NBA 2K16

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
NBA 2K16 Game Poster Image
Stellar basketball game adds modes, Spike Lee story lines.

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Positive messages about teamwork, athleticism, codes of conduct tempered by topics of suicide, sex, alcohol consumption in story mode.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Basketball players mostly positive role models for kids, so video game versions could be considered good role models. That said, creating your own character lets you deal with some mature issues in story mode.

Ease of Play

Easy-to-play basketball game, but more advanced moves might take some getting used to. Does have a tutorial mode, practice areas to shoot hoops.


Violent references in story cut-scene dialogue sequences, including mentions of suicide.


Some sexually suggestive references in the story dialogue sequences.


"Hell," "damn" frequently.


Plenty of branding including, State Farm, and Sprint, along with arenas with corporate names (for example, "Time Warner Cable Arena"). Supports downloadable content (DLC), virtual currency to unlock content, which can be topped up with real money.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

At least two references to alcohol in story mode.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that NBA 2K16 is a basketball simulation that you might think is fine for players of all ages, but a story-based mode written and directed by Spike Lee has references to violence, suicide, sex, and alcohol. The words "damn" and "hell" can be heard in dialogue sequences. Gamers who play online could chat with others freely, which some parents might not like, and there is ample in-game advertising and optional purchases.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byBenjamin12367 September 16, 2016

Good Game

I think this game is pretty good. My career: I would rate mycareer 10+ only because of your character saying he's p****** off once and Yvette's shirt... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byNBA July 26, 2016

What's it about?

When is a basketball game more than a basketball game? When it also has a first-person story-driven narrative written and directed by Spike Lee. This is the case with NBA 2K16, the latest in the 2K Sports franchise. Its MyPlayer mode lets users create a player and go through life on and off the court, personally and professionally, which adds some welcome drama and depth. It also features a number of solo and multiplayer modes, including the new 2K Pro-Am, which lets you customize your team and play five-on-five tournaments with and against others, which can be live-streamed on NBA 2KTV. For the first time in the series, online head-to-head games matter, as your performance is directly tied to unlocking extra content, such as the best NBA teams in history. This year's game features a new physics engine for more realistic player and ball movement, smoother animations, and high-definition character models, courts, and stadiums. Complementing the visuals is an enhanced soundtrack with more than 50 tracks created or mixed by renowned DJs.

Is it any good?

If you're going to buy only one basketball game this year, it should be this one. It's a stellar experience, and the MyPlayer story mode is exceptionally fun, well written, and chock-full of personality. Some of the subject matter might not be ideal for younger kids, since there are sexually suggestive comments and mentions of suicidal thoughts, but as a piece of art fused with basketball, it's a fresh and fun break from the norm. NBA 2K16 feels great to control, looks and sounds top-notch, and offers many modes, game styles, locations, and teams to choose from (or create). Despite some Internet hiccups affecting the performance of the 2K Pro-Am mode, featuring five-on-five tourneys, this mode and the rest of the game are a blast to play and offer a lot of bang for the buck.

Along with the regular modes and the ambitious 2K Pro-Am online mode with built-in spectator support via NBA 2KTV, you can engage in competitive street ball games in the MyPark and Gauntlet modes (with three newly updated parks from last year); and the MyTeam mode lets you collect past and present NBA players, customize your lineup, and play in five modes. Returning this year is the meaty Road to the Playoffs that has you completing challenges, collecting cards, and facing off against rivals, and there's a reimagined MyGM mode, were you can play as manager of a team. With so much to see, do, and play -- and the fact that the game is available on multiple platforms (new and old) -- it's easy to see why NBA 2K16 is simply the best basketball game available this time around. Kudos to 2K Sports for raising the bar once again.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether it's a great idea to have a renowned writer and director like Spike Lee craft an interactive story for a basketball game. Is this unnecessary for a basketball game, as well as a concern for those buying the game for kids, due to the mature topics in the MyCareer mode? Is it a problem that there's no way to lock out this mode for younger players?

  • Discuss consumerism in sports games. NBA 2K16 shows a lot of corporate logos in an attempt to recreate the experience of broadcast NBA games. Does the inclusion of these logos add to the realism, or are they only being used to push products?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sports

Themes & Topics

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