Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
Buy On
  1. Play Magazine
    Debuting in this '03 renewal is the EA Sports "freestyle" control. Wihout question, it WILL change the way you play basketball games...forever. [Nov 2002, p.88]
  2. A huge improvement over the past few versions of the game. The game has a good balance between realism and fast arcade style action.
  3. PSM Magazine
    These are the coolest and most rewarding dunk-fests we've ever played - and NBA Live 2003 is the most entertaining basketball game on the market because of it. [Dec 2002, p.54]
  4. With improved graphics, better animations, and a control system that, like their commercials say, allows players to fully express themselves anyway they want, Live 2003 is unbelievably solid.
  5. The controls were thoughtfully kept simple and easy to memorize for one specific reason: to allow gamers to focus on the new EA Sports Freestyle Control function.
  6. Game Informer
    A game for those who don't mind sacrificing some realism for a more exciting experience. [Nov 2002, p.119]
  7. 87
    I haven't had this much fun with a basketball game since "NBA Showdown" on my Super Nintendo nearly 10 years ago. Innovative, fast, and possessing the most fluid control of any basketball game on the market.
  8. It retains enough simulation-style elements to appease those craving a realistic game, thus giving NBA Live 2003 a much broader appeal than its direct competitor, "NBA 2K3."
  9. For pick-up-and-play fun, NBA Live 2003 simply can not be beat.
  10. A very fast-paced and more arcade-like basketball experience, but a lot of fun nonetheless.
  11. The bottom line is that EA has made nothing but vast improvements with this version of the NBA Live series.
  12. Is it better than NBA 2K3? Well, no, not really, though some of you will find the faster-paced gameplay to be more enticing, and even doubters should check it out for the Freestyle control alone.
  13. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    It's the innovative use of the right analog stick that seals the deal. [Dec 2002, p.212]
  14. Another criticism levelled at last year’s release was the dodgy AI. This time round the CPU players are much more intelligent making for a more challenging, yet rewarding game.
  15. Official U.S. Playstation Magazine
    The game's real improvement, which gives it a jump on the competition, is the fast break. [Dec 2002, p.171]
  16. 80
    The combination of Freestyle Control, improved AI, and super graphics have elevated this veteran's game by leaps and bounds.
  17. 80
    Sim fans will be disappointed with the under-powered defense, but for twitch players, NBA Live 2003 is a dream come true.
  18. 79
    The inability to play adequate defense makes Live 2003 a shallow affair.
  19. GameNow
    Simple, straightforward fun. [Dec 2002, p.70]

Awards & Rankings

#61 Most Discussed PS2 Game of 2002
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 24 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 24
  2. Negative: 2 out of 24
  1. [Anonymous]
    Apr 18, 2003
    This game is so awesome dudes and dudets.
  2. DougP.
    Apr 12, 2003
    This game is on the hook!
  3. JustinH.
    Mar 25, 2003
    This game sucks, I hate it so much.