NBA 2K12 - NBA's Greatest Hands-On Preview

Get taken back in time as we play with some of the best players ever.

There is a lot of history associated with the NBA. Yes, the league itself has only been around for 65 years, but in that brief amount of time, there have been so many great players and teams that have graced the various hard courts around America. Unfortunately, though, so many younger basketball fans don't realize just how good these players were, and thankfully, the guys at 2K Sports are trying to educate the uniformed. We had a chance to sample the game's upcoming NBA's Greatest mode and were transported back to various periods and played with some of the best players to ever grace the sport.

For starters, the initial statement of being able to play as 15 of the greatest NBA players is a huge understatement. Yes, you do get to play as superstars like Bill Russell, Isiah Thomas, and Julius Irving, but you also get to play with or against more than 30 teams from different periods of history, all of which are represented as they were when the teams originally took to the court. Dr. J plays alongside the great Moses Malone; Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain team up and face off against my favorite player Pistol Pete and his '70s Hawks team; and so many other memorable names appear. So while there may be a focus on 15 of the greatest players ever; in fact, you're interacting with even more than that number.

NBA's Greatest mode works differently from Jordan Moments in last year's game. Rather than having to complete a game and achieve a certain stat goal, you just have to win. When you win with the NBA's Greatest team in question, you unlock both that team and your opposition in Exhibition mode.

Aesthetically, this is where the mode really shines. The team at Visual Concepts has gone a long way in offering an experience that matches those that actually took place. Our time with the mode had us playing three halves of basketball in three different periods of history. The first match had us taking control of Bill Russell's 1964-65 Celtics alongside Hondo and K.C. Jones as they battled it out against the Lakers who featured Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. From the moment the match loaded, it was if we were tossed into a time machine and were watching a broadcast from the 1960s. The black-and-white broadcast with plain white text overlay looked exactly as it would have back in the day. On top of that, even the look of the court, from the backboards to the scorer's table, were re-created to simulate the way it would have looked in that era. As we moved forward in time, our next visit was the 1980s and two different matches. The first was taking the bad-boy Pistons of 1989 and facing off against Jordan's Bulls; the other had the electrifying 76ers of the mid-'80s face off against the surprisingly strong Milwaukee Bucks. Both matches re-created the time frame superbly with short-shorts and a Pistons team that everyone really did love to hate.

While the commentary is still done by its current-day team, the commentators do a fantastic job of educating you as you play in regard to the history of the players on the court. As you play, you'll learn interesting tidbits of information, not only on the key NBA's Greatest players but also the other players that made up these squads. You might not know too much about Maurice Cheeks, but after playing with him on the 76ers team, you'll learn a bit about his struggles as a Chicago kid playing college basketball in a small town in Texas.

Not only does the commentary reflect on the players, but it also takes notice of other interesting bits of information regarding the time periods. Because there was no three-point line in the early part of the league, the commentators talk about it. They also make mention of how statistics like blocks weren't calculated and how a player like Bill Russell would have been the all-time stats leader if they were calculated. As an added bonus, the audio reflects the era. When playing in the 1960s, the audio replicates the mono radio sounds of the time, including obvious static, which adds to the nostalgia factor.

Mr. Logo

In all honesty, our time with the mode wasn't as long as we would have liked. Having played basketball and being able to have the chance to play as some of the teams we not only read about but actually watched on television was quite a treat. Thankfully, NBA 2K12 hits store shelves in October, and from what we've managed to play thus far, NBA's Greatest could be a mode that not only entertains fans of the sport but also educates them.

Written By

Former GameSpot Associate Editor, current Content Manager for EA SPORTS.

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Discussion

37 comments
Yunggdre
Yunggdre

so glad bad boys are in with bill lambeeir they should make a create a coach or somthin and uploadable pics for create a team or paint tool like wwe has them team logos suck

dbene
dbene

Looks amazing.. I haven't even played a basketball game in years and I'm salivating.

Benny_Blakk
Benny_Blakk

@ finalcross - I read your review and one particular question still remains. HOW DOES IT PLAY??? I felt that NBA 2K9 was the last great basketball game. 2K10 was way too vanilla with terrible defense. I feel as though the developers "solution" was to give the computer's AI defense superhuman abilities. The barrage of no-look steals, sliding across the floor (even nearly behind you) to keep you in check...... a few times, I've seen the defender levitate and do a 180 midair to block my shot! That is why I hate 2K11 and wish the original designer who left for EA would return.

gpm23
gpm23

This is getting ridiculous. I thought last years version was going to be hard to surpass, but it just gets better and better. I would like to have the Jordan challenge back though, because I really like the fact that you had to get so many assists,steals, rebounds, etc. on top of just scoring. I can't really complain about perfection though, these guys are catering to every bball fan that has grown up loving the sport. With the NBA lockout looming, i'm really glad i'm going to have something fantastic to fall back on. P.S....Anybody else see KD drop 66 at Rucker Park?!?! Best pure shooter i've seen in years outside of Ray Allen.

XxSUPERSNAKExX
XxSUPERSNAKExX

Este juego se ve tan real, se ve increiblemente brutal! El juego se ve cabron!!!

finalcross
finalcross

@Stealin-Shadows - A lot of those issues you brought up were talked about in the first NBA 2K12 Hands-On I did last month. Passing responsiveness has improved in respect to player's ability. If a player is a poor passer, it will show; the same goes for rebounds and shots. Play calling and adjusting your defense has also been improved.

@radovangm i @sarin28 - Hvala puno!

Stealin-Shadows
Stealin-Shadows

Greatest mode sounds cool, but I could care less about the presentation. VC does a good job with that aspect of their game every year. I want to know how the games plays. Are the controls better; more responsive? Is the AI improved? Can you run an actual fastbreak? Is the passing better?

sarin28
sarin28

svaka čast, pozdrav iz hrvatske!

radovangm
radovangm

hehe, sad pogledah i videh da je nas covek radio preview. extra! svaka cast! pozdrav, marko!

Naxct
Naxct

so buzzed for this game.

jonzilla_basic
jonzilla_basic

MAN!!! I can't wait to get this game. It's going to be Incredible!

lilflex1
lilflex1

wow they got this down from the mutton chops to the pre-dunk poses good job 2k

PhantomPlayers
PhantomPlayers

I would love to play as Vince Carter in the Olympics and jump over players hahaha

maaly81
maaly81

dang...Rest In Pieces EA sports basketball......

Dawg9000
Dawg9000

Yes! Finally, now everyone will stop telling me Kobe and Lebron and Howard actually have something on Magic, Bird, or Chamberlain.

DaWarthog
DaWarthog

And this is why EA bought the NFL license and now we are stuck with the Maddumb I mean Madden series.

tytheman16
tytheman16

Hopefully there is still the option to edit rosters, which allows the user to throw in some old weirdos into a franchise or season play

Sw1tched
Sw1tched

Still not the suns team that the bulls beat with barkley???? LAME!!

krex85
krex85

@pedram-zero They've had a hand in several amazing games: NBA 2K series, Borderlands, Bioshock, Elder Scrolls, Civilization, Darkness, Serious Sam, Prey, Jade Empire, Call of Cthulu, King of Fighters, etc...

nastyhotpocket
nastyhotpocket

i was just talkin about what ea did to nba live and ncaa basketball..nothing wrong with liking their games..the only sports games they care about is football,soccer and hockey thats just my opinion.

HeathVC
HeathVC

Does anyone know the name of the song that accompanies the trailer? It's legit.

pedram-zero
pedram-zero

and i forgot something,did 2K make any good game?(except Mafia2)

pedram-zero
pedram-zero

hey nastyhotpocket I mean EA makes awesome games.why doesn't try to make a gooood nba game? it has a top game in every genre of games.like:NFS,crysis,sims,mass effect,dead space,fifa,battlefield,medal of honor,... THIS is why i love EA.

nastyhotpocket
nastyhotpocket

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

pedram-zero
pedram-zero

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

nastyhotpocket
nastyhotpocket

all im saying trade the pistol pete atl team and the jerry west lakers team in for barkleys suns and millers pacers everthing else looks good.also dont forget to let us play with the legends teams online this time 2k.

zay251
zay251

It sounds great keep working at this pace 2k !

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

i hope the devs are willing to update via patches if the lockout gets resolved during the year.

netter99
netter99

I really hope they let you use the old teams in online, in a specific online mode, now that would be legendary

nastyhotpocket
nastyhotpocket

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

janson2185
janson2185

please tell me there is gonna be an indiana pacers team with reggie miller