Icon Passing is the name given to the direct pass/manual recipient method of passing the basketball in the NBA 2K series. Similar to Direct Pass controls in NBA Live, gamers hold down the Icon Passing button, and press the face button that corresponds to a player. Although Icon Passing is the official name for the gameplay mechanic, it is sometimes referred to as Direct Pass(ing) by gamers who are more familiar with NBA Live's terminology.
When using Icon Passing, the game selects the most contextually appropriate passing animation, meaning gamers cannot combine the functionality of Icon Passing and the three pass buttons in NBA 2K16 onwards. This makes Icon Passing more precise in terms of selecting a recipient, but not always as precise in terms of the type of pass being thrown.
Icon Switching (or simply Icon Switch) is the equivalent mechanic on defense, and uses the same method to immediately switch control to a desired player. It is not available in MyCAREER, or when Player Lock is enabled in other modes.