How NBA Jam Pitched NBA For Licensing Rights To Video Game

The NBA Jam Video Game series seems as if it’s been around forever.  Like everything on this earth that isn’t water, wind, or sun, however, it actually hasn’t been around quite that long.

In the early 1990’s, the good people at Williams Electronics started to first streamline their two-on-two dunking ideas into a cohesive video game application. In 1992, they were ready to make their pitch to the NBA in order to attain licensing rights for their game.  NBA Jam was still a working concept at that point, no players had caught on fire yet, and the game still hadn’t been released.  

Below is the video they used to sell the NBA on the idea of licensing their product, and it’s a pretty interesting trip back through both NBA and video game history.  Especially if you consider the fact Williams Electronics uses a game they previously made with a future California Governor killing a whole bunch of people in it, in order to successfully convince the NBA that this new basketball game of theirs was indeed a hit. 

Hat Tip to the good people over at The Sports Grid on the video find:

Williams Electronics’ gaming rights were ultimately acquired by Midway, and that is who eventually released NBA Jam.  Almost twenty years later, after first teaming up with Penny Hardaway in earlier versions of the game, Shaquille O’Neal is now doing some announcing work for the franchise.  So I’d say that presentation went pretty well for everybody.

YouTube: VideoGameEpherma


About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine,,, and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.