Even if you think of something other than layups and living large when you hear the word ballin', this intersection of inner-city street and gated-community boulevard will make you see how sexy shooting baskets can be. Because besides the baskets, you’re shooting for the stars—or, at least, diamonds that twinkle worlds away. The inevitability of Ballers' rags-to–Roca Wear narrative is perfectly tailored to gaming's try-try-try-again notion of progress: Choose your look, from which pant leg you roll up to how you cock your cap; improve your specific attributes every time you attempt a block, three-pointer, or wild street move; watch the money pile up, and likewise, your sideline clique grow; and ultimately, outfit a crib in which to play, and more importantly, show off online. Hey, can't knock the hustle.

And hustle you'll have to. One-on-one, or one-on-one-on-one, you've got to bring grimy, round-the-way Harlem Globetrotters game: Alley-oop with help from the audience, leap off chests of your fave or least favorite NBA stars—past and present, all properly tattooed and executing signature moves—or rip down the entire backboard after hitting a hot streak playing street legends like Hot Sauce. In keeping with the keeping-up-appearances theme, everything from corn rows to custom courts (based on those in players’ real pads) looks fantastic, smooth, and detailed. Like the sport itself, you can easily start a pickup game, or put all your time—and high hopes—into it. Playing D, of course, isn’t nearly as fun.


Details

NBA Ballers
For PS2 (review copy), Xbox
Developer: Midway
Publisher: Midway
Rating 8 (out of 10)

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