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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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Wayback Wednesday: MJ on the Japanese NBA Live 2002 Cover

Japanese NBA Live 2002 Cover

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 Japanese version of NBA Live 2002, which featured Michael Jordan in a Wizards jersey on the cover.

I like to think I’m fairly knowledgeable when it comes to the history of basketball video games, but from time to time, I learn something new about one of my favourite hobbies. Back in the 90s, I had no idea that one of my favourite hoops games on the Super Nintendo, World League Basketball, was released as an NCAA game in North America. I knew about NBA Action ’98, the precursor to the NBA 2K series, but I didn’t know that the PlayStation version was titled NBA Fastbreak ’98. And I certainly didn’t know that Michael Jordan was on the Japanese cover of NBA Live 2002!

Based on the responses to a Tweet I made, it seems I’m not alone on that last point. It wasn’t until I happened across Japanese copies of NBA Live 2002 on eBay several years later that I became aware of it, as it was never referenced in any other region. It’s an interesting collectable for many reasons, from the rarity of seeing His Airness in early video games or on video game covers, to him being featured in a Wizards jersey. I was delighted to add it to my collection, knowing that it would also make for a fun Wayback Wednesday topic. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Mystery Teaser Covers

Wayback Wednesday: Mystery Teaser Covers

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 mystery teaser covers that used to get us talking about upcoming cover player reveals.

As discussed in Episode #291 of the NLSC Podcast, there’s currently a bit of worried speculation regarding NBA Live 20, due to a lack of news. While there’s evidence to suggest that those concerns are jumping the gun, it is unusual that there haven’t been any official announcements regarding this year’s expected release from EA Sports. It isn’t the first time that news about NBA Live has been slow, or that the cover player ended up being announced quite late, but given the series’ rocky history over the past decade, the speculation is at least understandable.

Speaking of cover players and reveals, that’s something which has become a much bigger deal than it used to be a long time ago. Back in the 90s, long before basketball titles and gaming in general became the juggernaut of today, there wasn’t nearly as much importance placed on the cover player. A star was generally preferred, but it wasn’t always a top tier player. Quite a few games settled for “someone who’s in the NBA”, who may or may not have a chance at becoming a superstar. It wasn’t until NBA Live 2003 that the cover player was a big part of the pre-release hype, which also started a trend of mystery teaser covers. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #290: The Craziness Begins

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #290 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! I’m flying solo in this week’s return show, which catches up on the first snippets of this year’s preview season, a couple of recent patches, and one of the craziest offseasons in recent memory (if not all-time).

Forget March Madness; July has tipped off the craziness as far as the NBA and virtual hardwood are concerned! The cover players and pre-order bonuses for NBA 2K20 have been revealed, and there’s some good news as the Early Tip-Off Weekend is no more. A teaser trailer and a few screenshots have also given us a glimpse of the game, and if nothing else, the lighting looks promising. NBA 2K19 has also received a patch that encourages NBA 2K20 pre-orders, along with a couple of minor fixes. Meanwhile, NBA Live 19 has received further tuning for shooting and shot contests, which was great to see following issues with Patch 1.25. Finally, there was a flurry of big names changing jerseys through trades and free agency. It’s going to be a wild year in the real NBA, and on the virtual hardwood!

Tune in below!

What are your thoughts on the latest patches, previews, and offseason movement? 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.

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Wayback Wednesday: Kobe Bryant’s Fictional NBA 2K10 Cover

Kobe Bryant New York Knicks NBA 2K10 Cover

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 Kobe Bryant’s fictional NBA 2K10 cover.

Since the preview season officially tipped off with the reveal of NBA 2K20’s cover players, I thought it would be appropriate to look back ten years to NBA 2K10. If you poke around for NBA 2K10 images on Google, you’ll no doubt come across a version of the cover featuring Kobe Bryant in a New York Knicks jersey; a uniform he never wore during his career. Of course, many basketball gamers have made mock-up and fictional alternate covers for various games over the years (to say nothing of bootleg copies), and they tend to show up in Google Image searches as well.

What’s interesting about this particular cover is that it’s an official fake, if that’s not too much of a contradiction in terms. More specifically, it’s an image that 2K made following the announcement that Kobe would be appearing on the cover. What’s the story behind this unusual cover that no doubt made Knicks fans wistful, and Lakers fans cringe? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NBA 2K20 Cover Players Announced; Pre-Order Bonuses, More

NBA 2K20 Cover Art

2K Sports has officially announced Anthony Davis as the cover player for the Standard Edition and Digital Deluxe Edition of NBA 2K20. Dwyane Wade, who retired at the end of the 2019 season, has been announced as the cover player for the Legend Edition. Davis was previously one of three cover players for NBA 2K16, while Wade appeared on the cover of NBA Live 06, the same year he won his first championship.

The game is now available to pre-order, with September 6th confirmed as the release date. This year’s pre-order bonuses for each edition of the game have also been revealed, and they include the usual assortment of VC, MT, MyTEAM packs, and MyPLAYER apparel. Interestingly, there isn’t any mention of the Early Tip-Off Weekend as yet.

Promotional images on the official social media accounts are making use of the word “Next” in conjunction with NBA 2K20, and a blurb currently posted over on the official site also makes reference to it:

This isn’t a game. This is the place the game comes to learn. This is the place the present can’t catch. Where next gets known and the ball decides your fate. From the blacktop to the hardwood and throughout the Neighborhood, NBA 2K20 and its next level features are the closest thing to actually playing in the league.

This isn’t a game.

This is the place everything else follows.

Welcome to the Next.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for announcements on 2K20’s feature innovations.

It’ll probably be a few weeks before we get any concrete details about the game – to say nothing of extended preview media – but this brief promotional video does appear to officially confirm that WNBA teams and players will be in NBA 2K20.

See below for the cover art featuring Anthony Davis and Dwyane Wade, as well as a listing of all the pre-order bonuses. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion in our newly launched NBA 2K20 Forum! As we anticipate the first news for NBA Live 20, I’ve gone ahead and created a Forum for it as well. This year’s preview season is officially upon us, so stay tuned for more news (and beware of clickbait)!

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Wayback Wednesday: Shaquille O’Neal & NBA Live

Shaquille O'Neal in NBA Live 09

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 Shaquille O’Neal’s history with NBA Live.

Before the 2019 NBA Finals tipped off, it was noted that the series marked the 35th year in a row that the league’s championship round featured a player who was at one time a teammate of Shaquille O’Neal. It’s not the first time that Shaq’s connections to a Finals participant has come up, but with LeBron James’ offseason move to the Los Angeles Lakers after eight consecutive Finals appearances with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers, there was speculation that the streak may finally come to an end. Thanks to Danny Green and the champion Toronto Raptors, it remains intact.

With a nineteen year career that began in 1992 and ended in 2011, and saw six stops along the way, the streak is arguably less surprising than it seems. Given the number of journeyman he played with, and his own nomadic nature later on in his career, it’s no surprise that there are connections stretching out in both directions. On the virtual hardwood, Shaquille O’Neal has a similar streak of longevity, particularly when it comes to the NBA Live series. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NBA Live 19 All-Star Edition Released; New Content, Double XP

NBA Live 19 All-Star Edition

EA Sports have released an All-Star Edition of NBA Live 19. It features various bonuses including All-Star themed clothing for your One Player and new Court Battles players, as well as a new cover featuring Joel Embiid and James Harden. Harden was previously featured as the cover player for NBA Live 18.

However, this doesn’t mean that owners of The One Edition are left out in the cold. If you fire up the game before March 22nd, you’ll be able to pick up the All-Star content as well. Additionally, if you enter Ultimate Team, you’ll be gifted with five All-Star promo cards for James Harden, Stephen Curry, Joel Embiid, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

A new content update has also come through for NBA Live 19. In addition to updated rosters and a couple of bug fixes, it also adds double XP for The One, Court Battles, and LIVE Events. It requires a restart of the game to take effect, but it will last through the rest of the week, in celebration of the 2019 All-Star Weekend.

As always, feel free to share any thoughts in the comments section below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NBA Live 19 section of the NLSC Forum!

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Additional Details On NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 (Forbes)

Players in NBA 2K Playgrounds 2

Following the release of the “Ball Without Limits” trailer, additional details on NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 have been revealed. Brian Mazique has rounded up that information, and posted it over on Forbes. As mentioned in our previous bulletin, the game will be released October 16th for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Switch, but here are some other key points of interest:

  • The game will cost $29.99 USD.
  • Julius Erving, Kevin Garnett, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Jayson Tatum are the cover players.
  • More than 300 players will be available at launch, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • An additional 200 players will be added post-launch.
  • Ten new playgrounds have been added, among them Washington D.C., St. Louis, Seoul, and Australia. New courts will also be added post-launch.
  • Single player, local multiplayer, and online play are all supported.
  • Playgrounds Championship is a worldwide ranked league with solo and co-op ladders. Season is the equivalent offline mode.
  • Four player online co-op, Three-Point Shootouts, and co-op games against the AI are also available.
  • There are more than 100 signature moves, including Michael Jordan’s free throw line dunk and George Gervin’s finger roll.
  • NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 features an expanded soundtrack, with artists such as Run The Jewels, Oddisee and DJ Premier.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts on how NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is shaping up in the comments section below. You can also join in the conversation here in the NLSC Forum.

 

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NLSC Podcast – Episode #256

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #256 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Arcane and I as we chat about the past week in basketball gaming and NBA news. Topics include the latest NBA Live 19 previews, the NBA 2K19 cover reveals, allegations and speculation about 2K’s business practice, and big offseason moves.

On this week’s show…

  • A brief trailer and a few screenshots spotlighting Quai 54 in NBA Live 19 have been released. In our opinion, the venue and the game are both looking very nice.
  • Rookies are getting their faces scanned for NBA Live 19 during the NBA Summer League. This leads to a discussion of the development cycle, and the increasingly early release dates for NBA Live and NBA 2K.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo has been officially revealed as the cover player for the Standard Edition of NBA 2K19. Ben Simmons, meanwhile, will grace the first ever Australian cover.
  • A recent video discusses an allegedly since-deleted Reddit post, purported to contain damning leaks from an ex-2K employee regarding the company’s business practices. While the claims are unconfirmed and the video quite possibly unsubstantiated clickbait, the alleged explanations for certain design choices are eerily plausible.
  • Our Week in Basketball Gaming featured a few more challenges in Ultimate Team and new additions to the squad, as well as a couple of modding developments including a potential roster update for NBA 2K11 PC.
  • We wrap up Episode #256 of the NLSC Podcast with a discussion of the latest NBA offseason news. LeBron James, DeMarcus Cousins, and Tony Parker surprised us with their decisions, while Carmelo Anthony remains one of the biggest names left on the market.

Click Play to listen to the show!

Have some thoughts on the latest episode? Got a mailbag question or topic suggestion for the next show? Sound off in the comments section below, or join in the discussion here in the Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki.

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Ben Simmons Appearing on Australian NBA 2K19 Cover

NBA 2K19 Australian Cover featuring Ben Simmons

PlayStation Australia has revealed that 2018 Rookie of the Year and former number one overall draft pick Ben Simmons will appear on the Australian cover of NBA 2K19. This marks the first time that Australia has received a regional NBA 2K cover.

As reported by Operation Sports’ Steve Noah, the cover will be available in both Australia and New Zealand. Furthermore, it will apparently be double-sided, with Ben Simmons on one side and Standard Edition cover player Giannis Antetokounmpo on the other.

The cover art is very similar to the Standard Edition and 20th Anniversary Edition, featuring slogans associated with Simmons and his journey to the NBA. As a Novocastrian, I was disappointed to see that there aren’t any references to his time in the city where he played rep basketball (and where his father played professionally in our NBL), but it’s still great to see him on the first Aussie NBA 2K cover.

Ben Simmons is the second Philadelphia 76ers player to appear on an NBA 2K cover, with Hall of Famer and original 2K cover player Allen Iverson being the first. Teammate Joel Embiid was confirmed as the cover player for NBA Live 19 last week.

Check out the full cover art below. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section, as well as join in the discussion taking place in our NBA 2K19 Forum.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo is NBA 2K19 Cover Player; First Screenshot

NBA 2K19 Cover Art

Following what seems to have been a completely inadvertent leak last week, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo has been officially revealed as the cover player for the Standard Edition of NBA 2K19. The cover art is similar in theme to the 20th Anniversary Edition cover featuring LeBron James, who has just signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Antetokounmpo becomes the first European player and Milwaukee Buck to appear on the primary cover of NBA 2K. Pre-order customers will receive a Sapphire Giannis Antetokounmpo MyTEAM card, along with 10 MyPLAYER packs (one delivered each week), and 5000 VC.

In addition to the cover reveal, we also have our first “First Look” screenshot of the year, naturally featuring The Greek Freak. Check it out below, along with the full cover art.

The 20th Anniversary Edition of NBA 2K19 comes out on September 7th, while the Standard Edition drops on September 11th. This year’s Prelude, once again only available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, will be coming out on August 31st. What do you make of the cover reveal? Do you have any thoughts on NBA 2K19 so far? Have your say in the comments section below, and join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum.

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Latest NBA Live 19 Details & Cover Reveal Trailer

NBA Live 19: Joel Embiid in The Streets

GameStop’s pre-order listing for NBA Live 19 has revealed some new details about the game. There will be a new commentary team of Ed Cohen and Jay Williams, with new dialogue being added throughout the season. The story in The One will apparently begin in high school, and Big Moments return as part of The League.

There will also be a handful of in-game pre-order bonuses, based around cover player Joel Embiid. These include signature shoes, a jersey, a custom court, and more. See below for all the info that’s been revealed by GameStop’s store listing.

Speaking of Joel Embiid, a cover reveal trailer has also been released. ThaLiveKing posted several high resolution screenshots from the trailer in our Forum. You can watch the trailer below, as well as check out all of the screenshots.

Finally, Gaming Trend recently spoke with NBA Live 19 Creative Director Connor Dougan. Connor discussed some of the key improvements and new features in this year’s game, from Real Player Motion technology and dynamic AI to clothing and the player progression system in The One.

As always, feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below, as well as join in the discussion in the NBA Live 19 section of the NLSC Forum!

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Joel Embiid Revealed as NBA Live 19 Cover Player

NBA Live 19 Cover Art

During the 2018 NBA Awards show on TNT, Joel Embiid was officially revealed as the cover player for NBA Live 19. Embiid was considered a likely candidate after gamers noted that he was prominently featured in the reveal trailer that was released a couple of weeks ago.

The official NBA Live website has posted an interview with Embiid, in which he discusses his journey to the NBA, the players who inspired him as a basketball player, and the challenges he’s faced since arriving in the league. An avid gamer, he also expresses his excitement at landing the cover of NBA Live 19.

Notably, Joel Embiid is the first Philadelphia 76ers player to appear on the NBA Live cover. Glancing at the official website, he’s also been unveiled as a member of the NBA Live Squad on a promotional image that also features the silhouettes of four other players. Much like Team 2K, the Squad is most likely a collection of players who have signed on as ambassadors for the brand, and will likely be featured in LIVE Events and other aspects of The One. Further details will no doubt be revealed when the rest of the Squad is unveiled.

Embiid certainly seems like a solid choice for the cover of this year’s game from EA Sports. In addition to establishing himself as an All-Star in the NBA, the “Trust the Process” mantra that has been adopted by the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers can also apply to the NBA Live series. It’s been a slow comeback for the once-dominant brand in basketball gaming, but from all accounts, it sounds like EA’s own version of The Process is finally starting to pay dividends.

NBA Live 19 will be released on September 7th, 2018. A demo will be released on August 24th, and Xbox One users with an EA Access subscription can check out a trial of the full game on September 3rd. Check out the NBA Live 19 cover art below, and feel free to add your thoughts in the comments section. You can also join in the discussion taking place here in the NLSC Forum.

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