The 10 Best Basketball Video Game Intros Ever

We seem to be talking a lot about video games lately. There was the return of GoldenEye that we had the chance to check out. Then there is the constant flow of news out of the NBA 2K12 camp. I don’t get to play video games as much as I did when I was younger. Now we have things like work, responsibility, waking up early, stuff like that. But, video games will never totally be out.

Surfing YouTube the other day, I came upon a few memorable video game spots and figured I needed to put a list together of the best video game intro movies of all-time. While it isn’t totally complete (not every one can be found on YouTube), and many of the greatest basketball games ever don’t even have intros, I still was able to find most of what I was looking for.

Alas, there wasn’t anything from Kobe Bryant Courtside 2 (also couldn’t find a decent recorded intro for NBA Showtime: NBA On NBC), but at least searching for that game’s theme did remind me of the classic arcade mode they had. Anyways, here are the 10 greatest video game introductions ever.

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10. NBA Live 2005
Ahh, the notorious year when Live decided to level the playing field with 2K, and also released their game for $19.99. How many of y’all copped both on release day for a total of $40? I know I did…there was that new dunk contest thing I had to try out. Video intro wasn’t bad either, showing that one between-the-legs spin move that was literally impossible to stop (you can see Kobe pull it off). I used to button mash and do that move three times in a row from the arc to the rim for a layup all the time.

9. NBA Inside Drive 2002
Is this not the most 2001-02 intro ever? I can’t decide if that’s a good or a bad thing. Too bad the game sucked.

8. NBA Live 2003
One of my favorite versions of NBA Live ever. Tracy McGrady was stupid filthy in this game. On New Years, we had a huge party at a friend’s house, and most of us ended up just crashing there at the crib. Naturally, we had to have some type of video game tournament. Double elimination. 15 players. It took all night, and then into the next day. By the time I made the championship, there were only two or three people left watching. Everyone was bored and left. I rode T-Mac all the way to a title. My competition in the Finals? My boy came with Jerry Stackhouse… remember back when he was nice? This video still gets love from me because of the meanest Mike Bibby in-n-out move you’ll ever see. The intro track, despite it being from Fabolous, is really good.

7. NBA Live 2001
The only basketball game I’ve ever bought for the PC. I still don’t know how I played it on the computer. Times have really changed. This video is also classic as well. Montell Jordan kills it, but that doesn’t stop the intro from being slightly awkward.

6. NBA 2K3
The first 2K game I had ever owned. Before that, it was a Dreamcast game. Myself being an N64 and then Xbox guy, the marriage wasn’t happening until they made the switch over. This was back when the game had the ESPN look and feel, back when SportsCenter was still popping on weekdays (I used to get up at 6 a.m. every morning and made sure I never missed anything). Check the hairstyles. Everyone (at least those guys still playing) look completely different. That is, everyone besides Paul Pierce.

5. NBA Street Vol. 2
For once, someone finally did the whole streetball thing right. NBA Street, and it’s sequels, never got the love they deserved. During that weird time in-between the takeover of PS2 and Xbox and the rise of Next Generation consoles, this was the best basketball franchise. NBA Street’s problem was when they did eventually bring it over to the new systems, it sucked, wasn’t the same game. Too bad we all forgot that when it first dropped, it was too addicting. Gamebreaker!

4. NBA 2K6
I had a love/hate relationship with this video. While 2K6 marked a historical event for me – it was the final game I played solely on the old generation consoles, and was also the only game I ever played where Smush Parker was a beast and could literally steal every inbounds pass (actually, I think that was 2K7) – this video was very up and down. The track, “The NBA” by Johaz, was awesome while the stupid graphics absolutely hurt my eyes. But when you get Kevin Harlan on an intro, it makes up for any other problems.

3. NBA Live 2000
Need I say anything about this one? Tim Duncan might’ve been on the cover, but remember, you can’t have a highlight tape highlighting TD. It’s an unwritten rule. So instead, EA brought out one of the cooler concepts (and Kevin Garnett) we’ve seen in an intro.

2. NBA 2K4
One of the all-time classic 2K tracks. I can’t tell you how many times I remember hearing this song in my basement, playing for hours every night towards the end of high school. Was there any question which athlete was 2K’s favorite? Iverson was a constant. This played like something more than a video game intro. It was so dope, I think I had to watch it every time I put the game in.

1. NBA Live 97
Iconic. Re-watching this now (the first 1:18), it’s amazing how many random guys were thrown into this video. Classic ’90s feel and music (plus, the same dunk was shown like four times. Extra points for whoever screwed that up.). With Mitch Richmond on the cover, I didn’t own this game until about two years after it was released (I was behind the times). But my friends and I used to have parties, and this was always getting rotation. Playing with the Bulls and Player 99 was good times. The 3-Point Shootout was even better. All of this continued into Live 98 (another intro I could’ve easily thrown on this list). One of my friends had Sega Saturn, and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world to have a video game that was a CD.

What do you think? Am I missing any?

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