By Barry Janoff
June 5, 2015: 2K Sports' NBA games have always tried to provide something beyond the players on the court and the options available to those who play the game.
Spike Lee, whose resume includes directing such films as She's Gotta Have It, Mo' Better Blues, Malcolm X, He Got Game and Summer of Sam, has written and directed an all-new MyCAREER mode that will be part of NBA 2K16.
Lee also takes a lead role in marketing to support the video game's release, scheduled for Sept. 29.
According to Lee, “Partnering with legendary 2K and Visual Concepts is one of the most unique challenges I’ve had in filmmaking, and allows me to push the boundaries of innovative storytelling. My hope is fans will feel even more connected to the world of basketball in NBA 2K16.”
The cover of the game also is also a change from the norm, featuring three NBA stars each getting their own individual cover: NBA MVP Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), James Harden (Houston Rockets) and Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans).
“This season has been an incredible journey for me and my teammates, and being selected as a cover athlete for NBA 2K16 is an amazing way to celebrate this year," Curry said in a statement. "It’s a blessing to be named a member of this special group and I am honored."
MyCAREER, which enables gamers to become the story of an NBA player, in NBA 2K16 features a "rich, original story written and directed by Lee and produced by Lee’s production company, 40 Acres and a Mule," according to 2K.
“Working with Spike Lee on NBA2K16’s MyCAREER has elevated our most popular game experience from both a visual and narrative perspective,” Greg Thomas, president for game developer Visual Concepts, said in a statement. “By writing and directing the MyCAREER storyline, Spike brings the real world experience of the NBA to life like never before making NBA 2K16 the ultimate simulation.”
The theme of the marketing campaign, "Story is Everything," picks up the tagline of the game itself, "Be the Story."
"No basketball game exists in a vacuum," Lee says in the campaign's TV spot, which he narrates while shots of basketball hoops, courts, trophies and NBA action. "What's come before. What will follow. On these courts, the score is everything. It's what makes us cheer and boo. Before the game has even started, it's what turns us into fans and haters. It gives us underdogs, upsets, dynasties, buzzer-beaters, classic rivalries.
"At its best," he continues, "the story can turn a jump shot into The Shot (as we see Michael Jordan hitting the NBA Finals game-winner against the Utah Jazz in 1998)."
Ultimately, Lee asks, "So, what will your story be?" (See the full spot here.)
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"Fans had a chance to get a glimpse of what I’m capable of this season, so I’m honored to be recognized as a cover athlete of NBA 2K16," Harden said in a statement about his experience and story. "I’ve dreamed of making it since I was a kid, and seeing myself on the cover is an incredible feeling.”
Added Davis, “I’ve enjoyed working with 2K the past few years and it’s an honor to be selected for a cover of NBA 2K16. Just thinking about the players who have been on NBA 2K covers before me makes me feel humbled to be in such amazing company.”
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