The game introduces some new features, several of which involve cover athlete Michael Jordan. The "Jordan Challenge" is a game mode that follows 10 of Jordan's career accomplishments. In "MJ: Creating a Legend", players will take control of Jordan as a rookie and guide him to legendary status on any NBA squad. As Jordan completes seasons during the mode, players will see his appearance change as he ages. This mode is unlocked after completing all of the Jordan Challenges. As part of the "My Jordans" feature, users will be awarded pairs of Air Jordans for hitting game milestones and accomplishments. Collect the entire line of Air Jordan shoes that MJ wore throughout his career and gain specific attribute bonuses when you have them equipped.
Also included in NBA 2K11 is the ability to play with some classic teams from the past. Players can play with the teams in exhibition mode and association mode. Along with being able to play with classic teams, NBA 2K11 also includes classic stadiums that correspond with the classic teams.