The Hostage Dribble Does Not Work Right in NBA 2K24

The “hostage dribble” is a move that gained popularity in the NBA within the last 10 years, and if there’s a player I think of when it comes to the hostage dribble, it’s Chris Paul. It’s also a move that’s been in NBA 2K games for years, but now does not work right on current-gen NBA 2K24.

Chris Paul is not the only player who started doing the hostage dribble to put defenders in jail, but I tie it to him because it went with his whole brand of stopping in front of defenders or running into defenders in various ways. Some of these tactics were downright not basketball moves (stopping in front of a defender in the open court) and thus have been outlawed (or turned into offensive fouls) over the years because of it. But the hostage dribble is very much still allowed, and has been picked up now by various guards like Booker, Luka, and Trae.

They all use the move in slightly different ways, some using it to then work their way into stepbacks, others using it more to then work their way into floaters and layups. But the point is it’s a worthwhile move that has its place in the pick and roll and elsewhere. It’s also a move that was incredible to see in NBA 2K years back as it sort of proved why so many of us considered NBA 2K the gold standard for authenticity and realistic gameplay.

To put it another way, NBA 2K effectively implementing and using the hostage dribble was just one of the many reasons we would point to for why 2K became the dominant basketball simulation. The developers just always went that one extra step to recreate stuff we were seeing in real NBA games.

With the hostage dribble not working on current-gen NBA 2K24, it’s now a sign of why a lot of folks have sort of grown frustrated with the title at times the last couple years (and a large part of this generation of consoles overall). I try not to make sweeping judgments or say stuff like “this is the reason X game is bad now,” and I’m hopefully not doing it here either, but it’s worth pointing at this bug as a straight forward and stand-in reason for why some have tired of this year’s gameplay.

OS user shaqfu9 has done a great breakdown of the hostage dribble and how it varies between generations:

The general issue here is that you either don’t get the “shielding” animations to actually trigger on current-gen consoles, or if you do get them to trigger you can’t really continue your forward progress with the shielding animations still working. In the past, you basically just used L2 to shield/ward off the defender, and its simplicity was part of its appeal. 2K has absolutely been bogged down at times by its dribble controls/post controls as some feel like it gets into fighting game territory at times, but I’ve always argued 2K also gives you very basic controls to learn to still survive and look awesome in the process. Putting defenders in jail, was one of the ways I would prove that in the past.

The discussion for why it doesn’t work on current gen does not get very far because there’s no way to know. Is it just a bug, or did 2K think it was too powerful and remove it? I’m sure someone somewhere complained about it being too powerful, but 2K has so many badges and such now that they could gate it if they wanted. It maybe has something to do with the general “transition” animations not being the best in 2K this year, which is maybe part of the growing pains of going to a seemingly new sort of animation system this year in some other areas.

Whatever the case may be, I’m not sure if this “bug” will be fixed this year, but we need the hostage dribble back for NBA 2K25.