Los Angeles (AFP)

Stars commenting on their score, some even claim to draw a surplus of motivation, others who use the video game as a realistic simulation: certainly to relativize, the impact of the blockbuster NBA 2K20 on the real NBA is obvious .

Each year, one month before the start of the season, an appointment boils the NBA planet: the release of the last "2K". With always this same impatience, experienced by the actors of the game, to know their note.

Marketing requires - the game is developed in partnership with the NBA and the Union of Players (NBPA) -, the disclosure of these notes sometimes involves the players themselves, as Damian Lillard present at the launch. "I have a 93, it's OK, it leaves room for progress," said the Portland star.

Boston winger Jayson Tatum, filmed live, he rather badly taken to have gone from 87 to 85. By his side was Ronnie Singh, the "guru" of notations with which do not hesitate to complain the dissatisfied when others welcome their treatment.

"Some basketball players even contact Ronnie directly to get their rating," says 2K Sports, proudly about this influencer who has become a friend of stars like Kyrie Irving.

"If the score is low or not up to their expectations, players feel that as a lack of respect," sums up Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) to AFP.

- Improve the rating -

The developers at Visual Concepts explain that their method relies on the official statistics of the players, combined with a multitude of other factors, individual and collective, to evaluate each of their attributes. Everything is analyzed in order to establish a classification item by item.

"These are perfectly accurate digital representations of the players," says 2K Sports, which "takes into account their performances during the season to reevaluate them".

An argument retained by the interior Hassan Whiteside in 2017, who had promised "to chain the good matches to improve (his) note". Same, this year, with rookie-phenomenon Zion Williamson (New Orleans), who signed a partnership with 2K Sports: "It's the ultimate dream, I do not need to create my player, I'm already in it. Now, I have to work hard to advance my grade. "

Modeling players, their faces, haircuts, tattoos, accessories, are also scrutinized by the interested, paid by the publisher, Take Two Interactive, for the use of their name and image.

Evan Fournier (Orlando) and chambered Vincent Poirier, newcomer to Boston, discovering his avatar. "We need to talk about the face of @ viinze_17P", he tweeted with emoticons "tears of laughter". And Poirier to answer 2K Sports: "I do not have a nose like that".

Richard Jefferson, former NBA champion with Cleveland (2016), believes that "no one should take this game seriously", but Rudy Gobert reminds that the younger generation "if". "Because she grew up playing 2K."

- 2K before the floor -

The biggest star of basketball LeBron James remains him a gamer warned to soon 35 years old.

"I play like I do in life, it annoys my friends, they expect me to shoot every time, but I play the right way, I pick and roll, if I'm caught two, I find shooters ... If my opponent has a hot guy, I trap, I play real basketball, "he recently detailed.

This summer, before Anthony Davis joined him at the Lakers, he prepared their association on NBA 2K, testing systems and combinations.

"LBJ is a basketball scientist, he does not wonder," observes beIN Sports consultant Jacques Monclar, noting that "real match analysis is more effective".

"The game was able to inspire LeBron, he is realistic, but that's not the reality," Rudy Gobert tempers.

Over the years, NBA 2K has continued to integrate all aspects of basketball culture, music, sneakers, talk shows, contributing to the global success of the League.

"The game is a blessing for the popularity of the NBA," agrees Jacques Monclar for whom, however, "we must put things in perspective: it is above all a business".

The numbers show that in 20 years, more than 90 million units have been sold worldwide, according to the publisher who signed in January a contract of $ 1.1 billion over seven years with the NBA, after s to be thrown together in e-sports with NBA 2K League.

© 2019 AFP