Michael Jordan is back in NBA 2K11!

August 10, 2010 in Basketball, Game Reviews, NBA, Sport by pacejmiller

Yes, that’s right — Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all-time, is the new cover athlete for NBA 2K11, set for release on 5 October 2010.

I only just switched to 2K10 last year (having been a lifelong NBA Live fan), and for the 2010-2011 NBA season, it appears 2K will streak waaay ahead of of Live, which has curiously renamed the franchise to “Elite” (yes, the game will be released as NBA Elite 2011).

Apart from having Jordan on the cover of the game, NBA 2K11 will have a new feature called “The Jordan Challenge” where gamers will have the opportunity to relive Jordan’s 10 greatest games and play some of his greatest teams.  That’s all the info that’s out there at the moment.  No one knows if you can say insert Jordan into a present-day roster or use his championship Bulls teams to play in the 2010-2011 season.

Good for 2K from a marketing perspective, but to be honest, I don’t like it.

Yes, Jordan was probably the greatest basketball player of all time (and the most egotistical), and few 5-on-5 basketball games in history have featured his “Airness” because of licensing issues (I’m sure it happened once a few years ago on Live and it was big news) — but let’s stop dwelling on the past people!  Jordan is now 47 years old.  He’s already in the Hall of Fame (inducted last year in a sad, self-congratulatory ceremony).  He last played in the NBA on April 2003 (yes, more than 7 years ago) as a Washington Wizard.  His last meaningful game (for the Chicago Bulls) was in 1998.

I guess it’s nice in a way because people have been deprived of Jordan in video games for so many years.  But what is the deal with this lame “Jordan Challenge” business?  How many times do you want to relive 10 games?  And so what if you accomplish it?  Aren’t video games about creating your own legends rather than reliving old ones?

Don’t get me wrong, I respect Jordan and what he has done for the game, but this type of shameless worshipping and milking of his legend is too over the top for me.  We have a potentially historic NBA season coming up with the formation of several NBA superpowers.  Miami now has Wade, Lebron and Bosh.  The Celtics added Shaq while keeping their Big 3 in tact.  The Lakers still have Kobe, Gasol and Artest.  The NBA has never been more intriguing.  Why not focus on that instead?

That said, the lucrative opportunity of having Jordan on board would have been too much for 2K to pass up.  I would have done the same if I was in their shoes.

My main hope is still for them to add even more to the “My Player” mode to make it an even better feature than it was in its first year.