A 4xNBA Champion. A 4xFinals MVP. A 4xNBA MVP. An 18xAll-Star. Despite a resume of hall-of-fame credentials, discussion as the greatest to ever play the game and status as one of the best dunkers of all time LeBron James has faced criticism after missing the playoffs for the fourth time in his 19-season career. This has led to looking back at his time in NBA 2K as he is one of the longest-tenured pros in the game. Here is a recap of LeBron James’ NBA 2K longevity.
Early Rise in NBA 2K
As the #1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, LeBron entered the league with high expectations and a solid NBA 2K rating. First appearing in NBA 2K4, LeBron entered the series with as a respectable “78” overall. The next two versions of the game would continue to update LeBron’s rating based on his on-court success; jumping to a “88” overall rating in NBA 2K5 and becoming a top-rated player in NBA 2K6 (“97” overall). After leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a Game 7 series against the dominant Detroit Pistons, LeBron would cement his status as a consistent top-5 rated player in the NBA 2K series.
“Big 3” Era: Move to Miami
LeBron’s “Decision” to take his talents to the Miami Heat would rock both the NBA and the latest version of the NBA 2K series: NBA 2K10. The Summer of 2010 NBA Free Agency was the source of much hype for the release of NBA 2K10; where fans saw LeBron James (and a debatable “96” overall rating) joining Chris Bosh (87 overall rating) and Dwyane Wade (96 overall rating). The hype surrounding the “Big 3” in Miami would shift the NBA free agency model and the NBA 2K series, allowing players to use three superstars on a single team. The impact would see NBA teams attempt to create their own versions of a “Big 3”, seen on a number of teams in the NBA 2K series. During LeBron’s stint with the Heat he graced the cover of NBA 2K14 after leading the Heat to their second straight NBA Championship.
NBA 2K: Current Impact
Despite missing the postseason for the first time in 13 seasons, the longevity of LeBron’s successful career in the NBA is seen in his current NBA 2K rating. With a “96” overall player rating, LeBron is the second-highest rated player in the game behind Giannis Antetokounmpo (97 overall rating). After winning the NBA Championship in 2020 vs the Miami Heat, LeBron and the Lakers have struggled with postseason success over the last two years; losing in the first round to the Phoenix Suns in 2021 and missing out on the postseason this year. With season averages of 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game LeBron’s rating and longevity as a top-5 player in the NBA 2K series will continue. Recently LeBron has graced the cover of NBA 2K for a second time, serving as the cover artist for the 20th Anniversary Edition of NBA 2K19.
As the NBA playoffs continue, fans still have the opportunity to take the court with LeBron James in NBA 2K22. Stay on the lookout as TGH provides coverage of NBA 2K player updates based on playoff performances.
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Featured image courtesy of 2K Sports