The same day NBA commissioner David Stern announced the full preseason would be canceled, the players' CGI counterparts took the court on Tuesday in 2K Sports' signature NBA video game, NBA 2K12. They were able to do so because despite the lockout, a licensing agreement that was renewed in May between the league and Take-Two Interactive Software, the overall gaming company, remained in place.
In addition to the latest installment's upgrade in graphics and the "My Player" player development feature, the game revamped the "NBA Greatest" mode, which features none other than Patrick Ewing as one of the 15 legends. (The other 14 include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Hakeem Olajuwon, Isiah Thomas, Bill Russell, John Stockton and Jerry West.) In addition to Ewing, you can play as the 1994-95 Knicks -- just as in NBA 2K11, complete with the likes of John Starks and Charles Oakley -- in a memorable matchup against the 1994-95 Magic, headlined by Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway.
2K12 should likely top the sales of last year's version in the first month, which surpassed one million and basically doubled the numbers of 2K10 during the same time period. Not only is there no preseason hoops to watch, but the NBA Elite series (formerly NBA Live) is absent from this year's release and will return in October 2012. Let's just say 2K sports' competitive analysis, at least for the fall, will be an easy one.
Speaking of Ewing, here are the other basketball video games he's appeared in during his career (in descending chronological order):
NBA 2K11 (Developer: 2K Sports; Season: 2010-11) -- 5-on-5 action where gamers could historically play as Ewing and the 1994-95 Knicks.
NBA Live 95 to 2002 (Developer: EA Sports; Seasons: 1994-95 to 2001-02) -- 5-on-5 action where gamers could play as Ewing on the Knicks, SuperSonics or Magic.
NBA In The Zone 98 to 2000 (Developer: Konami; Seasons: 1997-98 to 1999-2000) -- 5-on-5 action where gamers could play as Ewing on the Knicks, SuperSonics or Magic.
NBA Hangtime (Developer: Midway; Season: 1996-97) -- 2-on-2 action where gamers could choose Ewing and one of his Knicks teammates, including Starks, Oakley, Anthony Mason and Derek Harper.
NBA Jam Tournament Edition (Developer: Midway; Season: 1995-96) -- 2-on-2 action where gamers could choose Ewing and one of his Knicks teammates, including Starks, Oakley, Mason and Harper.
NBA Jam (Developer: Midway; Season: 1994-95) -- 2-on-2 action where gamers could choose Ewing and Starks, or Ewing and Oakley.
NBA Showdown 93 and 94 (Developer: EA Sports; Season: 1993-94) -- Ewing appeared on the cover of NBA Showdown '94 -- his first and only -- dunking over Scott Williams of the Bulls.
Tecmo Super NBA Basketball (Developer: Tecmo; Season: 1991-92) -- 5-on-5 action where gamers could play as Ewing and the 1991-92 Knicks, including Starks, Oakley, Mason, Mark Jackson, Xavier McDaniel, Greg Anthony, Gerald Wilkins, Kennard Winchester, Kiki Vandeweghe, Brian Quinnett and Tim McCormick.
You can follow Jared Zwerling on Twitter.