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Trivia / NBA Jam

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  • Contest Winner Cameo: The 2010 game ran a contest for fans to come up with new catchphrases for the game, and the winners received a "Special Thanks" in the credits. Notably, one of the winners was a young Austin Hargrave.
  • Dummied Out: According to Mark Turmell, Michael Jordan appeared in a very early revision of the original NBA Jam, but was quickly excised from the game once Midway was notified Jordan wasn't a part of the NBA licensing.note  However, Turmell also confirmed there is a small number of collector's editions of the original game with MJ's code intact.
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  • Executive Meddling: The arcade version had a few Mortal Kombat guest characters that the NBA forced Midway to remove due to not wanting to associate themselves with the infamously gory and controversial series. Ironically, they had no problem with the equally-bloody Dead Space being represented by protagonist Issac Clarke in the 2010 game.
  • Follow the Leader: Inevitably, with the runaway success of Jam and its successors, imitators started popping up over the years to cash-in on Midway's signature over-the-top gameplay. Notable examples include:
    • NBA Street
    • Slam City with Scottie Pippen
    • Barkley Shut Up and Jam! — which ended up spawning a whole other type of game years later.
    • Looney Tunes B-Ball — notable for featuring most of the major players from the Looney Tunes franchise, and being the basis for Acclaim's later Jam games, alongside the Space Jam tie-in game.
    • RapJam: Volume One — notable for featuring real-life rappers as players; something that NBA 2K would do years later.
    • NBA Playgrounds
    • Basketball Jam, a popular Jam-styled browser game that was hosted on Miniclip before they abandoned Adobe Flash-developed games in late 2020.
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  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: There are some older cabinets that were produced and sent out before Michael Jordan pulled out of the NBA's blanket licensing deal. These are the only way to play as Michael Jordan in an official NBA Jam gamenote  and are considered to be among the Holy Grails of arcade gaming.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers:
    • Due to conflicting player contracts with competing game studios, Acclaim was forced to remove Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal from NBA Jam Extreme's player roster. This also got them cut from Midway's Hangtime rosternote .
    • Some have also claimed that the three players' film contracts that year also kept them from appearing in Extreme. While neither Acclaim nor the film studios confirmed nor denied this, Jordan was also featured in a video-game tie-in for Space Jam, which used Acclaim's Extreme engine, lending credence to the rumor.
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    • In 2010, 2K Games gained exclusivity to Michael Jordan's likeliness for NBA 2K11 (Which was his first appearance in a major basketball sim in almost ten years) and onwards, which prevented EA Sports from including him in the 2010 reboot, thus continuing the 20+ year tradition of Jordan being shafted from NBA Jam.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda:
    • No, a half-court dunking Superman is not in the game. Nor is a Michael Jordan who can do the same thing; he was busy making another game, Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City. However, a very rare collector's cabinet of the original game did include Jordan on an "All-Star" team with Gary Payton, minus the half-court dunking.
    • There were rumours that certain cabinets of the original Jam were haunted by Drazen Petrovic's ghost,note  as the game would randomly call out his name. This actually happened to Jam team themselves, and while it's officially classified as a bug, Mark Turmell pointed out it didn't start happening until after Petrovic had died, and Jam had long been shipped out. Even to this day, original cabinets of Jam will still call out Petrovic's name.
    • This game was a gold mine for fake hidden characters and odd cheats. Elviscious, Grim Reaper, Kong, Raiden, Reptile, and Sub-Zero were all in beta arcade versions but were eventually cut at the behest of the NBA, but rumors persisted they existed. ESPECIALLY Sub-Zero and Scorpion. New hidden characters were added to the console ports, adding more fuel to the fire.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • A Mortal Kombat themed court was going to appear in Hangtime, but didn't go past the development stages.
    • Again, the series and its spin-offs being the go-to Basketball game for a good chunk of the 90s, yet Michael Jordan - the most dominant player of the 90s - was always left off the roster. Not even the EA reboot could include him.