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NBA Ballers is a streetball game which is similar to AND 1 Streetball and gameplay similar to the NBA Jam series. The game features fictional NBA analyst Bob Benson (voiced and depicted by Terry Abler) and MC Supernatural doing the commentary. Supernatural makes many references to the Mortal Kombat series and NFL Blitz two games published by Midway. The game also maintains the "player on fire" feature that is in many, if not all sports games published by Midway. Most of the moves that were in the game were from real street ballers who provided some of their moves for the game. The game is powered by Gamespy game technology.
Most matches are 1-on-1. Others can be 1-on-1-on-1, meaning you have three players each playing solely for themselves. The matches are 2 minutes in length and winner is the best of three rounds, each round being a game to 11 points where the winner must win by at least two points. If time runs out, the player with the most points will be declared the winner of that round.
- Jackpot: Located in the top left of the screen during game play: as the player pulls off style moves he earns points that go into a jackpot at the top of the screen and when a player scores he gets all accumulated jackpot.
- Juice Meter
In gameplay the player has a "Juice Meter" that fills up like a fuel gauge and it is used at the turbo boost meter. It is the players energy and if it used up the meter will diminish.
- House Meter
The second meter below the Juice Meter is the "House Meter" which is raised by pulling off style moves and scoring points. The meter is filled until the word "HOUSE" is spelled. When totally filled, the player may choose to "Bring Down the House" by holding all shoulder buttons and throwing an alley-oop to himself that tears down the rim and ends the match.
Rags To Riches
Rags to Riches is the main story mode, in which the player portrays a relatively unknown rookie with certain abilities and must take on the best in the NBA to become arguably the greatest player in the association. Each match is done by tournament style and the player must defeat every opponent to advance to a new tournament to move the story along, and attributes rise during progression.
This game mode featured a full story told over 21 different cut scenes as the player progressed throughout the game. With the inclusion of this game mode, NBA Ballers became the first video game officially licensed by a league to contain a story mode.
Rags To Riches Tournaments
- Ruckers - A group of ragtag street players that do not have any overall skills and make their home at Rucker Park. They are only called by their nicknames and the player must play them in a tournament twice.
- Aluminum - Consists of players who are rookies or have spent a short period in the NBA, such as LeBron James who is a rookie and Tony Parker (2 year pro). The final opponent is Amar'e Stoudemire. This tournament is at the home of Kevin Garnett
- Stainless Steel - Consists of some of the NBA's best defensive players and scorers, such as Kevin Garnett and Ben Wallace and also takes place at Kevin Garnett's residence.
- Titanium - Platinum takes the player to an international basketball tournament at Yao Ming's Preparatory Academy and Tracy McGrady's manor.
- Bronze - Consist of tournaments of NBA Legends which are held at the Naismith National Basketball Hall of Fame. They are relatively short and can only be played after a tournament tier is completed. If not, they disappear.
- Silver - Gold takes the player to a large basketball tournament held in Shaquille O'Neal's backyard and Vince Carter's Pinetower Penthouse.
- Gold - A very long tournament consisting of fourteen opponents. There are frequent 1-on-1-on-1 matches
- Diamond - This event takes place at the create-a-player's created mansion. This is the hardest tournament with nothing but 1-on-2 matches all the way until a one-on-one battle with the person who brought you to this point, the coach and the two businessmen.
Here the player can view a list of unlockables and buy merchandise using credits won in matches.
- Ballers Cinema - here the player can view movie's of NBA Players ranging from profiles, to hair styles and "'How To Stop The Los Angeles Lakers" reflecting on the Lakers dominance of the early 2000s.
- Sign A Baller - The player can unlock a new NBA player to be playable.
- Phrase-ology - here the player can enter secret codes to earn alternate gear, arenas, and players.
- Cribs - here the player can buy an unlockable arena.
- Create A Baller - Here the player can create a player and customize his look, attributes, and clothing.
King Lebron's Palace.
- James Naismith National Basketball Hall Of Fame - The exploits of the greatest players in the NBA are enshrined here.
- The O' Neal Residence - The home of Shaquille O'Neal; he lived there during the seasons with the Lakers.
- Scottie Pippen's Yacht - Scottie Pippen's personal yacht which is actually one of the game designers', it is later renamed Ben Gordon's Yacht on NBA Ballers Rebound on the PSP.
- Kobe Bryant's Italian Estate - The estate Bryant purchased after winning the NBA championship in 2002. Italy is also where Bryant grew up.
- Karl Malone's Winter Chalet - The winter lodge Karl Malone owned when he was with the Utah Jazz.
- The Steve Francis Home-Galveston Bay Estates - Steve Francis' home.
- The Duncan Family Compound - The place where Tim Duncan was raised in the Virgin Islands.
- Holcombe Rucker Park - The place where some of the all-time greats of NBA history honed their skills before becoming legends.
- The Allen Iverson Recording Studio 3 - Allen Iverson's recording studio.
- The Preparatory Academy - Where Yao Ming was raised and taught basketball, which led him to become the first overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.
- The Garnett Residence - Located in the woods of Minnesota, it has a greenhouse and several types of plants and trees from all over the world.
- The Kidd Family Estate - The estate where Jason Kidd and his family reside.
- The McGrady Manor- The mansion that McGrady bought when he was with the Magic. It has an athletic training facility and basketball court and weight room.
- Vince Carter Pinetower Penthouse- The penthouse that Carter owned when he was with the Toronto Raptors.
- The Marbury Residence- The house that Marbury bought when he was with the Phoenix Suns, it has many heat shields to reflect the violent sun rays. Marbury still lives there to relax during the NBA off-season.
- (As of the 2003–2004 NBA season)
- Vince Carter
- Shaquille O'Neal
- Jermaine O'Neal
- Carmelo Anthony (rookie)
- Amar'e Stoudemire (a rookie in this game, but was drafted in 2002.)
- LeBron James (rookie)*Does not appear with a headband.
- Darko Milicic (rookie)
- Tony Parker
- Manu Ginóbili
- Rasheed Wallace (As a member of the Atlanta Hawks, whom he only played 1 game for.)
- Ben Wallace
- Richard Hamilton
- Antawn Jamison
- Stephon Marbury
- Baron Davis
- Jamal Mashburn
- Jason Richardson
- Ray Allen
- Ben Gordon (Appears in PSP Version)
- Rashard Lewis
- Shawn Marion
- Karl Malone
- Gary Payton
- Reggie Miller
- Dikembe Mutumbo
- Pau Gasol
- Dirk Nowitzki
- Kenyon Martin
- Kobe Bryant
- Paul Pierce
- Steve Francis
- Allen Iverson
- Lamar Odom
- Eddie Jones
- Alonzo Mourning
- Scottie Pippen
- Reggie Miller
- Tim Thomas