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Nicolas Batum Responds to NBA 2K18 Controversy, All-Time Trail Blazers Team

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The French forward and former Trail Blazer says he isn’t an All-Timer.

Portland Trail Blazers v San Antonio Spurs - Game One Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

As we chronicled yesterday, the makers of popular NBA2K video game series are receiving tons of flak for the new “All-Time Teams” feature in NBA2K18. The designers have selected 15 greats to represent each NBA franchise, but their choices leave much to be desired. The Trail Blazers squad omitted players like Brandon Roy, Rasheed Wallace, Maurice Lucas, and Cliff Robinson in favor of Wesley Matthews, J.R. Rider, and Nicolas Batum.

Today Batum himself weighed in on Twitter, saying, “Thanks but no thanks” to the NBA2K honor:

As Batum offered his rejection, the For The Win page of USA Today Sports offers direct explanation from game-makers about the omissions across the league:

“Some players don’t want to do it because they have no interest in the gaming space for variety of philosophical reasons,” added Ronnie Singh, the digital marketing director for 2K Sports also known as @Ronnie2K. “We would honestly want everybody that we could have in the game to the best of our abilities.”

But the article also quotes Charles Barkley in a 2016 SI.com article saying it’s a matter of dollars and cents, and not just his own:

“The reason I am not on 2K is because they would not give me money. They make a lot of money on that game. What I said to them was we as players have not done enough for the retired players association. We told the 2K people that our job is to take care of the older players. I don’t even want any money. I said, “Let’s come up with an amount of money for you to give to the retired players union.” They said, “Well we get all the guys the same.” And I said, “Well, we ain’t all the same.” I told them they make a gazillon dollars on that game. They said, ‘Well we are not going to do that [give money].’ So I’m not giving them the right to use my license until they come up with a fair number. I’m not trying to be a pig or greedy. They should donate the money to the retired players. If they would give a million dollars a year to retired players union, they can use my likeness.”

None of this eases the pain of Trail Blazers fans who will field an All-Time team without two of its greatest players—with a franchise pariah in place of one, no less—or of Seattle Supersonics fans who will watch Gary Payton and their superstars suit up in Oklahoma City Thunder uniforms.