The legend of the ‘Michael Jordan edition' of NBA Jam


Almost every sports fan in the world is at least somewhat familiar with video game NBA Jam, one of the most successful arcade series of all-time, but even the most hardcore NBA Jam fans might not know this story. 

Tim Kitzrow, the official voice of NBA Jam, had an interview with Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson this week where he revealed information about secret copies of the game.

NBA Jam was already extremely popular by the mid-90s but the most notable absence was Bulls superstar Michael Jordan. 'His Airness' had an exclusive rights deal with Nike that caused him to opt-out of the NBA Players Association group license, but MJ and good friends Gary Payton and Ken Griffey Jr. all wanted to be in the game nonetheless. 

Payton wasn't in the game with the Seattle Supersonics right away, Griffey due to his being an MLB player and MJ due to his licensing deal, so the NBA Jam crew whipped up special copies of the game with playable versions of themselves.

 So we got a call from their agents and I came back in the studio and recorded their voices. The artists put together the visuals and we sent them each individual a large NBA Jam package......There’s only four to five cabinets in the world that exist. I’d love to ask Michael Jordan if he still has his.

There is no confirmation as of yet as to if Jordan and Griffey still own their copies of the game, but Kitzrow did say Payton stated that his sons played the NBA Jam edition with his character in it growing up, so there is still hope when it comes to tracking down one of the rare copies of the game.

Ultimately, Kitzrow stated that he wants to speak with former Midway and NBA Jam developer Mark Turmell about legally releasing a copy of the game with the Jordan character, or working towards getting this "Holy Grail" copy of NBA Jam put into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

See the full interview with Tim Kitzrow here

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