Yes, no sooner had 24 started to appear in bars, arcades and game rooms than Stern announce their next licensed game, NBA.

The game is a re-worked Space Jam machine, with new artwork, a different arrangements of inserts, the way some shots work has changed and there is a new spinning disc in the centre of the playfield.

With the Warner Bros. characters and Michael Jordan taken out of the game, their places have been taken by a number of popular NBA players. With no fans of NBA here at Pinball News HQ we didn't know any of them, but thanks to Roman Kunovic we now know they are: (clockwise from top) Yao Ming, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Dwayne Wade and Kevin Garnett.

The picture below is a mock-up, so things like the missing tournament button, the metallic top of the backbox and the ratio of the DMD split between the score and the animations are all artistic licence and not to be taken at face value.

The NBA cabinet art

Taking an existing design and modifying it is one way in which Gary Stern can create new models without needing any extra design staff. There is talk this new game is aimed primarily at the Chinese market where pinball has yet to make any impression but where the NBA and basketball in general has become very popular.

The NBA playfield

Although these are not production shots, the bare wood on the cabinet sides - if included in the production machines - helps extend the look of the game beyond the playfield.

We'll have much more on Stern's new NBA game soon.

Many thanks to Thomas Reiter of freaktech for the pictures.

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