Draft day is becoming important to more than just diehard face-painted fans of local sports teams and league franchises looking to turn their fortunes around. It's quickly becoming the place to be for peeks at upcoming sports games from Electronic Arts.
In April, EA showed a 60-second spot of next-generation footage for Madden NFL 06 during the NFL Draft. The commercial wasn't in-game footage, but rather an artist's conception of what the game will look like on the upcoming next-generation consoles.
Not to be outdone by its gridiron cousin, NBA Live 06 served up the same recipe for its respective off-season player selection. EA showed a 60-second ad for its hardcourt hoops game during yesterday's NBA Draft, televised on ESPN (which will lend its brand to future EA games).
The promo starts off with a floating shot of Key Arena in Seattle, home of the Seattle Supersonics. Intro shots are intercut by text that reads "EA Sports presents the next generation of NBA Live."
Commentator Marv Albert, joined by Steve Kerr, lays down the situation: "It has been Detroit all the way. What a comeback though by the Sonics. After a 12-point run, the Sonics are now up by two, 18 seconds remaining."
The camera moves to the floor with a close-up of a Spalding basketball, grooves and dimples clearly distinguished and light reflecting realistically off the leather and plastic. After the text "the next generation" rolls across the screen, impressive-looking beads of sweat roll down the back of Chauncey Billup's hairless dome during a timeout.
The Detroit Pistons then take the floor and set up their offense. Tayshaun Prince inbounds the ball to Billups, who gives it right back to Prince on the opposite wing (something was clearly cut here--or EA highly exaggerated Prince's quickness). Prince realistically dribbles in the lane before kicking out to Billups, who feeds a wide-open Richard Hamilton for a three-pointer. The Pistons take the lead, 99-98.
After a few isolated shots of Seattle stars Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen, Vladimir Radmanovic inbounds the ball to Luke Ridnour, who bounce-passes it to Allen. Allen then delivers to a posted-up Lewis, who goes behind the back and dishes to Radmanovic, who takes an 18-footer for the win. The ball hits the back iron and bounces around the rim, and Allen swoops behind an unsuspecting Ben Wallace to throw it down and cement a Sonics victory. Cue the tagline "EA Sports, it's in the game" and text that reads "coming this fall."
It's highly likely the footage is another artist's conception, just as the first nex-gen footage of Madden NFL 06 was. And if things stay in accordance with cover boy Donovan McNabb and the Madden sneak peek, expect the star of the NBA Live promo, Ray Allen, to adorn the box for NBA Live 06.
NBA Live 06 is scheduled for release on the Xbox 360, PC, Xbox, GameCube, PlayStation 2, and PSP. For more information on the game, dribble over to GameSpot's previous coverage.