NBA Live 2003 is EA Sports' NBA release for the 2002/2003 NBA season. The landmark addition in NBA Live 2003 was Freestyle Control, which was met with some enthusiasm by fans though some did not like the limited moves that were available to keyboard users. Although the concept itself was not unpopular (and continues to be used with Quick Strike Ankle Breakers today) most felt Freestyle Control was too powerful in NBA Live 2003 and the game too fast-paced with scores easily exceeding 150 points apiece when playing twelve minute quarters. NBA Live 2003 was also derided for its "Courtside Comedy" approach to cutscenes which players felt detracted from the intended atmosphere of an NBA simulation. Arcade-like effects such as booming sound effects and blocks which rocketed the ball to the opposite baseline were also amongst the common complaints.The return to the PC platform was welcomed by patchers however and several patches were made including "Tweaked Rosters" which attempted to combat some of the issues with gameplay. The game also corrected some issues from NBA Live 2001 and NBA Live 2002 including the disproportionate rebounds.
- The return of NBA Live to the PC platform.
- Freestyle Control made its debut in NBA Live 2003.
- Michael Jordan's second and final (official) appearance as an active player in NBA Live.
- The final NBA Live to utilise DSTATS.
- Although the NBA updated its Playoffs format to 7-7-7-7 for the 2002/2003 season, NBA Live 2003 did not reflect this change.
- Don Poier and Bob Elliott's final game as the commentary team.
- Yao Ming was absent from the console version of the game but appeared in the PC version.
- For the first time users could select which jersey a team would wear before beginning a game. Retro jerseys were also included for the first time.
- An official patch was released to correct a couple of bugs, including slowed down gameplay in Windows 98 when using a USB gamepad.
- Final game to use the 50-99 rating scale.
NBA Live 2003 was the first game in the NBA Live franchise to include the soundtrack on a separate CD. According to EA and the Recording Industry Association of America, the CD went Platinum, selling over one million copies. This is, of course, because the game sold over one million copies, not the album alone.
- Angie Martinez (feat. Sacario & Lil' Mo) - "If I Could Go!"
- Hot Karl - "Blao"
- B. Rich - "Whoa Now"
- Joe Budden - "Drop Drop"
- Fabolos - "It's In The Game"
- Brandy (feat. Fat Joe) - "Full Moon"
- Just Blaze (feat. Freeway & Memphis Bleek) - "Let's Go"
- No Good - "Ballin' Boy"
- Monica (feat. Jermaine Dupri) - "Too Hood"
- Lyric (feat. Loon) - "Young & Sexy"
- Snoop Dogg - "Get Live"
- Flipmode Squad (feat. Busta Rhymes) - "Here We Go"