NBA Jam Was Rigged!
A code written into NBA Jam prevented the Bulls from hitting last-second shots against the Pistons. *Blows whistle* “Technical foul!”
By Zack Zeigler
Midway’s NBA Jam video game was released in 1993, during the first Chicago Bulls three-peat. Although Michael Jordan wasn’t in the game — your options on the Bulls were Scotty Pippen, Horace, Grant, or B.J. Armstrong — most gamers were still apt to choose the Bulls by proxy since they’d dominated the NBA.
But it turns out, the game was rigged! Talking to ESPN The Magazine.com on condition of anonymity (okay, not really; the coder’s name is Mark Turmell), he admitted to putting special code into the game that would cause last-second shots from the Bulls to turn into bricks if they were playing the Pistons.
Turmell is an admitted Bulls fan, but the reason why delves deeper than simply liking a team and despising another.
The Pistons-Bulls rivalry began in 1988 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, during which the “Bad Boys” of the Pistons eliminated (and roughed up) MJ and the Bulls in six games. A year later, the teams met again in the conference finals. Detroit implemented the “Jordan Rules” that targeted Jordan and left the other scrubs on the Bulls to wander aimlessly around the court. Again, the Pistons won. In 1990, it was the same outcome.
The following year Chicago swept Detroit and dismantled the Lakers to claim their first of three straight titles. From then on, Detroit fizzled while Chicago grew stronger and more popular. By the time Chicago took out Portland in ’92 and Phoenix in ’93, most people had forgotten about how nasty things had gotten between the Pistons and Bulls. Well, except one video game coder.