LeBron James has a pretty interesting relationship with NBA 2K, the annual basketball simulation put out each summer and used by gamers all around the world to pretend to be players like LeBron James.
Like many NBA stars, James seems to play and talk about 2K a lot. It probably helps that he’s the top-rated player in the game, but it seems to be about more than that for him. In recent years he’s admitted that he used playing 2K to help him figure out rotations and other quirks about playing with his new teammates, using the character models of his real-life teammates to work out tendencies and prepare for games.
It certainly speaks to what James thinks about the game’s realism, which is something they’ve worked on more in recent editions of the title. But it turns out that LeBron really does play the game the same way he would on the court. Talking to reporters after the Lakers beat the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, James revealed something hoops gamers may have wondered for a while now: how he plays NBA 2K.
Lakers’ LeBron James on his “NBA 2K” style of play: “I play just how I play in real life on video games, which makes a lot of my friends upset. I run pick & rolls. If they double, find shooters. If they have a hot guy, I’ll trap. I play real basketball, not fake basketball.” pic.twitter.com/kEyBoW0xHE
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 28, 2019
““I play just how I play in real life on video games, which makes a lot of my friends upset,” James said. He was asked to elaborate on what that meant, and James said that he doesn’t play run-and-gun NBA Jam-style hoops with a controller in his hand.
“They expect me to shoot every time, but I play the right way,” James said. “I run pick and rolls. If they double, I find shooters.”
This certainly lines up with what James has always said about himself, which is that he’s not a shooter, but a distributor. James described working the post in the game as well, and also said he doesn’t skimp on reading opponents and playing defense.
“If they have a hot guy, I’ll trap,” James said. “I play real basketball, not fake basketball.”
Honestly, that does sound a bit frustrating for a regular gamer, but it’s not entirely unexpected to hear from someone so knowledgable about the game. Basketball players should be good at basketball simulations, and when given the chance they’re probably going to use what they know from their professional life in a basketball video game. That means fundamentals, and doing a lot more than just chucking and praying.
That doesn’t mean he’s an easy opponent to play against, but that’s never been the case with LeBron on any court.