NBA JAM: Jordan Requested to be in the Game, Petrovic Haunts It

NBA JAM arcade game screenshot

Remember NBA JAM? The completely ridiculous, over-the-top, but angry-birds-addicting NBA game you happily fed dozens of quarters into during the 1990s?


In a recent interview with Mark Turmell, the lead designer for NBA JAM, he gave some great insight into how NBA JAM came to be.

For all you big NBA JAM fans from back in the day, Turmell talked about how his favorite two man team, how Michael Jordan requested to be in the game (he had pulled himself out of NBA licensing), how they came up with all the special/hidden characters, and how they convinced the NBA to let them create the game with their logo on it.

Apparently, Michael Jordan requested to be in the game – sending a message along with Gary Payton that said “Hook us up.”

One of the weirdest things to come out of the interview was how the original NBA JAM machines would yell out “Petrovic” randomly.

Here’s what he had to say:

What’s the rumor we hear about NBA Jam being haunted?
We had already finished making NBA Jam when Drazen Petrovic died. The game had already shipped and he was on the Nets. So we had all of these coin-op machines around, and one night we were playing Mortal Kombat and there was a Jam machine next to it, and all of a sudden the game started calling out “Petrovic!” “Petrovic!” And this only happened after Petrovic had died. Everyone started freaking out. Something weird was going on with the software, and to this day, if you have an original NBA Jam machine every once in a while it will just yell out “Petrovic!” It’s wild.

I remember playing this game all the time at the Superbowl, the local bowling alley. and at my friend’s place late into the night. I recall being completely shut out in the first half of a game by two of my friends, lots of basketball betting was going on when we played NBA JAM, and lots of Doritos, Taco Bell and pop (I’m from Michigan) were consumed.

Read the full article at ESPN.

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