Back in the early 2000s, Electronic Arts had a series of video games called NBA Street that featured three on three, arcade-style basketball. If one were made today that featured current and All-Time rosters, which Charlotte Hornets trio would be the best to use?
There was a period in time in the early 2000s where things were simpler. Smartphones didn’t exist. Social media wasn’t constantly being pummeled into our brains. The Charlotte Hornets were actually competitive, making the playoffs quite a few times in that era.
The world of video games was also doing great. We had some of the greatest games of all time coming out back then. Bangers like Grand Theft Auto III, Silent Hill 2, Metal Gear Solid 2, and many more were pushing the medium forward in ways that are still evident today.
Electronic Arts were killing it as well. Mostly known for their sports titles like John Madden Football and FIFA, and their PC juggernaut, Battlefield, EA had a long history of quality titles spanning multiple genres.
This would include a fairly short-lived division of EA named EA Sports Big. Formed in 2000, this division would mainly serve to create and develop more “alternative” brands of sports games, more suited to those who didn’t care for the more simulation style of sports games for which EA had become known.
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One such title was NBA Street. Sporting a much different vibe than their sim-style series, NBA Live, NBA Street was a three-on-three, arcade type of basketball game, featuring real NBA players and teams. Relying heavily on the streetball motif that was popular at the time, the goal in NBA Street wasn’t just to outscore your opponent.
Each team would have a meter that would go up based on how stylish you scored, whether by performing fancy dribbles moves, faking out opposing defenders, or unleashing devastating alley-oops. Once that meter was filled, you could use to perform a “Gamebreaker,” which would add to your points and take away some of your opponent’s.
The game was a success and would spawn multiple sequels, the most popular of which would be the followup in 2003, NBA Street Vol. 2. This one saw a more robust career mode, expanded gameplay, and the addition of NBA Legends and Street Legends, loosely based off of existing street ballers.
The game didn’t feature an all-time roster for each team the way the 2k games do, but if it did, which trio of Charlotte Hornets would be the most fun to use? Keeping in mind that simply outscoring your opponent isn’t the endgame, doing so stylishly means picking odd combos.
Then again, you could go for a more guard-centric approach and have two or three guys who can break some ankles for maximum meter buildup. Kemba, Baron Davis, and maybe a Muggsy Bogues, with a Jamal Mashburn or Gerald Wallace in there for some muscle.
If you really wanted to pound it inside and eschew any perimeter game, ‘Zo, Larry Johnson, and Al Jefferson would basically be an impenetrable wall around the basket. Maybe sub an Emeka Okafor in there for a bit of variety.
Any way you slice it, that would be a fun group of players to use in an arcade-style basketball game. Team them up with a current player or two and you have a fun little way to enjoy some virtual basketball goodness.
Alas, we’ll most likely never get this as EA doesn’t seem intent on bringing any of those series back. It’s a shame because NBA Street, in particular, is very beloved by this generation of NBA players and their fans. Most of the current crop of guys in the league spent their formative years playing that game and have fond memories of it.
You never know, though. EA may decide that the fan interest is enough to bring it back. Until then, however, all any Charlotte Hornets fan can do is dream.