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. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections upon finally entering the Hall of Fame in NBA 2K19’s MyCAREER.
Back in May, I talked about my aim of making it into the Hall of Fame before I put MyCAREER aside; not just in NBA 2K19, but for the foreseeable future. I knew it would be a satisfying way to cap off years of being a MyCAREER gamer, and also provide some closure as I made the switch to MyLEAGUE and MyTEAM. I met the requirements for induction into the Hall of Fame as I concluded my second regular season, and it was a great feeling. However, with a new-look lineup and a chance at a threepeat, I didn’t immediately retire in order to get the Hall of Fame cutscene.
I played a few games in the third year and did have some fun with them, but it was clear that I was done with the mode. I waited for a few weeks after NBA 2K20 came out, at which point I was certain that I didn’t have any desire to continue playing my NBA 2K19 MyCAREER. Knowing that there wasn’t any turning back, I hooked up my capture card, retired my player, and recorded the cutscene for posterity. I realise that many of you may have already watched that cutscene – either in your own games or on YouTube – but I wanted to share it with everyone today, as well as reflect on my journey to enshrinement in the virtual Springfield (and again, not that one).
My interest in making it to the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER began with my interest in the mode itself. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve traditionally been a franchise gamer, beginning with the introduction of the experience in NBA Live 2000. Career modes always struck me as a good idea for the games, but not something that I’d personally be interested in. That changed in NBA 2K13, when dabbling with MyCAREER for the sake of my review resulted in me getting hooked, and even maintaining a story. The Hall of Fame had been introduced as an end goal in NBA 2K12, and as I kept playing MyCAREER in NBA 2K13, I wondered if I’d be able to accomplish that feat.
As it turns out, I did not; not then, at any rate. I was on the path to the Hall, having completed four out of a possible fifteen goals halfway through my second season. However, that still left me six goals short of the ten required, and glancing back at the eleven I could aim for, it would’ve taken a considerable effort to get there. NBA 2K14 had come out in the meantime, and while I do still have that save file for posterity, I’m not sure that I could return to NBA 2K13 and play it enough to reach those goals. As it happens, if those specific goals from NBA 2K13 were still used in NBA 2K19, I would’ve ended up accomplishing nine of them by the end of my second season.
From NBA 2K14 through NBA 2K16, I didn’t touch MyCAREER as much. I had my issues with the story-driven approach (which I won’t get into again here), and I was also splitting my time with Ultimate Team in NBA Live. After I got hooked on 2K Pro-Am a few months into NBA 2K16’s release, I developed more of an interest in playing MyCAREER again. This continued into NBA 2K17, where I played a full season on twelve minute quarters, led the Denver Nuggets to a championship, and then went to the Chicago Bulls in my second season, taking Justice Young with me. I had some big performances, but it wasn’t quite enough to punch a ticket to the Hall.
In NBA 2K18, I didn’t come close. I couldn’t even finish a single season, and barely played the game altogether after February or March. Ironically, it wasn’t the NBA side of MyCAREER that I’d soured on, but the connected online experience. After playing 500 games of team Pro-Am in NBA 2K17, the NLSC squad barely managed a fifth of that in NBA 2K18, and my discontent turned me off the NBA experience as well. I began the grind in NBA 2K19 with an eye towards making a viable player for online play, but with the changes to team Pro-Am and a growing distaste for the experience, I instead committed to the elusive goal of making the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER.
The decision to go all out on making the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER and be done with the mode after NBA 2K19 actually renewed my passion. Every so often, I’d open up the list of accolades required for enshrinement, just to remind myself what I was shooting for. Progress was slow playing every game on twelve minute quarters, but I did take pride in doing so, and eventually maxing out all of my player’s Badges for a PlayStation Trophy. By the end of the first season, I’d accomplished nine accolades. The tenth would require playing a third season, leading the league in blocks and/or rebounds, or reaching a set career total in one of the five statistical categories.
Entering my second season, I expected that the tenth accolade would have to be my career assists. I set a new record for total assists and assists per game in my rookie season, so I figured it was my best bet. I opened the season averaging 20 assists per game, but also began racking up triple-doubles. Averaging a triple-double on the year became a goal, and as I maintained an average of around 14 boards per game, the idea that I could instead make the tenth accolade leading the league in rebounds came to mind. Andre Drummond’s injury early on in the season helped my efforts, as I would find myself on top of the rebounding charts for a majority of the year.
Drummond’s eventual return unfortunately pushed me back into second place in rebounds per game, once he had played enough games and tallied enough boards to qualify for the league leaders again. However, I finished with the higher total, and hoped that it would still count as leading the league, as the Hall of Fame accolades screen didn’t specifically mention the league-leading average. Fortunately, finishing with the highest total of rebounds was sufficient to attain the tenth accolade, and as my second Playoffs loomed, I felt a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Whatever happened from there on out, I’d see the Hall of Fame cutscene upon retirement.
My second season ended in style with another championship, a slew of records, and a triple-double average throughout the regular season and Playoffs. I was surprised that I didn’t hit the required total of assists for the tenth accolade as by my calculations, the mark should’ve been around 3000; a career total that I did achieve by the end of Year Two. That’s the problem with representing those accolades as a fraction rather than the actual figure: it’s difficult to track precisely In NBA 2K20’s MyCAREER, the Hall of Fame milestones have returned to displaying the career totals as numbers, rather than as a fraction indicating imprecise progress. It’s a much better approach.
Burnout had definitely set in by the start of my third season, and although I did play a couple of games to see what the new lineup felt like, I suspected that I wouldn’t be able to finish the year. I did have some misgivings before I retired my player last week, but I couldn’t envision a scenario where I went back and played the game. So, after making sure that my capture card was recording properly, I took one last look at my stats and the accolades, hoped that I wouldn’t suffer any glitches or crashes, and retired. After a loading screen that felt like it went on for several minutes, at long last I was able to watch a Hall of Fame cutscene in MyCAREER, starring my player.
I’d already seen the cutscene that is shown when you retire without making it to the Hall of Fame, and figured it was a standard scene that was shown before you take your place in Springfield. They serve as two different “endings” to MyCAREER however, as only one will play depending on whether you qualify or not. Unlike the standard retirement cutscene, the Hall of Fame scene doesn’t have any interactive moments where you can choose to be humble or cocky. Your speech is suitably humble though, which I did appreciate. It was also cool to see some nods to Corey Harris, Marcus Young, and The Prelude, thus effectively capping off the story.
Retiring a player doesn’t stop them from being used in the online modes, which is something I found out when I ran a few experiments earlier in the year. Unfortunately, you lose access to all the stats screens when you retire. It makes sense that there’s no current season to look at, but there’s no way to go back and view your career stats, records, and accomplishments. As such, if you want to keep a record of what you’ve done, you need to take some screenshots before retiring. I’m not sure if that’s still the case in NBA 2K20 as I haven’t tested it yet, but if it is, then I’d suggest it’s something that needs to be changed. It’s a shame not being able to view your career history.
Speaking of NBA 2K20, there are different milestones for making it to the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER. As I noted, the specific career totals are displayed rather than the fractions, which is an improvement. You definitely need to play more than one season however, as a single NBA championship and All-NBA selection are no longer enough to tick the boxes. There’s absolutely no way you can be nine tenths of the way to the Hall at the end of your rookie season, though the requirement has been dropped to six milestones, so two seasons is feasible. It’s a more realistic approach, but even if I hadn’t already got there in NBA 2K19, I’m not sure I’d be up for trying it this year.
In an era where it’s all about being an elite online competitor, I get that a lot of gamers might look at this journey to the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER, and scoff. After all, it’s success at the expense of the AI, a lesser challenge than competitive online play. That’s fine. I play basketball video games for my own enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment when I get the most that I can out of the experience. For me, finally qualifying for the Hall of Fame in MyCAREER has allowed me to put the mode aside with a sense of closure. It’s been a long ride through multiple games, generations, and avatars, but finally getting to see that elusive cutscene has made it all worthwhile.