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The most fun NBA legends to play as in 2K23

Jumping on Play Now and want to know what players are the most fun to use from couch co-op to online? Here’s a list of the basketball sim’s most entertaining athletes.
By Molly Gatt
8 min readPublished on
Play Now is the go-to casual game mode for NBA 2K23, featuring various offline and online games that make use of the NBA’s greatest players. Some games, like BlackTop, Play Now Online and Quick Play are easy ways to play 2K23 without spending hours building your player or team. This way, you can play competitive 2K with your friends locally or online right away.
The second biggest perk of Play Now is the highly skilled and fun NBA players available to you immediately. In other areas of 2K23 you need to grind or pay microtransactions to get strong, but here you get players of extreme athletic ability and skill right off the bat. It's really fun to play for the glitch-level skill these NBA legends possess. Below, you’ll find 10 of the best and some honourable mentions to help you pick your go-to Play Now players.

1. LeBron James, All-Time Miami Heat

LeBron James won two rings with the Heat and is considered one of the greatest to ever play for the Miami franchise, making this version of LeBron one of the best in the game. With a 99 overall at the small forward or power forward position, he's an unstoppable force at the rim. He's the fastest version of LeBron in the game and no other player can activate more contact dunks. LeBron can bulldoze through almost any defender, sending them to the ground. His size, strength and speed also work on the opposite end of the court, activating some crazy defensive animations. This version of LeBron James also comes with the highest 3-point percentage making him deadly from deep.

2. Kevin Durant, All-Time Oklahoma City Thunder

Kevin Durant made a name for himself as the Slim Reaper while playing for the Thunder before eventually going to Golden State where he won 2 rings with them in 2017 and again in 2018. With a 97 overall, he's a rare player that has incredible shooting ability and insane length. KD is 6’10 with a 7’5 wingspan and can make shots from anywhere, including at the rim making him a glitch on offence. His unique build also makes him effective on defence as well. With the game of basketball evolving in the direction of having a smaller and more versatile athletic team, Durant’s height and wingspan will allow you to run him at the power forward or centre position letting you space the floor for a more explosive offensive without giving up too much on the defensive end.

3. Wilt Chamberlain, All-Time Golden State Warriors

Wilt Chamberlain won 2 NBA championships and is regarded as one of the greatest centres of all time. He’s still the record holder for the most points scored in a single game, with the 100 points he got in 1962 with the Warriors. This 98 overall centre is arguably the most athletic player for his size in NBA history. He is 7’1 and moves and jumps as well as LeBron James. Massive inside centres like Chamberlain are always fun to dominate on both sides of the floor with, but Wilt is extra glitchy when scoring in the paint since he's faster, stronger, bouncier and longer than every other centre in the game. These exact reasons are also why he rebounds and blocks opponents' shots at an insane level.

4. Stephen Curry, All-Time Golden State Warriors

Stephen Curry has four rings with Golden State and is considered to be the greatest shooter in NBA history. Curry popularized the three-point shot making it a staple play in basketball games across the globe. In-game Curry is a 97 overall at the point guard position. What makes Steph special, is his ability to 3-hunt. Curry has all the crazy dribble moves as well as the best shooting stats and badges. His ball-handling and shooting are so elite there’s no better player to torch your opponent from deep. So if you’re the kind of 2K player that likes to dribble the ball and play behind the arc Steph is your go-to guy.

5. Allen Iverson, All-Time Philadelphia 76ers

Allen Iverson never won an NBA championship, but he was an NBA All-Star 11 times in his 14-year career and won the All-Star MVP award in 2001 and again in 2005. This All-Time Iverson is a 96 overall and plays at the shooting guard or point guard position. What makes Iverson special is his ability to be the most dominant guy on the court even though his opponents may tower him in height. He’s 6’0 and has the fastest speed in the game making it easy to finish in the paint over larger opponents with four hall of fame finishing badges: Acrobat, Giant Slayer, Fearless Finisher and Slithery Finisher. It's like if the Toronto Raptors’ Kyle Lowry and LeBron James had a baby.

6. Ja Morant, Current Memphis Grizzlies

Ja Morant was the talk of the town this past season for being a starter at NBA All-Star Game, winning NBA Most Improved Player, making the All-NBA Second Team and leading the Memphis Grizzlies to the second-best record in the NBA. He was able to accomplish all this due to his insane skill set and freaky athleticism making him a fan favourite to watch and play in NBA 2K23. For the first year ever Ja Morant was given a jump shot and dribble animations in the game, all of which are elite. Ja is a 93 overall point guard and shoots the ball extremely well, dribbles by his opponents with ease, and dunks on opponents better than any other point guard in the game.

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Current Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo is known as the “Greek Freak” because of his top-tier basket skills that lead his team to the 2021 NBA championship (and because he was born and raised in Athens, Greece after his parents immigrated from Lagos, Nigeria). Giannis is a 97 overall forward at 6’11 with the wingspan of Durant, and the speed and strength of Chamberlain. Giannis’ insane chase-down blocks and ability to steal the ball with crazy interceptions make him effective playing lanes and can force many turnovers, giving your team transition buckets. Giannis can dunk too so he's a great player to take into the paint on the offensive side as well.

8. Kobe Bryant, All-Time Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away in 2020, spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he won five championships. Bryant also won the All-Star Game MVP Honors four times, which is the most in the history of the NBA and since his passing, the trophy has been named after him. In-game Kobe has a 98 overall at the shooting guard position. What makes Kobe fun is his ability to make the toughest shots possible due to his high shooting ratings and great hall of fame shooting badges, to match the remarkable skill set he had in real life. On top of making arguably the craziest shots in the game, Bryant also has elite defence, which makes sense considering he was selected for the most NBA All-Defensive 1st teams in the history of the sport.

9. Vince Carter, All-Time Toronto Raptors

Vinsanity was an eight-time All-Star, the unanimous winner of the legendary dunk contest of 2000 and is the only player in NBA history to play in four different decades across 22 seasons. Arguably the greatest dunker in NBA history, it's no surprise that Air Canada is a crazy fun player to use in 2K23. The 96 overall small forward and Raptors legend not only comes with the best dunk rating in the game, but he also has a 3-point rating of 90 with great shooting badges allowing you to torch your opponent from inside the paint or behind the arc. With his great speed and maxed-out vertical, he moves extremely well and can execute some of the best dunk animations in the game.

10. Michael Jordan, All-Time Chicago Bulls

Michael Jordan won six NBA championships, was a 14-time All-Star and received five MVP awards in his career. Jordan is also the richest athlete in the world with a net worth of over 2.2 billion. Most consider MJ to be the greatest basketball player of all time and 2K seems to be in agreement with them. Jordan has a 99 overall and plays the shooting guard position. Jordan is the best All-Time player in 2K23, stacked with the most Hall of Fame badges across finishing, shooting, defence/rebounding and playmaking, something no other player can possibly get in any game mode. If you want to be the best player on the court in any situation you play as Michael Jordan.

Honourable mentions:

  • Julius Erving, All-Time Brooklyn Nets
  • Magic Johnson All-Time Los Angeles Lakers
  • Tracy McGrady All-Time Orlando Magic
  • Shaquille O’Neal All-Time Los Angeles Lakers
  • Derrick Rose All-Time Chicago Bulls