Remember how I stated that positive experiences in basketball video games can make you like particular NBA players? It can also work the other way.
It may seem completely irrational to dislike an NBA player because of their video game likeness, but it’s something I have found hard to control. A player like Kevin Durant could be the most humble guy in real life, but you could still dislike him because he dropped 50 points on you in NBA 2K15.
Sometimes a player can be annoying in one game, but be slightly neutralised in the next due to updated game mechanics or more modest ratings. In any case, the memory of one particular player terrorising your beloved franchise can be enough for you to dislike them over their entire career.
This is a list dedicated to players who I either dislike now or disliked at one stage of my life because of basketball video games.
Yao Ming – NBA Live 06
Just about any 7-footer can be lethal in basketball video games. Their length can help them block shots and grab rebounds on both ends – even if it goes against what their ratings may suggest. Yao Ming, however, took the role of the dominant centre to another level.
Yao Ming was not only tall, but he had decent range – which made him just about impossible to guard. I couldn’t use Hack-a-Shaq strategies against him either, because he was also a great free throw shooter. On top of his offensive capabilities, his incredible reach often forced me to take outside shots and he also annihilated me on the boards. It seemed like the Great Wall of China was the perfect centre during his prime – at least in basketball video games.
Towards the end of his unfortunately short career, I grew to appreciate Yao a lot more, and I even had him on my Nuggets team during a championship run. But I’ll never forget those moments where he made me swear at my PC screen because of his combination of incredible height and skill.
Steve Nash – NBA Live 08 to NBA Live 10
I had an irrational hatred of Steve Nash for years because of how insanely good he was during that span of NBA Live games. In NBA Live 08, he was a go to player for online cheese – but the peak of my hater status was during my time playing NBA Live 10, where he scored 37 points in a half against me.
I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I found Steve Nash to be an absolute nightmare. He had the complete game for a point guard – at least on the offensive end. When he wasn’t throwing alley-oops to Amar’e Stoudemire, he was pulling up and landing shots from just about everywhere.
As the years passed, I’ve come to realise that my disdain towards Steve Nash was very misguided. Now, I actually like him quite a lot and have a great respect for what he achieved in his career. I will even come to his defence when people try to discredit his dual-MVP status.
Monta Ellis – NBA 2K13
When Monta Ellis played for the Milwaukee Bucks, the combination of him and Brandon Jennings managed to destroy me every single game. Even though I was awfully tempted to place Jennings on this list as well, I decided to give Monta Ellis his own spot because I actually liked Brandon Jennings when he played for my Nuggets team in NBA Live 10.
Monta Ellis always seemed to score 35 or more against me in each game. I don’t know whether it was my own shortcomings on perimeter defence, the fact I had Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters defending the perimeter, or a combination of both, but I simply couldn’t stop Ellis at all.
To 2K’s credit, Monta Ellis is slightly more managable now you’re able to block dunks, but only slightly. He’s still a handful in any given game.
Al Jefferson – NBA 2K13
Seriously, is there any way to stop Al Jefferson when he gets the ball in the post? Jefferson abused me countless times in NBA 2K13, and he continues to do so in NBA 2K15. The solution always seems simple – deny Jefferson post position and double down if he manages to get the ball in the post.
Easy, right? You would think so, but after I take the post option away, Jefferson either killed me from mid-range or deferred to Derrick Favors, who is usually wide open after I’ve committed the double team.
Al Jefferson is less of an annoyance on the Bobcats, since both Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist provide match up problems of their own – but he’s still a formidible opponent on the block, whenever the ball is passed to him, it’s basically a guaranteed two points. Luckily for me, the Bobcats don’t always take advantage of that option.
James Harden – NBA 2K15
I can’t say I was ever a huge fan of James Harden, but I never really considered myself a hater – at least not before I played NBA 2K15. However, I always suspected that it could potentially happen – after all, James Harden is one the greatest scorers in the NBA. In real life, he can do absolutely anything on the offensive end and that translates into an absolute nightmare player in NBA video games.
James Harden in NBA 2K15 is what Steve Nash was to me in the NBA Live games. Any time I leave him remotely open, I just begin to run back on offense – because that shot isn’t missing. He likes contested layups too. In fact, I don’t even know why I contest his layups – it’s not like it really matters all that much.
If the video game James Harden played defence like the real life James Harden, I would accept his God-like abilities on offence – but that’s my major problem with the video game James Harden. He doesn’t take plays off and constantly lose the man he’s guarding – he actually plays defence.
James Harden has many great years ahead of him in the NBA, which means he’s going to be a thorn in the side of NBA video gamers – that aren’t fans of the Rockets – for many NBA Live and 2K games to come.
Honorable Mentions: Reggie Miller (NBA Jam TE), Bryant Reeves (NBA Hangtime), Rudy Gay (NBA Live 10), Joe Johnson (NBA 2K11), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (NBA 2K15)
How do you fare against these players? Is there anyone I didn’t mention that you’ve grown to dislike because of NBA video games?