Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

NBA Jam almost didn’t exist

Photo: YouTube

What would life be like without NBA Jam and its tinny Tim Kitzrow catchphrases like “Ugly shot!” and “He’s heating up!”? That frightening scenario is explored in a Great Big Story interview with NBA Jam’s creator, Mark Turmell. The then-lead designer at developer Midway revealed that the NBA almost didn’t give them permission to use their logo, because the league didn’t want it in the arcades. Undeterred, Turmell and his crew “made a videotape of nice family entertainment centers,” he recalls. “And we sent that back to them and said, ‘Look, your logo can be here.’” License granted, Midway finished NBA Jam—although not before adding himself in as a player, and programming the game so he has the strongest skills. Boom shakalaka!

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