Features

The Friday Five: 5 Players You Find in 2K Pro-Am

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

It took a while for the NLSC 2K Pro-Am squad to click last year, but we had so much fun playing the mode that we definitely wanted to create a squad again this year. As we’ve mentioned on the Podcast, the NLSC THRILLHO – that’s an old Simpsons reference, for those of you who are unaware – hasn’t been winning quite as many games as we’d like. We’re still doing better than last year though, and despite occasionally grumbling about this and that in NBA 2K17 (such as the lack of logo importing before reaching Elite level), we keep jumping on every week to get a few games in. I think it’s safe to say that we’re still enjoying ourselves.

If you play 2K Pro-Am regularly, chances are you’ll encounter the same team more than once. Playing at the times we do, and especially given our location, there are times when we’ll face the same squad two or three times in a single session. This leads to some fun rivalries, not to mention becoming very familiar with certain players. Of course, even if you’re facing a host of different opponents, you’ll certainly run into the same types of players quite often. For your consideration, here is a breakdown of five of the players you’re likely to encounter in 2K Pro-Am.

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Wayback Wednesday: My Player in NBA 2K10

Summer Circuit Game in NBA 2K10's My Player

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

On this day in 2001, the NBA D-League (then known as the NBDL) tipped off its inaugural season with the Greenville Groove hosting the North Charleston Lowgators. The league may have changed its name, and neither of those teams is still active, but over the past fifteen years the D-League has become a stable farm league for the NBA, with several noteworthy alumni. Despite its growth and increasing importance to the NBA, to date the D-League hasn’t had much of a presence in basketball video games. However, it played a significant role in NBA 2K10’s My Player mode, the first incarnation of what is now known as MyCAREER.

Since it’s the fifteenth anniversary of the inaugural D-League season, and I’ve been playing quite a bit of MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, I thought I’d look back at My Player in NBA 2K10, while also touching on the D-League’s role in the mode. The possibility of starting out in the D-League is something that quite a few gamers have expressed an interest in seeing return, and the prospect of multiple career paths is something that I find intriguing as well. My Player itself has undergone a lot of improvements on top of being rebranded into MyCAREER, but what was that first version of the mode like?

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: Fixing NBA 2K’s Grading Logic

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Something that I’ve complained about on the Podcast, as well as in previous columns and most recently in this Forum thread, is the problematic nature of the grading logic in NBA 2K. Although there have been some subtle improvements in recent years, it’s extremely rare that I play a game of MyCAREER or 2K Pro-Am where I’m not hit with a deduction that leaves me grumbling, and wondering how the grading logic figures that I should be penalised. Even in situations where my grade should take a hit, there are deductions that seem needlessly harsh.

Of course, at a certain point you need to channel those complaints into something more constructive, namely suggestions and solutions. Since we’ve tipped off the NBA 2K18 Wishlist, it’s come time to start talking about some of the improvements and additions we want to see, and how we believe certain problems should be addressed. Since I’ve been playing a lot of 2K Pro-Am and MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, my issues with the grading logic sprang immediately when I was considering what I wanted to talk about this week. Without any further ado, here is an outline of how I feel the grading logic can be fixed in future NBA 2K releases.

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The Friday Five: 5 MyCAREER Story Theories

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

One of the most common complaints about the current approach to MyCAREER mode is that the story is basically on rails, and the player character’s back story is predetermined and not always “one size fits all”. Although we can customise our MyPLAYER’s appearance and make a few decisions along the way, the impact those choices have on the plot is minimal at best. When it comes down to it, taglines like NBA 2K16’s “Be the Story” ring a little hollow, since they suggest a deeper connection to the character than we might have, and more influence over our destiny than the games actually allow.

Of course, while we may not be able to change a lot of what we see in the cutscenes, there’s still room for some imagination as we play the games. If fan fiction and ambiguous endings have taught us anything, it’s that we can interpret stories in differing and creative ways, and make up our own minds about certain plot points. To that end, I thought I’d have a little fun and throw out five theories – or if you prefer, five alternate interpretations – for the MyCAREER stories we’ve seen so far. Needless to say, there are some spoilers here (both for the games and other media), so proceed at your own risk.

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Wayback Wednesday: Remembering Roster Players

Roster Player dunks the basketball in NBA Live 98

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

The issue of missing players isn’t as prominent as it was in the early days of basketball gaming. Video games have become a huge industry, authenticity is the name of the game, and the licensing agreement with the NBA Players Association ensures that all active players are represented in NBA Live and NBA 2K. These days, active players who aren’t included at launch are added via official roster updates, so most of the issues with missing players involve historical players that couldn’t be licensed. Fortunately, as the addition of Steve Nash in the latest NBA 2K17 roster update demonstrates, that doesn’t have to be a permanent problem either.

As I’ve discussed in previous articles, this wasn’t always the case. Due to certain players retaining full control over their likeness rights, and sometimes signing exclusive deals with specific developers, some of the biggest names in basketball have been missing from classic hoops games. In some cases, however, they didn’t leave a vacant spot on their team’s roster. Some games elected to include placeholder players, which many old school basketball gamers came to call Roster Players, after the name they were given in various editions of NBA Live.

Roster Players have an interesting legacy in basketball gaming, so let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: How Danilo Gallinari Became My Least Favourite Teammate

Danilo Gallinari in a MyCAREER game in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Playing through MyCAREER in NBA 2K17, I’ve learned a few things. One, never underestimate the importance of Badges; they really help give your player an extra boost. Two, when you’re a point guard playing for the Denver Nuggets and you’re looking to rack up a lot of assists, Justice Young and Kenneth Faried will happily oblige with baskets on catch-and-shoot and pick-and-roll opportunities respectively. And three, getting on the Italian cover of NBA 2K17 has clearly gone to Danilo Gallinari’s head…well, his virtual counterpart’s head, at any rate.

Halfway through my rookie season, the Nuggets are clearly the Orange Juice show. Yes, that still sounds a bit silly to say, but the point is, Justice and I have clearly taken over, and the team is thriving as a result. It seems that Danilo Gallinari didn’t get the memo though, because his play and attitude in practice and in games seems to suggest that he believes himself to be the star of the team. He still plays his role and he hasn’t cost us any games – yet, anyway – but there are times when it feels like he’s keen to impeach The President of Basketball. I have nothing against the real Gallo, but in MyCAREER, he’s become my least favourite teammate.

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The Friday Five: 5 Things You Learn Making Roster Updates

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

It’s been a few years since I released my last roster update for NBA Live, and although I’ve tinkered a bit here and there, I’ve never really gotten into roster editing for NBA 2K. That being said, I’m certainly no stranger to making roster updates, having gotten into the hobby when I discovered the NLSC back in 1997, eventually taking over the NLSC rosters when I became webmaster and Lutz passed them over to me. Make no mistake: over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time creating players, moving players around, editing ratings, and updating games for a brand new season.

There are times when I miss making rosters, though remembering the more tedious and time-consuming aspects of their creation makes me realise that I probably made the right decision in moving on. Of course, I’ve also found that making roster updates can be an interesting and rewarding exercise. There are a few things that you learn when you’re making those updates, so I thought that I’d talk a little bit about that in this week’s Five. Whether you’re looking to make your own roster updates for NBA Live or NBA 2K, or you’d just like a little more insight into their creation, I hope you’ll find it informative.

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Wayback Wednesday: Jordan Challenge Highlight Reel

Michael Jordan vs. Shawn Kemp in NBA 2K11's Jordan Challenge

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

A few weeks ago, I ran a series of Wayback Wednesday articles documenting my attempt to complete the Jordan Challenge in NBA 2K11. I was ultimately successful, taking care of my unfinished business and unlocking MJ: Creating a Legend without resorting to the cheat code. Despite some frustrating moments, I ultimately enjoyed the experience, and felt a sense of accomplishment when I finally completed all ten challenges.

While playing through the Jordan Challenge, I captured several videos of moments that I really enjoyed. I didn’t want those clips to go to waste, so I’ve put together a highlight reel from the seven challenges I went back and completed for the feature. Check it out below, or catch it here on our YouTube channel if you can’t see the embedded video.

In case you’re wondering, the music is from NBA Live 99, which seemed appropriate given that the game came out the year of Michael Jordan’s second retirement. I hope that you enjoyed the reel; stay tuned for more throwback content, each and every Wednesday here at the NLSC!

Monday Tip-Off: You’ve Said That Already, We Get It

Kyrie Irving dribbles the basketball in NBA 2K17

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

I have a revelation that’ll probably make a lot of music fans in our community chuckle. My favourite band is the Barenaked Ladies. What can I say? I was a teenager in the late 90s, “One Week” was a hit, and to this day, I like the stuff they’re putting out. Anyway, on the same album as “One Week” was another song that charted: “It’s All Been Done“. The lyrics deconstruct and critique clichéd romantic gestures, framed in the context of a relationship that spans across reincarnation (or possibly immortality), literally or metaphorically depending on your interpretation. Its conclusion is right there in the title: it’s all been done.

What’s the point I’m ham-fistedly trying to get at here? Well, when a community or fandom has been around for a while, long-time members are bound to suffer a touch of déjà vu when certain topics arise. The current NLSC Forum has been open since November 2002, so naturally there are going to be some recurring topics. That’s to be expected, and to be fair, they’re often given a new spin. Unfortunately, some of us do get carried away when it comes to certain subjects, and if we’ve been around for a while, chances are other people have grown weary of our beating the same drum over and over again. To borrow BnL’s lyrics, it’s all been done – or rather, said – before.

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The Friday Five: 5 Tips for Building Your MyPLAYER in NBA 2K17

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

I’ve really been enjoying MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17, as you probably know if you’ve read my last two Friday Five columns, or regularly tune in to the NLSC Podcast. With the less intrusive story and increased amount of gameplay in the first season compared to last year, I’ve been able to steadily build up my MyPLAYER and have some memorable games in my rookie campaign. As such, I thought that I’d share a few tips on how to build your MyPLAYER in NBA 2K17, based on my experiences with the game so far.

Now, I must disclose that I did invest in some Virtual Currency on Day 1 (on top of my pre-order bonus), so I have been able to accelerate the process somewhat. I certainly won’t encourage anyone to engage in microtransactions, though since you will need to keep the VC flowing in, I would recommend getting the MyNBA2K17 app and playing the daily games for extra VC. Aside from that, strong performances and endorsement deals will help build up your VC reserves. With that being said, here are five tips for building your MyPLAYER in NBA 2K17.

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Wayback Wednesday: October 26th NBA Debuts

Michael Jordan palms the basketball in NBA Live 2003

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

The 2017 NBA season has just tipped off, with a couple of big names making their first appearances for new teams, and a few rookies making their league debut. While the start of a new season is a time to look forward to what will hopefully be another great year of basketball, it’s not uncommon to take the opportunity to look back on the debuts of all-time greats. If you look up “On This Date” lists for October and November, you’ll usually see the debuts of some of the biggest names in basketball history among the dates that are noted.

On this particular date – October 26th – Hall of Famers and 1992 Dream Team members Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, John Stockton, and Patrick Ewing all made their NBA debut; Jordan, Barkley, and Stockton in 1984, and Ewing in 1985. For this week’s Wayback Wednesday, I thought I’d share some screenshots of those players’ first appearances in basketball video games, as well as their last appearances as active NBA players. Of course, all four players appear in NBA 2K17, as members of the aforementioned Dream Team.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: MyCAREER (So Far) in Pictures

Orange Juice Billboard in NBA 2K17's MyCAREER

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

As I discussed in a recent Friday Five column, despite my resolution to return to my roots as a franchise gamer in NBA 2K17, I’ve been drawn into MyCAREER once again. I’m definitely enjoying the less intrusive storyline, getting to spend more time on the virtual hardwood instead of in cutscenes, and improving my MyPLAYER for use in 2K Pro-Am. With the 2017 season looming, I am looking forward to starting a MyLEAGUE game soon, but I expect that I’ll also continue to play MyCAREER over the next several months.

On top of the endorsement deals that result in billboards, advertisements, and so forth, MyCAREER includes opportunities to develop connections with NBA players and other personalities. Following the completion of your social and business obligations, photographs of magazine covers, advertisements, and certain events you’ve attended can be accessed through the in-game phone. Some of them are pretty funny, while others are somewhat terrifying. Just for fun, I thought I’d share some of my favourite photos so far, with a disclaimer that what is seen cannot be unseen.

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The Friday Five: Top 5 Features of 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17

The Friday Five

Welcome to this week’s edition of The Friday Five! The Friday Five is a feature that I post every Friday in which I give my thoughts on a topic that’s related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games, as well as the real NBA, and other areas of interest to our community. The feature is presented as either a list of five items, or in the form of a Top 5 countdown.

I’m counting down another Top 5 for NBA 2K17 this week, as I’m taking a look at what I feel are the five best features in 2K Pro-Am in this year’s game. Aside from MyCAREER, 2K Pro-Am has been my mode of choice so far. I’ve enjoyed getting online with the guys to play a few games each week, and although we’ve had some tough sessions, we’ve also enjoyed some very satisfying wins as well. To that end, you can expect us to continue sharing stories of what’s going on with the NLSC squad over the next several months, both in the Forum and on the Podcast.

I will say that I’m not a fan of some of the changes that have been made to 2K Pro-Am this year. In particular, forcing teams to level up before they can make significant branding changes and import custom logos feels like a big mistake. Information on how the different tiers work is also difficult to come by, and 2K themselves have not been particularly forthcoming with those details. All the same, I am enjoying my time with 2K Pro-Am in NBA 2K17 – for the most part – and these five features in particular are going a long way in enhancing the experience.

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Wayback Wednesday: Dynasty Cutscenes in NBA Live 2004

Training Cutscene in NBA Live 2004's Dynasty Mode

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! In this feature, we dig into the archives, look back at the history of basketball gaming, and indulge in some nostalgia. Check in every Wednesday for retrospectives and other features on older versions of NBA Live, NBA 2K, and old school basketball video games in general. You’ll also find old NLSC editorials re-published with added commentary, and other flashback content.

The next game that I’ll be looking back on as part of our ongoing (and belated) 20th Anniversary of NBA Live celebrations is NBA Live 2004. It’s one of my all-time favourite games in the series, and a title that I know a lot of other long-time basketball gamers also remember fondly. As I’ll discuss in my forthcoming retrospective, NBA Live 2004 did a great job in correcting course after NBA Live 2003 was skewed too much towards a casual style, with more realistic gameplay and the inclusion of sliders for the first time in the NBA Live series.

If there’s one thing that most people remember about NBA Live 2004 though, it’s the cutscenes in the newly rebranded Dynasty Mode. Whereas reactions to the “Courtside Comedy” cutscenes in NBA Live 2003 were mixed at best, it seemed like most of us felt that the Dynasty Cutscenes really added to the atmosphere, bringing life to events that were taking place in the menus. Given that it’s such a memorable part of the game, I thought I’d talk a little bit about it, ahead of my full NBA Live 2004 retrospective.

Let’s take a look back…way back…

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K17’s Virtual Currency Problem

MyPLAYER Store in NBA 2K17, with prominent button to purchase Virtual Currency

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Start your week here at the NLSC with a feature that’s dedicated to opinions, commentary, and other fun stuff related to NBA Live, NBA 2K, and other basketball video games.

Since the release of NBA 2K17, an issue that’s come up a couple of times on the NLSC Podcast is the general reduction in the amount of Virtual Currency that can be earned in a single game. Having spent most of my time so far playing MyCAREER and 2K Pro-Am, this is certainly a problem that I’m very familiar with. Although the MyNBA2K17 app offers additional opportunities to earn Virtual Currency, it doesn’t do much to contribute towards the cost of the various in-game items that are purchased with VC.

We’re not the only ones complaining about Virtual Currency in NBA 2K17, either. A petition is currently circulating in an effort to get Visual Concepts to re-work or eliminate the VC system in NBA 2K. It’s highly unlikely that we’ll see the complete removal of Virtual Currency in future iterations of NBA 2K, but given the issues with VC in this year’s game, I’d definitely agree that some changes need to be made. While I do have a lot of good things to say about NBA 2K17, the problems with Virtual Currency absolutely need to be highlighted.

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