Most video game developers use their massive platform at E3 to make announcements about future releases, but one brave company at the expo decided to take some time to atone for its past: EA Sports just spent the entirety of its E3 presentation apologizing for putting Antoine Walker on the cover of NBA Live 99.
Speaking before a packed house of fans, media, and industry heavyweights, EA CEO Andrew Wilson spent over half an hour this morning expressing his “deep and profound” regret over his company’s decision to choose an unproven, generally unliked third-year player on a last-place team as the cover athlete for the 1999 installment of its NBA Live series. He claimed that the company had grossly overestimated the Boston Celtic forward’s star power and marketability at the time, not realizing that his legacy would eventually be defined by abysmal shot selection, terrible financial decisions, and poor fitness.
“Twenty years later, it is clear to us that Antoine Walker is not the once-in-a-generation talent we perceived him to be, and we understand now that he had no business being on the cover of a popular video game,” said Wilson in an address he delivered to a massive crowd of gaming fans. “In retrospect, we should’ve gone with one of the many Hall of Fame–caliber players who were active in the league at the time, such as Kobe Bryant, Shaq, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Dikembe Mutombo, Karl Malone, or Grant Hill. They were all way better choices for the cover than Antoine fucking Walker, and it’s weird we didn’t pick one of them.”
“Honestly, Antoine Walker wasn’t even the best option on the Celtics,” he continued. “Paul Pierce would’ve made much more sense for NBA Live 99. We at EA really screwed the pooch on that one.”
Absolutely beautiful. It’s incredibly encouraging to see a company owning up to its missteps, and here’s hoping it will encourage other game developers to take accountability for their actions in the future.