These are the best basketball games of all time The 2K franchise hasn't always dominated the field.

When it comes to basketball games our minds naturally go to the 2K franchise, and there is a good reason for that. The 2K franchise has reached such a level of popularity that it’s almost unthinkable for it to take on a worthy competitor.

But beyond graphics and visuals, there are many things that make a basketball game great. If we base our review entirely on graphics, obviously some of the latest games would get the top best NBA game places. No, the graphics are just here to make the game look good and help the player get into the suspension of disbelief; the gameplay and how the game feels overall is ultimately what really matters.

Just because it is almost impossible to pick one videogame that is the best — most of them have pros and cons — we will make a selection of the best basketball games of all time that we promise won’t disappoint a discerning basketball game fan. All of these games feature entertaining gameplay, interesting graphics, as well as that special secret sauce that keeps their titles in our mouths years past their publication.

NBA 2K11

Here we have one of the best basketball games and it is hard to imagine how EA hasn’t really built a game as entertaining as the 2K11 series from a decade ago. This game is brilliant for several reasons and Bleacher Report included it in the best 50 sports games of all time.

First of all, this was the game that included some of the greatest players in basketball history. Sorry LeBron fans, but we are talking about legends like Michael Jordan.

This is also the game that had the biggest improvements over the last generation in terms of graphics and other AI improvements. But the biggest hit of the game was the Jordan Challenge, where players could play through some of the biggest moments of Jordan’s career. It would be nice to see this feature on the latest 2K22 this year.

NBA Live 95

Now we move on to a much older title whose breakout success managed to eventually put NBA on the TV screen of every PlayStation 1 owner. This was the first title to carry the Live name after EA Sports decided to re-brand their NBA Playoff series.

It is safe to say that the Live 95 game put the foundation for the 2K franchise, and at that time, the game was revolutionary. They improved the audio compared to the prior series and even added a realistic swoosh when you hit nothing but net.

They improved character animation as well as camera angles which made the game much more fun to play.

NBA Street Vol. 2

This was one of the first basketball games that tackled a rather different concept that involved street-style basketball. So, what goes best with a street basket? – Yes, a great hip-hop soundtrack and a bunch of flashy moves for earning style points.

The NBA Street 2 brought the flair of the street game genre to consoles, especially with its extremely entertaining gameplay.

Even though the graphics look terrible compared to today’s standards, this is still a very fun game to play with all the dunks and tricks on 3v3 matches.


Traveling all the way back to 1993, we find a garden gnomeel in the basketball gaming world. This is a high concept game involving One on One All-star games and dunking contests.

The fun doesn’t stop there. NBA Jam comes with more than just regular shooting and dunking. You can also make impressive tricks, powerups galore, and everything will catch on fire after making an impressive play.

On top of that, we had the best commentary of all time with tons of iconic phrases like “Book shaka laka” and “He’s on fire”.

This game was recently transformed by EA into a smartphone game, so if you like the concept, you can download it from the app store.

Final words

These are some of the best basketball games of all time that revolutionized the sports gaming world. Each of these games brought something new to the table that enabled us to play extremely realistic games like the NBA 2K21.

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