NBA Jam Creator Says Michael Jordan Version of the Game Should Still Exist
The long talked about version of NBA Jam featuring Michael Jordan should still exist, according to the creator.
There are a handful of myths and legends in gaming history about certain special editions of games that never saw the light of day. A version of the 90s classic NBA Jam featuring Michael Jordan is one of those titles and according to its creator Mark Turmell, it should still exist.
During a Reddit AMA yesterday, Turmell was asked about the long rumored version of the game featuring Jordan. He responded and confirmed that there were three copies of the game with MJ that were created, however, they were given to other famous athletes at the time. Turmell said:
I have it! NBA Jam was made and tested in Chicago. Jordan was in all those early games, and weeks before we were to ship nationwide he pulled out of all NBA licensed products due to his Nike deal.
But then… After the game became a hit, Gary Payton & Ken Griffey reached out through their agents to get a custom game with themselves included, and said MJ wanted to be included as well. So we made special EPROMs and gave them to the 3.
If you’re unaware of the history of Michael Jordan in NBA Jam, then here’s a quick rundown: In 1993, NBA Jam was being designed by Midway, where Turmell worked, and it was set to feature the famed Chicago Bull. However, a few weeks before the game was launched nationwide, Jordan pulled out – which he was available to do since Jordan himself owns his likeness and not the NBA Player’s Association – due to a deal he had with Nike, which Turmell had mentioned. Midway went on to remove Jordan from the game and it was shipped to the public without the NBA’s most recognizable star.
When subsequently asked if Turmell could dump the EPROMs featuring Jordan to the Internet, he seemed more than happy to comply saying, “I could! Will try to dig up.”
In a statement later given to Polygon, Turmell went on to talk about where the EPROMs would be located and spoke on the legality of releasing them to the public.
I have a cabinet stored away with sets of them. Have to see how they’re labeled when I get in there. Can’t imagine getting into any trouble at this point!
It’s only taken 24 years, but it seems like the version of NBA Jam that fans have been clamoring for may finally appear, albeit in an unexpected way. We’ll keep an eye out to see if Turmell is able to follow through.