In basketball, every game starts with a jump ball or a tip-off.

One player from each team meets at half-court and attempts to tip the ball to their teammates once it has been thrown in the air by a referee. This is true in almost every variation of basketball, from the concrete court at your school’s recess (maybe minus the referee) to the polished hardwood court in the NBA.

Seeing as NBA 2K23 is a simulation of the on-court action of the real-life NBA, it makes sense that the jump ball (or tip-off) carries over to the game at the beginning of every match-up (and at various points during a game) as well.

However, if you’re new to the game, it may not be obvious to you at first how to actually win the encounter whenever these tip-offs take place. What button do you press? When should you time said press of the button?

That’s why in today’s article we’ll go over how to win the tip-off in NBA 2K23.

Timing the Jump Ball

Once you’ve gotten the game, enjoyed the opening, and fiddled around with your sliders and setting to ensure the game plays to your liking, it’s time for you to jump into a game. The first thing you’ll be doing in said game (whether in MyTEAM, Play Now, or any mode) will be participating in the opening tip-off, so it’s important you know how to do it to get your game off to a good start.

Thankfully, winning a jump ball or tip-off in NBA 2K23 is fairly straightforward and simple, and will become almost automatic once you’ve learned the process and got it down.

In NBA 2K23, there are two inputs you can use to go up for the jump ball or tip-off. The first is by pressing triangle (or Y), and the second is by moving the right stick in any direction. For now, we’ll focus on triangle (or Y) and return to moving the right stick in a moment.

Mavs jump ball

At the beginning of the game, the referee will stand between the players and blow a whistle to signify that the ball is about to be thrown up. The blown whistle works as a good indicator to hone in and focus on the soon-to-be airborne basketball.

After a slight pause, the referee will toss the ball directly upwards between you and the opposing player, and that is exactly when you want to press triangle (or Y). Contrary to what some believe the correct timing of the jump ball is not when the ball is at the apex of its flight, but instead the second the ball leaves the referee’s hand.

Having an athletic big man being the guy going up to go get the ball for you will help out in your likelihood of coming away with the basketball, but it isn’t a necessity, as the correct timing of pressing triangle (or Y) as when the ball leaves the referee’s hand will ensure you win the tip-off.

Tipping the Ball in a Specific Direction

There may be times when you want more control of the direction that you tip the ball instead of leaving it up to random chance, particularly during a mid-game jump ball.

Mid-game jump balls typically occur when called for by a referee as a result of two players both having possession of the basketball. These mid-game jump balls can happen anywhere on the court and can be more chaotic than the typical pre game tip-off, so the direction of the tip may be more important.

Bucks jump ball

To choose the direction you want to tip the ball, simply press the right stick in that direction instead of pressing triangle (or Y). You don’t have to press triangle (or Y) as you do this, as simply pressing the right stick in any direction will trigger the same animation.

The timing of pressing the right stick is the same timing previously mentioned for pressing triangle (or Y): the same time as the ball leaves the referee’s hand.

Final Word

Every basketball game starts with a jump ball or tip-off, so it’s important to learn how to win them so you can get the first possession of the ball more frequently. Having the first possession of the ball makes it easier to score first, which in turn makes it more likely for you to be able to run up an early lead on the opponent.

Thankfully, the jump ball or tip-off mechanics in NBA 2K23 are very simple and easy to understand and can become almost second nature once you’ve got it down.

What can get a bit more complicated is executing certain plays in the game, but we’ve got guides that’ll help you out there as well. You can start off by learning how to do a floater and go from there.