NBA 2K21 Review

nba 2k21 cover

NBA 2K21 Review

I’m so old I still have a copy of my original NBA 2K for the Sega Dreamcast that was released in 1999. Somehow we’re already up to itineration number 21 this year, with NBA 2K21. And somehow I already have a 10 year old son who is addicted to the franchise.

So, after giving you a rundown of the game features, courtesy of the good folks at 2K, I’ll let the kid tell you what he likes and dislikes about the new game.

First, the features;


In NBA 2K21, new, old, and returning ballers alike will find exciting game modes that offer a variety of basketball experiences:

MyCAREER – Embark on your own personal, cinematic basketball journey to reach your ultimate destination: the National Basketball Association. Build up your custom MyPLAYER and take him to the heights of their career and stardom, and make a name for yourself in the global basketball universe.

MyTEAM – Assemble your G.O.A.T. NBA fantasy team of current players and historic legends and compete against the world. Uncover rare and highly-rated player cards by participating in many rewarding game events and daily and weekly challenges, and compare your hard-earned collection with friends and competitors.

NEIGHBORHOOD – Live out your virtual, day-to-day basketball life in a neighborhood that doesn’t sleep and that always offers something to do. Jump in on 3v3 streetball runs with your crew, or play for bigger stakes in 5v5 ProAm games. Shop for the latest sneaker and apparel drops. Level up your MyPLAYER at the local training facility. In your NEIGHBORHOOD, basketball never stops, and Everything is Game.

MyGM/MyLEAGUE – Sit in the boss’ chair, and make decisions that matter not only to your player or team – but to the entire franchise and league. From drafting impact rookies to trading players to relocating your team, every move, big or small, counts towards the long-term success – or failure – of your basketball franchise.

PLAY NOW – Jump into a no-frills basketball game, where you can get a quick match together against a friend or AI and play 4 quarters of intense NBA 2K basketball. Pick your favorite team – or a Classic or All-Time team – and run the offense with genre-defining controls and customization. This is NBA action at its most authentic.

What’s New in NBA 2K21?

For full details, check out our Courtside Report’s on gameplay, MyTEAM and MyCAREER; at a high level:

Gameplay – The most realistic 2K gameplay experience ever, anchored in revamped shot mechanics, X, Y.

● Major changes to the Pro Stick to allow for new dribbling mechanics. Previously, the Pro Stick could be held in any direction to take a jump shot. This limited the Pro Stick to be a fully featured dribble stick; with this change we’ve been able to expand the dribble move arsenal and give players access to more moves in a more intuitive control system.

● Shot meter changes from a timing bar to a targeting system. Driven in part by a desire to make scoring a skill both from the perimeter and at the rim, we’ve introduced Shot Stick Aiming. So instead of trying to stop the shot meter when you reach the perfect release window, you adjust the Pro Stick in real time to hit the ideal center aim point. The target window resizes dynamically based on player ability, shooting range, and how well the shot is contested and can also shift to the left or right based on the shot’s degree of difficulty.

● New shot types, new signature defensive motion styles, stronger presence from bigs in the paint and more. There are numerous additions and changes to NBA 2K21 that refine some of the key learnings from previous titles, making for an overall more polished experience.

● Thanks to current-gen cover athlete Damian Lillard, players will now be able to make oversized point guards (6’8). Players can now make oversized point guards, bringing them one step closer to realizing their Penny Hardaway dreams.

MyTEAM – Revamped to offer a deeper and more engaging experience, offering new ways to play throughout the entire year.

● MyTEAM current-gen progression and collection will seamlessly carry over to the same next-gen console families. In NBA 2K21, your entire MyTEAM collection and progress will seamlessly carry over from PS4 to PS5 and Xbox One to Xbox Series X, so you can enjoy MyTEAM uninterrupted, all year long. Start earning on NBA 2K21 for current gen on September 4 and your entire balance of VC, MyTEAM Points, pulled cards and Tokens will be there later in the year when you upgrade to NBA 2K21 for next gen.

● Seasons are new to NBA 2K21. Seasons will bring new content and new ways to play MyTEAM all year long, and best of all, it’s free to participate in and for everyone to play.

● Badge Customization and Customizable Evolutions. Badge cards return, allowing you to add and upgrade Badges from Bronze to Hall of Fame. Evolution cards now branch, giving players an opportunity to make new decisions that make their players unique

● New MyTEAM Limited Mode/Revamped MyTEAM Unlimited Mode. New MyTEAM Limited mode will be available every Friday-Sunday where every player has the chance to win their
championship rings. A new ring will be available each weekend; earn every ring in each season to unlock the best seasonal rewards for Limited. Also, MyTEAM Unlimited is back in NBA 2K21 but revamped! It will consist of 9 leagues you need to play through before you can reach the top!

● Another new feature to MyTEAM: The Exchange. Now you can trade in cards you aren’t using for cards that will become staples in your starting lineup, everything has value in MyTEAM for NBA2K21.

● MyTEAM’s IDOL Series Collection, will feature some of the NBA’s most memorable players from both the past and the present. Spread across 15 special releases, the IDOLS Series will be THE premium pack collection to covet during NBA 2K21’s MyTEAM run. The first pullable Pink Diamond card is coming this September.

MyCAREER/Neighborhood and More

● Introducing The Long Shadow. In NBA 2K21, this year’s narrative, The Long Shadow, tells the story of Junior – the son of a beloved baller who faces the challenges of trying to make it to the NBA, balancing legacy while carving his own path through high school to college. Making this journey more authentic to real life, NBA 2K21 will feature 10 officially licensed college programs to choose from in the story: Michigan State, UConn, Florida, Gonzaga, Syracuse, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, UCLA, Villanova University and West Virginia.

See Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy), Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire), Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond, Guardians of the Galaxy), Mireille Enos (The Killing, World War Z) and cover athletes Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson and more bring Junior’s story to life in a dramatic and cinematic way.

● Welcome to 2K Beach! Ballers will be soaking up the sun at the 2K Beach, the new location for the NBA 2K21 current-gen edition Neighborhood. Soak up the sun and escape to the ocean in a beautiful new setting, surrounded by modern facilities that house SWAG’s, The REC, NBA Store and more. NBA 2K21 will continue to host plenty of events at 2K Beach, providing even more reasons to come back all year long.

● MyLEAGUE. This year’s MyLEAGUE features plenty of new additions, ranging from quality of life improvements to major new additions. New to NBA 2K21 is the boom-bust progression system, where player progression is now dynamic! This ensures every session is unique and it overall offers a more engaging MyLEAGUE experience.

● WNBA is back! The WNBA returns in NBA 2K21 with Play Now and Season Modes, featuring all 12 teams in the league.

● The return of USA Basketball. Go for the gold with the 2012 and 2016 USA Basketball teams!

● More Shoes, Music and Clothes. Look the part of a baller with all-new apparel and sneaker drops from your favorite brands. Ball while taking in the dynamic soundtrack, features the latest big artists from around the world and breakthrough musicians waiting to be discovered.


NBA 2K21 Review

Now for Mr. Nathan’s review:


  • new shoe brands for customization, including Peak and New Balance
  • any custom shoe you create automatically goes to your My Career shoe collection
  • more creation options and longer storyline in My Career, including starting game in high school and choosing your own college
  • new classic teams, including championship Raptors and Warriors, plus two classic Team USA’s (no original Dream Team, sadly)
  • gameplay visuals looks even more like watching a real game on TV
  • lots of good My League creation features and gameplay
  • better graphics
  • make your own WNBA playoffs
  • the new My Career neighborhood includes a beach and new buildings, plus ability to pause & skip video sequences
  • gameplay more realistic
  • My Team is more fun than ever – new settings, unlock lots of additional options
  • wide variety of cities to start up expansion teams in, from Honolulu to Montreal
  • LeBron James included on all-time Lakers roster



  • not a fan of the soundtrack, other than The Strokes
  • demo isn’t a good representation of the game – game is much better than it (maybe that should be under strengths?!)
  • new shot bar takes some getting used to
  • if you win a championship in My Career, there is no ring celebration or parade like in previous incarnations of the game
  • was hoping for older historical teams (pre 1965)
  • no non-North American cities to set up expansion teams in
  • just like NBA 2K20, you can’t do much online (like entering your character’s house in the game) without Playstation Plus
  • can’t create a custom female player or do a female My Career


Grab it here


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