With The Jordan Challenge, NBA 2K23 will bring back the series' celebration of Michael Jordan's greatest achievements, adding five new games to the original set of 10 that NBA 2K11 offered 12 years ago.
Executive producer Erick Boenisch, a 20-year veteran of Visual Concepts who has worked on all but three games in the series, said: "I wanted this to be above NBA 2K11s Jordan Challenge in every way."
Boenisch and gameplay director Mike Wang studied Jordan's career in an effort to bring it alive for a new generation of basketball enthusiasts who may have never seen him play.
When the NBA 2K23 new Jordan Challenge launches on September 8, it will be available on all versions of Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Here are 15 of the NBA 2K23's new Jordan Challenge, as well as their deeper meaning.
The National Championship
New Orleans' Louisiana Superdome on March 29, 1982.
Mike Jordan was the fourth freshman in North Carolina basketball history to start in his first game for the Tar Heels. He starred against future Hall of Famer James Worthy and three-time all-American Sam Perkins in the 1982 NCAA championship game between Patrick Ewing and Georgetown. Jordan's No. 23 is one of seven numbers to have fully retired from service at Chapel Hill.
Prelude to a Dream
Indianapolis, July 9, 1984. Hoosier Dome
The men's national basketball team of the United States won 97-82 against the Boston Celtics in a scrimmage. President Ronald Reagan addressed the crowd and supporters in a recorded address recorded on the arena's scoreboard.
God in Disguise
Game 2, Eastern Conference first round, Boston Garden, Boston, April 20, 1986.
Jordan was selected third overall by the Chicago Bulls from a 1984 NBA draft, which included future Hall of Famers Hakeem Olajuwon and Charles Barkley. In 1986, the Bulls were 30-52 and seeded eighth against a powerful Celtics team steaming toward their 16th NBA championship. Jordan's between-the-legs dribble and stepback jumper in Bird's face is still one of the greatest achievements in NBA history.
An All-Star Forever
NBA All-Star Game at Chicago Stadium on February 7, 1988.
Dominique Wilkins blew a 40-point lead over Magic Johnson and the Western Conference All-Stars in front of his own home crowd the day after a leap from the free-throw line to defeat the Human Highlight Film.
Game 5, Eastern Conference first round, Richfield Coliseum, Cleveland, May 7, 1989.
Three seconds till the Bulls are down 100-99. Larry Nance and Craig Ehlo are duo-teaming Jordan. Jordan shoves Nance out of the play, waits for Ehlo to drift past, throws The Shot in the air, and dodges four punches in the air, almost decking Sellers in their first-round playoff victory.
Shootout at the ATL Corral
1990, Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks.
This game was a holdover from NBA 2K11, and is intended to highlight Wilkins and Jordan's scoring potential at the height of their careers. It does not recreate any single game that occurred on that day. On January 19, 1990, MJ scored 36 points and Nique scored 26 in a 92-84 Bulls victory.
Cleveland's Richfield Coliseum on March 28, 1990.
Jordan scored 54 points in an overtime victory over the Cavaliers in Chicago in 1990. They met in Cleveland four months later for another stunning track meet. Jordan played 50 minutes and scored 69 points on 23-of-37 shooting. It also inspired one of NBA history's greatest postgame remarks, when rookie teammate Stacey King said, "Ill always remember this as the night Michael Jordan and I scored 70 points."
The Jordan Rules
Game 3, Eastern Conference finals, Chicago Stadium, Chicago, May 26, 1990.
Chuck Daly's Bad Boys The Pistons made no apologies for their shady game plan that teed up Jordan for hard contact every time he drove to the basket. They were also the title of Sam Smith's 1991 book about the Bulls-Pistons rivalry. If he was coming off a screen, nail him.
NBA Finals, Chicago Stadium, and Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, June 2-12, 1991.
With a five-game NBA Finals series that included Jordans first championship, the Lakers led all scorers, while Michael Jordan was the runaway winner for his sixth NBA Finals victory.
Game 1, NBA Finals, Chicago Stadium, Chicago on June 3, 1992.
At the height of his career, Michael Jordan scored 35 points, including the first three in the Bulls' second straight NBA championship, but he shrugged, as if to say that he didn't know how he did it.
Madison Square Garden, New York. April 18, 1995.
Jordan's father, James Jordan, was murdered on July 23, 1993, in Lumberton, North Carolina, one month after Jordan and the Bulls won their third consecutive NBA championship. In his regret, Jordan retired from the NBA, saying he no longer wanted to play basketball and wanted to pursue his childhood dream of playing professional baseball. After a four-game stint, he returned to New York and The World's Most Famous Arena, lighting up the Knicks for 55 points.
Game 6, NBA Finals, United Center, Chicago, June 16, 1996.
This was not one of Jordan's better games, as he scored 22 points on 5-of-19 shooting, five turnovers, and seven assists. Further, the 72-win Bulls had jumped out to a 3-0 series lead over Gary Payton and the SuperSonics, before losing their focus and games 4 and 5. But it was still Fathers Day, and on that day the Bulls won their fourth world championship and their first since James Jordan's death three years earlier.
The Flu Game
Game 5, NBA Finals, Delta Center, Salt Lake City on June 11, 1997.
Jordan contracted a stomach virus two nights before Game 5 of the Bulls' season opener against Karl Malone and the Utah Jazz's decision to retaliate. The Jazz were a perfect 10-0 on their home court in the playoffs to that point. Jordan got out of bed less than an hour before tipoff and started the game. The game-winning 3-pointer was made by Jordan; Chicago won its sixth NBA championship the following day.
Passing the Torch
The United Center in Chicago, December 17, 1997.
This is the first meeting between Kobe Bryant in his second season with the Bulls. Jordan scored 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting, and the Bulls beat the Lakers 104-83.
The Last Dance
Game 6, NBA Finals, Delta Center, Salt Lake City on June 14, 1998.
Jordan's last game for the Chicago Bulls was, once more, the game-winner, 87-86 against Bryon Russell and the Jazz, coming after Jordan's steal from Karl Malone with 18 seconds left. Jordan retired the following January and returned again in 2001, for two seasons without the Washington Wizards. But NBA 2K23 properly closes the door with MJ's last great moment and his sixth world championship.