Spike Lee Livin' Da Dream NBA 2K16

Since I don’t pay much attention to video games, much less those of the sports variety — unless I’m at a friend’s place and the controller is free, of course — this came as a total shock, and it only grows stranger the longer you look. A friend of the site, Kyle Pletcher, has brought to my attention a scripted, feature-length… film, essentially, called Livin’ Da Dream, which Spike Lee wrote and directed for this year’s NBA 2K16. It expands the “MyCareer” mode, long one of the series’ staples, by creating a narrative centered on your custom-made character — invariably nicknamed Frequency Vibrations, and sometimes called “Freq”; yes, it’s pronounced like “freak” — as he climbs from the local courts to the big leagues.

It might make sense if Lee took the time to craft 10-20 minutes of generic cut scenes for a basketball game, so imagine my reaction when I discover actual filmmaking, conflicts, narrative arcs, and performances. (One section concerns a mooching friend and sees the team owner confront Freq, asking, “Would a brother go looking for trouble, and put your career and your livelihood at risk? By getting into fights at nightclubs and seedy after-hour joints?” Needless to say, this is not the most positive representation the league has had in a video game.) Oh, and Livin’ Da Dream is technically a sequel to He Got Game, what with agent Dom Pagnotti (Al Palagonia) taking an interest in your character. I’d say Da Sweet Blood of Jesus and Chi-raq (which arrives on December 4th) won’t be the only Lee films we get this year, but I’m not even sure what you’d call this. What a weird thing.

Watch it below:

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