I’ve never been big into sports games – especially sports I’m actually good at in real life. Because of that, I’ve always had a fairly tepid relationship with NBA 2K.
This month, though, I have fallen completely down a small 2K rabbit hole. It has nothing to do with NBA odds and everything to do with a quirky Xbox community even I am participating in.
Let me explain. I’m a member of TrueAchievements, a gaming community mostly centered around hunting down every last achievement from Xbox games. The rarer, the better.
Sometimes, they do fun community events. Right now, I’m locked in a game of Battleship with another community member, where each square on the grid corresponds to an achievement from a random game that’s already in your gaming library.
If I want to fire at E6, I need to look at the grid and figure out which achievement was randomly assigned there. Once I unlock it, the grid registers either a hit or a miss at E6.
You’re in good company if you’re laughing at how elaborate and silly this is. My girlfriend and most of my close friends find this completely insane. But it’s a good, mindless way to blow off steam on the weekend after a long week analyzing odds and studying the Rockies’ bullpen.
Anyway, I tell you all that so you understand why I played 10 hours of 2K14 this weekend. To sink this guy’s aircraft carrier, I need to go back to 2K14 and earn an achievement where I get my teammates to invite me out to a club after a win.
It has sent me to an absolutely preposterous alternate reality. My character, Andreas Bryant, is a pass-first point guard who was drafted in the middle of the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks. My play has steadily improved throughout my first season – I’m still coming off the bench, but I’m now our team’s key sixth man.
There are implications to my presence, though. As any basketball player can tell you, there are a limited number of minutes to go around, and one player’s ascendence is another’s nightmare.
Yes… your suspicions are correct. My player’s presence has prevented Giannis Antetokounmpo from becoming a star player in the NBA.
I’m not sure if he’s been traded or just cut; the last I saw, he was designated a “benchwarmer” with zero minutes per game. Then, one day, that long Greek name was gone from the roster.
Sorry, Giannis. The Bucks belong to me, Brandon Knight, OJ Mayo, Caron Butler and Larry Sanders. We’re better off without you.
Beyond Milwaukee, there are strange instances of alternate-reality dramatic irony lurking around every corner.
For instance, 2K14 takes place right before Steve Kerr took over as head coach of the Warriors. So instead of roaming the sidelines for two of my games every season, he’s providing color commentary for every game that I play.
It’s absolutely bizarre to hear Kerr talk about Oracle arena – “they’ve got quite the home crowd there, but it’s not like the Rocky Mountain advantage over in Denver and Utah.”
Or then-Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who Kerr would soon swap jobs within our timeline – “He took over the Warriors with no head coaching experience, and a lot of people questioned the hire. But I really like what he’s done there.”
Where I’ve spent the most time in awe, though, is on defense. As I said, Andreas Bryant is a pass-first point guard, which means I spend half my time attempting to D up point guards from nine years ago.
Sticking with the Warriors, this means I play twice a year against Steph Curry. But not, like, present-day Steph Curry. This is a Steph that was built by computer models a decade ago, before he had done anything.
In my most recent game, I locked him down for zero points, and then he hurt his ankle in the third quarter and left the game. So I think he’s done for the season.
You know who’s absolutely destroying me? E’Twaun Moore. Trey Burke. Ty Lawson. You know… guys who are, charitably, not Steph Curry.
I have no idea what the NBA 2K23 release date is, and I’ll probably never buy it. I likely won’t spend one second looking at the NBA 2K23 ratings.
But for the love of LeBron, you have to go play a 2K game from 10 years ago. It is deeply entertaining and so, so weird.
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