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I remember playing NBA Live 97. This was back when the Bulls were the team to beat. And every time I would go to the Bulls roster, every player was there except Michael Jordan.

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At the time, I was 7 and didn't know any better. But I now realize there must have been some financial or personal reason why Jordan didn't appear. They didn't even use his number. They used number 24 and called him Roster Player.

NBA2K11 was an example of what Jordan did when actually let people put him in the game. That edition had so much MJ in it it got old and obnoxious. It was like every part of the game had to have Jordan on it.

My Question:

Does anyone know the history of Michael Jordan's licensing of his name and brand to video game companies? If so, can you explain why he wasn't in NBA Live 97 (when he was playing like a stud) but then suddenly had a Jordan explosion in NBA2K11 (long after he was relevant)?

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Does anyone know the history of Michael Jordan's licensing of his name and brand to video game companies?

Jordan appeared in Tecmo NBA Basketball, released in November 1992, which included rosters for the 1991-1992 NBA Season.

Around 1992, Jordan opted out of the NBA's shared licensing agreement, which had allowed the NBA to use his name and likeness(1). I assume Jordan's appearance in Tecmo NBA Basketball was before he opted out of the NBA's shared licensing agreement.

This article about Jordan's video game history states:

Jordan dropped out of the virtual scene when he opted out of the National Basketball Players Association's shared licensing agreement after ushering in sports gaming on the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo in the early '90s.


If so, can you explain why he wasn't in NBA Live 97 (when he was playing like a stud) but then suddenly had a Jordan explosion in NBA2K11 (long after he was relevant)?

The above explains why Jordan wasn't in NBA Live 97.

However, he did appear in several video games, such as the Space Jam video game (after a movie Jordan starred in and not NBA licensed) as well as NBA Live 2000 and 2003, his only two official appearances in the NBA Live video game franchise(2)(3).

2K Sports, the publishers of the NBA 2K series, signed Jordan to an exclusive licensing deal in 2010(4), before the release of NBA 2K11 to include him in the game(2).

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    A few other star players have done similar things (trying to get more money on their own, presumably); if I recall correctly, Barry Bonds did the same thing for a number of years. – Joe Feb 18 '15 at 18:08
  • Strat-O-Matic Baseball has a few instances of this. There are cards with no player name but a team name on them. If you cross-reference the no-name cards' stats with baseball-reference.com you can just write in who the cards are supposed to represent. – James Cronen Jun 6 '18 at 18:24
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Jordan actually appeared in EA sports game "nba showdown" in '93 n as a secret player in nba live '96 as well as Charles Barkley, b didn't reappear again until live 2000

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