NBA-The NBA's 100 Greatest Plays
|Category||Sports||Additional Footage-Latest And Greatest - Dunks, Assists And Plays|
|Year Of Production||?|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||None Given|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
For NBA fans, a lot of the footage will be familiar, but there is enough here that has not been included in other NBA documentaries to make the purchase worthwhile. The feature includes great footage from the old school days with the likes of Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. There's plenty of footage from stars of the 1990's including Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon, Karl Malone, and Michael Jordan. Then of course there is the new crop of young athletic stars such as Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O'Neal.
The feature begins with a brief summary of what it is and what it takes to be a great player or a great team in the NBA, and is a nice introduction to the 100 greatest plays, split into the Top Ten for 10 different categories. Each Top Ten is preceded with a short summary of the category, with some fantastic extra footage and interviews with stars and media. The actual Top Ten is then played out in NBA Action style. Here's a summary of the categories and the highlights (as usual, some of the commentary is as well-known as the footage itself):
Dunks - Of course the first category would be the Top Ten Dunks of all time. This is exactly what the NBA is renowned for - above the rim action. The usual gang of high flyers is seen here, such as Kobe Bryant, Dr. J, Shawn Kemp, and Clyde Drexler. It's no surprise that the #1 dunk is the classic Michael Jordan baseline move over Patrick Ewing.
Alley-Oops - Did I mention above the rim action? There are some amazing plays here with lobs from half court and guys with some serious hang time. This category features David Robinson, Jordan, Shaq, Kemp, and a surprising #1 alley-oop play with Bill Walton scoring two consecutive alley-oops within about 10 seconds.
Assists - Back down to earth for this category, but no less spectacular. No surprise inclusions here, with John Stockton, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson all starring. The #1 assist was a rather disappointing dish by Magic Johnson - there's plenty of other footage of his assists that are much better than this choice of #1.
Steals - As they say, defence wins games, and these guys were the best at shutting down the opponent's offence - Gary Payton, Scottie Pippen, Jordan, and Stockton. The classic commentary features prominently in the #1 steal by Larry Bird - "What a play by Larry Bird!!!.....Oh my this place is going crazy!!!".
Blocks - Following on from the defensive theme above, this category showcases the NBA's best at swatting the ball away in some great not-in-my-house action. Highlights include some legendary centres, including Olajuwon, Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Robinson. The #1 block goes to Manute Bol, the incredibly tall and skinny player with 4 amazing blocks in a row.
Teamwork - This category showcases some dizzying passing by teams, with great movement and quickness. The #1 play has some beautiful inside and outside passing with Larry Bird and his Celtics.
Clutch - It's those moments with the game on the line that great players emerge from the sea of other good players. You know the usual suspects - Jordan, Bird, and Magic. The Top Ten has some other new entrants, such as Reggie Miller and his incredible back to back 3 pointers against the Knicks, and John Paxton with his shot from downtown to seal the Bulls' third championship. Again, no surprise with the #1 clutch shot being Jordan's final shot to claim the Bulls' sixth championship.
Moves - Another aspect the NBA is famous for is the amazing how-did-he-do-that shots that always seem to happen. This category includes those weird and incredible circus shots that managed to fall in, and also includes some spectacular individual moves that were all skill, not luck. Highlights include Jordan's hang time moves against the Lakers and the Nets, Tim Hardaway's killer crossover, and the #1 play being Dr. J's fantastic behind the backboard reverse lay-up.
Hustle - This is the tribute to all the players that are the work-horses for their teams, that are willing to go all out and put their bodies on the line. Dennis Rodman is an obvious highlight, as is Gary Payton's save out-of-bounds between the legs. The #1 play surprisingly goes to Jordan's hustle down court to block a shot against the Knicks - "Who's game is it? It's Michael Jordan's game!"
Buzzer Beaters - Similar to the Clutch category, but showcasing the shots that won the game at the buzzer. Jordan, Bird, and Johnson dominate the field again. There is a surprising #1 play with the Garfield Heard shot against the Celtics to take the game into triple overtime.
With such a great collection of highlights above, I would normally whole-heartedly recommend this as a purchase for NBA fans. However, there is one fatal flaw with this release that is almost unforgivable. You can read about this flaw in the audio section below.
As with many sports documentaries, the video quality ranges from average to poor, with quality directly related to the age of the source footage. Some of the early black and white footage is particularly bad, with all sorts of artefacts present, including an annoying wavy motion during one bit of televised footage. As I stated in my previous Michael Jordan His Airness review, "colours sometimes appear rather muted and unnatural, while at other times colours are over-saturated with some cross colouration and colour bleed definitely present. Aliasing does in fact appear intermittently throughout, but is of no real annoyance. Edge enhancement is noticeable too in some cases, and can be distracting." The same applies here.
Also as before, the on-court footage and interviews from recent years is much better, with some vibrant colours and increased sharpness. So in short, the quality is adequate in presenting all the well known highlights, and it is nice to know that the quality will not decrease with multiple viewings.
The fatal flaw that I mentioned in the synopsis above refers to the background music that is supposed to be present throughout the feature. Alas, in the English soundtrack, all that you hear is the voiceover. There is no music backing to the footage at all. I can strongly say that the lack of appropriate backing music takes a lot away from the viewing experience. There is total silence when the voiceover has nothing to say, which occurs a number of times throughout the documentary. This is particularly evident in the closing credits, and in the bonus music video clip after the credits, which has no music at all.
The only way in which you can hear the background music, and the music in the bonus clip, is to select one of the foreign language soundtracks. The backing music adds appropriate atmosphere to the onscreen footage, and its absence from the default English track is unforgivable.
To add salt to the wound, the voiceover and dialogue during interviews is distorted and muffled, much like it is on the Michael Jordan His Airness DVD release. I am not sure why the Region 4 releases suffer from this crackling effect, but again this is really unforgivable.
There is no sub-woofer action or surround activity, which did not surprise me.
|Surround Channel Use|
Continuing the Top Ten theme of this release, the special features include the Top Ten Dunks, Assists, and Plays from the 1998/99 NBA season. Nothing all that spectacular.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
This DVD release is a great showcase for the talent in the NBA, both in the past and present. It's a great collection of what really are The NBA's 100 Greatest Plays, and every NBA fan would love to sit down and watch this. You'll smile at the familiar footage and be surprised by some of the rarely seen footage. If not for the audio issue, I would definitely recommend this for fans.
The video quality is adequate considering the age of some of the footage.
The audio is exceedingly disappointing, missing the music backing completely in the English track. With dialogue distortion to boot, this terrible audio track is unforgivable.
The extras are not all that interesting.
|DVD||Onkyo DV-SP500, using Component output|
|Display||RK-32HDP81 HDTV. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD/DD-EX/DTS/DTS-ES matrix and discrete. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Kef KHT 2005 5.1 Home Theatre System|