There's no question that the premiere basketball gaming franchise is NBA 2K. Appropriately debuting with NBA 2K, it became an instant threat to EA Sports' NBA Live, which was at the top of the food chain at the time. Over the years, 2K so routinely beat Live that EA canceled games and rebooted their series.
With more than two decades' worth of entries, it's interesting to look back at when NBA 2K was at its best. Using the ratings found on Metacritic, these installments scored the highest in the history of the franchise, as it's the best NBA 2K games, ranked.
Updated on September 11th, 2022, by Kevin Pantoja: The new release of NBA 2K23 has added another installment to the history of this iconic sports gaming franchise. Ever since it debuted with the original entry, it has become the top basketball game on the market. With the newest game out there, it's interesting to see how it lines up when you look at the NBA 2K games ranked. Their Metacritic scores are the best way to find the best of the bunch.
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19/19 NBA 2K19 (2018) - 83
When a gaming series has been around for so long, it is bound to run into traps of sameness and even staleness at points. That's kind of what happened with NBA 2K19 as reviews were certainly not poor but it missed the mark compared to some other recent entries.
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The game mostly nailed everything that it had in the past but by this point, it was a lot of what fans had come to expect and know. It needed something to rejuvenate things though it didn't happen. Scores got lower with 2K20, 2K21, and 2K22, so they need to right the ship with 2K23.
18/19 NBA 2K9 (2008) - 84
By this point, it was abundantly clear that the NBA 2K franchise was lightyears ahead of NBA Live. Although the 2009 version of the EA Sports game was solid, NBA 2K9 just kept adding to an already impressive legacy. NBA Champion Kevin Garnett was on the cover of this installment.
The main reason for the positive reception was how realistic the experience was. Not only was the gameplay up to par but things like halftime shows and commentary were fantastic, while the HD visuals were easily the best to that point. The only negative was that it didn't add many new modes.
17/19 NBA 2K7 (2006) - 84
The aforementioned graphics in NBA 2K9 were a welcome boost because one of the issues that gamers had with NBA 2K7 was that the player models and animations missed the mark. While that was a clear problem, the game shined in almost every other area.
The gameplay was again a hit but this also had well-received aspects like Association mode and Street mode. One cool but small addition came on the PlayStation 3, where gamers could shoot free throws by mimicking the real-life motion of taking a shot. Shaquille O'Neal was the cover athlete for this one.
16/19 NBA 2K6 (2005) - 84
NBA 2K7 actually marked the second straight year that Shaq was on the cover, as it first happened in NBA 2K6. He joined Allen Iverson as the only two players to get multiple solo covers at the time. The praise was very strong for elements like the soundtrack, presentation, and gameplay.
On the flip side, there were some issues with some of the controls and it felt kind of like the previous entry since not all that much was added to improve or build upon it. It might not seem like a big thing but the menu style was heavily criticized, with some even calling them downright ugly.
15/19 NBA 2K10 (2009) - 85
It could be argued that the greatest player to ever grace the cover of one of these games was Kobe Bryant in NBA 2K10. This was actually a very important entry in the series for one key reason. It was the installment to mark the debut of the MyPlayer mode, which remains a favorite over a decade later.
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Of course, the mode had some kinks to work out but it was still a well-received addition to the franchise. Summer League and sideline reporter Doris Burke were also welcome inclusions. Alas, the game did have a handful of technical problems, especially upon release.
14/19 ESPN NBA 2K5 (2004) - 85
The ESPN license was added to the series in a big way with ESPN NBA Basketball before ESPN NBA 2K5 arrived. This was a historic entry as it was the final NBA game released by SEGA before the company was sold. The ESPN presentation was arguably the show-stealer but it was gone after this installment.
The game featured Ben Wallace on the cover, making him the first player other than Allen Iverson to do so. This featured modes like 24/7 and Association but both got a mixed response. Still, the gameplay was great and it only had a $20 price tag, which made it a great value.
13/19 NBA 2K15 (2014) - 87
In a lot of ways, the mid-2010s was the golden age for the franchise as NBA 2K kept adding new features to keep things fresh and spice up an already great game. With NBA 2K15, they made MyCareer better than ever before and added a coaching advice feature.
There was also a big boost with the inclusion of a scanning system. That allowed gamers to scan their own face and put it into the game, making their created NBA player look just like them and adding an extra sense of realism to their career mode.
12/19 NBA 2K16 (2015) - 87
A year after the success of NBA 2K15, 2K Sports looked to up the ante once more and they mostly got it right. Reviews were again very strong for NBA 2K16, which featured the great Stephen Curry as the cover athlete.
The coolest new addition this time around was the ability to relocate a team while playing MyGM or MyLeague. That meant gamers could bring back iconic franchises like the Seattle SuperSonics and get really creative with how they played the game.
11/19 NBA 2K14 (2013) - 87
NBA 2K14 through 2K16 all scored the same, which helped show the consistency of the franchise. 2K14 brought in the LeBron James: Path to Greatness mode, Euroleague teams, and a stellar soundtrack.
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James did more than just simply pose for the cover. He also helped curate the soundtrack and work as something of a producer on the game, helping to really make it feel like a true NBA experience. Reviews were strong for all of these aspects and more.
10/19 NBA 2K18 (2017) - 87
The fourth game tied with an 87 rating is NBA 2K18. It gets a spot on its own since the lowest score it received on a platform was a 74 on the Nintendo Switch, which is higher than the previous games' worst. This installment features Kyrie Irving on the cover.
The game made minor changes because 2K was in an "if it isn't broke, don't fix it" situation. Still, they added interesting things like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett as guest commentators and more classic teams. The real kicker was the addition of All-Time Teams, putting together squads of every franchise's greatest players.
9/19 NBA 2K23 (2022) - 88
The latest entry in the NBA 2K franchise, NBA 2K23, still has reviews pouring in so this rating could change in the near future. For now though, it looks like it has righted the ship of some of the recent entries which had reviews that were less than what the series is used to.
Praise has been given to The City, which is said to be a very immersive experience. The real highlight is the MyNBA mode which allows gamers to take over the league during different eras, meaning you can rewrite history and see what would've happened if Michael Jordan was drafted by Portland or if the 2003 Draft went a different way.
8/19 NBA 2K3 (2002) - 89
There are three games tied at 89. First up is NBA 2K3, which is from the early days of the series. They were off to a good start and kept many of the same gameplay elements that had scored them positive reviews to this point. They also kept Allen Iverson as the cover athlete.
While a lot stayed the same, there were key changes. Things like Franchise mode were updated to be more in-depth than ever but the big change came with the presentation. NBA 2K3 marked the start of a partnership with ESPN, making the game feel more real than ever.
7/19 ESPN NBA Basketball (2003) - 89
The only game in the entire franchise to not have 2K in its title was ESPN NBA Basketball, which would've basically been NBA 2K4. This one went all-in on the ESPN aspect of the presentation and saw Iverson make the cover for the final time.
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This was the penultimate installment published before the formation of 2K Sports. ESPN NBA Basketball featured unique facial designs for every player, improved the passing system, focused on the 24/7 mode, and included a lot of streetball aspects. It was heavily praised for gameplay, graphics, and presentation.
6/19 NBA 2K11 (2010) - 89
NBA 2K11 marked a turning point for the games. Although none had bad reviews, they did stagnate a bit as the 2000s ended. This entry was a step up for a handful of reasons. The most exciting was the addition of cover athlete Michael Jordan, who hadn't been in a game in several years.
The Jordan Challenge mode was heavily praised as gamers got the chance to recreate his most iconic moments. That mode also meant the inclusion of many other teams and players from the past. Throw in a good soundtrack and things like the D-League in Association mode and it's a winner.
5/19 NBA 2K12 (2011) - 90
How did 2K Sports follow up the greatness of NBA 2K11? They took what worked and added to it. Jordan was joined by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird as cover athletes, showcasing that the series was diving deep on classic teams and honoring the stars of the past.
Many reviewers considered it to be the best basketball simulation in history as it felt more realistic than previous games. The MyPlayer mode got a major upgrade, helping to make it one of the most popular modes in any sports game. The use of updated rosters was welcome since rookies weren't initially included due to the NBA lockout that year.
4/19 NBA 2K13 (2012) - 90
There are more ties as three games scored a 90. Once again, the series remained strong as NBA 2K13 kept up the momentum from the previous two installments. This time, the focus moved from the past to the future, with Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Blake Griffin sharing the cover.
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Despite that, the game still kept upping the classic teams, including the phenomenal idea of having both the 1992 and 2012 United States Olympic teams. Jay-Z served as a producer, helping to add to the unique feel. The game also featured a Shoe Creator mode with legitimate name brands and an All-Star Weekend mode.
3/19 NBA 2K17 (2016) - 90
As noted, NBA 2K16 got a lot of praise for the MyLeague mode, which allowed gamers to do things like relocating franchises. NBA 2K17 took that to the next level. This time, all 30 existing teams could be relocated and expansion teams could be added.
Realistically, someone could create their own totally unique league with their own teams, cities, and more. They could also control and change the rules of the league, which was unheard of. The gameplay, presentation, and the other usual aspects were also heavily praised. All-Star Paul George was on the cover.
2/19 NBA 2K1 (2000) - 93
It's kind of wild to consider that the highest-rated games in the history of the series both came so early into its run. It goes to show that these games helped changed things, even though these entries didn't have nearly the customizable options or in-depth features that the future ones did.
The initial NBA 2K had solid reviews but NBA 2K1 bumped things up a notch. The gameplay was improved and it was the first to feature online multiplayer. Plus, it added iconic streetball courts like Rucker Park to enjoy if you wanted something different from traditional arenas.
1/19 NBA 2K2 (2001) - 93
When this series first began, it was exclusive to the Dreamcast since it was made by Sega. That changed with the release of NBA 2K2, as it came out for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and Gamecube, opening it up to a wider audience. That move proved vital for the series.
This entry was important in that it first introduced realistic player abilities, so taking shots at the right place on the court mattered for specific players. It would help birth things like player personalities in later installments. This game also added modes, improved the defensive side of things, and added legends.
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What is considered the best NBA 2K game? ›
NBA 2K11 was a game-changer for the NBA 2K series. NBA 2K surged in popularity after the release of NBA 2K11, which many fans still believe is the best NBA 2K game. NBA 2K11 featured the Jordan Challenges mode, which takes players back to relive Michael Jordan's most iconic moments.Is NBA 2K an AAA game? ›
The studio's Twitter account bio has also been updated to read: “NBA 2K, WWE 2K, a new AAA game that will blow your mind: Visual Concepts has been making great games for 30 years.” It's not clear which “major license” the listing refers to.Which is better 2K or EA? ›
While 2K Sports has reduced the number of sports they are involved in, EA Sports has built on less popular sports like UFC. EA Sports makes sports video games such as NFL, NBA, NHL, FIFA, and UFC. 2K Sports makes WWE and NBA games, and will soon release a PGA game. The clear winner for this category is EA Sports.How many NBA 2K games are there? ›
The series was originally published by Sega Sports. Beginning with 2005's NBA 2K6, the series is currently published by 2K Sports. As of 2021, the series consists of twenty-three main installments and several spinoff titles across eighteen different platforms.Is NBA 2K17 a good game? ›
NBA 2K17 is another rock-solid game in the franchise. It features worthwhile updates to the dribbling and shooting mechanics, and backs up those improvements off the court in ways that make me care about managing my team.Is NBA 2K22 worth playing? ›
All in all, NBA 2K22 on next-gen systems is the best NBA 2K game to release in years. The gameplay receives a much-needed revamp, leading to a fun experience for everyone regardless if you are playing as a primary scorer or defensive anchor.How long is a game of 2K? ›
|How long does a game last?||There are 4 quarters There are 6 minutes in each quarter Total: 24 minutes of in-game time|
|Point breakdown||Each shot made inside of the arch is awarded two points and each shot made behind the arc is awarded three points|
NBA 2K9 - Playstation 3.Is Madden bigger than 2K? ›
Given the ten-year lead in sales, the NFL's Madden series has outsold NBA 2K in terms of all-time revenue.
Is 2K better than live? ›
I've played and enjoyed both games, but for pure fun I would definitely choose LIVE, I love 2K but LIVE has faster progression and more customization options, while 2K is more an immersive experience and it takes A LOT OF TIME or A LOT OF MONEY to progress, I had more of a good NBA experience with the 2K games, but I ...What sports game sells the most? ›
The FIFA franchise has sold the most copies of any sports video game ever, with over 250 million copies. It is one of the many sports video games that is annually released. While some years may feel similar to others, there are fan favorites in the franchise like FIFA 10, which many players loved.Will there be a 2K23? ›
A: NBA 2K23 will offer four editions of the game: Standard Edition, Digital Deluxe Edition, Michael Jordan Edition and Championship Edition. More information on the different editions (including format and platform availability) is available on the Buy page.How much does 2K23 cost? ›
NBA 2K23 release date and price
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S versions of the game cost $70, while the Xbox One, PS4, Switch, and PC versions cost $60. You can preorder the game now through all major retailers.
“What is the difficulty level in Neighborhood, Park, Rec, Pro-Am on in NBA 2K23?” According to NBA 2K Gameplay Director, Mike Wang, Park, The Stage, Pro-Am have their own slider set, but closest to Hall of Fame difficulty. The Rec is closer to Superstar difficulty.Is NBA 2K16 the best 2K? ›
NBA 2K16 is arguably the greatest NBA 2K game of all time for good reason. They introduced an amazing MyCareer story arc, they rolled out the iconic ProAm, and it featured the one of the best Parks that was ever created.How good is NBA 2K16? ›
If - and this is a big if - its online servers manage to stay afloat, NBA 2K16 is not only the best sports game of the year, but one of the best of all time. In a game jammed with content, its fundamentals shine brightest. The 5-on-5 basketball is the most polished and intense sports simulation I've ever played.How many GB is NBA 2K17 PC? ›
Can I Run NBA 2K17? In terms of game file size, you will need at least 70 GB of free disk space available. Provided that you have at least an AMD Radeon HD 6450 graphics card you can play the game.Is 2K23 going to be good? ›
The NBA 2K franchise is back and moving in the right direction. After years of stagnant gameplay mechanics and subtle improvements to its franchise mode, this year's game has taken huge, direction-defining steps. NBA 2K23 offers an amazingly customizable experience.Is 2K23 pre order worth it? ›
If you plan to invest a lot of time into NBA 2K23's various game modes, you might want to pre-order a copy of the game because you'll get some bonuses with your order. If you pre-order a copy of NBA 2K23 you get some bonus items that could prove useful during your play-through.
Is it worth it to buy NBA 2K23? ›
NBA 2K23 is worth the price of admission almost entirely because of how good the new MyNBA Eras mode is. What makes NBA 2K23 the best installment in years is the well-needed gameplay changes, as well as the return of the enthralling Jordan Challenge mode.How long is Mycareer 2K22? ›
In NBA 2K22, each Season will last six weeks and will refresh with new content, and if you're able to reach Level 40, a Grand Prize will be available to redeem.What was the first 2K game? ›
NBA 2K (video game)
|Release||NA: November 11, 1999 EU: August 2, 2000|
|Logo since 2019|
|Formerly||Electronic Arts Sports Network (1991–1993)|
|Month||Avg. Players||Peak Players|
|Last 30 Days||11,687.4||22,166|
NBA 2K23 is a basketball video game developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports, based on the National Basketball Association (NBA). It is the 24th installment in the NBA 2K franchise and the successor to NBA 2K22.How much does 2K22 make a year? ›
For the full year, net revenue slightly increased by 4% to 3.50 billion and Take-Two's annual profit was $418 million.Is Michael Jordan in NBA 2K22? ›
Everyone who enters the Season menu in Season 2 will receive a Free Agent Michael Jordan to begin earning XP and captain your lineup. Plus, you can pair him up with one of, if not, the greatest rebounder of all time Emerald to Bulls-red Ruby, Evolution Dennis Rodman.Is 2K18 available for PS3? ›
Buy NBA 2K18 (PS3) Playstation 3 Online at Low Prices in India | Video Games - Amazon.in. ₹1,049.00 Fulfilled FREE Delivery.What does Ronnie 2K do? ›
Ronnie Singh, also known as Ronnie 2K, is one of the most polarizing figures in the sports and gaming industry. He is currently the Digital Marketing Director for 2K Games. Somehow, he always manages to find himself in a position where fans and players alike would put the blame on him.
Which is better 2K22 or FIFA 22? ›
In NBA 2K22, you can wait a long time to be able to play in MyTeam or street basketball games. Because the number of players is incredibly low. FIFA 22 is getting better every year. Although not radical changes, it brings differences that will increase the game experience of the players.What sells more Madden or FIFA? ›
This means that Madden is already the best-selling sports game of the year, though EA does have FIFA 23 on the menu this fall. No other game in NPD's tracking has achieved Madden's 23-year top-selling debut streak. Of course, few series have as many year entries as Madden does (it did debut in 1988, after all).Is FIFA the most popular game? ›
Football Remains World's Most Popular Sport
Statistics reveal about 4 billion people are football fans! This popularity has only grown over the years, and FIFA's growth has tallied with the chart.
|NBA Live 23|
|Platform(s)||Playstation 5 Xbox Series X/S|
|Release date||August 26, 2022|
NBA 2K is a far more technical game, while NBA Live is more focused on the fun. The latter game is also criticized for having an over-focus on offense while the former is better balanced.Does NBA Live have classic teams? ›
NBA Live Legend All-Stars Teams is a video game feature on the NBA Live video games series (since NBA Live 2000). It gathers five teams, each representing a decade, starting from the 1950s. Each team consists of great (although not necessarily the greatest) players from that era.What's the number 1 video game? ›
|3||Call of Duty||$17,000,000,000|
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (1998) is widely regarded as the greatest video game of all time, according to most criteria. A number of sources taken from across publications, from 1985 to the present, were used to compile the list. Games which consistently showed up in multiple lists are featured below.Is 2K22 better than 2K21? ›
While a few glitches have been reported, the NBA 2K22 defensive mechanisms are comprehensively better than that of previous editions of the game. Secondly, NBA 2K22 has added dribbling animations and a range of new dribbling moves that is almost immediately apparent for gamers who have played NBA 2K21.
Is 2K22 better than 2K20? ›
Is WWE 2K22 better than WWE 2K20? Well, straight up, WWE 2K22 is a way better game than WWE 2K20. Even though 2K22 has its flaws, like the microtransactions and the slight bugs here and there, it's not as bad as 2K20 has been.Which game is better 2K19 or 2K20? ›
2K20 Has Slightly Better Visuals
Overall, NBA 2K20 is a better looking game than NBA 2K19, but the improvement is slight. It comes down to lighting and a new facial animation concept that makes the players look more lifelike.
Aside from the polarizing shooting concept, a new look to the Neighborhood and a completely revamped MyTeam mode, there isn't much difference in this and NBA 2K20. If you're not a hardcore MyTeam player, I'm not sure this is a must-have for you–especially if you're buying it on next-gen.What 2K23 is next gen? ›
NBA 2K23 runs at 1080p at 60 FPS in current gen, while it runs at 4K Ultra HD at 60 FPS in next gen, making the latter a way more accurate representation of players and courts.Will 2K23 have seasons? ›
Decide who's friend or foe and prove you belong in the running for the best marksman in the league - Season 2 awaits you. For more details, check out the Courtside Report! NBA 2K23 Season 2 is coming! If playback doesn't begin shortly, try restarting your device.
NBA 2K22 makes some welcome changes to its on-court action. The new stamina system is a game-changer, leading to the series' best offensive flow in years. Defensively, the tweaks to blocks and shot contests make the paint a dangerous place to be.Is wwe2k19 better than 2K22? ›
So far my time with this game has brought me a lot of enjoyment thanks largely to the combo system. I hope they keep this system for awhile, or permanently.Is WWE 2K22 deluxe worth? ›
The WWE 2K22 Deluxe Edition is worth purchasing for anyone that was planning on getting the season pass. The game combined with the season pass is ultimately worth the same as WWE 2K22 Deluxe Edition, which effectively means it comes with the alternate versions of The Undertaker and Rey Mysterio for free.Is NBA 2K22 worth it on PS4? ›
NBA 2K22 does some admirable things on PS4, offering a MyCareer Neighborhood exclusive to current-gen and boasting decently refined gameplay that improves upon the stiffer momentum of the predecessor.How much is 2K20 on Xbox? ›
|Sale Date ▲ ▼||Title ▲ ▼||▲ ▼ Price|
|2022-07-30||NBA 2K20 - Microsoft Xbox One Complete||$5.85|
|2022-07-28||NBA 2K20 - Microsoft Xbox One||$0.99|
|2022-07-27||XBox One S: NBA 2k20||$118.50|
|2022-06-22||NBA 2K20 - Microsoft Xbox One||$1.95|
What's the difference between NBA Live and 2K? ›
NBA Live is a free app game to download. NBA 2k does cost you to play. It depends do you to pay to play or would you prefer it free. NBA Live mobile app is like the one Madden mobile because its made by the some company EA Sports.Does 2K come with game pass? ›
The game is not currently announced for Xbox Game Pass. However, this doesn't mean that the game won't come to the service in the future. Microsoft often adds new games to Xbox Game Pass every month, so there's a chance that The latest version of NBA 2K could be added at some point.Is the new 2K good? ›
Outside of the retro-era makeover, there isn't a lot of new – but that's forgivable, given that the NBA 2K series already delivers the best graphics in sports gaming. NBA 2K23 is as close as the series has ever come to emulating a real game of basketball.How do I get better at NBA 2K22? ›
23 Tips And Tricks You NEED To Know In NBA 2K22! - YouTubeWhy do I keep getting kicked out of rec games 2k22? ›
On most occasions, players of the game tend to face an issue in The Rec because of internet issues. Because of this, we recommend you first check your internet connection. If you wish to, you can launch any other game that requires an internet connection to be absolutely sure your internet is the culprit.