NBA Live 2003

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NBA Live 2003
NBA Live 2003 cover art.
Developer(s) EA Sports
Publisher(s) EA Sports
Series NBA Live
Platform(s) Windows, Playstation, Playstation 2, Xbox, Gamecube
Release date(s) PS2, GC
October 7th, 2002
October 15th, 2002
October 16th, 2002
November 12th, 2002
System requirements Minimum:
  • Intel Pentium II 450 MHz
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 16 MB DirectX 8.1 compatible video card
  • Direct 8.1 compatible sound card
  • 12x CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive
  • 300 MB HD space

NBA Live 2003 (also known as NBA 2003 or Live 2003 and stylised as NBA LIVE 2003) is the ninth instalment in the NBA Live series, released in North America on October 7th, 2002 for the Playstation 2 and Nintendo Gamecube while the PC version was released on November 12th, the Playstation version on October 16th and the Xbox version on October 15th. Jason Kidd was featured as its cover player. NBA Live 2003 saw the debut of Freestyle Control which has since become a staple of the series. It also saw the series return to the PC platform after the console-only release of NBA Live 2002 and was the final NBA Live released for the original Playstation. It is the direct sequel to NBA Live 2002 and was followed by NBA Live 2004.


NBA Live 2003 is EA Sports' NBA release for the 2002/2003 NBA season. The landmark addition in NBA Live 2003 was Freestyle Control, which was met with some enthusiasm by fans though some did not like the limited moves that were available to keyboard users. Although the concept itself was not unpopular (and continues to be used with Quick Strike Ankle Breakers today) most felt Freestyle Control was too powerful in NBA Live 2003 and the game too fast-paced with scores easily exceeding 150 points apiece when playing twelve minute quarters. NBA Live 2003 was also derided for its "Courtside Comedy" approach to cutscenes which players felt detracted from the intended atmosphere of an NBA simulation. Arcade-like effects such as booming sound effects and blocks which rocketed the ball to the opposite baseline were also amongst the common complaints.

The return to the PC platform was welcomed by patchers however and several patches were made including "Tweaked Rosters" which attempted to combat some of the issues with gameplay. The game also corrected some issues from NBA Live 2001 and NBA Live 2002 including the disproportinate rebounds.

Official Features List[edit]

  • Revolutionary EA SPORTS™ Freestyle Control: Sweet crossovers, triple threat moves, post moves and strip steals. String your moves together and pull off what you want, when you want it - all with unprecedented two-handec control.
  • The next level of online play: Join EA SPORTS™ Online and access a community where you can meet, chat and play against NBA Live 2003 gamers across the country.
  • Quick plays for quick scores and stops: Call plays on the fly to control the game - run the pick-n-roll or isolation on offense, zone or double team on "D" and much more.
  • Dominate with one-button control: Turn the momentum with the all-new Charge button and clean the glass with one-button rebounding.
  • New EA SPORTS™ TRAX: Featuring hot music releases from Fabolous, Flipmode Squad featuring Busta Rhymes, Just Blaze, Snoop Dogg and more.


A majority of NBA Live fans were disappointed with NBA Live 2003 as they felt many of the elements were too arcade-like with booming sound effects accompanying blocked shots that often rocketed to the opposite baseline and scores that were frequently unrealistic when playing 12 minute quarters. The cutscenes were also criticised for their "courtside comedy" aspect, with most players opining that the silliness detracted from the desired atmosphere of the game.

Noteworthy Facts[edit]

  • The return of NBA Live to the PC platform.
  • Freestyle Control made its debut in NBA Live 2003.
  • Michael Jordan's second and final (official) appearance as an active player in NBA Live.
  • The final NBA Live to utilise DSTATS.
  • Although the NBA updated its Playoffs format to 7-7-7-7 for the 2002/2003 season, NBA Live 2003 did not reflect this change.
  • Don Poier and Bob Elliott's final game as the commentary team.
  • Yao Ming was absent from the console version of the game but appeared in the PC version.
  • For the first time users could select which jersey a team would wear before beginning a game. Retro jerseys were also included for the first time.
  • An official patch was released to correct a couple of bugs, including slowed down gameplay in Windows 98 when using a USB gamepad.
  • Final game to use the 50-99 rating scale.

PC Screenshots[edit]


NBA Live 2002
NBA Live Next:
NBA Live 2004