Like many others in 1993, I spent a lot of money at the arcade, dropping token after token into NBA Jam. I was ten years old at the time, and our state basketball team, the Chicago Bulls were tearing through the NBA for championship gold for the third year in a row. NBA Jam was the perfect combination of everything I was enthralled with at the time – The Bulls and video games, even if the game didn’t have Michael Jordan in it.

26 years later, Boss Fight Books had announced that one of the books they would be releasing in 2019 would be by Reyan Ali on the story behind NBA Jam. I was initially pretty shocked at the announcement. In my mind, NBA Jam was just a simple sports game and probably had a pretty minimum amount of history behind its development and rise to fame. I was very wrong. Reyan’s book took me to school on just how great of a story NBA Jam had behind it and opened my eyes to how much love was put into this game.

NBA Jam (the book) does a fantastic job of not just documenting some of the trials and tribulations of the game during development but also digs deep and points out some significant moments in the developers’ past experiences that would help shape NBA Jam. After reading the book, I’m almost ashamed that I didn’t realize just how much legendary talent was behind this incredible arcade game. Mark Turmell, Eugene Jarvis, and Roger Sharpe are only a few of the people that had a hand in releasing this game to the masses, and its all detailed in this book. How did Midway bounce back when the NBA Jam franchise was basically snatched away from them? You need to read the book to find out, trust me; it’s worth it.

It is very apparent that Reyan Ali spent several years researching and speaking to people involved not just with developing the game, but those who were involved with it as fans too. These fans range from FAQ writers to even NBA superstars like Shaquille O’Neal. It is incredible how much of an influence NBA Jam had, and now it is carefully curated in this book. If you’ve ever played a game of NBA Jam, you owe yourself to hear the story behind this game. 

NBA Jam by Reyan Ali

Release Date: Oct 22, 2019

256 pages

ISBN 13: 978-1-940535-20-3

Mike Mertes Mike Mertes (11 Posts)

From the moment he touched an Intellivision controller in 1985, Mike knew that he had experienced something incredible in the world of video games that would shape him for the rest of his life. From that point forward, he would make it his mission to experience video games from every console generation going forward. Eventually, he would become obsessed with magazines that wrote about the games he loved, and it would inspire him to start writing about games himself in 1998 for various local media outlets. Always looking for an opportunity to branch out, Mike eventually coded the foundation of a website that would ultimately morph into Gamer Logic Dot Net, an independent video game site that continues to cover modern and classic video game today. Additional, Mike composes music for indie games under his other alias "Unleaded Logic"