Because "fun" and "unfair" aren't mutually exclusive.
The 2K17 content season is entering the home stretch, and with most of the players having made their debut, it’s time to take stock of the biggest titans of the bunch.
The following are my picks for the 25 most unfair and/or ruthless world eaters I’ve encountered in MyTEAM over the last seven months of play. I’ve also included a description of each player's “Kicker”—a.k.a. the flourish of programming that sends it over the top of “great” and into “ridiculous".
Note: Beware Bill Walton. He is not your friend.
Another one of the few Historic reward cards that has actually aged well, diamond Manu consistently outplays his 94 Overall rating and, fittingly, feels like a lane-jumping devil snake on the floor.
The Kicker: ALL OF THE THREES [Rihanna and horns come in].
A horrifically slept-upon card that’s one part LeBron-stopper and one-part cannonball in transition.
The Kicker: Artest's three-ball actually drops reliably.
I’ve written about LaVine’s exceedingly glitchy cards in this year’s game and I stand by those words. Sapphire Zach LaVine came out eons ago and is still one of the quickest and smoothest releasing perimeter threats.
The Kicker: They’re practically free.
So tall, so fast. So betrayed by his own biology.
Everyone drools over Wilt and the like in MyTEAM, but ruby Ralph Sampson is one of the rarest, toughest bigs to check in 2K thanks to his ridiculous athleticism and giant Ent frame. He also has a nifty mid-range, if you're not already physically upset.
The Kicker: Can hit threes if left wide open / has an unstoppable post-fade when given the right shoe.
J.R. Smith got a lot of love early, but injuries and streaky (even for him) shooting have sidelined any Swish Moments cards that 2K might have had brewing this year.
Hopefully Smith will get back on track and bless us all with at least a ruby before developers stop updating content.
After all, J.R.’s High Flyers sapphire remains a three-and-dunk classic...whose release has been described as "a Kendrick Lamar bar made flesh."
The Kicker: Not bad defense!
He started glitchy and he's ending glitchier.
Amethyst Yao Ming hit MyTEAM like a plague of 7’8” locust, and his later diamond Game Breakers piece did little more than add sprinkles on top.
That being said, he's good at just about everything and tall as a smug giraffe, and I swear on J.R.'s Direct Message that one time I saw him jump and block a three-point attempt from the restricted area.
The Kicker: His body never ends.
The fully-loaded, luxury edition Josh Smith card.
The Kicker: He can defend 3-5 with a lateral quickness shoe.
I was non-plussed by this year’s gamut of Michael Jordan cards until Game Breakers gave us diamond MJ, who can shoot at all distances and isn’t limited to defensive stopper-status.
The Kicker: Five HOF badges including Deep Range Deadeye (lol).
The O.G. glitch card.
Both of the Josh Smith cards in MyTEAM are airborne bully-dragons, but the Sapphire was the first to be discovered as the overpowered cheat-code it is by users.
The Kicker: He can’t take bad threes unless you want him to!
"If you’ve ever stood in the shade of a Amazonian goddess as she re-strings her bow with the glowing mane of a Dothraki blood coarser, you know what it’s like to play with Campus Legends Bill Walton.”
— Bill Walton
The Kicker: Knockdown mid-range shot.
He can’t jump, but he can do everything else better than all other bigs.
2K developers rained down blessing after blessing on Nikola Jokic this year as the Nuggets center continued to rack up Moments, and his final curtain call diamond in the Season Elites pack gave us the overkill coke-dream Joker we all secretly wanted in our most private moments: 4148 total attributes and HOF Dimer and Flashy Passer badges.
The Kicker: Full-court hot zones except for the left corner.
As I’ve written before, Kristaps is a cartoonish monstrosity in MyTEAM that will consume your life force in a single quarter, and you can go wrong with neither of his silly-good diamond iterations.
The Kicker: That post fadeaway, though (94).
Mitch “the Glitch” Richmond is the most fitting nickname and we’ll leave it at that.
The Kicker: He can bully ball in the paint if you get tired of dropping canned-soup corner threes.
The most dominant defensive card in the game.
Diamond Ben Wallace is a reward card you can choose after completing Historic Domination, and based on what I’ve heard from those who own him, he’s the most effective defense we have against ICBMs.
The Kicker: The kicker is he’s a giant pain in the ass to acquire.
Back when it dropped, I wrote that I planned to hand down my amethyst Droppin’ 50 Vince Carter card to my future children. This still stands, only now the one I love most will get Diamond Vince while the one who doesn’t laugh at my dad jokes gets the amethyst.
The Kicker: Completing the All-Star collection and unlocking diamond Vinsanity is an actual kick in the pants.
He’s a cheat code at any level, but Campus Legends Melo transcends time and space with his quickness and set-and-forget three. Once you master his release, all that’s left to do is step up at the line and cash checks.
The Kicker: No one playing with diamond Melo has ever lost a Blacktop game. I assume.
Another guy that didn’t need an upgrade but got it anyways.
On unrelated note, Oscar Robertson owes Russell Westbrook a large Edible Arrangement for being the only reason anyone under the age of 40 knows who Oscar Robertson is.
The Kicker: He’s 6’5” and stronger than Andre the Giant. That’s the kicker.
His do-it-all amethyst has more attributes than most diamonds and it’s become exceptionally attainable as 2K continues to unload end-of-season diamonds.
The Kicker: THREE-POINT GIANNIS.
A late addition to the bunch, LeBron James finally got his due diamond with the drop of the Playoffs pack. Playoff ‘Bron has 99 in overall offensive and defensive ratings, and I don’t need to explain to you what that means when attached to his frame.
The Kicker: He is LeBron James.
Everyone’s favorite do-it-all center card has reached what I assume is its final form for 2K17.
Barring a pink diamond, Season Elite DeMarcus Cousins is as good as it’s going to get for Boogie cards this year—which is not a slight in the slight.
The Kicker: He constantly outperforms his relatively underwhelming defensive ratings.
They did their best to try to make this card moot by releasing 1,500 three-point deadeyes into MyTEAM, but diamond Drazen continues to shine as the premier deep ball shooter of the mode with his triumvirate of 98 ratings in open, contested and moving threes, as well as full coverage hot zones everywhere outside the paint.
Petro’s also surprisingly workmanlike in stealing balls and keeping up with athletic twos on the defensive end. RIP, Draz.
The Kicker: I’ve had two opponents give up and let me win in Blacktop after watching me bury a couple area-code distance threes with Drazen.
Everyone laughed when they saw Christian Laettner would be a Dream Team reward card in 2K17 and rest assured: the joke is on them.
Diamond Laettner is a world-swallowing blur of beige in the post and a knockdown shooter from beyond the rim, and might be the most dominant rebounder at the four I’ve encountered.
The Kicker: Laettner’s reward card is as good at basketball as his face is at making you feel hatred.
Too big, too strong. Crabs envy his lateral quickness.
Diamond All-Star Dwight is a freak of nature that should’ve never been introduced into this game but he’s here and he’s not going anywhere.
The Kicker: His post hook would send Kareem into a blind rage.
Dream Team Chris Mullin is the closest thing I’ve found to a LeBron God Mode card that can defend 1-4 and hit any kind of three you task him with. His in-game avatar is scrawny looking but do not mistake him: Dream Team Mulls is a three-shooting, ball-hawking Minotaur of hate.
The Kicker: He’ll body most threes and some fours with his strength (20).
The most unguardable dude in 2K17, T-Mac is nasty at most levels thanks to his size and speed at the two, but you can play at diamond Deep Shooters 2 T-Mac at power forward or the point. It honestly doesn’t matter.
The Kicker: When you back up to prep for his bull rush, T-Mac just pulls up from 30 and sinks his teeth in your jugular with HOF Limitless Range.