One of the great qualities of video games is their ability to depict matchups we’ll never see in real life. In “NBA 2K13,” basketball fans can play the one hypothetical matchup that’s sparked debate for the past several months.
2K Sports has acquired the license to USA Basketball, including the 1992 Dream Team, allowing gamers to play an exhibition between the ’92 team and this year’s U.S. national team in "NBA 2K13," which drops Oct. 2. It’s a move that’s been in 2K’s plans for years, and with the Olympics buzz and Jay-Z helping entice the elusive Charles Barkley, this was the year to finally buy the license and include USA Basketball in the game.
“It’s going to start more arguments,” Michael Jordan, a former 2K cover athlete and ambassador for the game, said on a conference call. “When you stack up all the stats, which in some ways is how the game is going to be viewed and discussed, our stats are going to be a lot better than their stats. So I think it’s going to start more debates.”
It’s the Dream Team’s first depiction in a video game since “Team USA Basketball” for the Sega Genesis in 1992. Every player will be included except for Scottie Pippen, who isn’t part of the National Basketball Retired Players Association and couldn’t come to terms with 2K Sports.
Other U.S. squads, like the talented ’96 team or disappointing ’04 team, won’t be in this year’s game. “We wanted quality over quantity in this first year,” said Jason Argent, head of 2K Sports marketing.
Argent stayed tight-lipped when asked how the license would be incorporated into the game beyond playing an exhibition game between the 1992 and 2012 teams. Can a created player make the 2016 U.S. team in Association mode? Will there be any sort of world tournament for the teams to play in, even if they don’t use the real names of players from other countries?
“We’ll have more announcements in the coming weeks,” he said.
The Dream Team is rated slightly higher than the ’12 team, for the record, though that doesn’t include the 90-plus rated players of Dwight Howard, Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose. Let the debate rage on.
And what does Jordan think?
“One of the things the 2012 team lacked was size,” said Jordan, still confident the Dream Team would prevail. “We probably would’ve attacked them from the inside, then outside. Our defense would’ve been pretty much solidified with shot-blockers and perimeter defensive players. Those guys are much more athletic than maybe we were at that time, but I like to think we were a bit smarter and more well-groomed at playing at that level of basketball. In all honesty, I don’t think we would’ve had any problems with them, even if they think they would’ve given us some difficulties.”
Fortunately for M.J., now he can prove it on the digital court.