• Publisher: Sega
  • Release Date: Oct 21, 2003

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Buy On
  1. 92
    Not only is the gameplay tight, but the addition of 24/7 mode adds a whole new level to the term "must buy"... Overall the best playing basketball game this season.
  2. If you are planning on buying only one basketball game this year, ESPN NBA Basketball is the one to get.
  3. Game Informer
    ESPN NBA is not only one game but two, and they both kick ass... The best in video game basketball. [Nov 2003, p.146]
  4. 85
    While there are still some control problems that keep it from being perfect, Sega's dominance on the hardwood continues. This year makes it a three-peat.
  5. With its excellent graphics and myriad game modes, ESPN NBA Basketball is a good, strong title. The gameplay quirks like rebounding difficulty and the canned animations are there and can be frustrating, but are easily overlooked when you take in the big picture.
  6. 100
    A basketball technician’s dream. Games against the CPU realistically mimic a real game, while scrimmages against friends received a boost of energy thanks to sped-up gameplay and better shot blocking. ESPN NBA Basketball 2K4 retains the top slot by just a hair.
  7. 80
    Clearly, the 24/7 mode is the most impressive element, and it could've easily been its own release. All combined, it adds up to a very good game, due largely to the breakout star.
  8. Play Magazine
    When you face a player, it's almost like a fighting game: who will execute the proper move first? [Nov 2003, p.104]
  9. Until the developers master the riddle of team A.I. (players here don't always respond properly in certain situations), work remains undone. Even so, this year's model is great.
  10. Represents the pinnacle of the sport in videogame form with its nearly flawless gameplay and wide assortment of modes.
  11. PSM Magazine
    Treads the fine line between simulation and arcade play - and pulls it off. It's quite simply the best hoops game on the PS2. [Dec 2003, p.40]
  12. I like more of a sim aspect in my sports games which leaves me undecided about the new arcadish feel of this game.
  13. GMR Magazine
    Just as "Madden" continues to dominate gridiron play, so does ESPN NBA Basketball on the hardwood. [Dec 2003, p.84]
  14. A great portrayal of professional basketball. While its counterpart, "NBA Live," may have more razzle and dazzle, ESPN has the fundamentals covered. If you know the difference between a "2" and a "5" when it comes to basketball positions, ESPN is your choice.
  15. Drop-dead gorgeous and the gameplay is as smooth and realistic as ever. ESPN looks, plays and sounds as close to the real NBA game as you can possibly get on a console right now.
  16. Overall while it's actually quite fun it really is lacking in imagination, leaving it in the same league as many of its average competitors.

Awards & Rankings

#64 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 39 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 39
  2. Negative: 4 out of 39
  1. May 5, 2018
    One of the first times "My Player" mode was introduced that I could remember. Almost better than NBA Live in this game...
  2. H.S.
    Jun 30, 2004
    This game is the best nba game of all time. Moreovrer the 24/7 mode is addictive. The graphics are awesome. You can play on the street orThis game is the best nba game of all time. Moreovrer the 24/7 mode is addictive. The graphics are awesome. You can play on the street or start your own dynasty. Full Review »
  3. EdwardF.
    Mar 30, 2004
    I think the controls are easy.rebounding and dunking are very easy.