I don’t know how to play NBA 2K. Every time I see my friends settling down in front of the TV, controllers in hand, poised to play, I feel some sense of remorse, some sense of missing out. The 2K craze just never got to me, but for many youth, even grown-age men across the country, 2K is more than just a once-in-a-while game. It’s an obsession, an addiction, a secret love. And, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, 2k should be played more, as the game is a powerful tool for motivation and change for today’s youth.
NBA 2K, at first glance, may seem just like any other video game, as digital characters and teams controlled by the player fight to win the game on the court; however, 2K is so much more. For many, 2K may be the beginning of a passion within the world of sports, an introduction to the intense, active life of basketball. Something about the rush of a fast-break, blocking the shot of your opponent mid-air, or posterizing another player is just magical— the magic of 2K is what makes it so valuable. As kids recognize how exciting the game can be digitally, they become that much more motivated to play in real life. They become more willing to put in the tireless amounts of practice and work necessary to reach a point where they can perform the unreal shots and maneuvers they see in the games. In fact, a study in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence recently noted the “long-term predictive effect that sports video games play on increased involvement in real-life sports.” NBA 2K is often the first step into this incredible new world of sports.
As a child plays 2K, they are capable of performing great feats—powerful dunks, three-point barrages, and dazzling crossovers all are archivable within the game. When a player utilizes one of these skills, they are more likely to attempt to emulate it on a real-life court. 2K offers opportunities for kids to realize that they too can accomplish amazing feats, even if just in a game. Players then transfer this sense of confident swagger to the court. In fact, the same research study noted that self-esteem and self-confidence were key factors in the increased involvement in real sports.
While many see video games as a waste of time, they can serve a useful purpose— NBA 2K builds these positive traits in a fun and enjoyable manner. I think it may be time that I start to learn the game myself.