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What Was LeBron James’ 2K Rating as a Rookie?

Published 08/21/2023, 3:18 PM EDT

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The NBA and its most legendary game, NBA 2K, go hand in hand. Since its launch in 2019, the iconic video game has become a part of basketball culture. Fans take up this unique experience that helps them feel closer to NBA action than ever. In fact, the game is so significant that even the basketball players themselves indulge in it. However, since his arrival in 2003, LeBron James has not just taken the NBA by storm, but the NBA 2K game as well.

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The King entered the league as the most hyped draft prospect ever, coming out of high school. Deemed The Chosen One, LeBron James had the highest set of expectations to live up to. However, he not only lived up to these expectations but exceeded them beyond imagination over his illustrious career in the NBA. Although, given his hype in his rookie year, what was James’ 2k rating as a rookie?

LeBron James’ 2K rating as a rookie


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LeBron James stormed into the league, straight out of high school. The Kid From Akron impressed the NBA scouts so much that he did not even have to prove his talents in the college basketball circuit. From gracing magazine covers to having his high school games telecasted on national television, James witnessed the buzz unlike any other.

Given this phenomenal hype, what did 2k decide to rate LeBron James in his rookie year?


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NBA 2K rates players based on various aspects of their game. This plays a major role in determining how these players perform in the game. For several years, LeBron James has been among the highest-rated players in this game. However, in his rookie year, The Akron Hammer received a mere 78 rating.

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This could be due to the novelty of the game at the time. The game had launched just 4 years before James entered the league, hence the lower rating. Although there have been other players who received much more respect in their rookie ratings than The King.

Over the years several rookies have received a higher rating than LeBron James despite The King’s hype as a draft prospect. Here’s a look into the players that received a higher rating than James as rookies.

Rookies that received more respect from 2K than The King

LeBron James is undoubtedly one of the greatest talents to grace the NBA. This was evident in his very first year in the league as he averaged an impressive 20.9 PPG, also bagging the Rookie of the Year award. However, he did not get his due respect from 2K during his rookie season. Here’s a look at the players that did get their flowers from 2K as rookies.

It all began with Portland Trail Blazers‘ former No.1 overall pick Greg Oden in 2007. Oden received an 80 rating on 2K, 2 points above James as a rookie. Then came Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls who also received an 80 rating in the game in 2008.


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John Wall and Kyrie Irving were next in line, receiving an overall rating of 81 each, in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Markelle Fultz also received an 80 rating in 2017. Now, 20 years after releasing LeBron James’ rookie rating, 2K decided to rate the generational prospect, Victor Wembanyama, a whopping 84 on the game. The French phenom made history as the highest-rated rookie in the history of the game.

LeBron James may have been disrespected by the game in his rookie year, but the 4-time MVP has not let that happen again. Since his rookie year, James has only elevated his rating, falling in the top bracket almost every year. He has also graced the cover of the game twice in his legendary career.


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WATCH THIS STORY: Did Michael Jordans $159B Company Choice: Boosting Aaron Judge Over Shohei Ohtani Due to Anti-LA Bias

With his accolades and sheer dominance, The King has ensured he never gets disrespected by the game again.

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Written by:

Sachit Kaundinya


One take at a time

Sachit is an NBA content writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the NBA for several years and is deeply passionate about the sport and it’s strategic aspects. Combining his passion and desire to stay connected with basketball, Sachit pursued a writing career.
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Edited by:

Saumya Khanduja