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The Friday Five: 5 Single-Season Detroit Pistons

The Friday Five: 5 Single-Season Detroit Pistons

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five players who had single-season stints with the Detroit Pistons

So, this might seem like a weird topic for me to cover in The Friday Five! The Detroit Pistons are hardly the only NBA team whose all-time roster includes a number of players who only stuck around for a year. I’m also generally not inclined to focus my content on the Pistons; indeed, as a Chicago Bulls fan, it would be rather unusual for me to celebrate the team from the Motor City! However, I do love basketball and basketball gaming trivia, and it’s fun when real hoops reminds me of something from a video game, or revisiting an old title brings to mind some tidbit about the NBA.

While writing about my Minnesota Timberwolves Franchise in NBA Live 2003 for Wayback Wednesday, I noted that Joe Smith was on the roster, also mentioning his brief time with the Pistons. In the weird way that a mind that enjoys trivia works, I began trying to recall other players who only spent a single season of their career with Detroit, resulting in an often overlooked stint. Some of these players are bigger names than others, but they all have one thing in common, that being multi-year careers in the NBA with only one in Detroit. With apologies to fans of Korleone Young, that disqualifies him from this particular list, but here are five other single-season Pistons!

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NLSC Podcast #528: Best Three-Point Shooters in Video Game History

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #528 of the NLSC Podcast!

A recent interview with EA’s CEO Andrew Wilson bleakly hints at a future where games are riddled with intrusive ads. We’ve already seen attempts at this before, but as you can imagine, we’re not thrilled at the possibility of it becoming commonplace! However, most of this week’s show is dedicated to the deadeyes from downtown on the virtual hardwood, as we join the community in reminiscing about the best three-point shooters in the history of basketball video games. We also recall the players that we preferred to overwrite when customising the rosters in classic titles, whether we were making current roster updates or putting ourselves and our friends into the NBA.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Wayback Wednesday: The Jail Blazers & Video Games

Wayback Wednesday: The Jail Blazers & Video Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the “Jail Blazers” era of the Portland Trail Blazers, and their presence in basketball video games.

When my cousin and I were looking to move on from our 1995 Season in NBA Live 95 PC and dive into the all new Franchise mode in NBA Live 2000, we obviously had to choose a team to play with cooperatively. In the interest of neutrality, we opted not to use either of our favourite teams (the Chicago Bulls and Seattle SuperSonics). After discussing it on the phone – this was the year 2000, after all – we ultimately went with the Portland Trail Blazers, and agreed on a few trades. I set everything up ready for his arrival in the school holidays, and we won the title playing a 28-game season.

It’s one of my favourite memories, both of basketball gaming and hanging out with my cousin as a teenager, but why the Portland Trail Blazers? Neither of us had an attachment to the club, and there were other teams that could’ve been just a fun. Well, while the off-court incidents that branded those early 2000s Trail Blazers the “Jail Blazers” may have caused a number of legal headaches and chemistry problems in real life, on the virtual hardwood, they had some deep rosters that were enjoyable to play with, as well as reshape with trades. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: May 4th, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

May the 4th be with you, basketball gamers! With this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays falling on a day that’s obviously very special to Star Wars fans – no matter what side of The Force you’re on – the countdown not only features players defying gravity, but also a couple of familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away. As always, it’s not just about spectacular virtual hardwood moments but also entertaining variety, as eight different titles are on display from NBA Live 2001 all the way through to NBA 2K24. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

Wayback Wednesday: Failed Franchise & Season Games

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at some of my failed franchise and season mode games, and reflecting on whether they’re actually failures.

Over the years in Wayback Wednesday, I’ve reminisced about several of my most memorable franchise, season, and career mode games. While they all represent fun times on the virtual hardwood for me, they haven’t been equally successfully as far as completion is concerned. Games where I’ve played through an entire season on twelve minute quarters stand out as the times I’ve really been hooked on the experience, but they’re arguably the exception rather than the rule. There are far more titles that I’ve never finished a single season in, than ones where I’ve had multi-year games.

Of course, as I’ve noted before, completion is what you make it when it comes to the annual sim titles. Unless you stick with a single game for more than a year, it’s tough to get the full multi-year experience in franchise and career modes; especially when you opt for full length seasons on twelve minute quarters without simulating! Even in the games where I didn’t finish the season, I still had a ton of fun. With that being said, there are also franchise and season mode games that I abandoned very quickly. To that end, this week I’m reflecting on some “failed” games, and pondering the concept of “failure” in that context. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

Wayback Wednesday: Revisiting the NBA Live 96 PC Rosters

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m revisiting the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC.

Have I mentioned that old basketball video games can be interactive almanacs? I believe I have, once or twice! It’s one of the things that I enjoy the most about retro basketball gaming, on top of the nostalgic throwback gameplay of course. As I’ve noted on several occasions, sim titles capture a snapshot of the league at the time they were released. This includes interesting trivia such as phantom stints, familiar faces in unfamiliar places, and familiar faces back in familiar places, to name just some of the examples that I enjoy keeping my eye out for.

I’ve previously revisited the rosters in NBA Live 2002, NBA Live 95 (both PC and Super Nintendo), and NBA Live 99 PC (with the official update). Those were fun trips down memory lane, but I’m even more excited to revisit the rosters in NBA Live 96 PC. It’s one of my all-time favourite basketball games, and while I sunk countless hours into it playing with my 1998 season roster, I also spent a considerable amount of time with the default lineups. It’s also helped me out with modding, and even in answering trivia all these years later! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Video Game Teams

Monday Tip-Off: Video Game Teams

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a look at the concept of Video Game Teams.

Dee and I have mentioned “Video Game Teams” and “Virtual Hardwood Legends” on several episodes of the NLSC Podcast. That’s because they’re part of some of our favourite basketball gaming memories, and I know that we’re definitely not alone in that regard. There have been many articles and posts from basketball and other sports gamers who fondly recall players and teams that were dominant in video games – even unstoppable – irrespective of their real life performance. Indeed, video games are undoubtedly responsible for gamers becoming fans of certain teams and players!

At the same time, enthusiasm for the real sport frequently determines our choices in video games. For example, we’re more likely to use our favourite players and teams – if we have them – because there’s already some degree of emotional investment. We’ll also seek out a change of pace though, and if we’re passionate about the sport and its history, we’ll recreate interesting scenarios and historical showdowns. Over the years, we’ve seen many busts that become superstars on the virtual hardwood, and teams that fared much better in games. They’re often a blast to play with, but as the term “Video Game Teams” might be somewhat ambiguous, I figured I’d take a shot at defining it.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: March 23rd, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

As always, this week’s NLSC Top 10 Plays is bringing you a variety of basketball’s most exciting highlights, in real life or on the virtual hardwood! You’ll find an Eddie Jones gamewinner, a strong putback during a Rec game in NBA 2K24, poster dunks courtesy of MyTEAM and MyNBA Eras games, a signature Vince Carter 360 in NBA 09, and other spectacular moves. Eight different titles are on display, once again demonstrating that it’s not just about the latest release when it comes to having fun with basketball video games. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

The Friday Five: 5 Limitations With A Sensible Explanation

The Friday Five: 5 Limitations With A Sensible Explanation

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five limitations in basketball video games that actually have a sensible explanation.

It’s always frustrating when we encounter limitations in basketball video games that stand in the way of having fun with them. It’s even more frustrating when those limitations aren’t present in other games – in some cases, in the very same series – which suggests that it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. However, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t technical roadblocks when a particular game was released, or a reason for a particular feature or function being designed a certain way. Quite often, there’s a sensible and reasonable explanation for these limitations.

Of course, that doesn’t necessarily make it less frustrating, especially if we don’t learn the reason until much later. Furthermore, in the early days of basketball video games, we couldn’t be blamed for dreaming big as far as the things we wanted to see, and video game developers have clearly had similar visions. To that end, some limitations have been overcome as technology has improved, and programmers have found a way to make ambitious ideas work. Even so, it’s important to acknowledge that there are sensible explanations as to why those limitations were once in place, or why a mode or feature is still restrictive by design. Here are five that we’ve often grumbled about!

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Wayback Wednesday: The NBA Live Toolkit

Wayback Wednesday: The NBA Live Toolkit

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at an essential modding utility in the early days of our community: the NBA Live Toolkit.

In some respects, roster editing in basketball video games has come a long way. We have access to animation packages, salary data, and other attributes that used to be hidden. At the same time, the in-game roster customisation tools still have many of the same drawbacks as they did in much earlier games. There are still attributes and bio data that we can’t edit or add for created players, or even modify for original players. Placeholder players are still difficult to deal with, as they’re not completely customisable. To make truly detailed roster mods, we need external editing tools.

Fortunately, talented people in the community have been able to step up and develop roster editing tools throughout the years. It began with our founders’ editors for the early NBA Live games, Vl@d took on the challenge for the burgeoning NBA 2K modding scene, and Looyh continues to carry the torch today. It hasn’t been easy, with executable and save files needing to be mapped and decoded. However, editing roster files did become easier with the adoption of the DBF format, and the process was further simplified by the NBA Live Toolkit. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: The Novelty of Older & Newer Rosters

Monday Tip-Off: The Novelty of Older & Newer Rosters

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some thoughts on the novelty of updating older games for new seasons, and modding retro seasons into newer games.

Although I wish we had more than just NBA 2K coming out every year, the fact that we do still have an annual release means that we can always play with current rosters. If we do feel like revisiting a past season, it’s as easy as dusting off an old favourite, stepping into an interactive almanac as it were. We can have a blast exploring NBA history and keeping up with the current league alike via the virtual hardwood, simply by having an array of games on hand. What I’m getting at here is that we’re not reliant on customising any single game in order to experience different seasons.

Of course, while full season mods aren’t necessary, they’re still fantastic! There’s a real novelty in seeing contemporary players in a game that came out long before they were in the league, or indeed, before they were even born! Likewise, an authentic re-creation of the league from decades ago in a modern video game is a joy to behold. That novelty is why I’ll always advocate for going back and tinkering with an older game, or getting creative with a newer one. In both cases – older rosters in a newer game, or newer rosters in an older one – it’s an interesting combination of nostalgia and appreciation for the contemporary, leading to an enjoyable gaming experience.

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NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week: March 2nd, 2024

NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week

Get ready for more fantastic highlights from the basketball gaming community in the NLSC Top 10 Plays of the Week, curated by Dee4Three! New and old games alike are featured in this celebration of spectacular moments on the virtual hardwood. To submit your clips, post them in this topic, or hit up Dee on Twitter.

Between the variety of titles spanning the history of basketball gaming and the use of mods and historical content, the NLSC Top 10 Plays is always a fun mixture of past and present…and sometimes, the fictional and fantastic, too! This week’s countdown is no different, as you can expect to see both Michael Jordan and Victor Wembanyama throwing down spectacular dunks, not to mention the Monstars from Space Jam showing off their stolen talents. Eight different games from NBA Live 2001 through to NBA 2K24 provide these virtual hardwood highlights from legends, future superstars, and cartoon characters alike. Let’s get to the action!

What was your favourite highlight this week? Sound off in the comments below, and once again, get in on the fun by sending us your best plays! Remember, as long as it’s a basketball game, it’s eligible for the countdown. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to us on YouTube for more basketball gaming videos.

Wayback Wednesday: EA Sports Cover Players in NBA Live 16

Wayback Wednesday: EA Sports Cover Players in NBA Live 16

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at the EA Sports cover players that can be found in NBA Live 16.

Did you know that every single NBA 2K cover player is available to play with in NBA 2K24? Between the cover players that are still active and the game’s array of classic and All-Time teams, they’re all accounted for. Obviously, we haven’t had a new NBA Live since 2018, but even then, NBA Live 19 didn’t include every cover player in the history of the series. On top of that, a couple of the cover players that were included in NBA Live 19 were nevertheless retired, and thus exclusive to the collection of Legends in Ultimate Team.

If we want to find the last NBA Live game that featured a healthy selection of players who appeared on the cover of EA Sports’ long-running basketball sim series, we must go back a few years to NBA Live 16. In fact, not only does NBA Live 16 feature a number of NBA Live cover players, but also players who graced the covers of EA Sports’ college basketball titles. And so, I thought it might be fun to spotlight those cover players who are readily accessible in NBA Live 16, wearing EA Sports jerseys in the game’s practice mode. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #516: Michael Jordan, NBA Live, & MyTEAM Greed

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #516 of the NLSC Podcast!

Suffice to say, we’ve been on a major NBA Live kick lately! To that point, we’ve got some extremely enjoyable sessions with NBA Live 97, NBA Live 2004, NBA Live 06 (both versions), NBA Live 09, and NBA Live 10 to recap. We also join the community in reflecting on the NBA Live titles that we’ve spent the most time with over the years. On a less positive note, 2K has reached a whole new level of greed with NBA 2K24 MyTEAM. In addition to expressing our disgust, we commend some content creators for (finally) speaking out about these issues. We wrap up this week’s show with a celebration of Michael Jordan’s birthday, as we and our listeners share our fondest memories of MJ on the real and virtual hardwood alike.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!

Monday Tip-Off: Our Players Before MyPLAYERs

Monday Tip-Off: Our Players Before MyPLAYERs

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on the bygone practice of creating ourselves in basketball video games, long before we had MyPLAYERs.

When we think about creating players in basketball video games these days, it’s usually to either add a missing player to the current or historical rosters, or to create our avatar for career mode play. It makes sense, of course. Even though we have official roster updates, community rosters are not outmoded. Indeed, they’re essential as far as adding retro players that can’t be licensed. Career modes have been popular since their introduction, and have only become a bigger part of basketball gaming with the advent of the connected online team play experiences.

Obviously, we’ve been creating rosters and career mode avatars for years now. Although not everyone chooses to give their MyPLAYERs their real name and face – either via a scan or a close-enough approximation with the in-game creation tools – many of us do or previously have created ourselves for use in MyCAREER. Most of my MyPLAYERs have been “me”, aside from the fictional scenario where I’m good enough to play in the NBA! However, long before MyCAREER and its connected modes, many of us created ourselves on the virtual hardwood. It may seem like a quaint notion nowadays, but it was fun thing to do before we had these deep modes.

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