It’s become an annual rite of passage for NBA fans and gamers. The first bunch of ratings for the next iteration of the popular NBA 2K series, NBA 2K22, dropped. Shortly after that, players took to social media to plead their cases for higher ratings. It’s as dependable as the azaleas at The Masters (except when they play it in November). This year, some of the most notable responses have come from Olympic hero Kevin Durant and Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young.
NBA 2K22 comes out Sept. 10, 2021, and with less than a month before it drops, the ratings began to dribble out on social media this week. Reactions from players follow. That’s not a surprise; some of the most avid NBA 2K players are NBA players. It’s a long season, and it’s not difficult to get a gaming console into your travel bag.
Madden it isn’t; 99 ratings don’t exist in ‘NBA 2K22’
In a tweet releasing the first ratings from NBA 2K22, the company revealed four players sharing the best rating at 96 overall. That group includes LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Stephen Curry. Next were Kawhi Leonard (impressive for being on one leg), Nikola Jokić, and Joel Embiid with 95 each. Rounding out the top 10 were Luka Dončić, James Harden, and Damian Lillard, all ranked at 94 overall.
Durant, well known for his restraint when responding to anything he deems critical of him, had some fun with a video he posted to explain why his rating should have been a rare 99.
“I work extremely hard. I pretty much do everything great. That’s why I should be a 99.”
But the 99 rating is extremely rare in the NBA 2K franchise, at least for players on the game’s main rosters. Kevin Garnett was NBA 2K’s first 99-rated player back in 2001. The following year, Shaquille O’Neal topped that at 100. Since then, four players got the coveted 99 ratings: James, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant, and Chris Paul. No active player has reached a 99 rating since NBA 2K14, per ESPN.
Kevin Durant wasn’t alone in voicing unhappiness
Kevin Durant returned from a missed 2019–20 season as if he was never gone. A ruptured Achilles’ tendon is notoriously one of the most challenging injuries for an NBA player to return from, at least at something resembling his previous level. Durant put the Brooklyn Nets on his back and nearly dragged them to the Eastern Conference Finals without Kyrie Irving and with a diminished James Harden.
But Durant is far from the only player to question his rating in the soon-to-be-released NBA 2K22. Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks helped take his fifth-seeded team to the conference finals. His reward was an 89 rating. He put lots of laughing emojis in his tweet, but it was a pointed message.
James replied to a couple of the posts from NBA 2K. He endorsed both Durant and Curry as 99-worthy. As expected, the Nets official Twitter account was firmly behind Durant, as well. Does NBA 2K hold some sway in the world of NBA players? Yes, and then some.
‘NBA 2K22’ is just the latest in the franchise’s long line
Building off the wild popularity of NBA Jam in the mid-1990s, a new generation of more realistic sports games began to hit the market in the latter part of the 20th century. NBA 2K debuted in 1999 and partnered with ESPN for a couple of editions (NBA 2K4 and NBA 2K5).
This year’s game will be available on new generation platforms PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S and X. It’s also coming to current generation systems PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One, Xbox One X, Nintendo Switch, and Steam for PC, per 2k’s official site.
NBA 2K22 features three editions (and price points). They are Standard, Cross-Gen Digital Bundle, and a special NBA 75th Anniversary Edition (even if it isn’t the NBA’s 75th anniversary).
Come Sept. 10; you can fire up the newest installment in the venerable series. And, hey, at a 96, Kevin Durant’s still at the top of his — and 2K’s — game.