How to WIN at NBA JAM!

By Randolph S. Vance and William G. Henderson

E-Mail: (NeXT Mail) and (NeXT Mail)

Mosaic version by Michel Buffa (your servitor!)


Are you tough enough to take on all 27 of the NBA teams? If you think you are, get set for the most intense basketball video game you'll ever play!


A Special note:

Greg and I wish to dedicate this version of the FAQ to the late Drazen Petrovich of the New Jersey Nets. The 11th leading shooter overall in the NBA will definatly be missed.

This version is also dedicated to the late Reggie Lewis, of the Boston Celtics, who passed away on July the 27th, 1993. To you and Drazen, we hope to keep your memories and your spirit alive in NBA JAM!

We also would like to pay our respects to the late James Jordan, father of basketball superstar Michael Jordan, whose senseless death will be felt by us all forever.

Rumor mill:

The Rumor mill is where untested or unconfirmed reports of power-up's or other things go. Stuff in the Rumor mill will be tested by us, to see if they do indeed work, or if we can confirm their existance of them by asking Mark Turmell. Something of note, Mark Turmell denies the existance of Second Fatality moves in Mortal Kombat, classifying them under Vaporware.

I talked with Mark and asked him the big question; Is there a bug with the Offensive Power-Up. I asked if he could test it and look at the Assembler Code for the game and he reported that there was no bug. I am wondering if I may be in error when I say tap turbo 21 times, when it could be a matter of tapping ANY button 21 times. I'll report back what I find when I test my theory at the arcade.

As for Mark reading the Net, he now has more or less a direct news so now he can read all the latest posts. This means he is keeping a close eye on all your suggestions. After talking with Mark, and discussing new ideas I'd like to see in a sequel, he said to post a notice and get people interested in serious suggestions for improvements and power-ups for NBA JAM II. Mark has said that if he likes the idea, not only will he put it in NBA JAM II, he'll also give the person who suggested it credit on the Design Team screen.

I talked with Turmell and asked him if Todd McClearan was in the game as a special guest character. He confirmed my suspicions, but again, would not divulge the information. Todd was another street ball player from Chicago who helped model the digital players.

PLEASE DO NOT CALL MIDWAY OR VG&CE AND ASK FOR CODES! They are trying to build interest in the game, to keep from slipping in the polls. It's like when Mortal Kombat was out for a while, play was low and Midway released the info about Reptile Man. Voila! Renewed interest! Part of the game is the process of discovering the female codes. It'd be no fun if you called Turmell and asked him, and 24 hours later, your neighbor's nine-year old nephew knows the codes.

Other rumors have been circulating on different ways to do power-up's. All the power-ups that are listed here are either given to us by Turmell, or have been confirmed to work by either Turmell or by us. Consider this FAQ posting to be the FINAL WORD. Anyone else telling you another way to do these tricks may be lying just to look big, your mileage may vary.

NBA JAM is being developed for the 16 Bit Home System markets, there are versions coming out for the Super NES and Genesis that Mark is working on. They showed a 25% completed version of Super NES NBA JAM, and it looked very promising. Hell, I'd consider getting a Super NES if NBA JAM turns out as good as it does in the Arcades.

Speaking of NBA JAM for the home, VG&CE and Midway are GIVING AWAY a $4,000 NBA JAM machine in a contest. Just mail in your name, address and age on a postcard and get it in by October 1st to this address:

NBA JAM Contest c/o VG&CE 9171 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300 Beverly Hills, CA 90210 (No joke) Employees of Midway, VG&CE, Larry Flynt Publications, their subsidiaries, and their immediate families are not eligible. Void where prohibited, No purchase necessary.

Before you play:

NBA JAM is an multi-coin game, so make sure it's worth it for you. Some arcades have their machine set at one coin per period, others may have more. Look to spend a dollar to two per complete game, depending on location.

Also, ask your arcade owner about the version of NBA Jam they own. Versions of NBA Jam that have been released to arcades are 2.0 and above. There are some minor bugs in Version 2.0 that regard the machine swallowing up an occasional coin and not giving a credit, and also problems with the Tank Game killing off players and ending a regular game, along with correcting a jersey color problem with special guests. Our arcade has two NBA Jam's that were Version 2.0. Recently, the owner has put in 3.0 update chips that correct the credit problems, fixes the jersey color of special guests and prevents games from ending at the Tank Game. Our arcade owner recommends to everyone with 2.0 release machines that they contact their distributor as soon as possible and obtain and install 3.0 update chips. The coin swallowing problem is also another annoying bug in the Williams game Smash TV. If you own a Smash TV original machine or kit, check with the distributor for possible update chips. Some assembly required, batteries not included.

Here is a simple test to see if your machine is 2.0 or 3.0. Put in enough for one period of play. Enter the Turmell code, MJT, March 22nd. If Turmell is in a purple color Lakers uniform, you are on a 2.0 machine. Inform the owner of this fact, tell them of the necessary upgrade chips and how obtain them through the distributor.

If Turmell is in the color jersey of the team you select, such as a red jersey for the Bulls, you are on a 3.0 machine.

If you play in a 2-on-2 complete game, usually four to eight dollars, the winning two player team gets to stay on for free to face the next two people or the Computer.

It is always best to enter your initials for the record keeping. If you play in a four player game, and some dumb newbie selects NO for entering initials, cold-cock him!

Enter your initials, followed by your birth month and birth date. This tells the Computer who you are. If you have never played before, there will be no record available of your statistics. If you have, the computer will show you your record and winning percentage, followed by a streak of wins, if any, and an update of your last complete game. Only complete games count in records, partials do not.

Pick your team carefully. The 27 teams are made up of two of the best and brightest of the NBA, although Jordan isn't available for the Bulls. Each team has their strenghths and weaknesses. i. e. the Sacramento Kings have a good dunker with Spud Webb, and a good three point shooter with Tisdale, but they are slow. Golden State has an excellent three point shooter with Mullin, and a fair dunker. Orlando has a terrific three shooter (Skiles) and a terriffic dunker (Shaq), but they have worse speed than Sacramento. In my opinion, the three teams with the best balance are Charlotte, Chicago, and Atlanta.

People have been buzzing about, "Well, where's Michael Jordan?". The official word from Turmell is that Jordan is NOT in the game. Neither is Magic Johnson, who is rumored in the machine also. Reason being that Midway got a blanket deal to carry two people from 27 teams, and that they were VERY lucky to get Shaq. Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson apparantly are seperate entities from the NBA Licensing, and so, would be entitled to more money than it appears Midway had.

1. Basic Moves:

2. Special Techniques:

To reject a dunking player:

It's best to wait until the dunker has reached the peak of his jump before you jump to block. For example, if Barkley starts a cannonball dunk, wait until he's coming down before you press turbo and jump. Also, make sure you're in front of the player and near the basket.

Another way to reject a dunker is to knock him down (turbo and steal) if it's a low dunk like an "easy jam".

To block a shot:

To block a shot, you need to jump at the same time you believe the shooter will jump. I usually let the shooter shoot while I'm in his face (but not jumping) and then I'll grab the rebound (or my teammate will). It is possible to block the buzzer 3-point attempt. Right after the ball is passed inbounds press turbo and jump and point toward the shooter.

To steal:

To steal, there are three good techniques:

  1. Stick close and press steal a lot. This is not my technique, so say much about it, but it seems to work well for others.
  2. Knock 'em down. It's more fun, and can be done continuously to computer opponents until they drop the ball.
  3. Let a player shoot while you're near their basket, and jump before it gets there. Hopefully you won't get called for goaltending.

To rebound:

To rebound, there are two good techniques:

  1. Press shoot to jump toward the ball AFTER it has hit the rim or board.
  2. Knock down opposing players near the ball so you can grab the ball off the floor.
If you are close enough to the ball your player will jump automatically to rebound.


Try to have a screen when you're trying to shoot. There seems to be a pattern with the computer in which you can usually go 3/4 down the court and have a screen for the 3-point shot if you let your computer teammate run ahead of you. This is great for players like Mullin...

Head fakes work great. Make sure you mix in a few elbow throws though, or you may be knocked down.

If you're doing an easy jam with an opponent nearby, it's best to pass to your teammate in mid-dunk. He's usually open and you won't have to worry about getting knocked down.

When time is running out in the period, dunking isn't a good option. If time runs out in mid-dunk, you made a "bad decision". ;)

Milk the clock:

In a one-player or a two person team vs. the Computer, you can burn seconds off a clock and keep a lead from changing as quick as it can if you play fast break basketball. If you have a lead of four points or more, and get the basketball from a basket or goaltend, get the ball, stay at your end of the court, hold your position, stay for as long as you can. The Computer will stay in it's position and do nothing until the Shot Clock counts down below 5, then it will force you to take your move. At 6 seconds, quickly pass to your teammate if he's open, or if you are, take a shot. Even if you miss, you get better a better shot at rebounding, then you can get the ball, pass back to the man in backcourt, and milk the clock again. This trick works best in the fourth quarter.

He's on fire:

When a character makes three consecutive shots in a row, he is said to be "on fire". After that, all his future shots will stand a much more improved chance of entering the basket, although I have seen some miss while on fire. You can really open up a lead when on fire by launching three after three. You will stay "on fire" until the other team makes a shot go in their basket.

When you're on fire, to stay on fire, work in the back of the court, goaltend any layups or three-pointers, steal and rebound when possible. This also works if you're "heating up", i. e. you've made two shots in a row and need a third to go on fire. Plus, when you're on fire, you have the advantage of unlimeted turbo power, even if you're the kind of player that holds down turbo during a game.

When someone else in on fire, the best way to get them off fire is to dunk the basketball.

You don't stay on fire forever, you lose it after a period of time. A rather long time, it seems, usually 30 points, but you do lose it.

3. Secret Codes.

All secret codes are done before the Tip-off, when the announcer says, "Tonight's match up: (Team) versus (Team)" and continued right up until the tip-off. You can use these codes and power-up your computer teammate, or if you feel in a particularly evil mood and see someone on the machine you don't like, you can power-up his Computer opponents.

Special guest stars:

There are 18 Special Guests in NBA JAM, there were plans for lots more of Special Guests, including Godzilla, Dennis Rodman of the Pistons, Jim Jackson of the Mavs, Raiden of MORTAL KOMBAT!!!! But, to save memory and to make the game more challenging, the final cut was brought down to 18. 13 are made public, in this guide, and in VG&CE August '93. Five did not wish to make their codes public, including Felecia Turmell, Lorainne Olivia and Kerri Kendall Hoskins. (Yes, three females) You should check out the cover of VG&CE, in the corner is a shot of Kerri taking it to the Hoop for a SUPER JAM, and knocking down Sir Charles in the process!

The Special Guests are people who either work for Bally/Midway/Williams in production of this game, or some of their good friends.

In machines that are Version 2.0, the special guests had their own jerseys, but in 3.0, that has been fixed so that they wear the teams jersey. This was a rather confusing bug, especially if you picked the Lakers to go against Two Turmells on Charlotte. Turmell's jersey color was that of the Lakers, although his favorite team is the Detroit Pistons. He made them the strongest team on NBA JAM. :)

They can be found by entering their initials and birthdate before picking teams. Though it may seem that the Special Guests inherit the stats of the person they substitute for, the Special Guests seem to have their own advantages and disadvantages over the character they substitute for. We haven't yet found out the advantages and disadvantages for all the special guests, those we know, we've listed. We'll put in the next posting the complete list of advantages and disadvantages.

As of this revision, these are the thirteen confirmed special guests.

Special guests, such as Felecia Turmell, Lorainne Olivia and Kerri Hoskins DO exist, but they did not wish to have their codes made public at this particular time.

We are changing the policy on discovery of Special Guests.

If you know of any more guests, send us E-mail about them ONLY. DO NOT post new codes, unless you can guarantee their authenticity. This Prodigy fiasco recently brought a lot of complaints to me. :(

Tank game:

Players 1 and 2 hold down all three buttons and hold down joystick at "Tonight's match up". Player 1 enters tank game, controls tank with joystick; left, right, forward, reverse, fires at tanks with any button. If your tank gets hit too many times, the message, "You are dead!" flashes on the screen, so be alert. Spectre or Battlezone players should have no difficulty. Shot tanks make the sound of a backboard breaking. If Player 1 survives long enough in the Virtual world, the game will say "All players powerup". After the Tank Game, the basketball game should start normally, plus any powerups, i. e. everyone has big head, defensive, offensive, intercept power-ups, shot percentage is on in Learning Mode 2.

Version 2.0 machines can end the game at this screen, much to the dismay of other players, especially if everyone has put in for a full game. And if this happens, the winners don't stay for free, because there weren't any winners. 2.0 machines can also end the game if the messages, "All players powerup!", "You survived!", pop up.

NBA Jam machines that have a Version 3.0 update chip installed will no longer end the game if the screen says, "You are dead!", nor end it if you survive long enough to get "All players powerup!". On 3.0 machines, there will be no message, "You survived!". Instead, it will just give you the message "All players powerup!", then fade out and fade in the tip-off.

4. Winning the game:

If you beat all 27 teams, you are in for a treat.

Besides the two babes who offer you congratulations.

According to Turmell, one who has beaten all 27 teams can then face off with the computer in new challenges.

The code checks to see if you have defeated all 27 teams. If you have, the random chance of getting an All-Star team is a 5% chance that you will get the random two All-Star team. This assumes you have only a one-player game or you are playing with a teammate who has also defeated all 27 teams.

As has been said before, there may be a problem in the code with this feature. If you GET an All-Star team, by all means, tell us in DETAIL what you see, along with conditions at the time you got it.

5. Special thanks go to:

Mark J. Turmell, at Williams/Bally/Midway in Chicago for answering every question we had about NBA JAM.

People keep asking us, "Wow, you know Turmell? What's his number?" I made a promise to Mr. Turmell not to give out his number to the Net. I don't think he wants people calling him on the horn all the time, but he does appreciate the Net, and our work to produce this, and the pats on the back he's gotten from everyone for the great job he did on this game. (Yes, he HAS seen this FAQ! :)

Ed Boon, also of Williams/Bally/Midway for correcting us on the Special Guests and their duties at W/B/M. :) (Carl Chavez) for providing us with the bones of the FAQ, where we corrected some general errors, along with providing information on new power-up tricks. (Jim Hsu) for helping us with info on turbo and fire. (Jon Taylor) for giving us five new Special Guest codes! (Justin Anderson) for providing us with the code for Petro, as well as the confirmed Defensive and Intercept power-up code combination, along with the new power-up combinations! :) (Eric Ching) for providing Shawn Liptak's code. :) (The Immortal Spam / Eric Holma) for providing Carlton and Newcomer's codes, although I got the Carlton code from some unknown user at the University of Chicago, whom I'd like to thank too! ;)

The Kentucky Arcade, for providing us with two NBA JAM machines, as well as two Neo-Geo's, two Street Fighter II: Championship Editions, two X-Men, two Ms. Pac-Man's, two Galaga's and three Mortal Kombat's.

Is it my imagination, or is the Kentucky Arcade becoming more and more like a Noah's Arcade? ;)