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The Friday Five: 5 What If Scenarios 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 gets hypothetical, as I consider five “What If” scenarios in basketball gaming.

Even though we shouldn’t tie ourselves up in knots dwelling on the past, it’s hard to resist the allure of a fascinating “What If” scenario. What if Michael Jordan didn’t retire in 1993? What if he never returned in 1995, or in 2001? What if the Boston Celtics had won the Draft lottery in 1997? What if the Oklahoma City Thunder had never traded James Harden, or remained the Seattle SuperSonics? What if LeBron James had never taken his talents to South Beach? For each of these scenarios, we can debate and speculate as to how history would differ in both outcomes and perspective.

The real NBA provides us with plenty of “What If” scenarios, as there are so many events that have the potential to be pivotal: trades, free agent signings, lottery results, injuries, clutch shots, and fateful decisions in crunch time of the biggest games. For the most part, the history of the virtual hardwood goes hand in hand with the general improvements and progression of video games as a whole, but a few big moments – as well as a few things that didn’t happen – have shaped the hobby as we know it. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the twists and turns that basketball gaming may possibly have taken, but they are five “What If” scenarios that I find interesting.

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Wayback Wednesday: Michael Redd’s What If in NBA Live 2003

Michael Redd in Dallas (NBA Live 2003)

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 an oddity with Michael Redd in the default rosters of NBA Live 2003 PC.

There are a lot of reasons why it’s fun to go back and play an old basketball video game. Even though our old favourites tend to be far surpassed by new titles, we can usually still find nostalgic enjoyment in the familiarity of the gameplay. It can be satisfying to dust off an old save file, and pick it up again for a while. Sometimes, it’s interesting to just go through the rosters and be reminded of when a certain player was playing for a particular team. If you do that in NBA Live 2003 PC, you’ll be reminded of when Michael Redd played for the Dallas Mavericks. Only, that never actually happened. Yet there he is, on the bench for the 2003 Mavs.

Did EA Sports mess up here? Was someone paying too much attention to those infamous Courtside Comedy cutscenes, and not enough to the default roster as it was being finalised? In truth, there’s no error here; not at the time of the roster’s creation, at any rate. Confused? Let’s take a look back…way back…

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