NBA 2K11 might be my favorite video game of all time. It was the first basketball video game that actually let you call out plays that worked and, after a little while, get your players to go where you wanted them to go on the court and legitimately beat guys off the dribble instead of having the defender fall down after watching a crossover.
I never got tired of running Steph Curry off picket-fence screens along the baseline to open him up for three, converting and-1s with LeBron in transition, or making a read on a sideline pick-and-roll. (I will note that I have played my colleague Rob Mahoney online a few times, and he does none of those things. He takes crazy gambles on defense and has one guy go right at the rim after dribbling around for a while. I have yet to beat him. So there’s that.)
I don’t get as excited about the “classic” stuff as most people do — for reasons I can’t really explain to anyone but myself, I need my sports video games to have some realism to them, mostly because I fake-broadcast my games against the computer, and I need explanations for why Tim Duncan and Prime Hakeem Olajuwon are playing on the same team or against each other. Likewise, I didn’t love 2K11’s Jordan Challenge nearly as much as I loved the other game modes, because the 8-minute quarters and statistical qualifiers forced me to have MJ shoot on every possession, which ran counter to all the things I loved about the normal gameplay — the play-calling and ball-sharing.
However, 2k12’s intro video does heavily feature historical players playing against current players, and I have to admit it’s pretty cool to see the Dream Shake, Kareem’s Skyhook, and the Dream Shake in the game. (Which reminds me: hopefully NBA 2K12 releases a better manual for all the post moves this time around, even if it’s online. I never could figure out how to string together counter-moves like the computer could against me, even after doing all the tutorials.)