We are living in a golden age for basketball video games. Graphics and gameplay get more realistic every year, and the rise of extras like NBA 2K's legends challenges add impressive depth. These games are their own worlds at this point, not just simulacra of the real thing.
Of course, gamers did not always have it so great. Check out this video from the 1979 arcade game "Basketball," in which two men with very serious hip problems glide across a basketball court and take exceedingly poor aim at their respective baskets. I'm not sure what sort of basketball this is, but it must have been cribbed from a few games at an assisted-living centers in Antarctica.
We don't have the NBA right now. But at least we can entertain ourselves with fake games that bear some resemblance to the real thing. Or who knows, maybe the NBA really was this bad back before David Stern saved the league.