“NBA Jam” is one of the most famous basketball games of all time. Players literally caught fire, there were no fouls, and the arcade gameplay was nothing short of excellent. Sports Illustrated published an oral history of the game’s creation and it’s a great look at just how “NBA Jam” came to be.
Much of the game’s development seemed to happen by chance, but the result was a classic game many still look back on with fondness today. For example, the development team just sort of went to watch guys playing pickup basketball to help develop how the game would look.
Stephen Howard was a player the creators of the game found in a park to do some motion capture for the game’s players. He went on to play in the NBA himself, and described how he had to tumble and do some of the things you see the players in “NBA Jam” do in the game. It’s pretty hilarious how they made that happen.