I have decided to name this article after the great NBA video game series NBA 2K. The reason is that NBA 2K introduced a new feature in the 2011 game that gave, to the gamer, the opportunity to take control of historical teams of the 80s and 90s as the basic concept was to play as MJ and achieve what he did as a Chicago Bull. This was a result of the increased demand and interest of the gamers regarding the teams of the past and especially of the golden era of the 90s. In fact in the NBA 2K12 game there are more than twenty historical teams.
Evidence of that interest can be easily found in the various forums around the internet and the numerous modifications, with historical teams, that gamers around the world created and made available to download through websites. Anyone, that is not aware of this new trend in NBA video gaming, is free to visit the NBA 2K forums at the official page of the game and find out by himself the interest of the gamers for the teams of the past (https://www.2ksports.com/forums/).
So, as a great fan of the NBA and as a man that grew up playing bball video games like, two on two, double dribble, fast break, tv sports basketball and of course NBA JAM and NBA Live it was not possible for me to do not play a game like NBA 2K that can actually put me in control of some of my favourite teams, some of the teams that I grew up watching. The game is really good and it brings back memories but it gave me also an idea. Why not make a game that will have only teams from the 90s, this means from the 1989-90 season to 1998-99 season.
The question that arose then was which teams should be included and could there be two teams from the same franchise for example the Bulls of 1990-91 season and the Bulls of the 1995-96 season? After some thought, not too much, I have decided that there should be definitely 29 teams, one for each franchise of the 90s including the Raptors and the Grizzles even though according to the rules of this blog they are not qualified.
These 29 teams would be the best that each franchise had during the 90s. So, there would be in the same league the Sonics of 1995-96 season and the Blazers 0f 1991-92 season. This sounds good but what about the franchises that had two or even three teams that could easily be included in such a league? Or what about some teams that we loved to watch but they were not that good, some of them did not even qualify for the play-offs like, for example the 1994-95 Dallas Mavericks of the Three-Js (Jason Kidd, Jimmy Jackson and Jamal Mashburn)?
The answer is that there should be 11 more teams, to the total of 40, in order to include some of the teams that we loved or that just worth to be a part of it. The 29 teams that I have chosen as the best of the 90s for each franchise are the following:
|New York Knicks||1993-94||57-25||Lost NBA Finals|
|Orlando Magic||1994-95||57-25||Lost NBA Finals|
|Miami Heat||1996-97||61-21||Lost Eastern Conference Finals|
|Boston Celtics||1990-91||56-26||Lost Eastern Conference Semi-Finals|
|Philadelphia 76ers||1989-90||53-29||Lost Eastern Conference Semi-Finals|
|New Jersey Nets||1993-94||45-37||Lost Eastern Conference First Round|
|Washington Bullets||1996-97||44-38||Lost Eastern Conference First Round|
|Chicago Bulls||1995-96||72-10||Won NBA Finals|
|Detroit Pistons||1989-90||59-23||Won NBA Finals|
|Indiana Pacers||1997-98||58-24||Lost Eastern Conference Finals|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||1991-92||57-25||Lost Eastern Conference Finals|
|Atlanta Hawks||1996-97||56-26||Lost Eastern Conference Semi-Finals|
|Charlotte Hornets||1997-98||51-31||Lost Eastern Conference Semi-Finals|
|Milwaukee Bucks||1998-99||28-22||Lost Eastern Conference First Round|
|Toronto Raptors||1998-99||23-27||Did not Qualify|
So, the 90s Eastern Conference would have two NBA champions; the Chicago Bulls with the best record in the history of the league with players like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Tony Kukoc and the ‘Bad Boys’ of Detroit that won back to back titles with players like Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer and Dennis Rodman (without the coloured hair). Two finalists; the tough New York Knicks of Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Charles Oakley as well as the enthusiastic Orlando Magic of the young Shaquille O’Neal, Penny Hardaway and the three time champion Horace Grant.
Additionally there would be three Eastern Conference Finalists; Pat Riley’s Miami Heat with Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Dan Majerle and Jamal Mashburn, the Indiana Pacers with Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Antonio and Dale Davis, Jalen Rose and Larry Bird as a head coach and the great team of the Cleveland Cavaliers that was destined to play at the same era with Jordan’s Bulls and never reach the NBA Finals, with players like Brad Daugherty, Mark Price and Larry Nance.
Furthermore, there would be the aged but competent Boston Celtics of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Reggie Lewis, Charles Barkley’s 76ers, Dikembe Mutombo’s and Steve Smith’s Hawks, Glen Rice’s Hornets, Drazen Petrovic’s and Derrick Coleman’s Nets, Ray Allen’s and Glen Robinson’s Bucks, the Bullets of Chris Weber, Juwan Howard and Rod Strickland and the team of Toronto Raptors with the young Vince Carter and the rookie Tracy McGrady.
|Seattle Supersonics||1995-96||64-18||Lost NBA Finals|
|Phoenix Suns||1992-93||62-20||Lost NBA Finals|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1990-91||58-24||Lost NBA Finals|
|Portland Trail Blazers||1991-92||57-25||Lost NBA Finals|
|Golden State Warriors||1990-91||44-38||Lost Western Conference Semi-Finals|
|Los Angeles Clippers||1991-92||45-37||Lost Western Conference First Round|
|Sacramento Kings||1998-99||27-23||Lost Western Conference First Round|
|Houston Rockets||1994-95||48-34||Won NBA Finals|
|San Antonio Spurs||1998-99||37-13||Won NBA Finals|
|Utah Jazz||1997-98||62-20||Lost NBA Finals|
|Denver Nuggets||1993-94||42-40||Lost Western Conference Semi-Finals|
|Dallas Mavericks||1989-90||47-35||Lost Western Conference First Round|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||1997-98||45-37||Lost Western Conference First Round|
|Vancouver Grizzles||1997-98||19-63||Did not Qualify|
Thus, the 90s Western Conference would have two NBA champions as well; the Houston Rockets of the two former members of Phi Slamma Jamma, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler and their fierce rivals from Texas San Antonio Spurs of the twin towers David Robinson and Tim Duncan.
It would also have five victims (NBA Finalists) of the Chicago Bulls; the supersonic team from Seattle with Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and Detlef Schrempf, the all-star Suns of Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, Dan Majerle and Cedric Ceballos, the Utah Jazz of the one of the greatest duos in the history of the NBA in John Stockton and Karl Malone, the great Blazers team that lost two NBA Finals with players like Clyde Drexler, Terry Porter, Buck Williams and Kevin Duckworth and finally the aged but powerful Los Angeles Lakers of Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Vlade Divac.
Furthermore it would have the Run-TMC-Warriors of Hardaway, Mullin and Richmond, Mutombo’s Nuggets that surprised the world by beating the no.1 seed of the west in 1994 NBA play-offs, the only competitive Mavs team until the coming of the great German with players like Blackman, Harper, Donaldson and Tarpley, the Wolves of the youngsters Garnett, Marbury and Gugliotta, the Clippers’ team of Danny Manning and Ron Harper, the young Sacramento team that became one of the greatest teams of the next decade with a mature Weber, a veteran Divac and the youngsters Jason Williams and Predrag Stojakovic, and the Grizzles of Shareef Abdur Rahim and Bryant Reeves.
In addition to this already impressive league, eleven more teams, to a total of forty teams, from the 90s would complete the NBA 2k90s project. These teams would be the following:
|Philadelphia 76ers||1997-98||31-51||Did not Qualify|
|New York Knicks||1998-99||27-23||Lost NBA Finals|
|Atlanta Hawks||1992-93||43-39||Lost Eastern Conference First Round|
|Detroit Pistons||1996-97||54-28||Lost Eastern Conference First Round|
|Charlotte Hornets||1991-92||44-38||Lost Eastern Conference Semi-Finals|
|Golden State Warriors||1993-94||50-32||Lost Eastern Conference First Round|
|Los Angeles Lakers||1997-98||61-21||Lost Western Conference Finals|
|Portland Trail Blazers||1998-99||35-15||Lost Western Conference Finals|
|Dallas Mavericks||1994-95||36-46||Did not Qualify|
|Houston Rockets||1996-97||57-25||Lost Western Conference Finals|
|San Antonio Spurs||1994-95||62-20||Lost Western Conference Finals|
The additional eastern teams would be the 1997-98 76ers team which was full of talented players with Iverson, Stackhouse and Coleman in their roster, the Knicks of 1998-99 that had an aged and injured Ewing but had an all-star starting five with Allan Houston, Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson and Marcus Camby, the Hawks of the 1992-93 which was the last Hawks’ team that had Dominique Wilkins for a full season, the 1996-97 Pistons that was a team that supposed to have a great future built around the unlucky (comparing to what he could have achieved if he hadn’t been injured) superstar of the 90s Grant Hill and the 1991-92 Hornets’ team of Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning that upset the Celtics in the first round of the play-offs.
On the other hand the additional western teams would be the Warriors of 1993-94 with players like Sprewell, Weber and Mullin, the super talented Lakers’ team of 1997-98 with four all-stars that season (O’Neal, Bryant, Jones and Van Exel) that reached the Western Conference Finals, the ‘gangsta’ Blazers’ team that reached the conference finals with players like Isaiah Rider, Rasheed Wallace, Damon Stoudamire and Arvydas Sabonis, the Mavs of 1994-95 which was considered as the team of the future with the three-j’s in its core, the Rockets of 1996-97 with the big-three of the 90s in Olajuwon, Drexler and Barkley and the Spurs of the MVP of the 1994-95 season David Robinson and the first rebounder of the NBA Dennis Rodman alongside him that had the best record in the NBA and lost in a memorable series to the Rockets in the Western Conference Finals.
Imagine being able to play a season with all these teams, not all of them at the same league of course but 29 of them, in an old school 90s league with four divisions and play-offs with a best-of-five first round series. Imagine being able to customize the league with the additional eleven teams in the place of the original (eg. instead of playing with the 1989-90 76ers to chose the 1997-98 76ers team). I would really like to see a project like this in a future game of the NBA 2K series because it would undoubtedly bring back memories and give us the opportunity to relive some of the great moments of the 90s even in an artificial environment. But if you think about it in a more philosophical way ‘what is real’?