- Basketball has become a dominant sport in the U.S. due to its fast-paced nature and ability to score quickly.
- NBA 2K23 is the best and most realistic basketball game on PC, offering lifelike graphics and various game modes.
- NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is a great arcade-style game that features over 400 real NBA players and multiplayer options.
- Freestyle 2: Street Basketball stands out with its unique cel-shaded art style and allows players to create their own moves.
- Basketball Classics is a retro throwback to 8-bit basketball games with over 1,000 available players and customizable teams.
While basketball may not enjoy the popularity of soccer around the world, it’s certainly created its niche in the U.S. as one of the most dominant sports. From playgrounds to driveways to gym class, basketball has found a way into the hearts and minds of people.
Basketball succeeds so well due to its fast-paced nature in which scoring can rapidly take place. Unlike American football, where it can take minutes for any type of scoring to happen, basketball scores are often made in just a few seconds.
It’s with this fast action in mind that basketball has not only become a hugely popular sport but also popular as a game to play at home. For as long as you can remember, basketball has been a staple of the video game universe across home consoles and PCs. Everything from simulation titles to games where you look like you are actually right there in the action are available.
If you have been looking for the best basketball game you can play on your PC, this list of the 7 best basketball games will help you get started right away.
The Best Basketball Games for PC: Summary
|As the absolute best and most realistic basketball game on the PC, you should expect lifelike graphics.
|NBA 2K Playgrounds 2K
|This is the best game to get your NBA Jam fix with a modern twist.
|Freestyle 2: Street Basketball
|With its unique cel-shaded art style, this game stands out with great graphics.
|It’s a truly retro throwback to basketball games from the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System.
|Basketball Club Story
|The perfect game for casual basketball management simulation and is good for the whole family.
|International Basketball Manager 23
|If you want to manage teams from around the world, this is the basketball game for you.
|Pro Basketball 2023
|This title offers some of the most realistic stadium workarounds.
#1: NBA 2K23
- Refined gameplay in the palm of your hands on both sides of the ball
- Pristine courts, scenic views, and a boatload of rewards for you and your MyPLAYER to enjoy
- Step back in time with era-specific visuals
- Immersive Jordan Challenges chronicling Michael Jordan's career-defining dominance
- Collect and assemble a bevy of legendary talent from any era
Undoubtedly the best-known game in the basketball universe, NBA 2K23 is also the most popular game among PC gamers who want to get as real as possible.
Between its various modes like MyCAREER, MyTEAM, Seasons, and more, there is just so much to do in NBA 2K23 that it’s likely to take you months to try everything. Better yet, you have 3 different versions of the game available including the Michael Jordan Edition, which helps you replay his career from NCAA champion to the best basketball player of all time.
Jump into MyTEAM mode and build your squad from among the most legendary players to ever step on the court. Alternatively, you can try your hand at management with MyGM mode and give yourself complete control of a team from the front office to the players.
Where NBA 2K23 succeeds so well is with its outstanding graphics, excellent crowd effects, and even fairly good game announcers.
|The best graphics you will find
|Far too many microtransactions
|Variety of different game modes
#2: NBA 2K Playgrounds 2
Something of a cross between NBA Jam and NBA 2K23, NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 is the best way to play your favorite NBA superstars like you would in the arcades.
As an arcade-style game, there is something truly great about the action with NBA 2K Playgrounds 2K that brings you back to the console glory days of the 1990s. Everything from playing 2-on-2 locally or as a co-op with friends is here as are 4-player multiplayer games. Dedicated servers ensure you should have no issue finding some partners to play with at any point, which makes the online component of this title much more exciting.
No matter how you play NBA 2K Playgrounds 2, you’re going to have the option of playing over 400 real NBA players. This list includes some of the best names to ever play the sport including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dr. J, Vince Carter, and more.
Every game you play will take place on 1 of 10 playground courts, with some games taking place underneath the California sun, the bright lights of Seoul, or the Australian outback.
|Best NBA Jam replacement
|Not quite as much fun as NBA Jam
|Big NBA legends have returned
|More fun with friends than solo
#3: Freestyle 2: Street Basketball
Another arcade-style basketball title, Freestyle 2: Street Basketball is an enjoyable free-to-play game that focuses heavily on online play.
Initially released in 2015, Freestyle 2: Street Basketball has continued to enjoy success with its responsive controls and still good graphics. The unique cel-shaded art helps differentiate this title from other games on this list and helps it stand out on its own on any list of basketball titles.
For the game itself, you’re able to play any position on a team where you can create up to 30 of your own moves. Plus, you can customize your character’s look, which is good because you are going to want to look sharp while pulling off the winning shot.
A great tutorial helps you learn all of the ins and outs of Freestyle 2: Street Basketball, which includes learning how fast you can become a member of a team as you jump online to play with friends or strangers from around the world.
|Beautiful cel-shaded graphics
|Not as feature-rich as 2K23
|Create 30 of your own basketball moves
|Online connectivity can be spotty at times
#4: Basketball Classics
When you want a basketball game with a retro vibe, you can’t do any better than Basketball Classics on your PC.
A 5 on 5 pro basketball game, Basketball Classics harkens back to the 8-bit pixel era with jerky animations and only a few different shot types. However, this is hardly a negative when it actually brings back memories of the golden days of the 8-bit era and feels like a return to a time well before microtransactions were ever a thing.
Between side-scrolling action with just 3 buttons at work to dribble, pass, and shoot, you are able to pick from among 175 different teams. On those teams, you have over 1,000 players, all of whom have different attributes to try and take your team all the way to the championship.
Everything from play calling to choosing the right shot is all up to you. Unfortunately, 3-pointers alone won’t win this game, so you need to consider a little bit of strategy to make sure you are not blown out by your opponents.
|Awesome retro graphics
|Doesn’t have the latest players
|Over 1,000 available players
|Retro graphics are not for everyone
#5: Basketball Club Story
A true change of pace from other PC-ready basketball games on this list, Basketball Club Story is a fun management simulator you can pick up right now.
Developed by Kairosoft, Basketball Club Story is one of many management simulation games that have been developed with a cartoonish art style. Kairosoft has a terrific reputation for this type of simulation game, which is a testament to just how much fun Basketball Club Story is to play.
In this game, you are responsible for creating your own basketball team, recruiting any player you can find, and then competing against other teams.
You can sign with sponsors to earn money so you can build your team better facilities and recruit more advanced players. Just make sure you are able to connect with your fans since the more engagement you have with them, the more they will cheer on the team.
The highlight of Basketball Club Story is its cutesy art style that feels right at home on the PC, or any other platform. It’s good for both adults and children while also just being a whole lot of fun.
|Great game to play with the family
|Cartoonish graphics are not for everyone
|A fun simulation for short bursts of free time
#6: International Basketball Manager 23
If Basketball Club Story is the cartoony simulation manager for PC, International Basketball Manager 23 is much more of a real deal.
With this title, your goal is to wear the coaching hat and take on the responsibility and pressure of winning the fans, winning games, and keeping your job. Over 20 different leagues are available to manage and you can choose from almost 10,000 players who you want to draft to create a championship team. With this many players, one of your first actions as a coach might be to hire some strong scouts to find new talent.
One big highlight of International Basketball Manager 23 is all of the international licenses you have available allowing you to play with real teams and real players. Over 357 colleges are also able to play in the United States College League competition.
Should you not want to use an officially licensed team or player, the game’s built-in editor is able to help you customize both teams and modify the attributes of the licensed talent. The bottom line is the sky’s the limit with IBM 23 to help you create the best team in the world.
|Over 10,000 players to choose from
|Does not include NBA
|Licenses from hundreds of pro teams around the world
|Requires a big-time commitment
#7: Pro Basketball Manager 2023
If you’re still on the hunt for a complete basketball management simulator, Pro Basketball 2023 might be exactly what you need.
Featuring more than 82 domestic leagues, including 10 different women’s leagues, across 60 different countries, Pro Basketball 2023 is an incredibly fun simulation experience. With more than 2,000 teams at your disposal and 50,000 players, it’s easy to see why this game is one of the most recommended basketball titles on the PC.
Redesigned for 2023, player pages have received an overhaul from previous years, providing you with even more statistics and data to read through. Plus, the 2023 refresh includes newly customized 3D arenas that are more realistic than ever.
Once you are ready to take over a team, you have more than 160 basketball competitions to try and win. To help win these tournaments, you need to go through the recruitment of players all while managing your stadium to bring in new revenue to acquire new talent.
|Includes 50,000 players
|The women’s league is very small
|Over 160 different competitions to play through
|Has a deep learning curve
When it comes to basketball games on the PC, there is a lack of depth compared to games on video game consoles. However, these 7 best basketball games for the PC are able to cover just about every interest in basketball you could ever want.
From games with incredible realism like NBA 2K23 to awesome management sims like International Basketball Manager 23, there is truly something for everyone. If basketball is your favorite sport to play, you should find all of these games worth a try so you can find your favorite new time sink.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Alex Kravtsov/Shutterstock.com.