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NLSC Podcast #438: NBA 2K23 Gameplay Blog, Bill Russell, & Classic Cam

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #438 of the NLSC Podcast!

This week’s show opens with a tribute to the late, great Bill Russell, truly one of the most legendary figures in basketball history. As we catch up on what we’ve been playing recently – including another NBA 2K14 MyCAREER update – we discuss our fondness for Classic Cam, and our appreciation of its appearances in later games. We also reflect on NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, and compare NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 on Xbox 360. On the heels of the First Look Trailer, the first developer blog of the preview season provided us with insights into gameplay in NBA 2K23, and we have plenty of thoughts to share! We also open up the mailbag to hear what the community thought of the blog.

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!

The Friday Five: 5 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 6)

The Friday Five: 5 Players In More Video Games Than NBA Games Played (Part 6)

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 Part 6 in an ongoing series listing players that appeared in more video games than actual NBA games.

When it comes to trivia like this, I’m always concerned about running the topic into the ground. I always want my features to be fresh and interesting, and going back to a particular subject does invite repetition, while potentially appearing to be lacking in imagination. At the same time, I want to be thorough, covering all of the relevant and interesting examples. It’s why I’ve repurposed some topics that I originally planned as Friday Five series into longer lists for Wayback Wednesday. Since this one goes back a few years and has five instalments already, I figured I’d keep the ball rolling.

Meta musings about my “process” aside, I do have another five examples of players who appeared in more video games than NBA games. It’s not an unprecedented phenomenon – obviously, since we’re up to Part 6 – but it’s still somewhat unusual. You’d expect there to be more examples of players who made the NBA yet were left out of games, but that’s become rarer thanks to official roster updates. Alternatively, you might expect players who fall just short of officially debuting in the NBA to be absent from video games entirely. When the timing is right though, those players get to play on the virtual hardwood, while having some interesting stories in real life.

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The Friday Five: 5 Players Who Only Appeared on Certain Teams in Games (Part 4)

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 Part 4 in an ongoing series where I look at players who only appeared on certain teams in video games.

It’s time for some more video game roster trivia! As I’m so fond of saying, old NBA video games are like interactive almanacs, capturing snapshots of the league at the time of their release (or indeed, their most recent roster update). Revisiting those titles reminds us of players who became familiar faces in strange places, as well as those who later returned to familiar places. We can see comebacks that were over before they began, as well as odd situations such as Michael Redd’s appearance on the Dallas Mavericks in NBA Live 2003 PC.

Those are the stints I’m taking about again today: the players that only appeared on certain teams in video games. There are several reasons why this happens, from an offseason acquisition that was cut in between the rosters being finalised and the real season tipping off, to injuries resulting in a stint that only occurs on paper and the virtual hardwood. Unless you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of trades and free agent signings over the years, it may not be until you dust off an old game that you remember a player only technically appearing on a roster. Of course, you may not be a crazy collector of old games like I am, so allow me to provide some more examples!

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Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 7)

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 another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

We’ve reached the seventh and (for the moment) final instalment of the Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places series! As a spinoff of the Familiar Faces in Strange Places series of articles, I wanted to match its seven instalments and 70 examples of players with interesting stints. One of the reasons I love compiling these lists is that these stints – both the ones in strange places and back in familiar places – are often forgotten. Of course, sometimes we’d prefer that, as the players were shells of their former selves by that point!

Once again, I’ll note that I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games. As I’ve explained before, I do this because it fits in with our content as a site about basketball gaming, and because revisiting old games is one way that we’re reminded of the stints that we’ve forgotten. It also makes things more challenging as I’m trying to seek out the most interesting stories, and limit examples to ones that can be found in official rosters. To that point, there are fewer stars in this instalment, but certainly some noteworthy NBA player trivia. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 3)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 3)

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 more NBA players that made returns after extended absences from the league.

Look, when it comes to NBA trivia and its representation in video games, I can’t get enough! When The BBall Pundit suggested this topic, it required a bit of research, which is always fun. We remember the big names that made returns to the NBA after extended absences – at least two years or more – but there have been other key role players and memorable journeymen that surprised us when they inked new contracts. Perhaps it’s a reminder to never underestimate the intrigue of a young player who still has potential to fulfil, or a capable veteran who can slot right back into a lineup.

In case it isn’t clear, I should note that by returns after extended absences, I’m talking about players who were out of the league entirely. Someone like Klay Thompson, who missed two consecutive seasons due to injury, doesn’t count as he was still on the Warriors’ roster. Comebacks after missing multiple years due to injury is another topic altogether – and there are certainly some interesting examples I could cover – but this is about players who were retired or out of the league and not expected to return. With that being said, let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began (Part 2)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns Over Before They Began (Part 2)

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 more NBA returns that were over before they began.

As I’ve said so many times before, as an avid fan of basketball and basketball video games, I love trivia concerning both. It’s even better when that trivia intersects, which is why I write articles covering familiar faces in strange and familiar places, players with more video game appearances than NBA games played, phantom stints that were captured in games, and NBA returns following extended absences. That last idea was a suggestion that was spun off of another article, which looked at NBA returns that were over before they even began.

In this case, I’m talking about situations where players almost became familiar faces back in familiar places, but didn’t end up donning an old jersey once more. This is in contrast to comeback attempts that fell short, as there have been some big names that mulled NBA returns, only to remain in retirement. Today however, I’m looking at the players whose returns to their former NBA teams did actually happen on paper, but ended before a reunion could truly begin. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #432: Where’s Our Mamba Mode?

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #432 of the NLSC Podcast!

Which players would we like to bring into the modern NBA? There are a few we’d love to see prove their worth to younger basketball fans, and we’re not just talking about all-time greats! Hooping with Mario, Bowser, and other video game characters reminds us that modding doesn’t always have to be serious. Of course, part of the fun is making mods and modding resources free, and freely available. An enthusiastic response to a mailbag question prompts an in-depth discussion on possibilities for a new retro challenge mode in NBA 2K23 and beyond. We share our own ideas, as well as the many creative suggestions that we received from the community.

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: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 7)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces in Strange Places (Part 7)

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 another ten players that ended up as familiar faces in strange places.

Yes, we’re reached the seventh instalment of this series! For the record, while this may not be the last time I cover this topic in Wayback Wednesday, it’s the final list that I’ve had planned. I’m sure there are other examples that I’ll find when I revisit classic games, and of course over time, new games will grow old and more players will end up becoming familiar faces in strange places. If there are any noteworthy examples that I haven’t covered in these seven articles, feel free to let me know. A Part 8 may be in order at some point!

For those who may be unfamiliar with this topic, I’m taking a look back at the unusual stints of players who are generally associated with a specific team. They’re the stints that are often forgotten, or in some cases, ones that we tried to forget because of how lacklustre they were, or how wrong it felt to see a player in a different jersey. I’m looking at them through the lens of basketball video games, as we’ll often see these familiar faces in strange places when we fire up older titles and browse the rosters. To that end, I’ve mostly tried to focus on stints that have been officially represented in games, at launch or in official roster updates. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #430: Return of the Server

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From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #430 of the NLSC Podcast!

During a session of NBA Jam: On Fire Edition, we made the exciting discovery that the servers appear to be reactivated! We’re hoping it isn’t temporary, and note a few other games we’d like to see receive online support again. A vague Tweet from EA has invited those of us hoping for NBA Live’s return to speculate once more. This leads us to discuss our concerns about influencers giving a new NBA Live game a fair chance, if and when it comes out. A clip from the archives prompts us to reflect on The Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11, and the attention to detail that was paid to Michael Jordan’s return to video games. We also answer a question about whether games have become too realistic, and open up the mailbag to talk about our favourite highlights, real and virtual.

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: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

Wayback Wednesday: Familiar Faces Back in Familiar Places (Part 6)

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 another ten players that became familiar faces back in familiar places.

Since there are a number of players who became familiar faces back in familiar places at some point in their career, its time for the sixth instalment of this series! For those who are unfamiliar with the topic, I’m taking a look back at players who returned to teams that they’re usually most closely associated with, after stints elsewhere. While many big names never had a proper reunion with their former clubs until after they retired, others did don the same jersey once again (or an updated version of it). The same goes for players who weren’t stars, but still noteworthy names that we recall.

Of course, sometimes we forget about their return stints, especially if they were brief and towards the end of their career, and there was no hoopla of an “official” farewell tour. As I’ve said before, one way to recall these familiar faces being back in familiar places is to fire up an old video game, and see them there in the rosters. It’s why I’m looking at these examples through the lens of basketball video games, on top of them being what we’re all about here at the NLSC. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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The Friday Five: 5 Cover Players That Made the Finals The Same Year

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 cover players that made the NBA Finals in the same season their game came out.

The 2022 NBA Finals are upon us! Fittingly, in this 75th Anniversary season, the two teams squaring off are the Golden State Warriors, and the Boston Celtics. Not only are they two of the original three BAA/NBA teams – the New York Knicks being the third – but the Warriors and Celtics have plenty of championship history between them. The Warriors were the inaugural BAA champions, and have gone on to win another five titles since. Boston, meanwhile, were long-time record holders for total NBA championships, and are currently tied with the Los Angeles Lakers with 17.

While there’s plenty of real life history involved with this year’s Finals matchup, it is lacking a tie-in with the virtual hardwood, namely involving cover players. There was only one game on the market for the 2022 season – NBA 2K22 – and while it boasted a few different covers, none of them featured a player that will be competing in this year’s championship series. Popularity and marketability are obviously the deciding factors when EA Sports and Visual Concepts choose their cover players, rather than likelihood of winning or at least competing for a title that year. Of course, it’s quite fortuitous when they do! Here are five cover players that made it as far as the Finals.

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Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 2)

Wayback Wednesday: NBA Returns After Extended Absences (Part 2)

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 more NBA players that made returns after extended absences from the league.

The time has come to profile another group of players that made returns to the NBA after several years, and the video games that reflected those comebacks. Well, for the most part. Some of these NBA returns occurred after the rosters were finalised, and thus the players appeared in the following year’s games, usually after their comeback run had concluded. And, while it’s probably giving away one of the examples, at least one of them occurred long before video games, thus it has no official representation on the virtual hardwood.

Because my aim is to revisit these moments in NBA history through the lens of video games, I was originally on the fence about including such examples. However, there are good stories and interesting trivia to share, and for the most part, I’m adhering to the original aim. Once again, credit to The BBall Pundit on Twitter for suggesting this topic! Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

Wayback Wednesday: Single Season Players Who Were Starters

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 players who only played a single season in the NBA, but ended up being regular starters.

On top of the players that have just one appearance in the NBA – “cups of coffee“, as Basketball Reference labels them – there are many players who spent just a single season in the league. While this is still a tremendous accomplishment, it may be surprising, not to mention disappointing for seemingly promising prospects. Usually, these players only appeared in a handful of games, playing sparingly. You generally wouldn’t expect them to be starters, at least outside of a game or two when injuries opened up a rare opportunity.

Surprisingly, several single season players were starters for a respectable chunk of their only NBA campaigns. For the purposes of compiling the most interesting and relevant list – i.e. not just including anyone who played one season and started a few games – I’ve set the cut-off at starting in at least 20% of their appearances. That might still seem generous, but considering that most single season players have ridden the bench, it represents some regular forays into the starting five. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Choose Your Own Adventure

Monday Tip-Off: Choose Your Own Adventure

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 my thoughts on how basketball video game modes can sometimes limit your ability to choose your own adventure.

When I discussed playing through a second season in NBA 2K14’s MyCAREER and my enthusiasm for embarking on a third campaign, I mentioned that I would have some decisions to eventually make. Right now, I’m enjoying being a member of the virtual Philadelphia 76ers in the 2016 season, coming off back-to-back titles and a triumphant rise to superstardom. However, I can never rule out the possibility of playing for another team, with the Chicago Bulls being a prime candidate. If nothing else, I’d appreciate seeing some new uniforms from game to game!

However, moving on in NBA 2K14’s MyCAREER isn’t as easy as it is in later games. Glancing at my rookie contract, it may be a while before I’m able to pursue any other career opportunities outside of the City of Brotherly Love. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it’s based on reality. At the same time, it gets in the way of that “choose your own adventure” aspect of role-playing in basketball video games. It’s not the only mode that’s placed restrictions on how it can be played, and how much freedom you have to seek out desirable scenarios. This can be frustrating, yet also an interesting and challenging part of the single player career and franchise experiences alike.

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Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

Wayback Wednesday: Oldest NBA Rookies & Their Video Game Debuts

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 oldest rookies in NBA history, and their subsequent video game debuts.

One of the interesting oddities about early iterations of MyCAREER is that you were able to set your age. This meant that if you wanted to role-play as an established pro that was finally making their way to the NBA, then you could effectively make that part of your bio. These days, your MyPLAYER avatar has a fixed age that fits their back story, that generally being a young player coming out of college. It makes sense, but considering that there have been many rookies that are new to the league but not to professional basketball, it’s a shame that such an option is no longer available.

Of course, we still see real examples of latecomers to the NBA in the official rosters, and there have been some noteworthy stories over the years. I’ll admit that since I’ve entered my 30s, I have a greater appreciation for the NBA’s oldest rookies, especially in an era where there seems to be a Logan’s Run approach to veteran players. In fact, referring to them as the “oldest rookies” feels rather strange now that I’m older than they were at the time! Between these rookies being the oldest debutants and some of the games that they were featured in, this is definitely one for the “old heads”. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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