NBA 2K12 has finally revealed its full list of the 15 basketball legends that will be included in this year's game. The group is led by the game's three cover boys -- Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson -- and also includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving, who were revealed in early August.
The final ten names, in alphabetical order: Wilt Chamberlain, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Hakeem Olajuwon, Scottie Pippen, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Jerry West.
The final list aligns fairly well with the suggestions we made a few weeks back. Chamberlain, Olajuwon, Robertson, Russell, Thomas and West were all included on our list of preferred candidates. Of course, that means there are some of bones to pick with the remaining four names: Ewing, Pippen, Stockton, Malone.
For starters, that group makes the overall list really heavy on the 1990s, a time when Jordan was king. That makes sense from a marketing and business standpoint, as those are often seen as the golden years of the NBA for men aged 25-40, presumably a major demographic who will be purchasing this game. But if you're going to go all 1990s, leaving Charles Barkley and the insanely fun early-1990s Phoenix Suns off the list is inexcusable. Barkley over Ewing or one of the Jazz pair is a no-brainer.
NBA 2K12 smartly mitigated against widespread snubbing, though, by including a whole host of other legends in a roundabout way. How? As Kotaku.com notes, Barkley and other top-50 players like Elgin Baylor, Shaquille O'Neal, Pete Maravich, Clyde Drexler, David Robinson, Earl Monroe and Walt Frazier will be available as players on the opposing teams facing off against the legends in a series of "NBA's Greatest" rivalry games. Barkley will appear as a member of Dr. J's 76ers and a young O'Neal will be on the 1994-1995 Orlando Magic. Here's the full list of match-ups.
- 1964-65 Boston Celtics (Bill Russell) vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks (Oscar Robertson) vs. Lakers
- 1970-71 Lakers (Jerry West) vs. Atlanta Hawks
- 1971-72 Lakers (Wilt Chamberlain) vs. Knicks
- 1984-1985 Philadelphia 76ers (Julius Erving) vs. Bucks
- 1985-86 Celtics (Larry Bird) vs. Hawks
- 1986-87 Lakers (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) vs. Celtics
- 1988-1989 Detroit Pistons (Isiah Thomas) vs. Bulls
- 1990-91 Lakers (Magic Johnson) vs. Portland Trail Blazers
- 1992-1993 Bulls (Michael Jordan) vs. Charlotte Hornets
- 1993-1994 Houston Rockets (Hakeem Olajuwon) vs. Denver Nuggets
- 1994-1995 Knicks (Patrick Ewing) vs. Orlando Magic
- 1995-1996 Bulls (Scottie Pippen) vs. Seattle Supersonics
- 1997-1998 Utah Jazz (John Stockton) vs. Lakers
- 1997-1998 Jazz (Karl Malone) vs. San Antonio Spurs