The age-old question: Why was Brad Lohaus a player in the original NBA Jam?

Apologies for the hyperbolic title, but I like to convince myself that at least one other person cares about the same minutia I do. When the subject of NBA Jam comes up, most people want to talk about the catch phrases (He's heating up!) or the fact that you couldn't play as Michael Jordan but could play as Bill (or George) Clinton. With the newest version of the classic arcade game coming out a few weeks ago, I think it's as good a time as any to share my fixation with Brad Lohaus.

The fact is that the 1992-93 Milwaukee Bucks weren't the most memorable NBA team. Outside of the greater Sheboygan area, you didn't find too many people at the arcade dying to take the controls of Blue Edwards. But the question remains....Brad Lohaus? Of the "Original 54" players included in NBA Jam, his lifetime PPG (5.9) was the lowest. The next lowest was Stacey Augmon at 8.0, though the Plastic Man was in the prime of his career in 92-93, averaging 14 PPG. A quick look at the 92-93 Bucks roster also shows that there were several players more worthy of NBA Jam status than Lohaus.

One late night during an extended stretch of joblessness, I decided to do some investigative research and e-mail Mr. Lohaus himself to see if he had any insight. After all, this is a guy who owned a bar with an NBA Jam arcade machine wherein he would play the game as himself and refuse to take on any challengers. He was also once arrested for failing to deliver $2000 worth of fishing rods sold on ebay, but that's neither here nor there.

I found his contact info from some Aerospace company in Iowa he was currently employed at as a Sales Associate and sent the following tactful note:


Hello, I happened to stumble upon your contact information and had a question for you regarding your inclusion in NBA Jam. As a big fan of the game, I've always wondered why they selected you to represent the Bucks. No offense meant, as you were a very solid player, but there were a few Bucks such as Eric Murdock, Frank Brickowski, and Todd Day who had better statistics, and NBA Jam usually included the top 2 players on each team. Do you have any insight into this? Also, did you play the game a lot as yourself? Did you ever break the backboard? Haha.

Thanks, and good luck with your new career.

Much to my surprise, I never got a response. You would think he would at least appreciate that someone remembers his place in video game history, but apparently not. All I'm left with is more questions. Did he pay someone off? Was this his prize for winning a Mortal Kombat tournament? Was there a racial quota to fill? Since I have nothing else to add to this subject other than more baseless speculation, I'll instead give a shout out to probably the most obscure member of "The Original 54", Mike Iuzzolino: a 5'10" Italian-American who played 2 years in the NBA, on one of the worst teams in history, the 1992-93 Dallas Mavericks. He was quickly substituted for Jimmy Jackson once NBA Jam hit the home consoles, and was never heard from again.

But in case Mike is reading this, why were you a player in the original NBA Jam?


kelly said...

this makes me wonder if somebody's done a census of ex-nba players in order to figure out what jobs they wind up in if they don't end up doing nba-related things like spouting platitudes on espn or destroying once great franchises like the knicks and pistons

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

yea, especially guys who didn't make enough money to be financially secure after pro sports, which is probably a lot more than we realize.

i read a story a while back about a former redskins player who worked for the AOL sales division in the 90s. he forgot to get a signature for some deal he made and got yelled at so harshly by his boss that he quit the next day.

Dennis G. Schmuck said...

oh, i also used to work for a digital media company owned by charles smith (he of the 5 missed layups vs the bulls). there was a decent stretch of time where he couldn't pay any of us so some of my co-workers threatened to strike.

kelly said...

now i will spend my afternoon in part imagining how charles smith would go about breaking a strike!

SYL said...

I smiled when I saw this. The funny thing is that I loved playing NBA Jam with the Lohaus/Blue Edwards combo. I'm probably the only one, outside of Lohaus himself!

Edwards was the speedy slasher/dunker, and Lohaus was great for dropping kickout 3's (as well as being the big man on the team.) I think that's why they went with Lohaus instead of Frank Brickowski. They couldn't use Murdock or Day because they are the same type of player as Edwards, and NBA Jam usually went with small/big combo for each team.

Does that sorta answer the question?

Unknown said...

I Googled this wondering the same thing, 23 years after the fact. My best buddy and I used to laugh in puzzled amusement when his face and name came up on the selection screen, and dare each other to play him.

Maca said...

I had a 96 game win streak in college with this Bucks team, and I refuse to play as anyone else on the game. It is, of course, hilarious to me to play the game as the Milwaukee Bucks. I am from Ohio, and I went to college in Indiana. I am a lifelong Indiana Pacers fan in real life, but the prospect of mastering the game with Brad Lohaus-led Milwaukee Bucks is something any rational man can simply not turn down.

Lohaus' 3 point game, particularly from the corners, is vastly underrated, and his ability to rebound and tip-back pairs well with Edwards' abilities to do the same.

With these 2, you have 2 rim protectors. Edwards plays great complimentary defense, showcasing his athleticism. Edwards can hit the open 3, and he can hold his own with dunking.

Essentially, you have two "3 and D" guys, which are essential in today's NBA. The key to being an excellent NBA Jam player is to have a stifling defense - there are other duos in the game who are clearly more predisposed to stifling defense, but Lohaus/Edwards aren't too bad!

What a fabulous duo!

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