By the end of the week we should know who's joining Larry, Magic, Michael—and Kareem and Dr. J.—in NBA 2K12's "NBA's Greatest Mode. If fan voting over Facebook is any guide, it'll be a lot of familiar faces.
2K Sports let the dialogue simmer for a month after announcing NBA's Greatest, and asked the community to weigh in with its choices for the 10 basketball superstars who will have their greatest performances recreated. The game's Facebook page put it up to a vote. Voting has closed, and here are the results:
1) *Kobe Bryant (14.9 percent) — (49740 votes)
2) +Shaquille O'Neal (11.0 percent) — (36788 votes)
3) Allen Iverson (9.1 percent) — (30244 votes)
4) Wilt Chamberlain (8.5 percent) — (28188 votes)
5) Reggie Miller (7.3 percent) — (24267 votes)
6) Hakeem Olajuwon (6.7 percent) — (22232 votes)
7) Charles Barkley (6.3 percent) — (21061 votes)
8) Bill Russell (5.4 percent) — (17916 votes)
9) +Dominique Wilkins (4.0 percent) — (13467 votes)
10) Oscar Robertson (3.8 percent) — (12532 votes)
11) +Karl Malone (2.5 percent) — (8232 votes)
12) *LeBron James (2.3 percent) — (7825 votes)
13) +Scottie Pippen (1.9 percent) — (6260 votes)
14) +John Stockton (1.8 percent) — (6040 votes)
15) Jerry West (1.7 percent) — (5781 votes)
16) +Patrick Ewing (1.7 percent) — (5708 votes)
17) +Isiah Thomas (1.3 percent) — (4352 votes)
18) *Dwayne Wade (1.3 percent) — (4221votes)
19) *Derrick Rose (1.1 percent) — (3720 votes)
20) *Dirk Nowitzki (1.1 percent) — (3633 votes)
* - Active player
+ - Appeared in NBA 2K11
As you can see, that leaves eight players in the top 20 who neither appeared on an opposing team in last year's NBA 2K11 via its "Jordan Challenge" or who are not currently active players whose likenesses are covered by the NBA Players Association's group license.
2K Sports definitely listens to its social media feedback. Ronnie Singh, 2K Sports' Digital Marketing Manager ran a showstopping Twitter operation last year that had NBA 2K11 as a global trending topic every day during the week of its release. I'm not sure that all of the public's wishes can be answered here, though.
Charles Barkley, still one of the dominant NBA personalities a decade after his retirement, and Reggie Miller, whose rivalry with the Knicks carried the league during Michael Jordan's minor league baseball sabbatical, are not signatories to the NBPA's retired players' group licensing program. Bringing them aboard would take more money if not other considerations, and this year's game already has three separate covers for Bird, Jordan and Magic, all three of whom are, indisputably, greater players.
At any rate, we'll know soon enough who's on the list of favored 15. NBA 2K12 is due for release Oct. 4.