If you’re a child of the 1990s you remember Charles Barkley in video games like the original NBA Jam, the NBA Live franchise and even his own title, Barkley Shut Up and Jam (like Sir Charles, the name was quite subtle). If you grew up with any of the new generation of consoles though, you’ve never known the pleasure of dropping 30 points and grabbing 10 boards on opponents with the 6–6 “Round Mound of Rebound.” That is, until now.
With the digital version of Sir Charles going MIA for almost as long as DJ Jazzy Jeff’s acting career, it took something pretty special to get him to allow his likeliness to return to a video game. After rebuffing previous overtures in the past few years, 2K Sports brought out the big guns (a music and entertainment mogul) to convince Barkley. It didn’t take long for him to say yes.
“[NBA 2K13 Executive Producer] Jay Z put in a direct call to Charles Barkley to persuade him to come aboard,” 2K Sports Vice President of Marketing Jason Argent explained to Suns.com. “ As a result of his decisiveness, we were able to forge an agreement in short order. Our development team then began work on implementing his in-game character in NBA 2K13, for the first time on next-gen consoles. The net outcome, we’re proud to introduce Charles to the 2K Sports family, and celebrate his legacy.”
Coming off the excitement of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Barkley will join his fellow “Dream Team” members in this year’s version of NBA 2K. Like the Ginger vs. Mary Ann debate, though, don’t expect any definitive answers on whether this year’s team or the 1992 USA team is the most dominant of all-time.
“We’re not sure the debate will ever truly be settled. We’d need to turn back the clock and pit the two rosters against each other to see,” Argent said. “But that’s the great thing about our videogame gives fans a platform to live out the result on the virtual hardwood. With the incredible amount of talent on each roster, the USAB license also allows us to introduce fans that might not have seen the 1992 team in action, and make the decision for themselves.”
Although the Dream Team is viewed by many as the greatest team ever assembled, they won’t all play as if they’re Superman — think the comic book not Dwight Howard — when they take the 64-bit court. There’s no revisionist history going on here about their skills. Each player will be ranked realistically.
“Player rankings are a source of heavy debate at 2K Sports it’s quite a process to determine those metrics,” Argent shared. “You’ll have to stay with us for more announcements, as we haven’t unveiled the full rankings for the Dream Team (though not everyone is rated a 99).”
The best part is, you don’t just have to pit the Dream Team against the USA team from this summer. You can play them against any team in the game. Although, it probably won’t be much of an even matchup.
The only question that remains is whether or not you’ll be able to see the virtual Sir Charles back in the purple and orange, and try to erase the memories of John Paxson’s three. Unfortunately, like in real life, there will be no Game 7 of the 1993 NBA Finals … at least not this year.
“At this time, Charles will only be appearing on the 1992 Dream Team in NBA 2K13,” Argent revealed.
For most Suns fans, present company included, any Barkley is better than no Barkley when the game is released on October 2. That doesn’t mean we won’t be looking for his return to the uniform he won MVP in when NBA 2K14 arrives next year. The ball is in your virtual court 2K sports.
If you could have any other retired Sun appear in the game or any classic Suns team, who or what team would you pick?
Keep an eye out in the coming weeks here on the official Suns blog for information on every one of our players rankings in this year’s game and possibly a sneak peek at the game itself. Find out more from 2K Sports here.