After misfiring with NBA Elite 11, followed by a one-year sabbatical to reassess the franchise, EA Sports is bringing back the traditional NBA Live video game for the upcoming season (featuring Cleveland Cavalier Kyrie Irving on the cover). We’ve had some exclusive, behind-the-scenes access and it looks like it’ll be tremendous, a return to form for the series.
To celebrate the return of this once glorious game, let’s take a look back at the 15 most dominant players in Live history. Anyone who’s played the game knows there are certain players who are so good they’re nearly unstoppable. On another note, doesn’t everyone have that one friend who only plays as THIS PLAYER the ENTIRE game, and even though both of you know it, he somehow manages to put together a 50-60 point game shooting only with this player? (Eddie, I’m talking about you… My best friend and roommate Eddie is this guy. He only plays as Kobe, and somehow accomplishes the rare feat of playing Kobe more minutes in a game than Mike D’Antoni. There are no breaks for video game Kobe if Eddie is playing. There is also no winning. But somehow Ed manages to break through countless double-teams for a midrange jump shot.)
So, with NBA Live 14 making its comeback this year, let’s reminisce on the 15 most unstoppable players in the game since 2000. (The Live franchise started all the way back in 1994, but rosters were not full, you couldn’t trade bench players, and finally I was too young to remember anyone pre-21st Century. So that’s why I’m starting in 2000. Sorry, Reggie Miller and friends.)
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15. PAU GASOL
NBA Live 2005
In a weird twist, the Memphis Grizzlies had one of the highest ratings in this game and were spearheaded by the big Spaniard. He was a man underneath the hoop, scoring at will and blocking almost everything the offense put up. At this point in video game history, mastering winning skills was easy. Just throw the joystick around and your player would spin all the way through the lane and dunk. Over and over. But with Gasol, it was like running into a brick wall if you went down the lane. He turned the Grizzlies into one of the game’s best teams.
14. CHRIS WEBBER
NBA Live 2003
Playing for the Sacramento Kings, C-Webb was a beast in real life (24.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg and 4.8 apg) but was somehow even more dominant in NBA Live 2003. As a big man with remarkable athleticism, above-average dribbling and shooting skills and excellent passing, Webber was nearly unstoppable in the game as he was seemingly two steps ahead of the opposing big man. (I was the eighth grade equivalent to C-Webb 2003, before slowly turning into Eric Snow, and my budding AUU career was over. The sadness.)
13. SHAWN MARION
NBA Live 06
Ok, what to say about his jump shot… Listen, I don’t know exactly how to describe his near underhand-semi toss shot from the field, but the man they called “The Matrix” was nearly unstoppable in this game. Any fast break or drive into the lane ended with a powerful dunk. He even made the occasional three (apparently getting the benefit of the doubt from the games producers). He was a beast on the defensive side of the ball as well. With a 91 overall rating, Shawn Marion was a force in 2006.