When it comes to basketball video games, the choice is rather slim, especially since EA freeze their Live franchise which left an open market for the 2K games. However, a true NBA fan will remember some of the great games from the past that made a huge leap forward bringing us advanced life-like gaming ahead of time.

When it comes to basketball games there are many things to consider, such as graphics, mechanics, features, and other options. We cannot compare the graphics from the 2000s NBA games to 2K22, but we can compare how the game feels.

So, we are wondering what is the best basketball video game of all time?

Well, it is hard to point out one game as the greatest basketball game of all time, but we can definitely review some of the contenders.


Only the true NBA fans will remember the all-time great NBA 2K2 and its impact on the sports gaming industry. This game came out with many impressive features for that time, for example including NBA legends like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Julius Erving, Larry Bird, and more.

This game is one of the all-time favorites due to various models like Exhibition, Practice, Fantasy, Franchise, and Adjustable season (14-82). Additionally, there was a lot more focus on creating a defensive strategy, as well as including severe pre-set play calls, ability to double team, combo block, and steal.  All of these mods were so fun that fans are still begging for developers to restore some back.

NBA 2K12

A decade later and we have another masterpiece by 2K gaming. One of the best parts of the game was the new “NBA’s Greatest” which was a mode of play focusing on past legends like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Larry Bird.

Other modes like Association Mode and MyPlayer mode are also available in the 2K12 version, as well as latter enabling players to run a whole franchise from top to bottom with 82 games.

The game is also praised for its realistic vocal commentary from TV media personalities such as Doris Burke and Steve Kerr.

NBA 2K13

2K were on a role getting another great game that every basketball fan must play. The 2K13 version caught the attention of the public due to many celebrities, including executive producer Jay-Z adding clout to the franchise.

The game became instant fan-favorite thanks to specialized All-Star Game events such as the Three-point shootout, raising stars challenge, and the favorite Slam Dunk Contest.

The 2K13 version was the first game that allow players to play around with the cosmetics by designing their own customized sneakers.

With Jay-Z as an executive producer, you can expect the soundtrack to be fire. The game features many popular songs from Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mobb Deep, Nas, and more.

The game is also praised for its realism, positioned-based reward badges, and impressive online gameplay. It is a truly iconic game in this franchise.

NBA Street

We cannot make a list of the best NBA games of all time and not incorporate a fan’s favorite – NBA Street. Released back in 2001 from EA Sports it was an instant hit for the players.

This was one of the first games that focused more on the skills and dunking rather than getting that realistic feel for basketball. NBA Street included new mechanics where players can increase their scores by perfecting basketball skills from pump-faking, to dribbling and slam dunking.

Since we talk about street basketball, the game has no official rules, and it is a free-for-fall arcade-style experience that is really fun to play.

Final Words

These are some of the best games in the basketball era that are still fun to play. Something about these games feels special, and you won’t be bothered by the pixelated graphics that are far from what we are used to today.

It seems like older days were more stable than the new ones that came out with a lot of bugs, which improves the overall gaming experience.

So, if you still haven’t tried some of the games we mentioned today, make sure to get behind the controller and experience some basketball history. And if you like basketball, check out the latest NBA Trade Rumors at The TwinSpires Edge here

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