2K Sports has innovated again, bringing to the NBA 2K franchise the much-requested feature of “MyNBA Eras” to NBA 2K23. MyNBA Eras are essentially a time machine for the history of the NBA, going back to eras like the Magic and Bird era, the Jordan Era, the Kobe Era, and all the way to present day, the Modern Era. Eras will let users pick a specific time in the history of the NBA to start their franchise, giving fans the opportunity to virtually rewrite NBA history and answer their own “what ifs” along the way.
To bring full immersion to the new mode, 2K went all-in on the surrounding elements, including the era-specific basketball courts, tv presentation, commentary, and more.
Read on for the full courtside report on MyNBA Eras!
EXPLORE ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES IN MyNBA
We’ve got a bit of a treat for you with this Courtside Report! Today we’re going to break down what’s new in MyNBA for NBA 2K23 on the PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles!
We know MyNBA has a loyal, veteran fanbase and that expectations will always be high—and rightfully so. Our feature set for this year is one we have been talking about, no joke, for well over a decade. We’re here today to confidently say NBA 2K23 is a banner year for our MyNBA fans out there.
Before we fully dive into what’s new for MyNBA this year, we’d like to get philosophical for a moment and look at a very powerful phrase: “What if?” Two short words that lead to limitless possibilities.
Keeping up with the NBA means engaging in a never-ending stream of “what ifs”: what if Kyrie were to go to LA? What if KD actually went back to Golden State? What if Utah trades Donovan Mitchell? We’ve pondered these and countless other “what ifs” in this offseason alone; arguing “what ifs” is one of the things we love about the sport of basketball.
“What if” can do more than stitch together the future; it can also look at the past. The history of the NBA is overflowing with “what ifs” that people continue to talk about to this day.What if the Rockets took Jordan #1 overall in 1984? What if Shaq and Kobe stuck around in Los Angeles? What if the Seattle SuperSonics never moved to Oklahoma City? All these questions will forever remain lingering “what ifs” that will be debated until the end of time; after all, there’s no way to go back and change history.
But what if?
What if you could go back in time and change the very fabric of NBA history? What if you could be the guiding hand that steers the league in the direction you want to see it go? What if you could tackle the “what ifs” you’ve always wanted to explore and go back to a previous era where you can finally see what could’ve been?
With NBA 2K23, there’s no need for “what if” when pondering what could’ve been. All of your dreams can become reality as MyNBA becomes MyNBA Eras on PlayStation®5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles.
WHAT IS AN ERA?
An “Era” is what we call a specific point in time that you can start playing a new MyNBA save. The MyNBA Eras mode is designed to be a time machine straight out of the box; all you need to do is pick your Era and go. If you’re a power user and want to tweak your roster or settings, we’ve still got you covered! We’re confident that you’ll be incredibly pleased with what MyNBA Eras brings to the table this year!
The previous MyNBA experience is now dubbed the “Modern Era”—if you’re a longtime fan of the mode and just want to dive into an Online League and play with your friends, no worries! The franchise goodness that you all know and love is still there, ready and raring to go. Start from the beginning of the regular season, the previous offseason, or Start Today once the season is underway. In NBA 2K23, there are four Eras in total. We’ve already covered the Modern era, so let’s discuss the other three Eras available at starting points.
THE MAGIC VS BIRD ERA
It’s impossible to talk about basketball in the 1980s without mentioning the rivalry between Magic Johnson’s Showtime Lakers and Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics. Fans of NBA 2K might recall the homage paid to their storied rivalry in NBA 2K12, where Bird and Magic (along with His Airness) graced the cover and were featured heavily in the “NBA’s Greatest” mode. With one look at the record books, it’s easy to see why. The Lakers and Celtics accounted for 65% of the teams in the Finals in the 1980s, and the clashes between Bird and Magic are the stuff of legend.
The ‘80s featured a ton of terrific players throughout the league: Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Isiah Thomas, George Gervin, Alex English, Julius “Dr. J” Erving—the list goes on and on. But with so many iconic teams and players, what would be the best year to start with, to give the richest experience for MyNBA Eras? We have a good spread of years to pick from with the Lakers and Celtics rivalry in full swing, but simply looking at the players it can be a little tough to choose from so many amazing rosters.
However, let’s go back to the realm of “what if.” What would be one of the most fascinating ways to rewrite history? Who would be the most fascinating player to change the course of history? We would want a player coming into the league that would make your MyNBA story unique straight from the first offseason. Let’s hop back to 2K12 for a moment. Along with Magic and Bird, there was a third player present on the cover that would shape the NBA for decades to come: Michael Jordan.
With the Magic Vs. Bird Era in MyNBA Eras, we’re starting in 1983. This gives you a full season to get your affairs in order and prepare for the ensuing 1984 offseason, where you can guide your team to try and draft the likes of Michael, Akeem, or any of the other star-studded members of the 1984 draft class.
MyNBA Eras makes it easy to use your own or a community-created draft class if that’s what you’re into, but we’ll automatically supply our own 2K year-appropriate draft class so you can rewrite history the way you see fit. Did you miss out on Jordan in the ‘84 Draft? No problem, a 7-foot Center out of Georgetown by the name of Patrick Ewing awaits you in the 1985 Draft.
THE JORDAN ERA
There’s no need to beat around the bush for the next Era. It would be impossible to have the greatest eras in NBA history without one focused on one of the most prolific players to ever palm a basketball: Michael Jordan.
The Jordan Era puts you right at the beginning of Michael’s dominant run with the Chicago Bulls in 1991, and features threats to Air Jordan’s legacy abound—the tail end of Isiah Thomas’ Bad Boys Pistons, Stockton and Malone, Hakeem’s Rockets, and Ewing’s Knicks. Could MJ have gone for more than a double three-peat? There is only one way to find out!
The other big question of The Jordan Era has to do with the upcoming 1992 Draft, with a particular superstar in Shaquille O’Neal up for grabs. One of the greatest centers to ever play the game, O’Neal, a generational powerhouse, will undoubtedly shake up the NBA wherever he lands. Will it be with you?
THE KOBE ERA
For our third historic Era, we’ll be going back to the year 2002. The Eastern Conference’s reign of dominance had subsided in the late ‘90s, giving way to a new generation of talent in the West: Tim Duncan and the Spurs, Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves, and Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
Yet, no talk of 2000s basketball can be complete without talking about one name in particular: the Black Mamba himself, Kobe Bryant. Shaq’s impact as one of the most unstoppable players in league history can’t be denied, but after the early 2000s three-peat, Kobe secured two more rings for the Purple and Gold and cemented himself as the successor to Michael Jordan’s throne.
Savvy basketball fans might start to notice a pattern in the Eras—they always feature a fun and interesting roster to start with, and always have some notable players in the upcoming draft to be excited about. With one of the greatest NBA draft classes of all time, you’ll be negotiating hard-to-trade-for-picks to get the draft rights to:
- LeBron James
- Dwyane Wade
- Carmelo Anthony
- Chris Bosh
In addition to these players there’s many more. With such a bright future, we’re sure you’re going to love seeing what the NBA can become in The Kobe Era!
This is exciting stuff, right? Each Era starting point allows for a full 80-year franchise. You’ll run all the way up to the present and well, well beyond. We’re absolutely thrilled to make Eras a reality in NBA 2K23. It’s been a “dream feature” for the franchise team for over a decade, because we knew that in order to get it right, we’d need EVERYONE on the entire NBA 2K team to make a heavy contribution. Huge thanks to the audio team, environment team, gameplay team, graphics team, presentation team, and roster team for all they’ve done to make Eras a feature we know you will all love.
To this point, we’ve touched on the format of Eras. Now we’ll move on and give you an even deeper dive into what you can expect from each Era.
One of the first things you’ll notice when jumping into Eras gameplay is that every team has a floor that’s accurate to the Era year. We’ve spent a ton of time going over game footage, trying to make sure we get the details right so that when you play as the San Diego Clippers, it really does feel like a slice of history comes to life.
With a few exceptions, every team has at least one unique floor per Era, with a few teams getting more if they had a big rebranding or relocation; approximately 100(!) new floors in total across all Eras. The long-term goal is to eventually have every floor as close to the year-to-year changes as possible, but for now, we’re confident that you’ll be able to have a great time with all of the versions available in Eras.
One particularly immersive thing you will notice in Eras arenas is that we went to all of our partner sponsors and worked with them to get the ACTUAL logos and brand markings they used in the ‘80s, ‘90s, and 2000s. It sounds small, but it really adds to the authenticity of the experience when you are in the moment!
In the same vein as the arena floors, we worked to get as many uniforms as possible for each of the teams. Thanks to years of effort by the MyTEAM folks, we started with a pretty large library and have done our best to pair them up with each of the teams so you should be seeing uniform changes at least once per Era, if not more frequently. When a team relocates, we make sure we have matching uniforms to fit the new city.
PRESENTATION + COMMENTARY
One incredibly satisfying visual addition you will find in MyNBA Eras is something we put on display in last week’s reveal trailer for The Jordan Challenge. Our team here at Visual Concepts went and created an era-specific filter system that was intricately designed to recreate the television experience of watching these games as they were originally broadcast during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s!
Beyond LOOKING the part, with respect to the quality of the broadcast, the team has also gone back and created era-specific broadcast elements. In 1983, you will experience a broadcast that is simple in design and nature, with big block letters, and a simple scorebug. As we progress into the ‘90s, you will start to see an evolved presentation as technology is improving in leaps and bounds. By the time we get to the 2000s, things start to get a little more current (though, not entirely!). The team has spared no expense in bringing you the ultimate, authentic experience this year with MyNBA Eras in NBA 2K23.
On the commentary end of the spectrum, the audio team really outdid themselves this year. Historically, they’ve kept our commentary booth up-to-date and added new content to our colossal bank of audio lines to keep gameplay as fresh as possible. But with the introduction of Eras, the question became: does it make sense to have the same commentary team for 4 different Eras? The obvious answer is that it doesn’t. To shed the accumulated work of thousands of recording hours would be bold to say the least, but that’s precisely what we’ve done—we’ve started a new bank of audio with a revised booth!
From the years 1983-2002, your commentary booth is going to consist of Kevin Harlan, Clark Kellogg, and new addition Mike Fratello (aka The Czar). Bringing in Fratello provides a huge boost to the presentation of this era of the NBA as he lived through this entire range as both a coach and a sports broadcaster. He brings to the table many stories and insights that only he can convey with such elegance and grace—his voice brings the past alive once again! From the years 2002-2020, Fratello steps aside and makes way for Greg Anthony to provide a more current flavor to the evolving booth. Once 2021 hits, we open up our full multi-team commentary booth with additional sideline reports, guest commentators, the works. For years now, NBA 2K has paved the way for commentary presentation, and NBA 2K23 takes that to the next level this year!
LEAGUE RULES, EXPANSION, RELOCATION, & GAMEPLAY CHANGES
We’ve done our best to make sure that the base MyNBA Eras experience fully supports teams automatically joining the league in the right years (think Miami Heat, Vancouver Grizzlies, etc.) and rebrand/relocate (think Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, etc.) as those teams did historically. Other than a few minor exceptions, everything is in, including the San Diego Clippers, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the various history of moves from the Hornets/Bobcats/Pelicans.
That said, we want to make sure that MyNBA Eras remains the sandbox you’ve known and loved for years now. It was a goal to make the rebranding, relocation, and league expansion easy for those that wanted to see history unfold as it did in the past, but also make it easy to change them. If you want to take the league in a completely new direction, you can absolutely make it happen. 36 teams in 1983? Sure. No team relocations allowed, ever? You got it. To do that, we have the new Historical Rule Changes time period that effectively happens during each offseason.
Here, we give you a brief overview of everything that happened, while also giving you the option to disable any individual change if you don’t want to see it occur. It’s a really nice way of taking in what’s different around the league, and which teams and arenas might be worth taking a closer look at for new content in the upcoming season.
In addition, we make sure that most of the normal rule changes that were introduced over the league’s history are present. It’d be impossible to think of Jordan-era gameplay without hand checking, so that’s an option and enables more aggressive defense on the sticks. The league shifting from zone defenses being illegal to legal, the playoff format changes, it’s all here, and it’s all the bread and butter of what makes MyNBA Eras a feature that stands above all other similar modes in the market! If you would like more details on just some of the gameplay changes we’ve added this year, give the ‘Gameplay Authenticity’ section of our Jordan Challenge Courtside Report a read for further details!
THE LITTLE THINGS: ERAS EDITION
It’s impossible to touch on everything that has gone into MyNBA Eras. In addition to the previous points mentioned, we’ve done our best to add several small touches to help make the mode feel like a unique experience:
- Every Era has its own period-specific unique menu background. We really wanted every Era to feel different, both inside and outside of gameplay.
- Accurate gameplay to every Era. In the ‘80s, all teams will have a bigger focus on the midrange and post game in the playbooks, player tendencies, and AI. We’ve got authentic plays from Jack Ramsey, Hubie Brown, Dick Motta, Lenny Wilkins, Phil Jackson, Jerry Sloan, Rick Adelman, and many more.
- Transition gameplay itself changes across Eras. In the ‘80s, you can expect guys to run tighter lanes and push towards the basket as opposed to the more space-oriented transition play of modern day, where players frequently take threes in transition.
- Finances will grow and change with the Era, including changes to rookie scale contracts.
- Logo/Team Identity updates historically have happened more frequently than floor and uniform changes. Even if you prefer simulating everything, you will still feel the league evolution as team logos change each year.
- Division realignment occurs automatically and matches historic divisions. We not only make sure teams are in the right division, but as the league expands, we make sure we go from four to six divisions when the time comes.
- The G League and Social Media are added to the mode at the appropriate time. It didn’t make sense to have them in the ‘80s. In the Kobe Era, you can expect to see the G League added when the D-League was introduced, and Social Media to turn on a few years after that.
- Dynamic length of shorts. Going from the short shorts of the ‘80s, to the longer shorts of the Jordan Era, to the slightly over the knee shorts of LeBron in the 2010s, we’ve done our best to add individual short lengths, and have the lengths change with time so the uniforms feel tried and true. Someone that we historically remember as always wearing a specific length, like John Stockton and his short shorts, should remain exactly as we’ve seen historically.
- All-Star Game Jerseys – Players will now wear their own team’s jerseys in the All-Star Game, until the real-life NBA made the switch to team-based jerseys. This detail, while small, really demonstrates the amount of thought and effort the team has put into creating a genuinely authentic experience for every NBA fan out there.
- Referee evolution. One of our more detail-oriented touches is how we accurately only have two referees on-court, before later adding the third in-line with the year they were added by the NBA. Small touches go a long way for a truly authentic experience.
MyNBA Eras was created by basketball fans, for basketball fans, and we know you’re going to love it!
MyWNBA AND MyNBA EXTRAS
As you can imagine, the lion’s share of our time this year went into MyNBA Eras, but we also made time to work in a few improvements to the core franchise gameplay you enjoy every year. Here’s a quick summary of some of the new features and updates we’ve made:
- Updated WNBA Playoff Bracket – Previously, the WNBA used a four-round bracket with eight teams, giving the top two seeds two byes and the third and fourth seeds one bye. It looked awesome, but it was a little complex to represent. In order to match the real-life WNBA, we’re now using a more standard three-round single elimination bracket, with the old system available as a rule change for all leagues.
- WNBA Commissioner’s Cup – Like the real WNBA, we now have the Commissioner’s Cup! Basically, the first game every team plays against another team counts toward a special leaderboard. The top two teams then duke it out in a special exhibition game at the end of the season.
- Revamped Team Rivalry – When teams clash on the court, we now have a more in-depth system to calculate the “heat index” between two teams. This looks at numerous factors such as their history, rivalry status, and more to help manifest how the players take to the court. Games with a high heat index will result in a more physical, aggressive game between the two teams. As an example, we knew we wanted the Bad Boys Pistons to really feel like they were running the “Jordan Rules” when going up against the Bulls. As such, when Isiah and MJ battle each other, expect a rougher game than usual, and that system will extend to any other bitter rivalry across all Eras.
- Improved Calendar Menu – We’ve made the calendar bigger and added key information that was present in previous years, but missing recently (like Team Chemistry). As a primary hub for your team and launching games, making this landing comfier and easier to use was a definite priority for the team.
- Eastern and Western Conference Finals MVP – As this was a new award in 2022, we’ve gone ahead and added it to the Modern Era as well. You’ll see these awards announced before the NBA Finals are set to begin.
It’s been a very productive year for not only our franchise team, but every team involved in the creation of this new experience. MyNBA Eras was a colossal undertaking. We weren’t initially sure if we could do everything we wanted in one development cycle and still make the mode feel as great as we imagined, but we’ve been burning the midnight oil—and have delivered! With confidence, we can say that NBA 2K23 is a banner year for our MyNBA fans. We are very proud to use actions to prove our dedication to this core audience.
As always, we want to hear from you, and we welcome and encourage any and all feedback! After you’ve spent some time diving into MyNBA Eras, please let us know where you would like to see us go next. In the meantime, we will continue doing our absolute best to deliver the best franchise mode in sports gaming. Until we speak next, enjoy, and we can’t wait to hear your answers to “what if” as YOU rewrite history with MyNBA Eras!