NBA players’ widespread preoccupation with their 2K ratings has reached absurd levels. Just in the past few weeks, Ben Simmons, John Wall, and Dwyane Wade have publicly complained that their ratings are too low, and Simmons even went so far as to say he refuses to play now. Lonzo Ball, likewise, threatened to boycott NBA 2K18 if they didn’t change an image of his teammate Brandon Ingram getting posterized.
Even the cover athletes have their qualms. The last two stars to get the nod – Kyrie Irving and Paul George – both were confused as to why their ratings weren’t higher. Ronnie Singh (aka @Ronnie2K), the digital marketing director for the video game giant, recently spoke to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype about how both Irving and George were unhappy with their ratings.
“Honestly, two of our biggest gripers in terms of rating have been our last two cover athletes in the year that they were on the cover,” Singh said. “There’s video of Kyrie finding out his 90 rating this year and he wasn’t happy. Last year, PG was an 89. Really, there’s very little difference between an 89 and a 90. But it’s about perception, and it means a lot to guys because it’s a round number and some guys view the 90s as the top tier. When PG found out he was an 89, he was like, ‘I don’t understand…’ Both Kyrie and PG asked, ‘Doesn’t being the cover athlete give us a bump? Shouldn’t we be higher?’ That didn’t stop them from being extremely cooperative and loving the game, but we did hear from those guys.”
If you’re among those who believe this is just about the silliest thing you could possibly get upset about, then you’re not alone, but it bears remembering that NBA players are some of the most competitive people on the planet. Plus, they’ll use even the smallest of slights as motivation to take their game to the next level, and the ratings system in the game is a concrete way of players comparing themselves to their peers.
Regardless of where you stand on the current player ratings, we can all agree that the designers got at least one thing right when they designed Hoodie Melo – the viral sensation of the summer – as the top-rated player in the game.