggles. We discuss what could have been, from the cut retro teams in NBA Live 08 and the full season version of Be a Pro in NBA Live 09 on PS2, to the disastrous change of direction with NBA Elite 11 and cancellation of NBA Live 13. The importance and selection criteria for cover players also comes up, and we reveal the NBA Live 13 cover player that was never officially announced. That brings us to the current generation as we recap the series’ ups and downs since returning with NBA Live 14, and how it’s looking as of NBA Live 19. Once again, we touch on what we want to see in NBA Live 21 and beyond. We wrap up with our fondest memories of NBA Live, our favourite games in the series, and thoughts on what it’s meant to us these past 25 years.

Tune in below!

What are your memories of NBA Live 07 through NBA Live 19? What are your thoughts on the future of the series? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! Additionally, feel free to hit us up with any feedback on the episode, as well as suggestions for topics that you’d like to hear us discuss in future episodes. For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

The Friday Five: 5 False Memories 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 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. This week’s Five is a list of five examples of false memories we have of basketball games, and how they came about.

False memories are recollections of something that didn’t actually happen or exist, or of something happening in a way that differs greatly from reality. There are plenty of examples such as misquoted lines from TV, film, music, and literature, not to mention recollections of completely non-existent works. False memories can also involve commonly held, yet erroneous beliefs. The latter phenomenon has been labelled the “Mandela Effect”, after the belief that Nelson Mandela had actually passed away in the 1980s. The spelling of the Berenstain Bears is another famous example.

Needless to say, video games provide us with plenty of examples of false memories and the Mandela Effect. This is usually due to rumours and urban legends that are perpetuated despite being debunked time and time again, or simply an incorrect recollection of a game you haven’t played in a long time. Other times, the memory may be accurate in that it’s something that was experienced, but inaccurate in that it was the result of a mod, or something seen in an early preview. As is often the case, basketball gaming provides us with its own examples of false memories, and today I’m taking a look at five of them, along with some possible explanations.

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The Friday Five: 5 Wholesome 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 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. This week’s Five is a list of five wholesome moments in basketball gaming.

Let’s face it: it’s easy to get bogged down in negativity. Sure, criticism is an important part of constructive feedback, but it shouldn’t be our only focus here in the basketball gaming community. Most online communities have their toxic elements and sadly we aren’t immune, especially when certain elements of the games cultivate and contribute to a toxic atmosphere at times. It’s therefore important that we take time to recognise the positive aspects of our hobby, and celebrate all of the fun that we have with it. After all, most of us do enjoy playing the games at least some of the time!

Beyond our enjoyment of all the things we do on the virtual hardwood, basketball gaming has been responsible for some wholesome moments throughout the years, and those should be celebrated as well. I know that it’s difficult not to be cynical and write off such gestures as nothing more than PR stunts, but the mere fact that there’s the prospect of positive press doesn’t mean that these wholesome gestures are insincere, or that they aren’t admirable. With that in mind, let’s wrap up the working week with some positivity, and take a look at five wholesome and heart-warming moments from various basketball video games, and give some credit where it’s due.

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The Friday Five: 5 Basketball Gaming Theories

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. This week’s Five suggests five basketball gaming theories that are as yet unproven, but I believe are certainly plausible.

Video games are full of mysteries, usually thanks to cut or unfinished content, or some other aspect that is left unexplained. Sports games generally don’t hold quite as many of these secrets or causes for speculation compared to other genres, but they do still have their points of interest. Over the years, basketball games have contained traces of planned features, or other signs of interesting development back stories that have been left untold. It’s led to a lot of speculation and guessing in our community, but hey, they’re just theories; basketball gaming theories!

Ham-fisted references to a popular YouTube channel aside, I’ve been thinking about a few unusual occurrences and unexplained content in a handful of basketball games. I wanted to offer up some explanations, and since I can’t definitively prove them, I was originally going to title this article “5 Wild Basketball Gaming Theories”. However, I decided to drop the “wild”; not only because it was a bit clickbait-y, but also because I believe at least a couple of these theories are quite plausible. It would be nice to get definitive answers about these matters one day, but for now, here are five basketball gaming theories for your consideration.

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