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Sports video games have been around since the medium was invented. Atari's "Pong," a take on table tennis, is the granddaddy of them all. Released in 1972 the game was met with great success and from that point on, sports and video games have been intertwined. 

There have literally been hundreds of sports video games, but which ones are the best?

To celebrate National Video Game Day, three Gazette staffers make their picks for the best sports video games ever. 

Matt Wiley

5. "Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs" (1989) - It was the first game to have NBA players. Sure, Tom Chambers could basically dunk from the 3-point line but players even had special moves. It was the precursor to "Jordan vs. Bird" and then the "NBA Live" and "NBA 2K" series and it expanded on "Double Dribble."

4. "NBA 2K17" (2016) - You could play the original Dream Team against the 2016 USA men’s basketball team.

3. "NBA Live 98" (1997) - GM mode let players conduct a draft and play multiple seasons. It's a staple in sports games now. 

2. "NBA 2K11" (2010) - IGN.com called 2K11 the best sports game of the generation. The ability to relive 10 Michael Jordan moments separated this version of 2K from the others.

1. "NBA Jam" (1993) - Wasn’t traditional in its presentation and 2-on-2 game play but it was the most fun. The over-the-top ridiculousness of the ball catching fire and the announcers makes it the top game.

Novices and gamers alike can still enjoy this game.

Terry Terrones 

5. "World Series Baseball" (1994) - I had a Sega Game Gear back in college and the only game I played on it was this title. It was the first baseball game to feature MLB players and teams. Loved it!

4. "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!" (1987) - Guiding Little Mac through the likes of King Hippo and Bald Bull to get to Mike Tyson, who could knock you out with one punch, never gets old. 

3. "Madden NFL 2001" (2000) - There have been many great "Madden" games but this is the one that brought the franchise into the modern age. This title was jaw dropping as players evolved from pixelated blocks in previous "Madden" games to more realistic figures. 

2. "NBA Jam" (1993) - Fun and ridiculous hoops action was highlighted by some of the best sports commentary in a video game ever. Boomshakalaka!

1. "NHL '94" (1993) - This is not only my favorite sports video game, it's my favorite game of all time. It's got great gameplay, fantastic sound effects and is an excellent title to play with friends. I still own a copy of it.

Hugh Johnson

5. "NFL Blitz" (1997) - Over-the-top football insanity. 

4. "Madden NFL (1988-Present) - This long running series just keeps getting better. 

3. "Mario Tennis" (2000) - This fun tennis title had great controls and a cool cast of characters.

2. "Mario Strikers Chargers" (2007) - In this slightly obscure but fantastic game, players hit the soccer pitch fighting for control of a metallic ball. 

1. "NBA Hangtime" (1996) - This Midway title, similar to "NBA Jam," is my all-time favorite. 

Terry is a journalist and social media manager for The Gazette. He's a graduate of the University of Denver, loves the Denver Broncos, and is a member of the Television Critics Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

Sports Editor

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