I have to say, the NBA Championship presentation in NBA Live 2003 has to be one of the most freaking cool ones ever.
I recently went through the playoffs with the Pacers (defeating New Jersey 3-0 in round one, Orlando 4-1 in round two, Detroit 4-0 in the East finals, and Sacramento 4-0 in the NBA Finals) and I loved every minute of it. Great competition-- despite my 15-1 record in the playoffs, I had to fight hard for most of those victories. So anyway, when I won the NBA Championship, it actually felt like an accomplishment for the first time in several years' worth of basketball video games.
I was treated to an outstanding championship ceremony for my efforts. When the final buzzer sounded in Game 4 of the Finals, the Pacers jumped up and down the court. Some guys hugged each other, others bumped chests, still others simply ran around screaming. The lights in Conseco Fieldhouse were dimmed, and the entire team (plus coach Isiah Thomas) lined up at center court. We got a lineup shot of them, and then NBA Commissioner David Stern actually came out with the Larry O'Brien trophy!
The only odd thing about it is that Stern handed the trophy to, of all people, Jeff Foster (who happened to be in my lineup at center when the game ended). A word to those on the verge of winning a championship in the game: make sure the guy who you want holding the trophy is your center at the end of the game. Still, it was a nice moment.
Other Live-related moments and comments:
--In Game 2 of the Finals, the Pacers and Kings stayed pretty much even in the first half. Sacramento started to blow it open in the third quarter, and led by ten going into the fourth.
A 7-0 run led by Jermaine O'Neal and Johnathan Bender helped me close to within three late in the game. But the Kings woke up, and despite my best efforts, I had to settle for trading baskets back and forth for most of the fourth quarter. The Sacramento lead remained three with about thirty seconds left in the fourth. I finally
made a defensive stop with about eight seconds remaining, and quickly called a timeout.
I got the ball at halfcourt, and of course I was looking for a three. Reggie Miller would have been my first choice to take that three-pointer; Austin Croshere, my second.
So of course, the only person open (at the top of the key) was Johnathan Bender. Great,
I thought. No time to look for an open three-point shooter, what the hell, fire it off.
Bender dropped back from the top of the key to the top of the arc, launched it off... nothing but net. I couldn't believe it. Normally when a Pacer in the game buries a three-pointer, I say “Boom, baby!” like Slick Leonard on the radio. I was too stunned to even do that.
After that, we romped 'em. Ended up winning by ten.
--The classic uniforms in this game are really cool. At the beginning of the game it gives you the option of selecting the uniforms that each team will wear. You're given at least three, sometimes four, choices-- current home jersey, current away jersey, current alternative jersey (if applicable) and a classic jersey. There's only one classic jersey for each team, and it's either a home or away jersey; they don't give you the choice to pick one or the other.
Still, it's pretty cool. The Celtics have a really
old-school away jersey in which they used “Boston” on the front instead of “Celtics”. The Hornets have, I believe, an old Charlotte away jersey, while the Grizzlies have a green away jersey from their Vancouver days. The Clippers have a San Diego Clippers jersey. The Lakers have a blue-and-white jersey with “Los Angeles” written in cursive. The Magic have those old Shaq-era black away jerseys with the pinstripes (one jersey that I think should never have been replaced). And my Pacers have a jersey from their ABA Championship days, with the stripe going down the side and the old “hand” Pacers logo.
Each team has one. And they're really, really freaking cool. Just one thing I think I should mention: I want MORE OF THEM! LOL... Hopefully NBA Live 2004 will have multiple classic jerseys, home and away, for each team. Shouldn't be too hard to pull off, one would think. Not that I'm complaining! I simply want more of them!! LOL...
Anyway... this game is really awesome. I know I'm in a minority when I say that I loved NBA Live 2002. But 2003 totally blows 2002 away.
And you can rent it right here at Blockbuster! (thumbs up; cheap pop)
“I've been waiting long for one of us to say,
‘Save the darkness, and let it never fade away.’”
--a-ha, “The Living Daylights”, theme from The Living Daylights
Two-Time, Two-Time Randomly Selected Weiner of the Day, 5/27/02 and 7/3/02
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