NBA Live

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NBA Live
Logo of EA Sports NBA Live.png
NBA Live video game series logo
Developer(s)EA Canada (1994–2010)
EA Tiburon (2013–2018)
Publisher(s)EA Sports
Platform(s)Game Boy
Nintendo 64
Microsoft Windows (PC)
PlayStation 2
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
PlayStation Portable
Sega Genesis
Sega Saturn
Super NES
Xbox 360
Xbox One
First releaseNBA Live 95
October 1994
Latest releaseNBA Live 19
September 7, 2018

NBA Live is a series of basketball video games published by EA Sports. The series, which debuted in 1994, is the successor to the previous NBA Playoffs and NBA Showdown series.

Beginning in the late 2000s, NBA Live sales had dropped off compared to their main competitor, 2K's NBA 2K series. The last released installment to date was 2018's NBA Live 19. As of 2022, the series has been in an indefinite hiatus, and after the cancellations of NBA Live 20 and NBA Live 21, there has not been any official confirmation on whether or not more games would be developed.

NBA Playoffs[edit]

The predecessor of the NBA Live series was the NBA Playoffs series, which featured Lakers vs. Celtics, released first in 1989 for MS-DOS-compatible PCs and later adapted for consoles in early 1990 for the Sega Mega Drive. This game was played from a horizontal view (while later versions moved to an isometric view before ultimately moving to 3D on newer consoles). The game was one of the first to feature an NBA license, containing both real NBA teams and player likenesses and signature moves. Details such as Horace Grant's goggles are clearly visible, and Michael Jordan's "Air Reverse Layup" is animated with very high accuracy. Player numbers were also visible. The game featured only eight of the sixteen teams that qualified for the NBA playoffs that year, as well as both NBA All-Star teams.

The next game in the series was Bulls vs. Lakers, released in 1991, followed by Bulls vs. Blazers in 1992. Unlike the first game, these two releases were titled after the two teams who were in the NBA Finals the previous season, while the original release apparently chose the Lakers and Celtics due to both teams' historical success, in particular their rivalry in the 1980s. Each revision added more teams and players, as well as more signature moves. The series also included an Olympic basketball spinoff game, Team USA Basketball (1992) which uses the same engine. The final game in the series was NBA Showdown 94 for the Sega Genesis before the transition to the NBA Live naming.

Year Game Title Features
1989 Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs NBA teams and players, signature moves in team game.
1991 Bulls vs Lakers and the NBA Playoffs Co-operative play, instant replay in team game.
1992 Team USA Basketball International player licenses.
1992 Bulls vs. Blazers and the NBA Playoffs NBA teams and players, custom team.
1993 NBA Showdown Multiple custom team, 3rd party in game advertisement, all NBA teams.


In the fall of ‘94, the annual EA basketball release received a simpler title of NBA Live 95. This naming pattern using the forthcoming year has continued, except for varying to use of all 4 digits of the year from 2000 to 2005. Each version's initial release was in the fall near the start of the NBA campaign, though additional ports were sometimes delayed until as late as January or February. After 16 consecutive seasons of releases, an effort to retool the game as NBA Elite 11 met with development troubles, and put the game on hiatus for three years. The series returned with NBA Live 14 in November 2013.

The pioneer NBA Live 95 release was for fourth generation video game systems Sega Genesis and SNES, as well as the MS-DOS operating system. NBA Live 96 included the first fifth generation version, with the PlayStation, and also the first handheld games version, on the Game Boy. Sixth generation production started with NBA Live 2001 and continued all the way through NBA Live 2009 on the high selling PlayStation 2. NBA Live 06 was the first to hit seventh generation consoles, after its release to the Xbox 360. Finally, with the release of NBA Live 14 for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, EA continued its run on into eighth generation consoles. The game was released on PC each season until support was pulled after the NBA Live 08 season.

The Create-A-Player feature was not available in the 1995 versions of the game, but has been a mainstay since NBA Live 96.

NBA Live 99 was the first to feature Practice Mode and Multi-season play.

Starting in NBA Live 2000, the series featured NBA Live Legend All-Stars Teams, that included some biggest names from five decades (50s to 90s). These teams could be used instantly, but to use the players as regular players (e.g. traded, played on regular NBA Teams) they needed to be unlocked. Through the series, some of the Legend rosters were changed for various reasons. Michael Jordan was on the '90s team through 2004 before being removed due to licensing in later versions. Spud Webb, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Tom Chambers were added to the rosters in NBA Live 06.

NBA Live 2005 brought the addition of the Freestyle Air, NBA All-Star Weekend, which includes the Rookie Challenge, Three Point Shootout, Slam Dunk Contest, and the NBA All-Star Game, and Freestyle Challenge, which two players or more can play the Three Point Shootout or the Slam Dunk Contest.

In NBA Live 08, a limited number of international teams were added under FIBA's license. Live 08 was also the last release for the Microsoft Windows platform.

NBA Live 09 added a feature called Dynamic DNA, the first concept of daily updates changing tendencies, rosters, and hot-cold streaks.

After the release of NBA Live 10, EA attempted to retool the series under a new name with NBA Elite 11. However, the game was met with bad publicity and development problems before release and was cancelled (though a playable demo was released for download, and several copies of the full release found their way to customers). In November 2010, development of the franchise was moved from EA Canada studio to Florida-based Tiburon studio. It was eventually announced that the series' next installment would be released in Fall 2012 and would return to the NBA Live name as NBA Live 13,[1] but it would later be announced, on September 27, 2012, that they would cancel the release.[2] It wasn't until the fall of 2013, that the next game, NBA Live 14, would be released. Prior to its release, EA Sports had sold 33.54 million copies of the video game series since NBA Live 95, just falling short of its main competitor, NBA 2K's 37.24 million copies sold since its inception in 1999.[3]

NBA Live 16 was released on September 29, 2015. NBA Live Mobile was released on July 6, 2016. It is mostly used to play Ultimate Team modes in the game. NBA Live 18 was released on September 15, 2017 and features players from the WNBA. It also added a new single player mode called The One, in which the player controls an NBA prospect throughout his career. NBA Live 19 was released on September 7, 2018, and expanded on The One, by adding the ability to make a female player, as well as other game modes. NBA Live 20 was canceled by the development team due to them trying to expand into the next generation of consoles, as announced on the teams Twitter.[4] NBA Live 21 was also cancelled for the same reason.


Game Title Release date Platforms Cover
NBA Live 95 December 16, 1994 Super NES, Genesis, DOS Seven player action shot from 1994 NBA Finals, Knicks vs. Rockets
NBA Live 96 December 31, 1995 Super NES, Genesis, DOS, PlayStation, Game Boy Tip-off before Game 1 of the 1995 NBA Finals, Rockets vs. Magic (SNES and Genesis)
United States Shaquille O'Neal (PC and PlayStation)
NBA Live 97 October 31, 1996 Super NES, Genesis, DOS, PlayStation, Saturn United States Mitch Richmond
NBA Live 98 June 17, 1997 Super NES, Genesis, Windows, PlayStation, Saturn United States Tim Hardaway
NBA Live 99 October 31, 1998 Windows, PlayStation, Nintendo 64 United States Antoine Walker
NBA Live 2000 October 31, 1999 Windows, PlayStation, Nintendo 64 United States Tim Duncan
NBA Live 2001 October 16, 2000 Windows, PlayStation 2, PlayStation United States Kevin Garnett
Lithuania Arvydas Sabonis
NBA Live 2002 October 29, 2001 PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Xbox United States Steve Francis
United States Michael Jordan
NBA Live 2003 October 8, 2002 PlayStation 2, PlayStation, Xbox, GameCube, Windows United States Jason Kidd
NBA Live 2004 October 14, 2003 PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows United States Vince Carter
Spain Raül López
France Tony Parker
NBA Live 2005 September 28, 2004 PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows United States Carmelo Anthony
France Tony Parker
Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 06 September 26, 2005 PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube, Windows, PlayStation Portable, Mobile, Xbox 360 United States Dwyane Wade
Japan Yuta Tabuse
France Tony Parker
Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 07 September 25, 2006 PlayStation 2, Xbox, Windows, PlayStation Portable, Mobile, Xbox 360 United States Tracy McGrady
Germany Dirk Nowitzki
France Tony Parker
France Boris Diaw[5]
Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 08 October 1, 2007 PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, Windows United States Gilbert Arenas[6]
Germany Dirk Nowitzki
Italy Andrea Bargnani
Spain Pau Gasol
France Tony Parker
France Boris Diaw
NBA Live 09 October 7, 2008 PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, Wii, Mobile France Tony Parker[7]
United Kingdom Luol Deng
Italy Andrea Bargnani
Spain Pau Gasol
NBA Live 10 October 6, 2009 PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox 360, iOS United States Dwight Howard
Spain Pau Gasol
United Kingdom Luol Deng
NBA Elite 11 November 5, 2010 iOS, PS3 United States Kevin Durant
NBA Live 13 Cancelled in 2012[8]
NBA Live 14 November 19, 2013 PlayStation 4, Xbox One United States Kyrie Irving
NBA Live 15 October 28, 2014 PlayStation 4, Xbox One United States Damian Lillard
NBA Live 16 September 29, 2015 PlayStation 4, Xbox One United States Russell Westbrook
NBA Live Mobile July 6, 2016 Android, iOS United States Russell Westbrook
United States James Harden
United States Allen Iverson
Cameroon Joel Embiid
Slovenia Luka Dončić
Greece Giannis Antetokounmpo
NBA Live 18 September 15, 2017 PlayStation 4, Xbox One United States James Harden
NBA Live 19 September 7, 2018 PlayStation 4, Xbox One Cameroon Joel Embiid
NBA Live 20 Cancelled in 2019[9]

NBA Live Commentary[edit]

Commentary Team
Games Commentary Team
NBA Live 98 Verne Lundquist
NBA Live 99 Don Poier
NBA Live 2000 Don Poier, Reggie Theus
NBA Live 2001 Don Poier, Bob Elliott
NBA Live 2002
NBA Live 2003
NBA Live 2004 Marv Albert, Mike Fratello
NBA Live 2005
NBA Live 06 Marv Albert, Steve Kerr
NBA Live 07
NBA Live 08
NBA Live 09
NBA Live 10
NBA Live 14 Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy
NBA Live 15
NBA Live 16
NBA Live 18
NBA Live 19 Ed Cohen, Jay Williams

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NBA Live is back". Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  2. ^ Goldfarb, Andrew (2012-09-27). "NBA Live 13 Canceled". IGN. Retrieved 2012-09-27.
  3. ^ Press, ed. (2014). Guinness World Records 2015 Gamer's Edition. Guinness World Records. p. 37. ISBN 9781908843838. Retrieved 5 October 2019.
  4. ^ "NBA Live 20 canceled as EA Sports looks to next-gen consoles". Polygon. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  5. ^ Surette, Tim (2006-08-23). "Dirk leads European NBA Live covers". Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  6. ^ Sinclair, Brendan (2007-04-30). "Gilbert Arenas nets NBA Live 08 cover". Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  7. ^ Bailey, W. Scott (June 25, 2008). "EA Sports puts Spurs' Parker on its cover". San Antonio Business Journal. Retrieved 2012-10-30.
  8. ^ "EA Sports Cancels NBA Live 13". Kotaku. 27 September 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  9. ^ "NBA Live 20 canceled as EA Sports looks to next-gen consoles". Polygon. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.

External links[edit]