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MessenjahMatt Returns With “The Last Dance” Video

MessenjahMatt: The Last Dance

The Last Dance has captivated basketball fans for the past couple of months, and now, it’s drawn a familiar figure in the basketball gaming community out of retirement. For the first time in eight years, legendary NBA 2K video creator MessenjahMatt has uploaded a new creation, inspired by the ten-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls!

Using a combination of clips from his previous NBA 2K11 videos and new footage taken from NBA 2K20, MessenjahMatt has re-created the trailer to The Last Dance, as well as the final moments of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. As with his previous works, the video is simply a masterpiece. I strongly recommend that you watch it below, or catch it here on his YouTube channel!

I previously profiled MessenjahMatt in a Wayback Wednesday article, noting that many of his techniques are still a mystery. To that end, I would highly recommend checking out the rest of his videos, which feature amazing re-creations of some of Michael Jordan’s best moments, and most famous commercials. He notes that The Last Dance may be his last video, and if it is, it’s a fantastic note to finish on, and a fitting tribute to an incredible documentary.

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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The Friday Five: 5 Hilarious-in-Hindsight Moments in Basketball 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 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 moments in basketball video games that are hilarious in hindsight, for one reason or another.

I’ve grown fond of saying that basketball games serve as time capsules, preserving snapshots of the league when they were released. It’s something that I believe, and it’s one of the things that make dusting off old titles fun. Scrolling through all the teams and looking at the rosters, you’re reminded of the forgotten stints of journeymen and stars alike, lineups that had so much promise but never panned out, and players who were pegged as being future stars. As I’ve said, basketball games become interactive almanacs of sorts, as they mark NBA milestones.

That’s not all they do, however. Sometimes they can seemingly predict the future, with the virtual hardwood suggesting unexpected events that actually come to pass in real life. Of course, other occurrences are clearly not prophesising the future, which underscores how it’s easy to call something a prediction in hindsight. Coincidences are amusing to note however, as are details that age poorly or become ironic when we look back at them. In either case, these moments found in various basketball video games become hilarious-in-hindsight – or at the very least, good for a smirk or a chuckle – and to that end, I have five examples to share with you today.

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places

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 NBA players who became familiar faces in strange places, and the games that captured those stints.

With the NBA season on hiatus, a lot of the conversation on Twitter has turned to historical debates and reminiscing. I’ve seen a couple of recent threads talking about big names who had brief stints with teams that are often overlooked and forgotten. Those Tweets have taken the form of facetious captions describing these familiar faces in strange places as a legend of the team in question, sometimes with a photo for emphasis. It’s an apt way of describing the oddity of those stints, many of which we’d rather pretend didn’t happen (or at least, claim to).

They did happen of course, and we’ve got the photos, footage, and records to prove it. We’ve also got basketball video games, which as I’ve grown fond of saying, act as time capsules and interactive almanacs. In a previous Wayback Wednesday article, I noted how video games have marked various milestones in NBA history. This time, I’m reminiscing about the weird stints of well-known players, and the games we saw them in. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #315: Old Games & Old Habits

NLSC Podcast Logo

Episode #315 of the NLSC Podcast is out now! Join Dee4Three and myself as we talk about our basketball gaming habits and preferences, and how the games we grew up playing in the 90s and early 2000s ended up shaping those tastes.

With the NBA shut down for the foreseeable future, it’s a great time to not only catch up on gaming, but also classic NBA games. We discuss some of the ways the NBA could improve League Pass and the official YouTube channel, including some comparisons to the WWE Network. Speaking of history, the 25th Anniversary of Michael Jordan’s first comeback is making us feel old, but it’s a good excuse to play the Double Nickel game in NBA 2K11’s Jordan Challenge. On that note, our main discussion topic this week is our basketball gaming preferences past and present, with reflections on the titles from the 90s and early 2000s that influenced our tastes and habits. From our preferred quarter and season length to how often we sim and how much realism we like, those old games established how we approach the virtual hardwood. We also touch on some of the quirks of those old games.

Tune in below!

What are your basketball gaming preferences? Which games shaped them, and have they changed over the years? 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: 25 Years Since Michael Jordan Said “I’m Back”

Wayback Wednesday: 25 Years Since Michael Jordan Said "I'm Back"

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 marking the 25th Anniversary of the day Michael Jordan said “I’m Back”, and returned to the Chicago Bulls.

It’s funny how you don’t always feel the passage of time until you think about how long ago a certain event was. I felt it in 2008, when it had been ten years since the Chicago Bulls’ last championship. I felt it in 2011, when the Bulls celebrated the 20th Anniversary of their first title. It recently occurred to me that I’m now the same age that Michael Jordan was when he won that sixth ring in 1998. And yes, it strikes me that a whole decade has passed and hundreds of players have come and gone, as I continue to work on a current roster for NBA 2K11.

Today marks another milestone. It’s been twenty five years – or a quarter of a century, if you want to make it sound even more impressive – since Michael Jordan ended his first retirement from the NBA. MJ famously announced his return in two words: “I’m Back”. His return would ultimately expand his resume and bolster his claim to being the Greatest of All-Time, producing many more memorable moments along the way. It also had a noteworthy impact on the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #309: A Tribute to Kobe Bryant

NLSC Podcast Logo

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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The Friday Five: 5 Predictions That Were Way Off

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 NBA predictions that ended up being way off.

Here it is, the first Friday Five of 2020! It’s been a while since I’ve covered a topic related to the real NBA rather than the virtual hardwood, so I thought that I’d tip off the year (and decade) with a change of pace. Don’t worry, I’ve still got plenty of topics related to basketball video games that I’ll be covering in my features, but this week, I’d like to talk about NBA predictions. After all, we’re rapidly approaching the midway point of the 2020 season, and we’re starting to get a clearer picture of the top teams and how they stack up against one another.

It’s as good a time as any to start throwing out some midseason predictions, but keep in mind that there’s a lot of basketball left to play. A lot can change very quickly in the NBA, and while we can make educated guesses in our picks, a seemingly likely outcome can be denied by a twist of fate. At the same time, some people – including supposed expert analysts – will make wild predictions. Some may be trying to get ahead of the curve by expecting the unexpected, while others are relying on sources that are less than reliable. Whatever the case may be, we’ve seen some bold and crazy predictions over the years, with these five examples turning out to be quite wrong.

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Wayback Wednesday: Jordan Challenge vs NBA’s Greatest

Wayback Wednesday: Jordan Challenge vs NBA's Greatest

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 comparing The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11 to NBA’s Greatest in NBA 2K12.

I like to mix things up here in Wayback Wednesday. From retrospective reviews and profiles of modes and features, to interesting trivia and media from yesteryear, it’s my goal to cover a broad range of throwback content. Something that I haven’t done yet is to directly compare a couple of retro games, modes, or features, and conclude which one is superior. That changes today with what will hopefully be the first of many “Versus” articles for Wayback Wednesday, as I’m comparing The Jordan Challenge to NBA’s Greatest.

I’ve covered both The Jordan Challenge and NBA’s Greatest in several articles for Wayback Wednesday, but the question remains: which is the superior mode? Both modes took NBA 2K’s retro content to a new level, providing some fun challenges and establishing a precedent for all future releases as far as including a variety of historical teams. Let’s compare these two great modes across some key criteria as we take a look back…way back…

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2004 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2004 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 2004.

After NBA Live 2003 leaned too much towards an arcade style of gameplay, NBA Live 2004 was a very welcome course correction. It took the strong points of its predecessor, such as Freestyle Control, and built a more robust sim game on that foundation. It was also the beginning of a very solid three year run for NBA Live on PC, PlayStation 2, and Xbox, before the series began to struggle with its transition to the next generation. NBA Live 2004 was generally very well-received in its day, and it remains a favourite for many long-time basketball gamers. It was definitely a return to form for the series, and the game most of us wished NBA Live 2003 had been.

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2002 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 2002.

NBA Live 2002 is always an interesting game for me to revisit. I played the game a lot when it was new and did get genuine enjoyment out of it, but I also recall many frustrating moments as well. As such, whenever I fire it up, the good and the bad memories come rushing back the moment the intro starts playing. It’s a game that I’ve described myself as being oddly nostalgic for given my mixed feelings towards it, and indeed the time in my life when it came out. Within our community, it proved to be a very controversial release, and altered our perception of and attitude towards the NBA Live series as much as any other title. Let’s take a look back at this infamous game!

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25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2000 Retrospective

25th Anniversary of NBA Live: NBA Live 2000 Retrospective

To mark the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live, we’re taking a look back at every game in the series with retrospectives and other fun content! This also includes re-running some features from our 20th Anniversary celebrations, with a few revisions. Whether you’re a long-time basketball gamer who grew up with NBA Live and are keen on taking a trip down memory lane, or you’re new to the series and want to learn about its history, we hope that you enjoy celebrating the 25th Anniversary of NBA Live here at the NLSC! Today, it’s a retrospective of NBA Live 2000.

NBA Live 2000 has long been considered one of the best games in the NBA Live series. It’s the crowning achievement of the original development team, a great all-around release that long-time basketball gamers are rightfully nostalgic for. Looking back on it today of course, its flaws are more apparent, and certain aspects naturally don’t hold up as well given how far basketball games have come since the late 90s. Nevertheless, I would say that it’s still worthy of the acclaim it receives, and it stands as a great example of how the NBA Live series used to innovate. Let’s take a look back and see why many gamers still consider NBA Live 2000 to be a classic.

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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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Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen in Basketball Games

Wayback Wednesday: Scottie Pippen in Basketball Games

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 Scottie Pippen and his legacy in basketball video games.

Chicago Bulls legend and Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen turns 54 today. Incidentally, September 25th is a birthday that he shares with Mark Hamill, Will Smith, and my friend Courtney (Happy 30th Birthday, Courtney!). As you may know, my all-time favourite player is Michael Jordan, but Scottie Pippen is a close second, being MJ’s teammate on six Bulls championship squads in the 90s. I have many fond memories of that dynamic duo – dubbed “The Dobermans” by Johnny Bach due to their tenacity at both ends of the court – which could fill several Wayback Wednesday articles.

However, we obviously focus on basketball video games here at the NLSC. To that end, as it’s Pip’s birthday and he’s one of my all-time favourite players – as well as one of the greatest players in the history of basketball – it seems only appropriate that I take a look back at his legacy on the virtual hardwood. In my opinion, he has a rather interesting history in that regard, given how basketball video games were developed during his prime, and considering his standing among the NBA greats. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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