NBA 2k11 Reveals Vast Improvements to My Player Mode

If you love both basketball and video games then you might have played NBA 2k10, the basketball simulation game from 2KSports which is a subsidiary of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. If you haven’t, one of the really cool new features that was added to the NBA 2k10 version of the game last year, was the My Player mode.
My Player mode allows a player to customize their very own player (in height, weight, appearance, jersey number, and accessories) and play as this player throughout the Summer Circuit, Developmental League, and if they play well enough, to even be picked up by an NBA team for their training camp, and perhaps even playing on your favorite NBA team in regular play.

I loved NBA 2k10, so it was with eager anticipation that I looked forward to October of 2010, when 2K Sports released their most recent version of the game, NBA 2k11. In this new version of the game, 2K Sports made the My Player mode, which had finally brought basketball and role-playing games together for the first time in a seriously compelling way in NBA 2k10, much, much better! These improvements make playing the life of an NBA basketball player that much more engaging. When you begin the game in My Player mode, your player begins playing in exhibition games that are evaluated by draft scouts for the upcoming NBA Draft. If you play well enough, you may be drafted by an NBA team and invited to their training camp. I created a 6’11” center that was drafted by the New Jersey Nets with the 27th pick. By the way, here is a tip, you can choose your favorite team in the Options menu, and increase the chances that you might be drafted by them.

Once you’ve been drafted its on to the team’s training camp. You are trying to survive the cuts for the final rosters spots on the regular season team. I managed to make it on to the team as a backup center on the bench. About 15 to 20 games later I was able to crack the starting rotation. As the team’s schedule approached the All-Star break my player was finally averaging a respectable 15 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, a few assists, and a couple of blocks, which made me more attractive to other teams. I was able to gauge the interest of other teams by periodically looking in the new My Career menu, which lists your minutes, and how many more or fewer of them your were given based on your recent play, as well as telling you which three other NBA teams would like to trade for you, which leads to another cool new feature that was added to NBA 2k11, the ability to demand a trade.

You can demand a trade anytime that your play starts to generate interest, before the trade deadline in February. You can even submit a list to management of your current team of up to three teams that you would like to be traded to. If you do decide to demand a trade, the game warns you that the team will try to find you a home with one of those three teams, but “ultimately they must do what is for the best of the team”; which brings a very realistic feel of the current culture to the NBA. I played for New Jersey until shortly before the trade deadline and then demanded a trade to my favorite team, the Portland Trailblazers. Unfortunately, I didn’t land on the Portland Trailblazers roster, and instead ended up being traded to the bottom of the Eastern Conference Detroit Pistons over the All-Star break.

There have been some other interesting additions to the My Player game. One, is the addition of press conferences after every game. Your player is asked a question related to his recent individual play or recently received individual awards, or the team play. You choose an answer from one of four pre-selected tones, professional, loyal, arrogant, and indifference, that can affect your chemistry with your teammates, your reputation with the local fans of the team, or even your rep with league fans in general. If your team is losing regularly, don’t be surprised if your coach is fired and the media grills you about the coach’s termination. I was unable to determine if you act arrogant enough if you would be punished by losing minutes in your rotation, or even losing a roster spot. Someone should try it sometime and let me know.

Also new in this particular version of NBA 2k11 is the addition of the endorsements that your player can pick up. When you achieved a modicum of success in your first year as a player in the NBA, Michael Jordan may request to sign you to an endorsement contract with Jordan Shoe Brand. Once you are a representative for his shoes, you will periodically receive one of 40 pairs of shoes that give you attribute bonuses, such as +5 to Speed, Quickness, Ball Handling, etc…, which is helpful because if appears that players can no longer increase all of their skills to the maximum of 99 in every category. I was limited to a skill level of 60 in Ball Handling, primarily I suspect because I was playing the center position. In NBA 2k10 I was able to skill level in Ball Handling all the way up to 99. This is where the addition of the shoes comes in. You can equip certain shoes to allow your player to “play beyond his abilities” in one area or another.

Overall, these improvements make NBA 2k11 that much more enjoyable and challenging. There are still more areas left where the game designers can go in the future, such as perhaps adding the ability to choose gender and play in either the NBA or the WNBA for example, but this should certainly keep basketball fans occupied until the release of NBA 2k12, or at least until the conclusion of the current NBA regular season and playoffs.

Did you have your hopes up about certain features to be added in the My Player Mode of the game that weren’t added? What have you thought about the new game elements in the My Player mode?