The Best Basketball Video Games Ever Made

The NBA is the USA’s third-watched sports league behind the National Football League and Major League Baseball. Excluding international viewers, around 1.2 million people watch each game on TV, equating to over a billion views during a single season.

Many of these fans will tune in to the upcoming NBA Finals Series for the 2023 season, which is guaranteed to involve the Denver Nuggets for the first time in their history. The Nuggets are currently priced at -205 to win their first NBA championship with DraftKings Sportsbook, which is the recommended US sportsbook of OddsChecker based on their competitive odds and strong offerings.

With so many fans living and breathing the sport even after the final buzzer, it’s no wonder that demand for basketball video games is high. Over the years, developers have created an entire library of different titles, some good, some less so. Here are the greatest ones ever made.

NBA Street

Most modern basketball games focus on recreating the most recent season, with roster updates being one of the biggest selling points when each new version goes on sale. NBA Street did something a little different to this though.

Released in 2001 for PlayStation 2 and GameCube the following year, NBA Street focused on street basketball, using a three-on-three formal. Players were also rewarded for performing trick shots and playing with style.

It forewent some realism in exchange for increased fun, giving the game a more arcade feel, but it was something many fans enjoyed.

Some fans loved it so much that they even put together a petition to have it remastered for modern consoles.


NBA Jam is another arcade-style video game. It was first released in 1993 on the SNES, Genesis, Game Gear, and Sega CD, however, a title of the same name went on sale in 2010 for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii.

It follows a two-on-two format with exaggerated physics and player abilities, such as the ability to jump dozens of feet into the air. There are also no fouls, meaning play is much rougher than in the real NBA.

It gives players more freedom to experiment and have fun, making it one of the best basketball titles of all time.


The NBA 2K series began in 1999 and 2K2 was the third instalment of the franchise. Its graphics are nowhere near up to the standard we expect today, and a couple of modern game modes are missing.

Yet, the Sega Dreamcast’s NBA 2K2 is the highest-rated basketball game on Metacritic thanks to its polished finish, attention to detail, and complete lack of microtransactions. It featured some of the league’s biggest legends, including Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson. These and all other players in the game have their abilities matched to their real-world performance, something that was still uncommon at the time.