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Be Yourself if you’re from the hood in new NBA 2K16 video

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Basketball NYC

NBA 2K16 is almost upon us, and you’d think the game was more about playing out the Spike Lee story and dressing up your favourite players than actually playing the game of basketball. Each video seems to focus on the stuff around the core gameplay, particularly the Spike Lee angle. Then again, it must have cost an arm and a leg to get such a big name director on board – they have to punt it for all it’s worth. A new video shows players how they can be themselves in the game, although I wonder where they think all these players come from.

Here is the Be Yourself trailer for NBA 2K16:

I like the idea – you can be the youngest, the quickest, the best three-point shooter or whatever else. The idea of character customization and individual progression is really pretty cool and makes the whole career mode even more personalized and appealing. However, I’m wondering if there won’t be an inverse issue of representation.

Normally, we talk about lack of representation in games to talk about how every character is a middle-aged grizzled white man and how people of color are largely ignored. Thankfully, NBA 2K16 doesn’t do this, with excellent representation for people of color. However, the game is so determined to represent black, underprivileged basketball players that it starts to feel like a cliché.

What if your story is that of the only white guy on the team? And why are all talented basketball players from horrible neighborhoods? Are those from average backgrounds or less urban areas simply unable to play the game? I know the game is trying to represent a subset of people who are largely ignored, but by telling people that they can tell their own story and then only letting that story revolve around black youngsters from the ghetto, it simply reinforces the basketball player stereotype.

Will you pick up NBA for the story mode, or just to shoot hoops with friends on your virtual court?

Last Updated: September 23, 2015

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