NBA Jam is arguably the most iconic basketball game of all time. It gave us classic phrases like “He’s heating up… he’s on fire!” and “Boomshakalaka!” but how did it find its place in upper echelons of pop culture?
Great Big Story made a 2-minute video about the game and how it almost never got released. Mark Turmell, lead game designer on NBA Jam, explained how they sent a VHS of the game to the NBA but they “immediately shut it down”:
[they said] “No, we don’t want the NBA logo in the arcades”. So, once we got rejected we made a video tape of nice family entertainment centers and we sent that back to them and said, “Look, you know, your logo can be here” so they relented and, uh, provided the license.
Stream the video below and let us know your memories of NBA Jam in the comments. And check out our article on SNES Drunk’s most overpowered video game athletes which also features NBA Jam.
(And for a longer video on the subject, you should watch Ars Technica’s How NBA JAM Became A Billion-Dollar Slam Dunk video.)