The first NBA Jam game was published and developed by Midway in 1993, with Arcade, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Game Boy, Game Gear and Sega CD version.
In NBA Jam you can choose different duos from your favorite team and play 2-on-2 basketball against the computer or friends. What makes the game special is its exaggerated nature.
The players can jump many times above their own height, make slam dunks that defy both human capabilities and the laws of physics and get “on fire” when they make three baskets in a row and get unlimited turbo and no goaltending. They also have increased shooting ability until the other team scores or the players scores four straight baskets.
There are also no fouls, free-throws or violations, except goaltending and 24-second violations.
As much as everyone enjoyed NBA Jam, fans always wished Michael Jordan was part of it. Not having the chance to play with MJ was the only disappointing part of NBA Jam.
MJ had an exclusive rights deal with Nike, so he wasn’t able to be part of the NBA Players Association group license, which other players used for their likeness to be duplicated.
Heavy.com’s Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson interviewed Tim Kitzrow, the voice of NBA Jam and he revealed that there are copies of the game that feature Michael Jordan, Gary Payton and Ken Griffey Jr.
Payton was not initially in the game but was later included and Griffey Jr. couldn’t be added because he was an MLB player. Both of them and Jordan are close friends and they wanted to be in the game regardless, so the NBA Jam developers actually created a few special copies of the game with the three of them in it.
This is what Kitzrow told Robinson:“So we got a call from their agents and I came back in the studio and recorded their voices. The artists put together the visuals and we sent them each individual a large NBA Jam package.
Gary Payton bought three and I’ve spoken to him recently he’s got three of them out in Oakland. There’s only four to five cabinets in the world that exist. I’d love to ask Michael Jordan if he still has his.”
Kitzrow also said to Robinson that he hopes to talk with the game’s lead designer and programmer Mark Turmell about releasing a version with Jordan in it.
Speaking of Turmell, in an interview with Ars Technica, the Michigan native and self-professed Detroit Pistons fan admitted to having programmed NBA Jam so the Bulls would miss every buzzer-beater they took against the Pistons.
“Making this game in Chicago during the height of the Michael Jordan era, there was a big rivalry between the Pistons and the Bulls, but the one way I could get back at the Bulls once they got over the hump was to affect their skills against the Pistons in NBA Jam,” Turmell explained. “And so I put in special code that if the Bulls were taking last-second shots against the Pistons, they would miss those shots.”
Hopefully Turmell makes up for this by releasing a version of NBA Jam with Michael Jordan. Fans deserve to finally have the chance to use the legendary duo of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in NBA Jam!