When 2K Sports told me they finally landed Charles Barkley for NBA 2K13 with the help of Jay-Z, the fantasy of pitting the Dream Team against the current iteration of Team USA to see which team would emerge victorious was inescapable. But when I first looked the screenshot of the Dream Team, something seemed off. Scanning from right to left, I noticed #8 was missing. Where was Bulls legend and Michael Jordan counterpart Scottie Pippen, who had appeared in the last two NBA 2K games?

I asked 2K Sports about his absence, and they confirmed that he wasn't appearing in the game for "a variety of reasons."

Without Pippen, the prospects of the Dream Team defeating Team USA changes drastically. No one could realistically expect a worn down Larry Bird or Chris Mullen to man up against the likes of LeBron James or Kevin Durant at the small forward position. This huge defensive gap would completely negate the sizable advantage the Dream Team have in the middle of the court with David Robinson and Patrick Ewing. With Pippen in the picture, widely considered one of the best defenders at the small forward position in league history, everything changes.

Thanks to public outcry over his absence, Pippen reconsidered and is taking his rightful place on the Dream Team in NBA 2K13. Now we can settle the debate on the virtual hardwood when the game ships for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 2.