I shortly realized The Neighborhood just replaces NBA 2K19's core menu. In that sense, it is merely a clumsy way to browse. Desire a haircut? Walk the block into the barbershop. Wish to change clothing? Go home first. Need new shoes? Jog down to Foot Locker. Looking to grab a quick pickup game with Buy NBA 2K MT Coins? The courtroom is down the road on your left.

Plodding as this navigation is, there is a bit of character and culture inside. At the barbershop, DJ is served as a local celebrity while they chat about general gossip. The friendly (if drowsy) attendant of a food cart contributes to some laughs. These spaces are also nicely decorated, cramped and flush with older brick buildings circa 1930s New York. It is a strong representation of the impoverished to lower-middle-class upbringing of NBA stars that got their start in areas like Harlem's Rucker Park.

On the other hand, The Neighborhood is also sullied by corporate sponsors. A little gentrification from the older neighborhood? Maybe. Nevertheless, it's not just a Foot Locker location sitting on a corner or Gatorade-sponsored fitness center. The proprietors of the barbershop present DJ using a present, JBL cans, of which DJ chimes in, "Are these the new JBLs?" Gatorade is a central part of the story, called out by the broadcast team during games as much as it's advertised during gym coaching sessions (purchasing virtual bottles of Gatorade for endurance comprises a spiel about electrolytes).

Selling a little ad space -- even overdone advertisement space -- is not inherently problematic. It is emblematic of an online-connected era. There's an authenticity in rotating courtside banner ads and between-play chatter by the announcers, shifting as the year goes on with new patrons biking in. The insistence on using Virtual Money (VC) for everything compounds the issue, though MT NBA 2K19. NBA 2K19 would like you to drink Gatorade, but it's also considering getting you to spend more real money in the sport.