Tuesday, August 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm  |  110 responses

Links: An Early Look at NBA 2K11

Y’all don’t want it with MJ.

by Lang Whitaker | @langwhitaker

Because it’s now after 1:00 PM EST on Tuesday, August 17, I am now free to tell you about what I did last Thursday morning: I got to play NBA 2K11.

The game drops in North America on October 5th, so we’re still a ways off from it hitting the market. I enjoyed playing last year’s game, even though it had some flaws. Last week, I only got to play 2K11 for about an hour, so I didn’t have a chance to get very deep into the game or even check out the My Player mode at all. But from what I saw, 2K11 is going to be just as addictive, if not more addictive, than it was last year.

I started by playing the first half of a Heat/Lakers game, and I was given the Heat to use. The game felt a little smoother than 2K10, with less robotic movement from the players than in previous basketball games. To be fair, I really didn’t have much opportunity to check out the AI or playcalling, which are the parts of basketball video games that have always bothered me.

mj2k11What I did for the remainder of my hour with the game was what really impressed me. By now you’ve probably heard that Michael Jordan is on the cover of 2K11. Well, there’s a game within the game called The Jordan Challenge. In this Challenge, there are ten sequences to play — The Flu Game, The Shrug, and plenty more — where you play as Michael Jordan and are tasked with replicating some of Money’s most famous performances.

I played the game called “The Arrival,” also known as MJ’s 63-point Playoff outburst as a rookie against the big bad Boston Celtics. To pass this game, you need to at least equal MJ’s 63 points, as well as shoot 50-percent from the floor.

The game wasn’t a perfect replica of MJ’s game in ’86 — for instance, in 2K11 it was set in the new TD Banknorth Garden, not the old Boston Garden — but it was pretty damn close. The players wore short shorts, and the rosters were perfect. So I played as MJ with teammates like Kyle Macy, Dave Corzine and Orlando Woolridge. (Sixth man? George Gervin!) Meanwhile, the Celtics had Bird, Parrish, McHale, DJ, Ainge, etc.

Just having those classic rosters would be enough to get me interested, but the added wrinkle of needing to score 63 made it even more entertaining. MJ in this game is like MJ was at the time — faster, quicker, more athletic than the rest of the guys on the court, and it was fun as heck to play with him. At one point I drove baseline and pump-faked a shot, and the Jordan on-screen executed a one-handed pump-fake while palming the ball, exactly like MJ used to do.

I only had time to play one half of this game and didn’t call any plays, and I scored only 18 points. Seems like I’ll have to put a lot more work into it once the game actually drops in October. (“Sorry, Wifey, I have some work to do!”)

The one question I get from you guys every year is which game to get, 2K11 or EA’s NBA Elite (formerly NBA Live). I haven’t had a chance to play the new Elite, and EA’s making so many changes to the game this year that I don’t think I’m going to have a chance to play it before it actually drops.

But what I do know is that the brief taste I had of The Jordan Challenge alone has me ready for more 2K11.

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  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    The Jordan Challenge and the chance to play with classic teams is all I need. I preordered it over the weekend at Gamestop. The gameplay looks nice and the player models look fantastic. I had the classic teams list….I’ll try to post it.

    Thanks for this Lang.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    When you complete the Jordan Challenge a new mode becomes available which is like the “my player” mode but instead of creating a rookie you are given Jordan and its up to the player to make him the GOAT with your team of choice.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    1985-86 Chicago Bulls
    1985-86 Boston Celtics
    1989-90 Chicago Bulls
    1989-90 Atlanta Hawks
    1989-90 Cleveland Cavaliers
    1989-90 Detroit Pistons
    1990-91 Chicago Bulls
    1990-91 Los Angeles Lakers
    1991-92 Chicago Bulls
    1991-92 Portland Trailblazers
    1994-95 Chicago Bulls
    1994-95 New York Knicks
    1995-96 Chicago Bulls
    1995-96 Seattle Supersonics
    1996-97 Chicago Bulls
    1996-97 Utah Jazz
    1997-98 Chicago Bulls
    1997-98 Utah Jazz

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    It seems like they are all playable, at least in exhibition mode.

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    I guess I gotta stick to Madden for one my month…bummer

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    It would be cool to see how Jordan’s Bulls would do against Kobe’s Lakers. I wish they had the Lakers of 2001.

  • JTaylor21

    Lang you lucky basterdo. NO ONE on this slam website can see me when it comes to 2k. I have annihilated many so-called legends on 2k10 and will do the same with 2k11

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    @Eboy, thanks for the list. At least there’s a way for me to rep my Sonics. This list is incomplete right? There’s not a single instance of Dream’s Rockets…

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    I’m warning you all now. I’m kicking everyones ass with the 89 Bad Boys and 96 Sonics.


    Madden ’11 > NBA 2K11

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    LA….that’s the list of classic teams that compete in the Jordan Challenge. It has to be teams Michael had big moments against. I was reading somewhere there may be more teams released. Michael vs. Nique has me drooling.

  • http://fsdkjlf.com Jukai

    PSYCHED about this. If only they had my 90s Suns!!!!!!!! I want to run with Barkley and KJ!!

  • http://slamonline.com Kap

    I hoped they improved the passing bc 2k10 made passing irritating.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    BTW, I’ve seen the animations of some of the “classic” Jordan moments and they are ridiculously accurate.

  • slamfan4life

    This game is gonna be so goddamns sick

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    All I know is i’m droppin 100 in “the flu game”

  • shaolin23

    UNREAL. what time is it?! game time hoop!
    they should have a challenge entitled, “win 72 games in a season with any team.”

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    JTaylor, the hilarious part is; the more you post about your personal life, the more your comments make sense to me.

  • http://slamonline.com Spaceship Jay

    And I’m considering using Utah this year.

  • Drew


  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    you have to

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy
  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I have a link in moderation of the Jordan Moments gameplay….it’s ridiculous.

  • Ant360

    My one wish for 2k11 is to see the 90′s magic. I’m runnin with penny and shaq all day!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Actually, there’s a section in the link video showing to the 96 Hawks…when Michael dunked on Mutumbo and wagged his finger, that must mean there are going to other unannounced teams.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Mike even does the pist pump on a game winner….this is unparrelled in-game sh*t.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Eboy: I approved it

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Mike even does the fist pump on a game winner….this is unparrelled in-game sh*t.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    E – Where did you get that Video?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy


  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I found the link on a 2K11 forum.

  • http://www.shalomlife.com Stevea

    Eboy, that youtube video is actually game play from 2K10, not 2K11.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    yeah that’s 2k10 for sure.

  • http://www.shalomlife.com Stevea

    Check out this fan made video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO4lZYGqUG8

    It’s NBA 2K10 footage recreated scene for scene to look like the Jordan vs Jordan TV Commercial. Brilliant.

  • http://www.shalomlife.com Stevea

    You can actually see the comparison between the real commercial and the video game one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAjmEN1E45o

  • http://stapledesign.com Spaceship Jay

    Wow, only one Lakers team, and it’s not even the 88′ team. If any LA team, I thought it would have been that one. Wait, I see now…. Only teams that played the Bulls in the Finals. Ok…………Sigh.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Yeah, but how did they get those particular moments fleshed out on 2k10?

  • http://google c_cantrell

    uhh… wrong video eboy.. ha what a loser lol

  • http://www.michaelcho.com M Cho

    Yeah, that video was a mashup of a couple of user-made 2k10 videos. But 2k11 has got me all excited — that Jordan Challenge sounds awesome. And if I can take MJ through a MyPlayer mode….sweet. I’m getting this the day it drops.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    I think I pasted the wrong link…..my bad, boys. I need to find the other one.

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    thx, Eboy.
    Assuming they’ll let me rep any Finals team since MJ came into the league, I can’t wait to run with the 94-95 Rockets and Magic.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker
  • JTaylor21

    The 96 sonics would be a hell of a team to use. I would avg 5spg with a prime GP. Also NBA 2k11>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Madden ’11.

  • http://fsdkjlf.com Jukai

    Wait, hold on a second…
    so this game will have John Stockton?
    Does that mean my brother wont have to create his own and constantly be playing with a character who looks likeDavid Duchovny with Down’s Syndrome?

  • EJ


  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    You can mess with 2k for PC if you know what your doing. Messanjah Matt on youtube and that operationsports.com website has been makin mashups for years. he has old MJ moments in videos from like 2k7-2k10

  • logues

    i dont think ive ever been so pumped for a video game! i cant wait to play the jordan challenge, that idea is so dope. i always was mad that mj was never on any of the nba video games back in the day, always wanted to play with him and the bulls.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    Now that I got Jordan to fool around with, I gotta make a 12-man legends team to just play on ludicrously hard mode. My lineup of Magic-Jordan-Bird-Duncan-Kareem is gonna obliterate.

  • http://www.nba.com Jason

    i hope the jordan challenge is fun, and i hope they improved the ordinary my player mode because it was pretty easy in nba 2k10. But what do u get for completing the jordan chalenge?It sounds a little boring to me.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7xlzLOZH5c Th3_R3al_Chris

    I wish he 94-95 Magic were in it, too… Would be crazy to have that team in a game.

  • black pinoy

    stockton to malone. and add the rockets of 95! :D please make it happen.. i also want to play the wolves of 97 (yeah they sucked though)

  • total scrotal implosion

    We want hakeem!!!

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    C’mon NBA2k, give me my 1993 Suns!!! Barkley, Thunder Dan, KG, Cellabos, Chambers, Ainge!!! That team was the bomb!!! Let me try and prevent Jordan from dropping 55.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    Hakeem has literally been in every single NBA2k game since a decade ago…

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Guys, kind of funny that a whole bunch of commentators who often refer to other commentators as teenagers and toddlers (Eboy I’m looking at you, among others) are getting all third-legged over a videogame that is months away from being released. No pun intended, just saying.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    Lz: Let us be kids, damnit!!

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Ohh and Jukai don’t forget about Suns’ rookies Richard Dumas and Glutiver Miller on those ’92-’93 Suns, heck of a team, very fun to watch.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    Wah!!!!!!!! Lz criticized my video game habit!!!!! Mama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Hehe I will, I will… like I said absolutely no pun intended. But gotta be able to see the humorous side to it. The Jordan challenge sure sounds cool. Unfortunately it has been too long since I was regularly playing NBA videogames, whenever my friend lures me into playing he picks the Lakers and let Kobe light me up; I always end up throwing down the joypad in anger sometime in the third Q. After all I am a sore loser :)

  • MikeC.

    I’ll get jacked up about this when I’m done paying my student loans and can afford to get something newer than my PS2 and N-64.

  • Da Real

    I gotta get this

  • MikeC.

    Unless anybody out there wants to hook me up with a free PS3 or Xbox360. Is there welfare for gamers?

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    I have a comment in moderation, why I really can’t say. No foul language, links or anything. Hmmm SLAM’s commentator software is definitely the weakest part of their portfolio.

  • MikeC.

    ^^^^^ that’s happened to me a few times as well. Usually when I’ve submitted a long post. I’ve also had some post, then just disappear later on.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    @MikeC – it’s not even long, six lines. Could it be the smiley in the end? I’ll try to post it without.

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Hehe I will, I will… like I said absolutely no pun intended. But gotta be able to see the humorous side to it. The Jordan challenge sure sounds cool. Unfortunately it has been too long since I was regularly playing NBA videogames, whenever my friend lures me into playing he picks the Lakers and let Kobe light me up; I always end up throwing down the joypad in anger sometime in the third Q. After all I am a sore loser (smiley).

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    Kim Kardashian

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    There it finally appeared, must have been the smiley that was the reason.

  • Prov-cityboy401

    I need in on this game.MJ all day fade-away perfect.

  • http://slam Kid Canada

    it’s not even a challenge, NBA 2k11 will be played for more than just one year because of the jordan challenge. In five years you will still se it on the shelves

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Lz: I’m just as excited as everyone else. I’m kinda geeked for Elite, too, just to see how the changes affect it. If that makes me a nerd, well…

  • Bruno

    96 sonics with GP that’s all what I have to said

  • ENDS

    Shaq Penny Nick Dennis And Horace with the Blue Googles…Nostalgia at its finest

  • http://www.threadsandkicks.com.au Eduardo

    Classic teams is something that I always wanted in NBA Live. Now converting over to the 2K series.

  • http://joeloholic.wordpress.com Joel O’s

    What, really? You can play as every one of those classic teams? Wow. I can’t wait to use the 97-98 Jazz again.

  • larrylegend

    ’95 Magic and Rockets not in…makes sense, kenny just broke the record in 3′s made in the finals and the magic were the hottest team. and no horry for heartbreaking Buzzers…

  • Bassbesteck

    there goes my wow char… why should i play a level 80 nightelf druid when i can play a level 23 black cat… damn I’m hyped as sh*t

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Definitely keen for this.
    Keen enough to change up from Live (Elite).

  • kundai

    this game will become my life nuff said

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    There is an issue I’ve had ALL DAY LONG with 2k10 – the game freezes with players inbounding or at the stripe.
    PLUS you can’t put googles on Amar’e. This is has been weak…
    2k11 – If I can get me some KNICKS -vs – BULLS action I’ll be a happy man. EWING/ THE OAK/ John Starks….(may he never miss another shot again..).

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    ok, i want to retire from life now

  • Lz – Cphfinest3

    @Lang: Like I said twice already, no pun intended. I consider everyone (my self included)who come to this site and comment nerds, BBall-nerds that is. So have absolutely no problem with nerds of any breed. Good gaming people!

  • Daniel

    I pray they put the 93-94 Nuggets on there (the team that upset the Sonics in round 1 to be exact).

    That team was ill and so up-and-coming.
    LaPhonso Ellis
    Rodney Rogers
    Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf
    Robert Pack
    Brian Williams/Bison Dele
    Bryant Stith.

    I need that team

  • The D Train

    Give me 90-91 Warriors with Run TMC, not to mention Mario Elie and Sarunas. I’d love to careen into the paint with Marciulionis and kick it out to Mully or Rock for the trey. And crossing people all over the place with the UTEP-Two Step. Seriously 2K, please put this time in the game even though they weren’t great. THIS is what that team was made for.

  • The D Train

    ***please put this team in the game

  • Hood booga

    Looks like ill be crushing Mr. Russell’s 11 rings as long as the game doesnt freeze going into each season.

  • http://www.slamonline.com melvin ely

    anyone else annoyed about EA gushing how they’re revolutionizing player control with the right analog stick? 2K was doing that sh!t thoroughly well for the last 3 years people!

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    @D-Train, I hope they include the Elie ‘kiss of death’ when he drains a three.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Only Retro-Teams in the Game are teams that had posed a significant threat (Opponents of his in the finals), and were involved in a significant event in Jordan’s Career. All other teams from the past are not involved. It would be far to hard for 2k to track down every single player that used to be on all those old teams and sign an individual contract with each player just to include them in the game. There is no CBA for retired players, so be happy with what you get

  • The D Train

    Oh, we’ll all be creamin’ our jeans with the list Eboy provided. Nothing wrong with pining for a few different teams, but I don’t think anyone will have any legitimate gripes about the game that is being advertised, at least as far as old teams and players go.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    nbk: I’m pretty sure they don’t have to track down every player. I mean, I’ve seen Chris Mullin in every 2k game. They tracking that dude down?
    They never have Barkley though. I always have to create my own Barkley.
    Still, my Suns were involved in one of the best Jordan playoff moments of all time. So I’m disgruntled not to see them.

  • The D Train

    No kidding, Juk’s. Wasn’t that Finals Jordan’s best playoff series ever? I think he averaged something insane like 42 a game. And the Chuck Wagon wasn’t backing down either. Throw in the triple-OT thriller, and Paxon breaking Frank Johnson’s heart for all to see, and yeah, it was probably the best Finals the Bulls were ever involved in. At least that’s my opinion.

  • Coney Islander

    It’s all in the math actually…2k= 50 cent, NBA live= Ja Rule.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Chris Mullin probably signed a deal with 2k a few years ago when they first put him in. But every ex NBA player must be tracked down individually. The CBA from 1994ish (that could be a few years off) included the rights to use a players image as part of the NBA product. Which is why MJ was never in a game, because his contract seperated him from the rest of the league and was not subject to the CBA. Which is also why, when he came back, with the Wizards he was in the games. Barkley had a similar clause in his contract that kept him out of games in the early to mid 90′s. As to why 2k didn’t get the 1992-93 suns i am not sure. I have read that it was not that significant for Jordan individually, and I have also read that if 2k was unable to get every significant player from a team they were interested in that they would just scrap the team altogether, so that could have been the issue.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Ex-Players can also sign a contract with the NBA allowing them to use their rights. I don’t know the specifics of it all though.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    NBK: I actually didn’t know that, and will take your word for it. So Kareem stopped appearing in games cause they couldn’t track him down to A-Okay that he appear in the game? Very interesting.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    I’ll try and find the article I read, its been a while though.

  • onlyclipsfanonslam

    @Jukai you win this thread, well done sir

  • total scrotal implosion

    Mikec, u can have my dreamcast…. Comes with blitz 99

  • Ronald

    @nbk: Wouldn’t the retired players (most of them) be part of some sort of NBA Players Alumni (with exceptions of course) and automatically be allowed to be placed into NBA endorsed products? I know that’s how they do it with Madden as every player/coach that’s part of their respective association automatically agrees to allow their image to be used in NFL products etc. (That’s why Bill Bellichik(sp?) isn’t referred to in Madden as he is not part of the NFL Coaches Association (Don’t ask me why he’s not, I have NO idea.)

  • Ronald

    @Jukai: Knowing from what I read from articles/interviews about KA-J, he is extremely protective of his time/brand/image and I’m not surprised that he denied 2k or the NBA to use his image/face in a video game. We have to remember that he is in the generation that believes video games to be part of a childish culture.

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  • Derek Hoff

    im surprised there’s no pacers or rockets in there. the rockets went back to back champs in 94 and 95 and the pacers and knicks were one of the biggest rivals of the 90′s. that’d be sweet to actually see reggie miller do the choke sign to spike lee after hitting a game winning 3 at the msg lol

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    The NFL has a retired players union due to the likely-hood of long term health implications of a career in the NFL….that is a non-existent issue for the NBA so they have never needed a alumni-players-union..

  • dimo

    i remember jordan saying he didn’t want to be in a computer game because he wanted kids to spend their time playing real ball instead of chanting at some polygons.
    why did he change his mind?

  • Daniel

    Damn, I was hoping to see the 92-93 Suns on there! :(

  • Eric

    Great posts here… like a lot of ppl say,
    They’re missing 92-93 Suns.
    But an even bigger omission is the early to mid 80′s Lakers teams with Magic and Kareem together. The classic Lakers team here doesn’t have Kareem and Magic is already old by then.

    It would be nice if they had the 95 Magic, and the 94 or 95 Houston Rockets as well.

    Other classic teams like Russell’s celtics, one of the classic teams with Oscar and Kareem. The classic 92 or 93 Knicks teams. And also the early knicks teams with Pat riley and Phil Jackson and them.

    Among the newer generation. It’s be great to see a couple of the championship Spurs teams and shaq/kobe Laker teams.

    But overall, 80′s Lakers, championship Rockets, 95 Magic and 92 or 93 Knicks are a must.

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  • htown

    How u not gone put the 93-94 rockets in the game back to back nba champs houston ain’t get no love in the game no dir respect to the knicks great team but we beat them in the finals but they in the game wtf