You can probably see the cover of NBA Jam in your mind's eye. A basketball bursting through paper in an image that's equal parts cheesy and classic, weighed down with the memories of countless boomshakalakas.
But what you probably didn't know is that the logo embossed basketball heading straight for your face on that cover is real. It exists. The cover is a photo and not some early '90s computer work. And you can take a look at the real life NBA Jam basketball below.
The blessed image comes via Steve Lin. The vice president of operations at the chatroom app Discord is a video game historian and collector and he got his hands on the actual Jam basketball in an auction. Because he was just as shocked as all of us that the ball is a real object, he shared it on Twitter.
"It's here! The original prop basketball used in the production of NBA JAM box art and promotional material!" he wrote on Twitter. "For sure this will be going to a museum along with the rest of my collection. I'm just going to hang onto it for a while and wonder about the cosmic series of events that allowed me to acquire it."
Much like playing with a flaming basketball, using the Jam model for a game of 2-on-2 is pretty close to impossible. Lin reveals that it's not actually a basketball but a resin model. Lin says it has "the feel of the ball but not quite the 'spring' (and it'll never deflate)."
Lin, who is a board member of the Video Game History Foundation, said he's going to hold on to the ball for a while before donating it to a museum.