NBA 2K16 is a basketball simulation video game based on the National Basketball Association. Like past games in the series, NBA 2K16 simulates the experience of the NBA. Players play NBA games with any real life or custom team, and can customize many aspects, such as camera angles, the presentation of players, the sound levels, and the level of realism. Like other NBA 2K games, NBA 2K16 is marketed as being as realistic as the actual NBA, with all the things featured in NBA games, such as commentary, pre-game shows, halftime shows, post-game shows, replays, interviews, crowds, and real player movement, among many other things. The pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows are hosted by Ernie Johnson with punditry from Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith. Meanwhile, the game commentary is performed by Kevin Harlan with Clark Kellogg and Greg Anthony, while Doris Burke is the sideline reporter. The game features several online and offline game modes where players can play alone against the CPU, or against other players online.
NBA 2K16, like past games in the series, was marketed as being 'better' than the predecessor, as many features were added and improved upon. One such improvement, is the tattoos; when creating a player, there are over 1500 different designs available, whereas past games only had a few dozen individual tattoos. Other things that are touted as being improved are the visuals, the player customization (haircuts, accessories, etc.), several of the game modes (particularly MyCareer, which is marketed as a central feature), and the overall gameplay. Many aesthetical improvements are made as well, such as new animations, and redesigned menus. New animations include mouth guards, and photobombs.