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.
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, no goaltending and increased shooting ability, until the other team scores or the players scores four straight baskets.
There are no fouls, free-throws or violations in NBA Jam, except goaltending and 24-second violations.
I was a kid that just fell in love with basketball when I discovered NBA Jam. I played the game for hours at a time on my Super Nintendo and at one of the few arcades we had in Costa Rica. I usually picked my team, the Bulls, and as much as I enjoyed NBA Jam, I always wished Michael Jordan was part of it. Not having the chance to play with MJ was the only disappointing part of the game.
Jordan 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 couldn’t be included because he was an MLB player but 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 Jordan, Payton and Griffey in them.
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, but Gary Payton super excited already said his sons grew up playing it and he loves it.”
Are there more copies with MJ out there? Kitzrow also told Robinson that he hopes to talk with the game’s developer Mark Turmell about releasing a version with Jordan in it:
“… maybe one day I’ll talk to Mark Turmell and see how, if possible, legally we could release the Holy Grail with Michael Jordan in it, see it, or at least get in into the Hall of Fame. Some discussion that the Hall of Fame will do some updating to exhibits on the effects of video games on the league and have an old NBA Jam cabinet. That would be great to have the Michael Jordan version there.”
Hopefully they make this happen so fans can finally use the legendary duo of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in NBA Jam!