First, the list of legends. Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving were confirmed for the game a couple weeks ago. They will be joined by Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Isiah Thomas, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen, John Stockton and Karl Malone.
“NBA’s Greatest” will pit gamers, playing as the legend’s team, against another team from that same year. The games will not necessarily be historic recreations of specific moments, like last year’s “Jordan Challenge”. Winning the game unlocks both teams for use throughout all the rest of NBA 2K12′s modes.
- 1964-65 Boston Celtics (Russell) vs Los Angeles Lakers
- 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (Robertson) vs Lakers
- 1970-71 Lakers (West) vs Atlanta Hawks
- 1971-72 Lakers (Chamberlain) vs Knicks
- 1984-1985 Philadelphia 76ers (Erving) vs Bucks
- 1985-86 Celtics (Bird) vs Hawks
- 1986-87 Lakers (Kareem) vs Celtics
- 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons (Thomas) vs Bulls
- 1990-91 Lakers (Johnson) vs Portland Trail Blazers
- 1992-1993 Bulls (Jordan) vs Charlotte Hornets
- 1993-1994 Houston Rockets (Olajuwon) vs Denver Nuggets
- 1994-1995 Knicks (Ewing) vs Orlando Magic
- 1995-1996 Bulls (Pippen) vs Seattle Supersonics
- 1997-1998 Utah Jazz (Stockton) vs Lakers
- 1997-1998 Jazz (Malone) vs San Antonio Spurs.
Astute fans will note there are some top-50 players on the opposing teams, such as Clyde Drexler (who appeared in NBA 2K11). Shaquille O’Neal back with the Orlando Magic, and Elgin Baylor with the Lakers.
There are also some jaw-dropping nostalgic choices — Pete Maravich on the 1970-1971 Hawks, for example. The 1971-1972 New York Knicks of Willis Reed, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe will be worth the $US59.99 to many Knick fans.
ESPN has an interview with series producer Erick Boenisch talking about the choices of players and matchups and how they were made. If you are at all a fan of basketball, go read it, it will fire you right the hell up.
The 15 Legends of NBA 2K [ESPN]