NBA Jam is a legendary video game. It’s just as fun today as it was 20 years ago when it came out. For just sheer playability and fun, it really doesn’t get any better. But as great as NBA Jam is, the game does have a few flaws. First and foremost, Michael Jordan isn’t in it. This was due to licensing issues back when the game was created, as Jordan had his own line of games and he didn’t allow his likeness to be used in other brands. But as it turns out, there was much more going on with the Chicago Bulls in the game.
In a recent interview, game designer Mark Turmell revealed that the game was rigged against the Bulls. Turmell, a Detroit Pistons‘ fan, helped put a code in the game that lowered Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant‘s ability to hit clutch shots. Additionally, any time the Bulls played the Pistons, Pippen’s ratings were lowered.
“It’s true, but only when the Bulls played the Pistons. If there was a close game and anyone on the Bulls took a last-second shot, we wrote special code in the game so that they would average out to be bricks. There was the big competition back in the day between the Pistons and the Bulls, and since I was always a big Pistons fan, that was my opportunity to level the playing field,” said Turmell.
To call these revelations shocking, would be a huge understatement.
Young fans may not remember, but Chicago and Detroit did have one heck of a rivalry back in the day. The Pistons won back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990 and they were the team that Jordan had the hardest time knocking off in his rise to the top of the league. Of course, that all changed in 1991 as the Bulls swept the Pistons and won their first of six championships during the 90′s. Nowadays, the rivalry doesn’t really exist, as Detroit hasn’t made the playoffs since 2009.