Basketball is a fun and competitive sport to play in real life, but what about on the screen? As might be expected, basketball video games are highly lucrative and are among the most popular video games in the world. So, which basketball video games offer the best experience? Which has the best graphics, gameplay, and features? Read on to find out, as we examine the top 10 basketball video games.
What Are the Most Popular Basketball Video Games?
- NBA 2K21
- NBA Jam
- NBA 2K9
- NBA Live 2003
- NBA Street Volume 2
- NBA Inside Drive 2002
- NBA 2K1
- NBA Live ‘95
- Lakers Vs. Celtics and The NBA Playoffs
- NBA Tournament Edition
1. NBA 2K21
NBA 2K21 is the 22nd basketball video game of the famous 2K series to hit the market. The NBA 2K series is arguably the most popular video game today. Embark on your path to becoming a professional NBA basketball player. You can shop for basketball gear, play online with friends, and grow your NBA team. The graphics are arguably the best for any basketball video game to date.
2. NBA Jam
NBA Jam was released by Midway in April of 1993. This basketball video game was available on many platforms including Arcade, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and GameBoy. Famous quotes from Tim Kitzrow filled the game which is one of the reasons why it is a fan favorite. Fans of the game love how the backboard would shatter on every dunk and the amazing graphics and colors integrated into a game that was created in the 90s. The competitive edge this game provided players also made it stand out against its competitors and also made it a game that has stayed popular for over two decades as well.
3. NBA 2K9
NBA 2K9 was released in October of 2008 and was available on Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Playstation 2, and PC. Fans love how real this game feels compared to others because of how well the simulation is while playing it. The graphics are incredible, the sounds are realistic and motivating, and the game does a great job of distinguishing the real differences between various basketball players. The team you choose will play the same as they would during a real-life professional basketball game. The defensive and offensive plays are extremely interactive and flexible for gamers, overall this game provides a great foundation for basketball games to come.
4. NBA Live 2003
NBA Live 2003 is a basketball video game released in October of 2002 on PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, Playstation, and PC. This game laid the foundation for freestyle basketball control within the basketball video game world. Although this game only offered simple basic plays and moves for the players, video gamers found this game to be enticing and entertaining. Analog sticks became fully used with this game due to the freestyle basketball controls offered within the game. The various moves such as the crossover and spin moves. that were offered in this game make it a fan favorite.
5. NBA Street Volume 2
NBA Street Volume 2 was released in April of 2003 on PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube. Fans were excited about the release of this game because the first NBA Street game was a massive success amongst gamers. 25 more players were added into the game along with more tricks and shots as well. There was also a Trick Point Challenge added into the game with the ability to work against three of the best basketball players in National Basketball League history. Fans love the simplicity of the pick-up-and-play game which goes by quickly and leaves a motivating and exciting feeling within players. NBA Street Volume 2 is a cult classic game and still a favorite amongst basketball fans today.
6. NBA Inside Drive 2002
NBA Inside Drive was released in January of 2002 and it was only available on Xbox’s platform. Being one of the first games in basketball video game history to utilize only one platform, the game was a success. Fans of the game love the play-by-play features within it because of the realistic feel it provides players. Fans also loved the option to play against their friends virtually because it created a much more competitive yet comfortable atmosphere for players. The main feature of basketball video games is to create an amazing competitive atmosphere and NBA Inside Drive does a great job of doing so.
7. NBA 2K1
NBA 2K1 was released in October of 2000 on the platform Sega Dreamcast. The most amazing and important feature to mention about this game is the incredible graphics and how they make the basketball games look on the screen while playing. This game also offered the first online basketball game on the SegaNet platform as well. Although this game featured mainly base features, there were quite a large number of street courts added to the game which was a nice touch to it. Historical players from decades past were added into the game which was a great addition for fans of the earlier years of basketball.
8. NBA Live ‘95
NBA Live ‘95 was released in April of 1994 on the platforms Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. This game was a replacement for the game Lakers vs. Celtic and the NBA Playoffs. This game is recognized for its very unique background music as well as its ability for gamers to trade their players and being able to create their players. The abilities of players were very strong which allowed fans of the game to feel much more in control of what they were doing during the game. NBA Live ‘95 also got rid of a lot of kinks that appeared from previous games such as jumping issues and faster break time for players as well.
9. Lakers vs. Celtics and The NBA Playoffs
Lakers versus Celtic and The NBA Playoffs was released on two platforms MS-DOS in 1989 and Sega Genesis in 1990. Both versions of the game on both platforms offered ten NBA teams including East and West All-Stars. The teams that were included in this game ranked top in each of their conferences and featured the best players such as Michael Jordan. There were also player portraits that were included in the game for the starting five players. Fans love the portraits, voiceovers, and referee for counting the personal fouls as well which was a nice addition to the game as well. This game is known for creating the starting path for many NBA games to follow.
10. NBA Tournament Edition
NBA Jam Tournament Edition was released in February of 1995 on the platforms Arcade, Sega Genesis, Sega 32X, Playstation, Sega Saturn, and Jaguar. Fans love this game for how challenging and exciting it is to finally successfully win it. A player must get through a full 27-team list which included the rookies and other players would be held back. Tournament Mode in this game also proved to be very popular because it made the game more competitive and challenging for participants. Fans of this game found it to be quite interesting and always return to this game because of the variability it offers players within choosing your team and the rookies as well.
Kobe Bryant in NBA Courtside
Kobe Bryant NBA Courtside was released in April of 1998 on the Nintendo 64. Bryant had just started his career as a basketball player so at the time this cover was a huge deal to him and fans of the up-and-coming star. Fans loved this game because of the movement the Nintendo 64 controls offered players which allowed them to move their characters with ease. Since this game was introduced so early compared to other basketball video games, it had its kinks but fans loved it nonetheless. The actual gameplay of this video game felt fun and more like you were playing a pickup game with your friend rather than competing at the NBA Finals.
NBA 2K22 is the 23rd installment of the NBA 2K series and was released for all major gaming consoles in September 2021. It was also released as a mobile app a month later, called NBA 2K22 Arcade Edition. NBA 2K22 was the first edition of the franchise that featured different cover athletes for the different editions. Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks is featured on the Standard Edition Cover, while Dirk Nowitzki, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, and Kevin Durant were featured on the NBA 75th Anniversary edition. Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky was also featured on the WNBA 25th Edition cover, making her the first woman to be featured on the cover of a 2K game.
A notable feature of NBA 2K22 is the real-time player ratings, which adjusts the rating of individual players based on their in-game performance. This is a considerable improvement to the game, as players reflect the actual on-court performance in real life.
NBA 2K23 is the 24th installment of the NBA 2K series and was released in September 2022. The cover features Devin Booker, star guard for the Phoenix Suns. The most notable addition to NBA 2K23 is the revamped “Jordan Challenge.” The Jordan Challenge allows you to play as Michael Jordan throughout some of the most notable moments in his career. This mode allows you to unlock additional MyTeam and MyCareer rewards to use outside of the Jordan Challenge, including jerseys and cards.