The Jordan Challenge has been brought back by NBA 2K23, sparing no expense

The Jordan Challenge has been brought back by NBA 2K23, sparing no expense ...

Even if they know what's coming, I invite sports enthusiasts to watch this video for NBA 2K23 and not get a lump in their throats. The Shot Over Craig Ehlo, The Shrug at Marv Albert, The Flu Game, standing off the court in Scottie Pippens' arms.

The Jordan Challenge, which was the focus of a groundbreaking sports video game 12 years ago, is now available for purchase with a minimal cost of detail and presentation that is, even from the preview cut shown to the media on Monday, legitimately impressive. It's also the testimonials from those who are so close to Jordan and his career, from Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson to Mike Fratello and Ahmad Rashad, and the genuine respect they evoke for a player with no shortage of supporters.

We have had an entirely new generation of NBA fans to tell their incredible stories to, according to executive producer Erick Boenisch, who worked with gameplay director Mike Wang on the first Jordan Challenge, for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Everything that they know about Michael Jordan comes from YouTube, word of mouth, or their parents.

  • In addition to a virtuoso motion capture performance, NBA 2K23 studio Visual Concepts developed a series of filters and overlays to mimic the look of CRT televisions from 30 years ago. Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports
  • Image: Visual Concepts/2K Sports

Not that the old generation of NBA enthusiasts will miss the Great Western Forum with its like-it-was-yesterday feel when they revisit Chicago Stadium, Madison Square Garden, Richfield Coliseum, and the Great Western Forum. They studied the arenas and even used sponsors old logos on the stadium advertisements.

According to Boenisch, Mike [Wang] and his team do all kinds of custom work for college basketball, for the WNBA, and for the NBA 2K series, and those are things that we simply didnt have the capability to do back then.

The Jordan Challenge for NBA 2K23 begins with one of its five new moments, the 1982 NCAA National Championship match between Jordans North Carolina Tar Heels and the Georgetown Hoyas, featuring his future and longtime opponent Patrick Ewing. Tar Heels greats James Worthy and Sam Perkins will take the floor in their alma maters uniforms, as will Ewing and Eric Sleepy Floyd, under the fierce spotlight of the Hoyas' coach, John Thompson.

Weve tried to get North Carolina for a number of years now, according to Boenisch, referring to the NBA 2Ks MyCareer mode's college portion. They always had their reasons for not wanting to do it. We said, Here's our vision for the game this year, Mikes involved, Mike wants this, and they said, OK, great. Let's do this.

NBA 2K23 will feature the public address announcer who sounded the Jordans' presence in the Bulls' starting lineup. That's Ray Clay, who was impersonated by a voice actor for NBA 2K22, meaning teammates like Bill Cartwright and B.J. Armstrong will be treated with genuine game-day treatment.

The Jordan Challenge isn't all window dressing and presentation. Wang, the game director, said his team understood its responsibility to ensure NBA 2K23s moments felt and played like basketball did in the 1990s. The most obvious example of this is the Detroits notorious Jordan Rules, which tied up MJ for punishment whenever he got near the basket and sought to frustrate him with a constant rotation of Bad Boy defenders.

Wang said. When you play as Jordan (against Detroit), theyll force him to his left and double-team him on drives. If [Jordan] posts up, theyll come in double with the power forward and center, and then every time you go to the rim, you get hammered hard, with crazy, hard fouls. So, if you put yourself in Jordans shoes, youll really feel it, like, Man, he had to work so hard to overcome this challenge.

Boenisch spoke with NBC Sports broadcast partners Marv Albert and Shaquille ONeal to complete the picture. Ahmad Rashad is a long-time Jordan friend.

We brought [Fratello] in and he just started rattling off stories, Boenisch said. And we had done our research, we prepared the scripts, but this was new. He was just incredible. He really brought the energy to the broadcast, and you will experience it when you play the game.

I can already feel it. I can remember, vividly, where I was watching The Shot: with my father, his editor, and the sports editor, all Carolina alumni. I can remember seeing Jordans switch-hands layup against the Lakers at a graduation party after my senior year of high school. I can remember seeing Karl Malones' utterly stoic expression, as a sick man stole his best hope for a championship ring.

Wang said it was a labor of love. We have a lot of old guys on our team, a lot of our staff, and a lot of people who came into this industry due to Michael Jordan. So, being able to do it was awesome fun for us.

The Jordan Challenge will be available in all NBA 2K23 versions on September 8th, 2019 for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, and Xbox Series X.