NBA Live continues to be a baffling franchise. It’s like a “will they or won’t they” from your favorite long-running TV series, only the two “people” involved here are NBA Live and EA. Does EA love the franchise? Will they get back together again? Are they just bad for each other?
But there was a time when NBA Live was king. I remember it because one of my fondest memories is getting NBA Live 98 for PlayStation on Christmas. It exploded my little brain with joy. It was not the last time an EA Sports game was my favorite gift on my new console — I had an N64 before then — but it’s still the strongest memory I have as it relates to EA Sports on this holiday. It’s also what makes this video by content creator Agent 00 so painful and wonderful all at once.
I will to this day go to bat for NBA Live from the Sega Genesis days all the way until the Xbox 360 comes out. The Sega Genesis, PlayStation 1 and PlayStation 2 were the glory days for NBA Live. It had major competition from NBA 2K by the PS2 days, but it was still a very serious competition — except for NBA Live 2001 on PS2, which was just terrible. EA had returned to their groove by NBA Live 2003 and continued to carve out their path as the slightly more arcade version of NBA basketball when compared to NBA 2K on the PS2.
Everything changed when the 360/PS3 generation began, and the pain has continued since then. But you don’t have to watch all of that badness on this joyous holiday because I’m sure not going to do it either. For example, I choose to forget that NBA Live exists as a franchise after NBA Live 05.
PS, I’m still waiting for NBA Live 06 because Ray Allen’s sweat looks crazy realistic.