NBA Hangtime is the King

NBA Hangtime


I can see you fuming from your ears right now. Your heart rate has increased to a dangerously high pace, and your blood is boiling. Yes, NBA Jam is the best basketball franchise in the history of sports video games, but why are we so blind to realize that NBA Hangtime was the best installment of the popular franchise?

Well, we are here to put an end to that. So grab a chair and make yourself comfortable. 


As we mentioned before, NBA Jam was an absolute ALPHA in the arcade/video game world. It's known as one of the elites, and it will always go down in history for being one of the most entertaining games of all time. Admit it, to this day it still brings absolute joy to your soul when you hear the phrase "Boom Shakalaka." But the NBA Hangtime version of the NBA Jam franchise is one of the most incredible basketball video games that truly doesn't get enough respect. 

If you dig a little deeper into the history of NBA Hangtime, it made it's debut in the arcade in 1996 and was released on consoles in early 1997. Hangtime was originally to be the 3rd installment of the NBA Jam franchise before a last-second licensing change forced Midway to throw a curveball and install a new name. The version of NBA Hangtime that we are focusing on in this segment is the Nintendo 64 edition, in which you were able to play with up to 4 players at one time.

NBA Hangtime Team Select


The number of talented duos in Hangtime was ridiculous. There's still debate to this day of what was the best combination to play with. It's impossible to describe how truly dominant Reggie Miller was in NBA Hangtime. Maybe that's just me, but I personally have destroyed a lot of souls with "Millertime" from downtown. The underrated duo was Patrick Ewing and John Starks of the New York Knicks. For some reason, NBA Hangtime thought of making Ewing a more than capable shooter from downtown, which leads to a fair amount of profanities being shouted while Ewing goes 11/15 from deep in the first half. One of the top popular choices for a duo is Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf of the Seattle Supersonics or the famous duo of Karl Malone and John Stockton of the Utah Jazz. No, we didn't overlook the powerhouse combination of Houston Rockets Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler as well. Below you'll find a full list of the choices available to select from each team. 

Atlanta Hawks 1996

  • Dikembe Mutombo
  • Mookie Blaylock
  • Steve Smith
  • Christian Laettner
  • Ken Norman

Boston Celtics 1996

  • Dee Brown
  • Dana Barros
  • Antoine Walker
  • Dino Radja
  • Harold Miner

Charlotte Hornets 1996

  • Vlade Divac
  • Anthony Mason
  • Glen Rice
  • George Zidek
  • Dell Curry

Chicago Bulls

  • Scottie Pippen
  • Dennis Rodman
  • Toni Kukoc
  • Luc Longley
  • Steve Kerr

Cleveland Cavaliers 1996

  • Tyrone Hill
  • Chris Mills
  • Bobby Phills
  • Terrell Brandon
  • Danny Ferry

Dallas Mavericks 1996

  • Jim Jackson
  • Eric Montross
  • Jamal Mashburn
  • Jason Kidd
  • Jimmy King

Denver Nuggets 1996

  • Mark Jackson
  • Bryan Stith
  • Antonio McDyess
  • Saurunas Marciulionis
  • Dale Ellis

Detroit Pistons 1996

  • Joe Dumars
  • Stacey Augmon
  • Otis Thorpe
  • Terry Mills
  • Grant Hill

Golden State Warriors 1996

  • B.J. Armstrong
  • Jon Koncak
  • Latrell Sprewell
  • Joe Smith
  • Chris Mullin

Houston Rockets 1996

  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Clyde Drexler
  • Mario Ellie
  • Brent Price
  • Sam Mack

Indiana Pacers 1996

  • Antonio Davis
  • Reggie Miller
  • Jalen Rose
  • Derrick McKey
  • Rik Smits

LA Clippers 1996

  • Pooh Richardson
  • Brent Barry
  • Rodney Rodgers
  • Malik Sealy
  • Lorenzen Wright

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Kobe Bryant
  • Nick Van Exel
  • Eddie Jones
  • Elden Campbell
  • Cedric Ceballos

Miami Heat 1996

  • Kurt Thomas
  • Dan Majerle
  • Alonzo Mourning
  • Sasha Danilovic
  • Tim Hardaway

Milwaukee Bucks 1996

  • Andrew Lang
  • Ray Allen
  • Vin Baker
  • Shawn Respert
  • Glenn Robinson

Minnesota Timberwolves 1996

  • Cherokee Parks
  • Terry Porter
  • Kevin Garnett
  • Stephon Marbury
  • Tom Gugliotta

New Jersey Nets 1996

  • Kendall Gill
  • Ed O'Bannon
  • Kevin Edwards
  • Shawn Bradley
  • Kerry Kittles

New York Knicks

  • Patrick Ewing
  • John Starks
  • Charles Oakley
  • John Wallace
  • Larry Johnson

Orlando Magic 1996

  • Anfernee Hardaway
  • Rony Seikaly
  • Dennis Scott
  • Nick Anderson
  • Horace Grant

Philadelphia 76ers 1996

  • Jerry Stackhouse
  • Clarence Weatherspoon
  • Derrick Coleman
  • Don MacLean
  • Allen Iverson

Phoenix Suns 1996

  • Kevin Johnson
  • Sam Cassell
  • Michael Finley
  • Danny Manning
  • Wayman Tisdale

Portland Trail Blazers 1996

  • Isaiah Rider
  • Arvydas Sabonis
  • Clifford Robinson
  • Rasheed Wallace
  • Kenny Anderson

Sacramento Kings 1996

  • Billy Owens
  • Corliss Williamson
  • Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
  • Tyus Edney
  • Mitch Richmond

San Antonio Spurs 1996

  • Sean Elliot
  • Vinny Del Negro
  • Chuck Person
  • Avery Johnson
  • David Robinson

Seattle Supersonics 1996

  • Shawn Kemp
  • Gary Payton
  • Detlef Schrempf
  • Hersey Hawkins
  • Sherell Ford

Toronto Raptors 1996

  • Carlos Rogers
  • Damon Stoudamire
  • Sharone Wright
  • Marcus Camby
  • Popeye Jones

Utah Jazz 1996

  • John Stockton
  • Greg Ostertag
  • Karl Malone
  • Chris Morris
  • Jeff Hornacek

Vancouver Grizzlies 1996

  • Greg Anthony
  • Anthony Peeler
  • Lee Mayberry
  • Bryant Reeves
  • Shareef Abdul-Rahim

Washington Bullets

  • Rod Strickland
  • Chris Webber
  • Juwan Howard
  • Gheorge Muresan
  • Calbert Chaney


This was the most dominant introduction into the NBA Jam franchise. In NBA Hangtime, you were finally able to create your own player and some of the choices were flat out amazing. Seriously, the creators had a field day and some of the choices looked as if they were from a remake of Alice in Wonderland. Here's a quick rundown on some of the choices for characters

  • A vibrant green alien
  • A police officer with an elite mustache
  • A Wizards with one of the largest white mustache's you've ever seen
  • Some sort of Pig
  • Some sort of face that looks like Sloth from the Goonies
  • A hybrid version of Frankenstein
  • Bigfoot looking character wearing Vikings horns.
  • One of the scariest looking Clown Faces alive.
  • A poor man's version of Santa Claus
  • A Basketball Head with a Joker-Like smile. 
  • A Werewolf

There's plenty of more choices that I can't simply put the words down to express how insane they were. You were also given the ability to give your character one of the elite nickname choices such as "Mad dog" or "Dingbat." Personally, I believe I was part of the 5% of the NBA Hangtime community that rolled with "Bubba" as a nickname choice. 

(Video via Youtube)


While everyone loves to point out how great the NBA Jam soundtracks were in general, the "score" of Hangtime wasn't second to none. In-game music was absolutely lethal in Hangtime. Don't sit there and pretend like you weren't hesitating to play the second half because you were enjoying the magical sounds of M.Doc's "Whatcha Gonna Do?" 

(Video via Youtube)

That not good enough for you? How about the electric team selection music, in which all of you will admit it was one of the catchiest songs ever when trying to decide who you were going to defy the laws of physics with your dunks in the upcoming game. Seriously, "I'm in the Zone" featured the least amount of vocal lyrics possible but the beat was contagious and got you incredibly amped for battle. Not to mention the song was so good that they commonly played it throughout gameplay as well. 

(Video via Youtube )


Yes, we have to give one glaring negative to the NBA Hangtime installment and we hate to be a buzzkill here. The famous NBA Jam announcer of Tim Kitzrow was not in this game so we didn't get our fair share of comedy clips that we have enjoyed in other previous NBA Jam games. Off the record, the call by Kitzrow of "Like my wife says...not tonight!" is one of the best comments of all-time and you will notice us use that phrase on social media quite often when talking about basketball highlights. Still, Neil Funk was fantastic as an announcer during this game and gave the NBA Jam franchise some of the most memorable phrases in its history. "Baseline leaner..." is still one of the most under-appreciated lines of all-time and I wish a play by play announcer for the game of basketball would install it into their daily jobs. Funk gave us other emphatic phrases such as "A pull-up jumper..." and "Can't buy a bucket!" Tim Kitzrow would be proud of Neil. 


While NBA2K has become the "alpha" of the video game experience as of late, it's never too late to pay tribute to the greats. If you somehow can get your hands on NBA Hangtime, as grueling of a process it might be, just do it. It's one of the easiest things to ever convince yourself that you will have. There's no experience like going to battle against some of your closest friends while your player potentially shoots a basketball that is actually on fire without suffering 3rd-degree burns. For now, cheers to the greatest basketball franchise of all time in NBA Jam and thank you Midway for giving us NBA Hangtime.