August 19, 2011
With no contests likely to be on the docket, this fall's best NBA games could take place on your favorite video game consoles. "NBA 2K12" figures to be a major release in October, one that could avoid the kind of dip in sales you'd expect from a game tied to a league that may not have a season.
In large part, that's because of the game's challenge-based tie-in with 15 NBA legends. Until now, only a few names had been confirmed for this game mode. Jon Robinson of ESPN.com's The Gamer has all 15 of the players and teams on the list (via PBT), along with their specific challenges. It's a varied list of Hall of Famers, both chronologically and geographically: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan (again), Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, and Jerry West, plus the 1990-91 Warriors and 2001-02 Kings.
It'll be fun to play with each of those legends, especially since the game builds out full rosters for both the players' teams and their opponents (so, yes, Jerry West's challenge includes a game against Pete Maravich). Still, I feel as though 2K Sports missed a chance to have a lot of fun with these challenges. Instead of accomplishing certain goals during each of these legendary games, players need only win to succeed.
1. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Aggressively lobby Lakers executives to build a statue four times as big as that of Jerry West.
2. Wilt Chamberlain: Using the gameplay pioneered by "Leisure Suit Larry," bed 10 women at a single party.
3. Julius Erving: Collect a team of Pisces-born players to save the city of Pittsburgh from alien attack.
4. Patrick Ewing: Employing your best skills of stealth, dip the Knicks' envelope at the 1985 draft lottery in maple syrup with no one noticing.
5. Michael Jordan: Winning a game unlocks the ability to play boo-ray as a postgame bonus.
6. Karl Malone: In an interface similar to "Oregon Trail," wipe out an entire herd of bison during an off-day.
8. Scottie Pippen: Ruin a great season by pouting at the end of an amazing playoff game.
9. Oscar Robertson: Win a game and any pre-1976 player becomes a free agent. Break up the Celtics dynasty as you please!
10. Bill Russell: Score 20 points, grab 30 rebounds, block 10 shots. At a bar after the game, try to get a white fan to acknowledge your presence.
11. John Stockton: Elbow players in the face at least 20 times without getting called for a single foul.
12. Isiah Thomas: Using the game mechanics of "Rollercoaster Tycoon," run a business successfully.
13. Jerry West: Average at least 40 points over the course of the NBA Finals without winning.
14. 1990-91 Warriors: No score is kept. Win the game by eliciting more applause than your opponents.
15. 2001-02 Kings: Any contact with an opponent is a foul. Regardless, win Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals.