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The Sunday Substitute: The MyPLAYER Transaction Report (Part 3)

My player on a Gatorade billboard.

Welcome once again to The Sunday Substitute! It’s the series that was gaining splinters on the bench, but after three appearances in a row, could be considered part of The NLSC rotation. In this edition, we’ll continue with Part 3 of The MyPLAYER Transaction Report.

The MyPLAYER Transaction Report is where I detail my single-player career experiences from NBA 2K10 to NBA 2K23, with a few NBA Live games in between. I aim to play at least one game for all 30 NBA teams.

In Part 3, I will mention the remaining three MyCAREER players on my Worst to Best list, plus my campaign in The One from NBA Live 19. At this point, I would like to shout out Chris Smoove. His video helped me piece together the story behind my Lakers stint.

Speaking of the Lakers, the City of Angels is where we begin this transaction report. Yes, even my least favourite teams get my services at some point.

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The Sunday Substitute: The MyPLAYER Transaction Report (Part 1)

My player shaking Adam Silver's hand after being drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans.

Welcome to The Sunday Substitute – the feature that barely gets a run in 2022 but still has a presence on The NLSC bench. Today I’m digging through my archives and starting a several-part series called The MyPLAYER Transaction Report. It’s where I chronicle the teams my created ballers have played across the NBA 2K and Live series.

Once I noticed that I was basically playing for a new team in every video game, I set a goal to play for all 30 teams in the NBA. This is an ongoing project, and at the time of writing, I’ve played for 28 out of 30 teams. What are the two franchises I haven’t played for yet? That could be another article in itself!

The parameters are simple: I had to play at least one game with each build. After all, regardless of whether it’s Kareem Abdul Jabbar or JamesOn Curry, an NBA player is an NBA player. This means I’ll also include all the secondary builds I created for achievement hunting. I’ll make sure to distinguish these as I go along.

For now, the best place to start the transaction report is at the very beginning. Let’s go all the way back to NBA 2K10!

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Monday Tip-Off: A Failure to Communicate

Monday Tip-Off: A Failure to Communicate

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with some reflections on 2K and their failure to communicate.

Social media has granted us more access to brands than ever before. Whether it’s getting in touch when there’s a problem, or staying up to date on new products and services, it’s as simple as following an official account. The way that we interact with brands is a reflection of online discourse in general, running the gamut of friendliness and respectfulness. It’s why I’ll always advocate for constructive feedback and not stooping to the level of personal attacks. Of course, I also understand feeling so frustrated that your words end up being terser than you perhaps intended.

How about the way that brands interact with us? While many official social media accounts stick to professional, PR-friendly posts and replies, some brands have developed a reputation for being provocative. The official Wendy’s account has built an online brand of sass, poking fun at its competitors and involving itself in trending topics with an assortment of zingers. Other accounts have followed their lead, with mixed results. After all, a corporation jumping on memes is often a “How do you do, fellow kids” moment. Even if it’s not, it can come across as tone-deaf, particularly when a company like 2K has demonstrated a failure to communicate with respect.

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The Friday Five: 5 Played-Out Aspects of MyCAREER Stories

The Friday Five: 5 Played-Out Aspects of MyCAREER Stories

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five aspects of MyCAREER stories that are played-out at this point.

Honestly, I admire the ambition and creativity in some of the MyCAREER stories over the years. I can’t say that it’s prevented me from spending many enjoyable hours with the mode, and indeed, when I finally played through NBA 2K14’s tale, I had to admit that I’d been somewhat unfair towards it. However, there’s also a reason that I’ve been critical of MyCAREER featuring a cinematic narrative. Some of the tales have negatively impacted the gameplay experience, while others have just featured really bad writing and acting. Sometimes, the mode has been afflicted by both.

It’s a shame, as even when MyCAREER stories have fallen flat, it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into them. Some prominent names have been involved with them, from filmmakers like Spike Lee to actors like Michael B Jordan. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that no one has any fond memories of MyCAREER stories, but they do tend to draw a considerable amount of scorn, especially in recent years. It’s not surprising of course, as many aspects of MyCAREER stories have become played-out over time, whether its tropes they employ, or their effects on gameplay. Either way, these five played-out aspects of MyCAREER stories have worn out their welcome.

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The Friday Five: 5 More Creepy Moments in Basketball Games

The Friday Five: 5 More Creepy Moments in Basketball Games

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five more creepy moments in various basketball video games.

Last year, I finally got around to a Friday Five topic that I’d been considering for some time: creepy moments in basketball games. It felt like an appropriate topic for an article coming out around Halloween, and although that spooktacular holiday is next Monday, I thought I’d get us in the mood early rather than repurpose it for the Tip-Off. There are a couple of examples I forgot about when writing the previous Five, and upon further reflection, a few more came to mind. On top of that, I’d suggest that producing a sequel pays fitting tribute to many horror franchises!

As I said in my previous article, creepiness and horror aren’t usually the hallmarks of basketball video games. It’s not in the spirit of the genre to be creepy and frightening, but there are nevertheless moments on the virtual hardwood that make us jump. Once again, they’re generally unintentional, being the results of glitches or perhaps strange design choices. However, this time there is one example that is definitely deliberate, and while it likely didn’t cause any nightmares, it’s fitting for Halloween. To borrow the tag line of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series: reader beware, you’re in for a scare! Well, perhaps not, but these are some unusually creepy moments in virtual hoops.

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Monday Tip-Off: Comparing VC to In-Universe Salaries…Again

Monday Tip-Off: Comparing VC to In-Universe Salaries...Again

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off by returning to a topic that I’ve covered before: the in-universe value of VC, when compared to MyCAREER salaries.

It’s been three years since I’ve broached what was once an annual topic: comparing VC earnings to in-universe salaries. The reason for that, quite simply, is that I didn’t play much of NBA 2K21 and NBA 2K22. After playing through four years of college in NBA 2K21’s The Long Shadow, I didn’t touch the game much after that. I wasn’t a fan of NBA 2K22, so I wasn’t able to get far enough into MyCAREER to have an NBA salary. However, on top of enjoying NBA 2K23 far more, this year’s mode gets us into the league much quicker, giving us access to all of the necessary figures.

In case you’re not sure what I’m getting at here, I’m comparing the VC earnings that are your MyPLAYER’s base salary to its reported amount in dollars, as per the listing in your player card. Obviously, the issues with VC are readily apparent when you compare your VC salary with the prices of items and upgrades, not to mention the real world cost if you pay to skip the grind. However, looking at the in-universe value of VC really drives home how ridiculous the prices are, while hitting back at the shills who try to use “paying for things is realistic” as some kind of gotcha in defense of 2K’s greed. With that being said, let’s compare VC to in-universe salaries…again.

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K14 MyCAREER Trading Cards

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K14 MyCAREER Trading Cards

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a collection of virtual trading cards, based on my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER.

I’m wrapping up my kick with the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K14 with a month of Wayback Wednesday features, but I also wanted to pay further tribute to the fun I’ve had in MyCAREER. Playing through four full seasons was an absolute blast, and I look forward to continuing the journey in Year 5 when I’m ready for a break from NBA 2K23. Although I’m putting the game and my story topic on the shelf for the moment, I’ve created one last bit of content based on my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER: a series of trading cards.

Now, graphic design certainly isn’t my forte, and the layout I’ve chosen is not exactly original. Indeed, it’s intended to pay tribute to a series of cards by Fleer that were one of the last sets that I actively collected as a teenager back in the late 90s. NBA trading cards hold a lot of nostalgia for me, and playing through NBA 2K14 MyCAREER was a throwback experience, too. On top of being an older game, it also reminded me of the importance of enjoying the journey rather than mindlessly grinding, and feeling enthusiastic enough to create a story topic. As such, these virtual trading cards are meant to commemorate what’s been a fun journey in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER so far.

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The Friday Five: 5 Ways Basketball Gamers Shame Each Other (But Shouldn’t)

The Friday Five: 5 Ways Basketball Gamers Shame Each Other (But Shouldn't)

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five ways that basketball gamers unnecessarily shame one another, and why it’s absurd.

No community is ever going to get along 100% of the time. There will always be disagreements, and things can get heated in the thick of competitive play. With that being said, general etiquette and decorum goes a long way, and avoids embodying the most unflattering gamer stereotypes. It’s not particularly complicated. Don’t be the jerk that sends threatening messages, or jumps on the mic to be abusive and throw out bigoted slurs. Don’t ruin the online scene on PC with your hacked, super-powered player. And of course, don’t foster a toxic atmosphere through elitist gatekeeping.

It’s bewildering that gamers shame each other over a hobby that’s meant to be fun. Obviously the competitive scene carries certain bragging rights, and if you claim to be an elite player, you’ll be fairly challenged to prove your mettle. Beyond that though, there are people in the basketball gaming community that indulge in gatekeeping over the pettiest of things. In games that offer a variety of modes and options to tailor the experience to maximise your enjoyment, there’s no wrong way to play basketball video games; at least outside of cheating and poor sportsmanship in a competitive environment. As such, it’s ridiculous to shame each other over these five matters.

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The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Career Mode Disappointments (That Are Realistic)

The Friday Five: 5 Franchise & Career Mode Disappointments (That Are Realistic)

Welcome to another edition of The Friday Five! Every Friday I cover a topic related to basketball gaming, either as a list of five items, or a Top 5 countdown. The topics for these lists and countdowns include everything from fun facts and recollections to commentary and critique. This week’s Five is a list of five disappointments that you’ll encounter in franchise and career modes, which are nevertheless realistic.

Franchise modes allow us to greatly influence a virtual NBA. Even if we only have control over one team, our ability to have them overachieve significantly changes the league’s landscape. We have much less control in career modes, but once our player has levelled up and is capable of record-breaking domination game in and game out, the NBA is at our mercy. However, while we can have seasons for the ages and amass large collections of virtual trophies, there are some aspects that are still beyond our control. Needless to say, that can be frustrating, and disheartening.

On the other hand, it maintains a semblance of realism, even if our results and stats are pushing the boundaries of believability. The challenge of franchise and career modes, and indeed the overall fun and enjoyment we get from their journeys, often hinges on us not getting everything we want. There should be surprising and unlikely outcomes, at least from time to time. We should miss out on opportunities, even if we’re well prepared for them. The disappointments – the trials and tribulations – make our successes and getting what we want all the more gratifying. To that end, here are five realistic disappointments that actually serve to enhance franchise and career play.

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NBA 2K23 The City Preview

NBA 2K23 The City Preview

The release of NBA 2K23 is imminent, but before it officially launches, the latest developer blog has given us all a preview of The City. Once again, The City will be the hub world for MyCAREER in the Next Gen version of NBA 2K23, whereas Current Gen has the GOAT Boat.

Key improvements this year include reducing the size of The City and adding fast travel options to make it easier to traverse. There are also new designs for the stomping grounds of the four affiliations, a central area for the competitive modes, and an arena for NBA games.

Once again, I’ve summarised the blog below, but be sure to read it for the full scoop and preview screenshots. You can also check out the trailer that was released. Got any thoughts? Feel free to share them in the comments below, as well as join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum! With the game almost in our hands, our post-release coverage will be tipping off very soon. As such, we invite you to stick around for everything we do here, from discussion of the game to our modding community!

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Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K14 MyCAREER Year 4 Recap

Monday Tip-Off: NBA 2K14 MyCAREER Year 4 Recap

We’re at midcourt, and the ball is about to go up…it’s Monday Tip-Off! Join me as I begin the week here at the NLSC with my opinions and commentary on basketball gaming topics, as well as tales of the fun I’ve been having on the virtual hardwood. This week, I’m tipping things off with a recap of Year 4 in my MyCAREER in the PlayStation 4 version of NBA 2K14.

Can you believe that I’ve played through four full seasons of MyCAREER within the past twelve months or so? It’s true! This is what happens when you’re not forcing yourself to grind to level up a player as quickly as possible in the latest game, all the while knowing that your progress will be reset to zero in a year’s time. Given my lack of enthusiasm for either version of NBA 2K21 and NBA 2K22, I’ve greatly enjoyed NBA 2K14 PS4 providing me with a basketball gaming experience that’s been so engaging. It’s unquestionably picked up the slack.

With NBA 2K23 looming and its previews inspiring some cautious optimism, I did want to wrap up Year 4 in NBA 2K14 MyCAREER before the release of this year’s game. I have no doubt that I’ll pick it up again to play through Year 5 – I still have one more Hall of Fame Milestone to achieve for 100% completion in that regard – but I do want to spend time with NBA 2K23 and give it a fair chance to impress. Even with the deadline of NBA 2K23’s release however, I still took the time to enjoy the journey in Year 4 of my NBA 2K14 MyCAREER. As I prepare to take a break from NBA 2K14 in the near future, here’s a look back at how the 2017 campaign went down.

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NBA 2K23 MyCAREER Trailer, J.Cole Cover

NBA 2K23 Dreamer Edition Cover featuring J. Cole

Next up in the final rush of NBA 2K23 news is this year’s MyCAREER trailer! According to the trailer, the MyPLAYER character will once again be named “MP”, with this year’s story beginning after the 2022 NBA Draft. From there, the tale will revolve around MP’s off-court brand and projects, and trying to balance them with making it in the NBA.

Additionally, 2K has revealed another NBA 2K23 cover, featuring rapper J. Cole as the face of the “Dreamer Edition”. This cover, much like the WNBA cover featuring Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, will be exclusive to GameStop in the United States and Canada.

J. Cole will also be a character in the NBA 2K23 MyCAREER story, as revealed by the trailer. As usual, current and former NBA players have voiced cameos, and it appears that Kendrick Perkins will once again appear in a somewhat antagonistic role. Fellow player turned analyst J.J. Redick also joins Perkins in commenting on MP’s journey.

Check out the trailer below, along with the Dreamer Edition cover art. What are your thoughts on the latest news? Sound off in the comments, and join in the discussion here in the NLSC Forum!

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NBA 2K23 Pre-Order Guide

NBA 2K23 Pre-Order Guide

It won’t be long now before NBA 2K23 is in our hands. In case you weren’t aware, the game is set to launch on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch on September 9th. That means there’s still time to pre-order NBA 2K23 if you haven’t done so already.

Obviously, pre-ordering the game will grant you a variety of bonuses, depending on the version that you opt for. As previously announced, there are five editions of NBA 2K23: Standard, Digital Deluxe, Michael Jordan, Championship, and WNBA, the last of which is exclusive to GameStop in the United States and Canada. Each has its own cover art, price point, and again, pre-order bonuses. Today, I’m providing a guide as to which version of NBA 2K23 to pre-order, if indeed you have the need and desire to pre-purchase a copy of this year’s game.

To that point, this isn’t intended to instruct anyone to pre-order NBA 2K23, or shill for the expensive special editions. In fact, I’ll also be laying out why you don’t need to pre-order NBA 2K23 at all, and why the Standard Edition may be sufficient if you are intent on pre-ordering. Depending on the mode you play, whether you’re a collector and/or content creator, and your general enthusiasm for the series and forthcoming game, the value of reserving a copy and receiving the individual pre-order bonuses will vary. You should always aim to be a savvy consumer, and it’s my aim to help my fellow basketball gamers to make an informed decision in that regard.

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Wayback Wednesday: Linsanity & The Virtual Hardwood

Wayback Wednesday: Linsanity & The Virtual Hardwood

This is Wayback Wednesday, your midweek blast from the past! From retrospectives of basketball games and their interesting features, to republished articles and looking at NBA history through the lens of the virtual hardwood, Wednesdays at the NLSC are for going back in time. This week, I’m taking a look back at Linsanity, and its effect on basketball video games.

The NBA has produced some captivating stories in its 75 years, including inspiring underdog tales. When I was growing up as a young NBA fan in the 90s, the story of how John Starks went from undrafted prospect to a key member of the best Knicks teams since the 70s was one of the most popular. Some twenty years after Starks’ breakout season in New York, another Knicks guard would become a fan favourite after making his mark. Of course, while there are some fun coincidences in the careers of John Starks and Jeremy Lin, there are some noteworthy differences as well.

Both originally made their NBA debut for the Golden State Warriors, seeing limited minutes while playing less than half of the season. Both had gone undrafted, though Lin had arguably been a much longer shot to make the league, having not received any athletic scholarship offers and being just one of four players from Harvard to go pro (and the first in over fifty years). Again, both were fan favourites in New York, whose big break came in part thanks to injuries. However, while Starks’ career was memorable, Linsanity was something special, brief as it may have been. It also had a noticeable impact on the virtual hardwood. Let’s take a look back…way back…

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NLSC Podcast #438: NBA 2K23 Gameplay Blog, Bill Russell, & Classic Cam

NLSC Podcast Logo

From courtside of the virtual hardwood, it’s Episode #438 of the NLSC Podcast!

This week’s show opens with a tribute to the late, great Bill Russell, truly one of the most legendary figures in basketball history. As we catch up on what we’ve been playing recently – including another NBA 2K14 MyCAREER update – we discuss our fondness for Classic Cam, and our appreciation of its appearances in later games. We also reflect on NBA Showtime: NBA on NBC, and compare NBA Live 06 and NBA 2K6 on Xbox 360. On the heels of the First Look Trailer, the first developer blog of the preview season provided us with insights into gameplay in NBA 2K23, and we have plenty of thoughts to share! We also open up the mailbag to hear what the community thought of the blog.

To get involved with the mailbag or to provide any feedback on the show, hit us up in the comments, reach out on social media, or post here in the NLSC Forum! For more information on the NLSC Podcast including episode guides, check out this page in our Wiki. You can also find the show on our YouTube channel, along with the rest of our video content. As always, thanks for tuning in, and go get buckets!