NBA 2K7 Launch Party
Watch it!
Cover athlete Shaquille O'Neal and other NBA stars worked the red carpet Thursday night for the launch party of NBA 2K7 from 2K Sports.

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2006 -- The scene was like a movie premiere. Shaq and his fellow NBA stars as well as some of hip-hop's hottest acts graced the red carpet outside Thursday night at a New York City nightclub for the launch event of NBA 2K7, which ships to stores Monday.

And, although Shaq was the star of the show, posing with club patrons for photos and partaking in interviews for television, print, radio and online media, the night ultimately belonged to Quentin Richardson.

The 26-year-old plowed through the competition in the 2K7 Videogame Challenge that was the center of the event, including two Knicks teammates, to walk away that evening with a big smile and bragging rights.

Richardson's spirited match-up with Robinson was like a classic M.C. battle. Rucker Park's Boobie Smooth, a.k.a. "The Politician" provided the running commentary while a DJ from New York City's Hot 97 manned the turntables and got the crowd into it.

Robinson would throw down a dunk and break into dance, singing along with the music. Richardson would counter with a move of his own and celebrate just as enthusiastically. The pair of obviously good friends went "blow for blow" before Richardson broke the game open. It was the only time in the night the expressive Robinson seemed at a loss for words.

"That's how it happens," Richardson said of the win. "I just do what I do."

NBA 2K7 Product Page

Media outlets ranging from VH1 and BET to TIME Magazine and Teen People had representatives at the event. Actor Nick Cannon, two-time Emmy Award winning actress Heather Tom and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith made appearances. NBA 2K7 Soundtrack producer Dan the Automator and performers Phife from Tribe Called Quest and Choir Boy competed in the Video Game Challenge -- staged in the club's center VIP area with three HDTVs and Xbox 360s to accommodate the action.

O'Neal bowed out in the first round to Robinson but saved himself from an embarrassing loss with a fourth quarter comeback that gave his Pistons a chance to tie the game in the waning seconds on a pair of three-point opportunities. The 5-9 Robinson showed no fear in taunting O'Neal, on several occasions even performing Shaq's patented All-Star heartbeat dance move after made baskets.

NBA Live 07 Rookie Tournament Champion Quincy Douby fell in his opening contest to Marcus Williams. If you recall, Douby rode the efforts of Kobe Bryant in August's NBA Live Tournament. Richardson won all three of his games Thursday night by doing much of the same.

"I did a lot of things with Kobe, won a championship with Kobe, so shout out to No. 24," Richardson said of the Lakers star who scored 45 of his team's 49 points in the championship game. "Nate tried to pull a trick out of his hat and go with Brandon Roy (and the Blazers). Roy's from Seattle where he's from. I knew he was going to make it a one-on-one battle and I know nobody can really go up against Kobe."

After celebrating his win, Richardson presented a check for $5,000 to KaBoom! that will be used to help build parks in New York City.

NBA 2K7 Launch Party Gallery
"I'm a huge gamer. I'm always beating up on Nate Rob," Richardson said. "I kicked his butt earlier, about four hours ago at my house on Xbox 360. That's why I really want the check, so I can just rub it in his face. I'm the best on the New York Knicks (at gaming), and I prove it time and time again, just like I did tonight."

Both Robinson and Richardson had praise for the latest iteration of the NBA 2K series.

"We got people coming down in the stands," Robinson said of NBA 2K7's animations. "The referees hand you the ball. The player movement feels good."

Added Richardson: "It's definitely a step up (from last year's game). Today was my first time playing it and I liked. It looked great and it played great."

Earlier that night, O'Neal spoke with about the most unique feature of NBA 2K7, which truly takes the idea of "simulation basketball" to the next level.

"We have something in this game called 'Signature Styles,'" the Heat All-Star said. "What they did was took everyone's moves and put them in the game. If somebody dances, we have it. LeBron bites his nails. AI, the crossover. Gilbert acting crazy. So we have everything."

Since flying all 400-plus NBA players to Los Angeles, where the game's motion capture studio is located, was impractical, 2K Sports had actors mimic the moves of each athlete's style of play, and then motion capture them, according to O'Neal.

"They wanted my input," he said. "I actually told them what I'd like to see. I wanted to help them come up with Signature Style. We're the only game that's doing it."

O'Neal said all of his moves, even "the silly stuff that I do -- the dancing, the acting crazy," can be found in the game, in addition to his signature moves.

If 2K Sports brings back Signature Style for NBA 2K8, then maybe we'll all be lucky enough to catch the signature moves Richardson and Robinson performed for the crowd Thursday night.