Tag Archives: NBA Live

Throwback Thursday: NBA Live 99 and the lockout

Happy Throwback Thursday, everyone. 15 years and one day ago the lockout-shortened 1999 season tipped off. Labor disputes only lasted so long because Antoine Walker was on the cover of NBA Live 99.

Fine, that’s not true, probably. Maybe Walker wasn’t the best choice for the cover of the game, but neither was Tim Hardaway the year before and I played NBA Live 98 long after the Jordan era ended. ’99 held up in reviews too with IGN rating it an 8.0 for Nintendo 64, 8.6 for PC, and 9.0 for PlayStation. GameSpot wasn’t as friendly, basically giving the game one less point than IGN did for each respective gaming system.

There was nothing too memorable about the game to me, mostly because I bought it with a value pack with Tiger Woods PGA Tour ’99, Madden 99, and NHL 99. (Also, I was only 10 years old.) It was the first time the NBA Live series had a franchise mode, though, lasting 10 years. From what I remember, you could also goaltend either by mistake or intentionally. I turned that rule off, made my dream team featuring Chris Webber, among others, and protected the rim to the point SportVU’s player tracking data would blow up.

Antoine Walkers 1999 campaign wasn’t too shabby either, at least compared to the rest of his career. Looking at his Basketball-Reference page, a couple things stick out from that season:

  1. Walker shot a career-best 36.9 percent from three, which sums up his career but still. Okay, he followed that up in 2000 by shooting a career-worst 25.6 percent on 3.5 attempts, then took nearly 1,250 threes the next two seasons, but moving on.
  2. Walker recorded 1.9 defensive win shares, as many if not more than players like Shaquille O’Neal, Doug Christie, Kobe Bryant, Dale Davis, and Tracy McGrady. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts though, win shares have their flaws like any other stat. Heck, during the Detroit Pistons’ title seasons of 1989 and ’90, Dennis Rodman had twice the offensive win shares as Isiah Thomas. Also, Walker recorded 5.2 defensive win shares in 2002. His steal totals were nice and Boston was fifth in defensive efficiency that season according to NBA.com, but no.

Regardless of what happened in 1999, the NBA Live series came out with a bang in 2000 both with the cover player (Tim Duncan) and the gameplay itself. Kevin Garnett made the arguably the best cover the following year and then…ugh. To me, Steve Francis on the cover of NBA Live 2002 marked the beginning of the end of the franchise as king of the hill. It’s hard to find where it hit rock bottom but Kyrie Irving on this season’s cover is a decent starting point, especially after last night.

Any thoughts on NBA Live during the the ’90s are certainly welcome.

The top 10 players from the 1994 NBA Draft

The recent retirements of Grant Hill and Jason Kidd brought me back to the first basketball video game I ever played: NBA Live 95 for Windows 95. (Here’s the cover and the back listing all the cool features!) Though much of it is a blur, I still a remember a handful of things from that game:

1. The ugliness I thought of Seattle’s jerseys. No worries, I love them now.

2. The flat top of Alonzo Mourning. Even with the graphics back then, Mourning stuck out like a sore thumb.

3. How confused I was when Michael Jordan wasn’t in the game. My parents bought me the game in 1996, though the version of me back then didn’t remember a time when Jordan wasn’t in the NBA. Naturally, I threw a hissy fit when the Chicago Bulls’ starting lineup featured Will Perdue and B.J. Armstrong. It super sucked. (Something I said, probably.)

4. I thought Greg Anderson, the center for the Atlanta Hawks in 1995, was the same Greg Anderson who was my next door neighbor. He wasn’t.

5. The fun I had with my friends playing the game (and also NBA Live 97 and 98) with no rules. The shoving you could do with players was hysterical.

Both Jason Kidd and Grant Hill were rookies during the 1994-95 season, but I didn’t know they existed when I was ballin’ out on NBA Live 95. In an attempt to make up for that, I decided to acknowledge their impact on the league by making a 10-player Big Board and use it to rank the best players from the 1994 NBA Draft:

1. Jason Kidd – Drafted 2nd by the Dallas Mavericks

His passes were a lot like LeBron’s. They were so good so often there came a point when you took them for granted. Also have to credit him for winning a gold medal for USA Basketball two separate times and eight years apart. He’ll be in the Hall of Fame, just like…

2. Grant Hill – Drafted 3rd by the Detroit Pistons

He could’ve been a better version of Scottie Pippen had his entire career been like his first six seasons. Like what’s already been said many times though, Hill continued playing, despite other opinions from his doctors, and carved out a solid career by transforming his game.

3. Eddie Jones – Drafted 10th by the Los Angeles Lakers

Another one of my favorite players from the ’90s, but I never really paid attention to Jones after the Lakers traded him. He also was featured in this commercial from 1997, starring Shaq. It was way better than Kazaam.

4. Juwan Howard – Drafted 5th by the Washington Bullets

Hoop Dreams, the Fab Five, the cabbage patch, a web site devoted to his overreactions; solid career, Juwan Howard.

5. Glenn Robinson – Drafted 1st by the Milwaukee Bucks

Every time I look at his basketball-reference page I can’t get over his 30 point-10 rebound average in his last year at Purdue. Robinson also signed the richest rookie contract in NBA history at 10-years, $68 million. Money in the bank.

One of the best mid-range shooters in his prime, Robinson was a two-time All-Star and one of my favorite players of the 90s. I still remember his basketball card and the rest of the Dream Team II in a Sports Illustrated for Kids issue. They were literally made out of cardboard, but I pretended it was gold.

6. Jalen Rose – Drafted 13th by the Denver Nuggets

A versatile player in his prime who could play point forward, Rose played for six NBA teams, though I only remember him on three of them (Indiana, Chicago, and Toronto).

7. Brian Grant – Drafted 9th by the Sacramento Kings

One of the best energy players in his prime with some of the best hair the NBA will ever see. Google Images, man. Google Images.

8. Donyell Marshall – Drafted 4th by the Minnesota Timberwolves

He has a soft spot in my heart because Minnesota traded him for the Googs, Tom Gugliotta.

And then there’s this:

Chill out, LeBron James.

9. Wesley Person — drafted 23rd by the Phoenix Suns.

When I first came across him in NBA Live 97, I thought it was so cool that his last name was actually Person.

10. Lamond Murray – Drafted 7th by the Los Angeles Clippers

My favorite Clipper of the 90s for no real reason other than he never missed a three-pointer for me in NBA Live 97.

Honorable mention: Eric Piatkowski – drafted 15th by the Indiana Pacers

He was the real-life Billy Hoyle from White Men Can’t Jump.

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