Top 10 Players Missing from the NBA 2K Games

Tags: #NBA ,   #nba2k ,   #videogames

Michael Wendom

Michael Wendom

Last updated:  2023-12-05 07:46:08

While the NBA 2K series is extremely controversial due to the high amount of microtransactions, it's still hard to ignore it. One of the things we love about it is the inclusion of tons of retro content. The developers make enormous efforts to license thousands of former players, as we can now recreate the seasons from decades ago. Yet, hundreds of past players aren't in the NBA 2K. While most are obscure and long forgotten, there are still plenty of big names we are sorely missing. Thus, these are the top former NBA stars still not in the NBA 2K series.

10. Al Jefferson

Very good!
Career highlights: All-NBA Third Team
Why we need him: One of the key members of almost every team he played for
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Possible
Player info

As he was listed as the best high school center in the United States, Al Jefferson decided to enter the NBA draft at only 19. As the 15th pick, he ended up with the Celtics. However, his first two seasons were a bit underwhelming. Yet, Jefferson then massively improved, as he took much better care of his body. His progress only continued once he was traded to Minnesota. Averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds with solid shot-blocking ability, he was one of the best power forwards in the league. Jefferson continued strong in Utah and Charlotte but experienced a steep decline after his 30th birthday. At 33, he was out of the league, but not without leaving a trace. Yet, it sounds astonishing that he played only 21 games in the playoffs and never got out of the first round.

Al Jefferson was a part of the Charlotte Hornets All-time team in some of the previous NBA 2K games. However, he has been replaced with Vlade Divac. Unfortunately, he is unavailable in other modes too. The most likely reason is that Jefferson isn't a part of the NBA Retired Players Association. Thus, 2K Sports would have to make an individual contract with him, which is probably too complicated and not financially viable for both sides. Like many players, Jefferson might not even be aware of NBA 2K games, or he doesn't care about them.

9. Armen Gilliam

Sometimes, Gilliam could even rival Jordan
Career highlights: NBA All-Rookie First Team
Why we need him: One of the key members of many teams he played for
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Possible
Player info

As a terrific scorer and rebounder, Armen Gilliam had a fantastic college career and was even a member of the team USA at the 1986 World Championship. Winning the gold that nobody expected lifted him further, as he was the 2nd overall pick in the 1987 NBA draft. While never fulfilling his full potential, Gilliam was a reliable and consistent starter who could produce solid numbers. Yet, he missed deep playoff runs, as he never played for excellent teams. Add a lack of individual achievements, and you'll understand why he was obscured in the 90s, as probably the best NBA era. Yet, any team today would like such a dedicated and consistent warrior.

Unfortunately, Gilliam died in 2011, at only 47, before the NBA 2K series got seriously involved with the retro roster. Unlike some other players on the list, Gilliam was never in the game, and 2K never publicly spoke about it. Thus, we can only assume that he is not a member of the NBA Retired Player Association, so licensing him feels like too much hassle for 2K Sports. Let’s hope things will change, as Gilliam is too big to be left out.

8. Andrew Bynum

The best from his best season
Career highlights: 2 x NBA Champion, NBA All-Star
Why we need him: Starter in two Lakers championship teams
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Moderate
Player info

Andrew Bynum was lucky to be selected by the Lakers in the draft at only 17, but he also worked hard to earn his place in the starting five. Thus, in 2009 and 2010, he won NBA titles as a viable scorer and excellent defender. In 2012, Bynum had the best numbers of his career, earning him his only All-Star appearance. Unfortunately, his career turned into a nightmare. Due to problems with his knees, Bynum suddenly became a liability. Thus, the Lakers ditched him after his best season, and since then, he played only 26 games. Even though he hoped for a comeback, it never happened. Thus, Bynum's last game came before his 27th birthday. Undoubtedly, he could have achieved much more if he stayed healthy. Nevertheless, he still did a lot in the time he had.

So, why is Bynum still not in the game? The reason is pretty bizarre, as the 2K team can't reach him! While that sounds unbelievable in the internet age, Bynum has stayed out of public since he was out of the NBA. Thus, it seems that he values his privacy. Therefore, we got the Los Angeles Lakers 2009/10 historic team without him, and he is also missing from Mamba Moments mode in NBA 2K24. Yet, it's hard to blame 2K, as it appears that they have the desire to get him in the game. 

7. Mookie Blaylock

A life of massive ups and downs
Career highlights: NBA All-Star, 2 x NBA All-Defensive Team, 2 x NBA steals leader
Why we need him: To complete the excellent Hawks teams in the 90s MyEras
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Highly unlikely
Player info

If Michael Jordan ever had a twin in the NBA, it was Mookie Blaylock! Two often played against each other, but at only 6 feet (183 cm), Mookie was considerably smaller. Thanks to his agility, Blaylock was a fantastic defender and a 2x NBA steals leader. Yet, he was also an excellent passer and three-point shooter. Blaylock is best remembered for his time with the Atlanta Hawks, where he was also an All-Star once. During seven years for the team, the Hawks qualified for playoffs every time, often getting past the first round. Even in his later years, he remained a reliable and versatile player.

Blaylock is nowhere to be seen decades after his retirement, and for a good reason. Unfortunately, his police record is full of instances of drug abuse and driving offenses, resulting in a homicide. The former star spent three years in prison, and is still under probation. Thus, we can assume that 2K doesn't want to do anything with him. Once his probation ends and his reputation improves, things might change. Yet, it may also never happen.

6. Len Bias

Bias looked so effortless on the floor
Career highlights: Consensus first-team All-American, 2nd overall NBA draft pick
Why we need him: For the ultimate "What if" scenario in MyEras mode
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Unlikely
Player info

There’s no bigger "What if" NBA scenario than talking about what would happen if Len Bias survived. At the time, he was considered even more talented than Michael Jordan, and his Celtics were still a great team. With Larry Bird, Robert Parish, and other stars, Bias could learn much and lead the team to more titles. With his superior athletic abilities, Bias could do it all, as he was a force on both ends of the court. Therefore, we can imagine many people firing MyEras mode in NBA 2K and shaping his career in the Celtics. 

While Bias never played in the NBA, he was technically a part of the league when selected by the Celtics. Unfortunately, only two days later he died after snorting cocaine. Thus, we can assume that his controversial death is why 2K Sports isn't ready to talk about his inclusion in the game. Additionally, they would need to speak directly to his family about it. While we understand the concern from 2K Sports, we would still love to see this happen.

5. Alvin Robertson

Now we know that this was an incredible feat 
Career highlights: 4x NBA All-Star, NBA Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Most Improved Player
Why we need him: The best ball stealer in NBA history
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Unlikely
Player info

Whenever there's talk about the best defenders in NBA history, people often forget about Alvin Robertson. While he was a solid scorer and passer, ball stealing was his specialty. Thus, in his second season, he recorded 3.7 steals per game, which is still an NBA record. This was no fluke, as Robertson led the league in this category three times and is still the all-time leader with 2.7 steals per game overall. His terrific defensive work also made him an NBA All-Star, and a member of the first and the second All-Defensive NBA team. Robertson holds a few other distinctions - he has an Olympic gold medal (1984) and is the only non-center to record a quadruple-double! As you can imagine, he is the only one who did it with steals in double digits. 

Unfortunately, Robertson has been in all sorts of trouble since retiring. Thus, he was jailed several times for domestic violence, abuse, and other misconduct. Consequently, 2K Sports is happy to stay away from him, even if Robertson looks like he would need that money. Unless he reforms his life and stays out of trouble, nothing will change. Again, while it's a shame that he's not in the game, we can't blame 2K for this one. 

4. Connie Hawkins

Hawkins deserved more than he got
Career highlights: 4 x NBA All-Star, All-NBA First Team
Why we need him: One of the best Phoenix Suns players ever
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Moderate
Player info

In his prime, Connie Hawkins was an NBA star and one of the best players in the Phoenix Suns' history. Yet, somehow he is rather obscure. That's insane for a guy who won the ABA Championship and was the league's MVP, but also a 4x NBA All-Star! As he arrived in the NBA at 27, Hawkins didn't have much time to shine. Yet, he was excellent at Suns, as the leading scorer and rebounder, but also a great passer. While the team never got past the first playoff round, Hawkins had an inspiring performance in 1970 when the Suns faced the Lakers. Averaging over 25 points and 14 rebounds, Hawkins took the Chamberlain, West, and Baylor to game seven. Despite only playing seven seasons, he still achieved more than the huge majority of NBA players with much longer careers.

Yet, rarely anyone asks about why Connie Hawkins isn’t in the NBA 2K series, or even mention him as one of the top players missing. The situation is pretty confusing, as Hawkins was in MyTeam mode in the past, but hasn’t been in the series for years. As he passed away in 2017, we can only assume that members of his family aren't happy with the compensation that NBA 2K offers. While we can understand that, it's a shame, as Connie desperately needs more exposure. At the moment, NBA 2K games remain the best way to do so.

3. Rasheed Wallace

Sheed received much love from the Knicks crowd
Career highlights: NBA Champion, 4x NBA All-Star
Why we need him: Critical member of several iconic teams
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Possible
Player info

Like another famous power forward, Dennis Rodman, Rasheed Wallace is known for his temperament. Thus, he holds the NBA record for most technical fouls and ejections in a season. Despite this, he was a terrific player on both ends of the court. Additionally, he was one of the rare PFs with excellent three-point shooting. Thus, no wonder he is a multiple NBA All-Star. After a promising rookie season in Washington, Wallace was terrific in Portland and Detroit, where he won his only NBA title. Astonishingly, he made a comeback at 38, two years after retiring. Even then, he produced solid numbers for the New York Knicks, despite limited playing time. Wallace remains one of the most recognizable players of the early 2000s who rarely missed playoffs and often went for deep runs.

While Sheed was in NBA 2K13 as a member of the 2004 Detroit Pistons, he has disappeared since then. Although we have no official explanation, we can assume this is not about money. Instead, Wallace keeps away from any form of media. Thus, he doesn't care about being in a video game. Yet, we can't be sure about that, as he agreed to be in NBA 2K13. This is really painful, as recent NBA 2K games feature several of his Pistons and Blazers teams. Without him, none of them make much sense.

2. Reggie Miller

Reggie was an excellent clutch shooter
Career highlights: 5 x NBA All-Star, NBA 75th Anniversary Team, Olympic gold, FIBA World Championship gold
Why we need him: One of the 90s iconic players
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Possible
Player info

Reggie Miller is the most iconic Indiana Pacer and one of the best one-team-only players ever. Reggie is among the elite shooters in history, with some of the highest free throws and three-point percentages. Furthermore, he was incredibly durable, rarely missing a game in his career. With him on board, the Pacers missed just one playoff and lost the 2000 NBA Finals. Furthermore, they were the only team to push Michael Jordan's Bulls to game seven in their second three-peat. While that might be surprising to many, Miller doesn't have many individual trophies and was an All-Star "just" five times. Mostly that's because he didn't have much to offer beyond shooting and ball stealing. Yet, even in the star-studded 1990s, he had a huge role.

It seems that Reggie appreciates himself more than any other player, as 2K Sports finds his demands unacceptable. Reggie's logic is that the NBA 2K series makes tons of money, so they can afford to pay him more. Yet, we have no idea how much he demands. It's easy to understand that 2K Sports worries that if they succumb, other players will also want more money. As Reggie doesn't care about video games, we can only assume that the stalemate will continue.

1. Charles Barkley

You couldn't stop Barkey in his prime
Career highlights: NBA MVP, 11 x NBA All-Star, 5x All-NBA First Team, NBA 75th Anniversary Team
Why we need him: One of the best forwards in history, a member of many great historic teams
Chances to see him in the NBA 2K series: Good
Player info

As one of the best power forwards in history, Charles Barkley had a massive impact wherever he played. Despite appearing overweight, Barkley was a terrific scorer and rebounder, but also excellent at ball stealing. As he could shoot threes and dominate in every other area of the court, he was a nightmare to guard. Above all, Barkley was a charismatic, fearless leader with an unmatched personality. Thus, he was in the center of attention - you loved or hated him. While he was rather unfortunate to never win the title, Barkley earned tons of highest individual achievements. This includes the MVP award in 1993 when he lost the NBA finals. Playing for the United States, Barkley won two gold Olympic medals and never suffered a defeat.

Even during his career, Barkley was often not featured in licensed NBA games, similar to Michael Jordan. Now that he is retired, the situation is even worse! Barkley appeared in NBA 2K only in NBA 2K13, as a member of the original Dream Team. Even then, it took a lot to convince him. Yet, at least he is transparent about it. As the Hall of Famer explained, he asked 2K Sports to give x amount of dollars to retired players, which they refused. Barkley claims that he doesn't want a dime for himself and that his doors will stay open. As the NBA 2K series continues to rack up huge money, maybe 2K Sports will have a change of heart. Until then, we can't blame Barkley.

Of course, there are many more great NBA players we couldn't fit on our list. So, let's not forget Tayshaun Prince, Orlando Woolridge, Anthony Mason, Saša Danilović, Fast Eddie Johnson, Nikola Peković, Dale Davis, or Nikola Mirotić. It would even be fun to have Sam Bowie - the biggest draft bust in history. While licenses come and go, the NBA 2K series is improving, so some of these names may appear eventually. Until then, you can try fan rosters, which add all the missing players for a complete experience. 

What are some of your favorite players missing from the NBA 2K series? Who do you think - who will eventually appear in the game, and who will stay out of reach? 

Cover photo: TopTens archive



Add new Comment

Characters 0 of 1000

Thank you for comment

blah blah Says:

For video games sports is the most boring genre and basketball is the most boring subgenre

December 05 at 07:46:08 AM

Similar Articles

Latest Articles

Top 5 Articles

Trending Articles

Sponsor Ads