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NBA LIVE 19: The Evolution of The League and The Streets

Here we are! NBA LIVE 19 is officially on the way and will be debuting a number of new features. To give you the inside scoop on these fresh features, we’ve put together a series of articles highlighting them, articles where I sit down with game developers to get their take on the latest NBA LIVE 19 developments, as well as the inspiration behind specific changes. You can also read about the changes made to The One, Gameplay, and an all-new feature called Build Your Squad.


Last year, NBA LIVE 18 presented a lot of opportunities for fans to take their game to The Streets while still dominating The League. The League took a modern and unique take on a basketball career by offering seamless and unified progression. In a mission to turn into THE ONE, players would travel the Pro-Am circuit, hitting some of the most famous street courts in hoops culture history. This article goes through the amazing changes to the journey you’ll take in The League and The Street in NBA LIVE 19.

Making Hoop Dreams Global

As any basketball fan will recognize, basketball is so much more than sold-out arenas, sponsors, and jerseys. I remember falling in love with the sport as a kid and running to my local park to show off the newest move I learned, then bragging to my friends. That love of basketball grows at the most basic level of hoops – and when people play in The Streets, they instantly return to those grassroots, the perfect place to show their passion. In NBA LIVE 19, Creative Director, Ryan Santos looked to re-create that passion where people fall in love with the sport all over again.

“Last year, we had a legit Pro-Am tour where you’d go through the top Pro-Am leagues like The Goodman, Dyckman League, and Drew League, where you’d compete through just like real pros and amateurs do during the summer,” said Santos.  “This year, we’re excited about really expanding on that and making it global. We’re taking that Pro-Am tour and turning it into The Streets World Tour, featuring courts around the globe in places like Paris, Rio De Janeiro, and more over the course of the year."

Considering how the NBA has blossomed into one of the most international professional sports leagues, it’s important to look at the full impact of the sport as it relates to the culture of other countries. With about half of the next wave of superstars coming from outside the US, the culture as a whole is shifting. You can mimic the new state of the NBA by taking your own tour playing ball around the world in NBA LIVE 19.

“Making this feel more like a global journey for your player on The Streets and then meeting different players along the way, going up against them, beating them, and then recruiting them to your squad, it’s a whole new mechanic that’s going to be presented in The Streets,” said Santos when alluding to the game’s new mode, Build Your Squad. “I think we have a nice blend of taking authentic Pro-Ams and introducing more of that global, yet local street flavor in terms of these streetball courts that are very grassroots, where a lot of kids grow up playing and pros show up, so you never know who you’ll go up against.”

Ring Hunting

Since NBA LIVE is all about making your own decisions, make your way back to The League whenever you want. When you do, you’ll get every chance to grow your own player and take your team deep into the playoffs. The interesting part about The League, though, is that the decisions you make can influence the trajectory of your professional career and even your own personal life. This stems from everything, like choosing where you want to play, getting messages from other NBA stars, and even building your own profile in the news to ensure that everyone knows your name.

“We’re adding so many more hairstyles, different tattoos, just all those different things that make you unique when you’re out there on the court,” he started. “We’re also going to be building on our narrative system. Within The League last year, you had these conversations that led to different choices and some of these choices led to different rewards that you would get, like when you pick what sponsor you want to go with, so you get some rewards there. This year, we’re building on that system to allow you to get these rewards within The League. It’s going to be a lot more rewarding in terms of the types of decisions you can make there, and the impact it has. We’re going to have these decisions also lead into the game, so that when you play against certain players and have a certain performance, we have a brand-new system that’s going to pay that off with these various social media personalities.”

Becoming a Global Icon

The NBA is the only league where players might be role players on their own teams but all-stars on social media – with this year’s NBA LIVE, you’ll have the chance to become a star both on and off the court. Capturing this global cultural and social influence aspect of the NBA is a major hurdle that the team looked to make happen for fans in ’19.

“That’s a whole new way to present the user’s story in a dynamic way,” Santos said. “When you go into a league game and have an awesome performance, you’re going to have these awesome highlights being played back to you with a famous influencer or brand or broadcaster talking about this amazing performance you just had. So, that’s where you really get to see your player put on this stage and be celebrated with all the different customization options, their animations, what they did in game, this thing that’s dynamic and really all about you.”

- Rahul Lal (Follow Rahul on Twitter @rlal95)

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