Why NBA Street V3 is the best street basketball video game

 All hail the greatest arcade-style basketball game of all time

nba street vol 3
Electronic Arts

Although overshadowed by NBA Street Vol 2, the third installment of NBA Street is still one of the best basketball video games of all time and here's why.

Developed by EA Canada and published by EA Sports Big in 2005, NBA Street V3 followed in the footsteps of it's predecessors, allowing players to perform nonsensical streetball moves with a razzle dazzle finish.

Unlike the first two games which had EA's fictional basketball players gracing the game cover, NBA Street V3 instead opted for a real life basketball athlete in Baron Davis. 

As a silly yet fun sports game based on arcade-style streetball, it was never one to take itself too seriously. Unlike NBA Live and 2K, Street bent the rules, disregarding stoic plays, out of bounds, fouling rules and simulated basketball.

nba street legends
Electronic Arts

Despite it's eccentricity, the objective of the game was to score 21 points before the other team. Buckets made behind the three-point line were worth only two points, while buckets scored inside rewarded players with a measly one point.

Everything that made the first two games great returned like the crazy streetball moves, live action commentary, bumping soundtrack and courtside spectators who brought each court to life.

Once again you took to the court with your created baller and recruited basketball players beaten in 3v3 competitive games. Ranging from your average joe to streetball legends with immaculate skills and swagger.

You could even pick up NBA players to play on your team thanks to EA Sport's NBA License, which included superstars such as Lebron James and Paul Pierce to hall of famers like Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain. 

However what set V3 apart from it's counterparts was the simple fact that it expanded on everything that came before in a huge way, without overstepping the mark. 

Essentially NBA Street V3 stayed close to it's roots while toying with a new concept that truly enhanced the fun factor for returning fans and newbies. 

Nba street v3 create a baller
Electronic Arts

Create a Baller 

The game's extensive character creator allowed players to create their dream baller (or virtual counterpart), and almost every facet of your created character could be changed including their facial features, skin tone, physique, gender and skills.

Just as intriguing was the ability to alter your character's size, which affected your skillset in various areas. For example, a short, lighter character would be able to upgrade quickness and handles for fewer points, while a heavier player spent more points upgrading their shots compared to power and dunking.

Meanwhile V3 store had a wide selection of fashionable activewear, the latest sneakers and shiny jewellery to throw on your custom character, which could be unlocked by earning points.

Wanted to become a Michael Jordan clone, prodigy kid, female hooper or chubby midget with insane hops? Well the sky was the limit.

Court Creator 

Not only did NBA Street V3 have a robust character creator, but you was also able to design your dream basketball court with a just as deep create-a-court feature.

This mode allowed you to pick a real location for your fantasy court and adorn it with dozens of  floor types, paint schemes, logos and backboard rims. While at times overwhelming, create-a-court was way ahead of it's time.

nba street games
Electronic Arts

Rookie to legend

Both creation tools tied into the game's primary single player mode, The Street Challenge. Which was your typical underdog system, that saw you take your created character from a scrub player to a streetball legend.

In the span of 10 weeks, players could tour the game's 12 different courts as they took part in various challenges to increase their street rep. This rep allowed you to recruit better players while creating a dream team, stretching from nobodies to NBA stars.

Likewise, the more games you won is the better the competition got, with you eventually taking on the  best ballers on the most famous basketball courts.

In that time you'd earn thousands of points, which could be used to improve your character's game, outfit and created homecourt.

The numerous challenges available and the reward of playing alongside NBA legends and legendary fictional streetball players made the street challenge mode an unforgettable and addictive single-player experience. 

It's Tricky 

One of the biggest changes in NBA Street V3 was the unconventional yet highly amusing trick mechanics, which was completely reworked and allowed you to string together tricks by moving the right analog stick and pressing the trigger buttons on your gamepad.

This wholesome feature allowed you to build combos quickly and get past your opponents in style by breaking ankles and raking up points simultaneously. It also made gameplay feel more fluid than the trick mechanics of the previous games

Other nifty tricks could be pulled off that involved passing. For example combining the turbo buttons and pass button, gave you the opportunity to humiliate defenders by smoothly bouncing the ball off the backboard or on someone's face.

These fancy passes could be combined with your combos for maximum trick points and building up your gamebreaker.

nba street v3 characters

Over the top Gamebreakers

The most iconic feature from NBA street games is the Gamebreaker, which is a special move that gives teams the chance to score more buckets, while at the same time deducting points from the opposing team. 

This move is earned when players (and cpu) fill up their Gamebreaker meter from raking up combo points. However once activated, the Gamebreaker is on a time limit and players have to use it or lose it. 

Unlike the first two games, Gamebreakers in NBA Street V3 were more substance over style which resulted in a more skill-based affair, with the game letting you glide to the rim and attempt two or three player alley-oop dunks.

At the same time you could perform mid-air tricks with the entire team as they leapt into the air with an insane amount of hang time that would put Jordan's to shame. However it was also possible to fail entirely and get nothing.

Slam Dunk!

The game also featured a slam-dunk contest which worked in similar fashion to the Gamebreaker dunks. Once again you were leaping up high in the air to pull off a combo of sky-high flashy moves before slamming it down with a monster dunk.

You could stoke the fire by throwing the ball off the glass or bouncing it off the floor and catching it in the air. You could also jump over props like tables and ball racks, which often made for amusing (or frustrating) fails if your player lacked hops.

The soundtrack 

Like it's predecessors , V3 featured one of the best hip hop video game soundtracks of all time with classic rap songs like Me Myself and I by De La Soul and Ruffneck by MC Lyte playing in the background.

Meanwhile other songs like Bounce by Ak'sent and I Ain't going nowhere by Dirtbag became synonymous with the game for years to come.


NBA Street V3 managed to tweak the series amazing gameplay without ruining a proven formula, while offering a huge amount of content along with dozens of unlockables and customizable options.

It was also a game with swagger and finesse that beat to it's own drums. Which is why this game will always be on the Mount Rushmore of arcade basketball video games.

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