NBA Jam is one of the most notable NBA games from the 90s. By 1994, it was crowned the highest-earning arcade of all time. Almost 30 years later, it still is one of the worlds most popular sports games on the market.
However, arguably the greatest player in NBA history Michael Jordan wasn’t a part of the game. The former six-time champion had a marketing agreement with the shoe giant Nike that didn’t allow him to participate in NBPA’s group license. Despite not being in the game, Midway Sports, who is the creator of NBA Jams actually created a version for Michael Jordan according to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Heavy.com
Robinson spoke with the voice of NBA Jam, Tim Kitrow on the Spoke B Radio Podcast, and he revealed the news that MJ had a version made exclusive for him. He also shared that Gary Payton and former Seattle Mariner great Ken Griffey Jr. own a version of that game. Kitrow was also disappointed that MJ wasn’t apart of the game.
Of course. It was just a terrible thing. I was his biggest fan, I was in Chicago. Actually, in Albany, New York, Phil Jackson was the coach in the CBA league where he won a title. I moved out here he became the assistant coach [of the Chicago Bulls] and then Michael Jordan I’d seen in the Olympics he came to the Bulls and it was such an exciting time. So for him to not be in the game was disappointing.
But aside story to this; the interesting thing is him Gary Payton, Ken Griffey Jr., all wanted to be in the game. Gary Payton wasn’t in the very first year with the Sonics. 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. So there you go and 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.
Michael Jordan was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a part of the Class of 2009, which would later spark one of the most used memes on the internet.