By De’Shay Turner / @iSportPolitics

Today marks the release of the much anticipated NBA 2k13. The 2K series has been the leader in NBA video games for a number of years now, and by the looks of what’s taking place over at EA Sports, that won’t be changing for a while (NBA Elite … The Passion of Bynum … Enough Said).

In lieu of the NBA lockout at the beginning of the 2011-2012 season, 2K Sports dug deep into its bag of tricks, packing last year’s game with our most respected legends and legendary teams. Former players have been available on video game formats before, but never to this extent (remember playing with Jordan as “Player”?). This is a testament to 2K Sports and its ability to produce products that reflect the “zeitgeist” of our time. As a former NBA Live faithful (1995-2008), I appreciate the umph with which 2K Sports won me, and just about every other basketball fan, over.

This past summer, the basketball community was wowed by our USA Men’s Basketball Team in pursuit of the gold medal. This came with a price though. Prior to their run, the Mamba himself sparked a debate that had the entire sports world on its soapbox pledging allegiance to either Team USA or the infamous Dream Team. Regardless of where one’s opinion lies, we can all agree that this topic was relevant enough for dialogue, discourse and occasional shade. 2K Sports recognized the need for basketball fans to take matters into our own hands and rallied their efforts to include both Team USA and the Dream Team on this year’s game. The debate is no longer minimized to 140 characters on Twitter, but instead it takes up residence in living rooms and man caves worldwide. That’s what 2K Sports is all about, and that’s why the folks at 2K deserve my hard earned cash and appreciation again this year.

So what other features has 2K Sports loaded into NBA 2K13? This year’s game has better controls than ever before. I took the liberty of downloading the demo via Xbox Live a few days ago, and although there was a brief learning curve, I was quite impressed by the new controls system. Crossovers, passing and transition offense all feel right. I literally put Rashard Lewis on his face with a crossover by Russell Westbrook (and in true Westbrook fashion, shot the jumper afterwards without a care in the world). They also added some additional features to My Player, integrated a Nike Partnership even deeper into the game, and collaborated with Jay-Z himself who serves as executive producer. Besides a few recognizable pre-game tunes on the demo, I’ve yet to see where Jigga Man has left his mark, but I’m sure that will be evident before long (I’ll be playing with the Brooklyn Nets ASAP).

So what now? Well if you have $59.99 to spare, find yourself FED UP with your football team (and therefore football in general), and don’t mind having to make up for missed time with the missus later this weekend, head on out and grab a copy of NBA 2K13 today. If you appreciate the game of basketball as much as I do, you’ll appreciate this game.