The Five Most Overpowered NBA 2K Players
By: Darius Thornton
For the last decade, Take-Two Interactive’s NBA 2K series of games has reigned supreme as the most realistic simulation basketball game on the market. With the steady decline of competitor Electronic Art’s NBA Live series, it became the only real option for basketball fans seeking a realistic basketball experience. Everything from the gameplay, the graphics, to the game modes and features, were just unparalleled. Take-Two has committed themselves to making even the smallest details, such as sweat on players, a realistic-looking crowd, players who move like themselves, an authentic-sounding television broadcast crew to announce games, things that players have come to expect when they purchase a 2K game. Though, no one’s perfect. There have been times for whatever reason, certain players were simply beyond realism in how stupidly overpowered they were, which of course led to many rage-inducing situations. Today, I channel the inner-rage from my childhood and take a look back at the five most egregious cases of this throughout 2K history.
- Ty Lawson (2K13)
Oh boy. We’re beginning with a blast from the past. Ty Lawson is no longer in the NBA in 2019, but in 2013, the guard was the starting point guard of a solid Denver Nuggets team. He was a serviceable point guard, though he was never selected for an All-Star or an All-NBA team. A starting-caliber point guard who could give you 15 to 17 points per game. But 2K13 had other ideas about that. I have vivid memories of my ten-year-old self playing “the Association” mode as my team, the Lakers, being tormented by the 5’11” guard in the second round of the playoffs. Poor Steve Nash, he never had a chance. When I say Ty Lawson was the fastest player in the game, I’m not exaggerating. The number of times he abused that damned blow-by animation and finished at the rim. It didn’t help that they gave him Allen Iverson’s handles either. He was a full-blown superstar. Kyrie Irving before Kyrie Irving. No matter who I put on him, I got the work and the defender got his ankles snatched. I could put Kobe on him, or Metta World Peace, it didn’t matter, he would still shake them and take it to the rack. If I had Dwight Howard or Pau Gasol waiting in the paint to black the shot, he’d just go to the unblockable reverse. He almost sent me packing single-handedly. The six
games of that series were a nightmare that continued to haunt me every time I matched up against the Nuggets.
- LeBron James (2K13)
You may see this here and be a bit confused. LeBron James is widely considered to be one of the greatest players in NBA history, so it stands to reason that his play in 2K would reflect that, right? Well, yes, to a certain degree but the way 2K13 played as a game just made things absurd. For whatever reason, it wasn’t possible to block dunks in the game, so if a player started a dunk animation, it was going in, save for the rare miss. With a player as strong and fast as LeBron, it’s easy to see how this could become problematic. If you ran into someone using the Miami Heat online, nine times out of ten, they just speed boosted with LeBron, blew past the perimeter defender and threw it down over anyone unlucky enough to be in the paint. The animation ended in the would-be defender’s utter annihilation at the hands of the King. The spin dunk was particularly filthy since it always triggered an animation that resulted in instant points. And when he wasn’t beating you on the inside, LeBron had a dependable jump shot as well, one that could even stretch back to the three-point line. You couldn’t play him too lax and risk getting lit up, but you couldn’t play him too close either and risk having your big man on Sportscenter. All you could do was shake your head, throw your hands up and pray for a patch to fix the dunking problem, a patch that would never come.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (NBA 2K19)
From NBA 2K13 to something a lot more recent and fresh in my mind. When one of the developers for NBA 2K19 announced that players would be able to chain together moves like eurosteps into dunks, I instantly knew what was coming. It seemed like a feature added almost exclusively for the “Greek Freak” because he was the cover athlete that year and Take-Two always makes sure the cover athlete is practically a god. The Milwaukee Bucks forward had already been near unstoppable in the previous game, but now he was actually unstoppable. There was nothing, absolutely nothing you could do to stop him from getting inside, so his lack of a consistent jump shot hardly mattered. He simply powered through or jumped over anyone smaller than him and if one tried to put a bigger man on him, the other player would simply abuse the eurostep animation until Giannis was at the rim, finishing with a dunk or contested layup literally every time. Whenever I ran into someone using the Bucks online, I just resigned myself to the fact that Giannis was going to get his, no matter what I did, to save myself the stress. Instead, I put my focus on trying to slow down Milwaukee’s supporting cast, practically daring my opponent to beat me with just Giannis, which they did, more often than not. So, I did what any rational person who was tired of losing would do, I used the Warriors.
- Monta Ellis (NBA 2K12)
Monta Ellis was the bane of my existence. NBA 2K12, like the majority of the series during the decade, had a My Player mode, where you could customize your own player and go through an NBA career while playing just as your player, as opposed to controlling your entire team. I thought I was pretty good, with my 90 overall player averaging something like 35 points per game along with six assists and seven rebounds because my hyperactive nine-year-old self played the game way too much. Though, I had made a fatal mistake and not realized it. I had chosen to play shooting guard, of all positions and for whatever reason. And Monta Ellis was out for my blood. I played for the Los Angeles Clippers, so that meant we saw our division rivals the Golden State Warriors four times in the regular season. Ellis made sure to personally rip my soul out of my body, every single time. I swear he pulled off animations that weren’t even in the game. There was this hesitation, high crossover dribble he would do, that would freeze my player, just long enough for him to get by me and put up this weird floater that never missed. Not once. I never saw anyone else in the game do this, not one. He could shoot too, he practically ate me alive from the mid-range. He would dribble into pull-ups, get me with the up and under fake, and somehow banked in EVERY fade-away, no matter what kind of defense I played. He dropped 60 points on my head, twice and fifty-five once. He was the Bird to my Magic. Ellis was personally responsible for my first broken controller, which I chucked at the wall, as I simply could not not take the torture I was being subjected to any longer. The worst part was, he did all of this, as just an 83 overall. I could go toe to toe with players like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, but I couldn’t hold Monte Ellis below 50 to save my life. Thanks, Monte Ellis, for ruining my innocence. I had never raged over a game before, with the obvious exception being Lego Star Wars.
- Gerald Green (NBA 2K14)
Last, but definitely not least, we have Gerald “Michael Jordan” Green. That nickname is no hyperbole, he was actually Michael Jordan. Or at least, the developers thought he was. I swear they stuck his name and player model over some maxed out created player. Now, Gerald Green has been a pretty solid role player for a long time now, who could put up anywhere from 10 to 12 points, but he might have been the best player in NBA 2K14. Green was known for his athleticism and dunking ability, which was reflected in the game pretty well, but it was easy to abuse, by throwing lobs to him the entire game or speeding up the court like LeBron. That alone doesn’t seem too bad, but for whatever reason Gerald Green’s shot was money from almost anywhere. He could kill at mid-range and from deep. Why? I don’t know; he has never been known as an outstanding shooter. I definitely abused it though. I remember controlling the Magic in the Association mode and ended up getting Gerald Green from the Phoenix Suns as an extra in some trade and didn’t really think much of him. That is until he and James Harden carried us to a championship and I got Finals MVP with him averaging 45 against the Spurs. The man could practically float, his shot was automatic and he was one of the fastest players on the court. That is literally Michael Jordan. I abused this online too, being one of the few people who actually used the Suns, just for Gerald Green, as I dominated players like LeBron and Kevin Durant mercilessly. He could either ruin or make any game of 2K he was in; it all depended on what side you were on. Gerald Green was an absolute monster and that was the travesty of all travesties.