The first step in 24/7 Mode is to create a player, choosing from one of dozens of physical attributes. Once height, weight and physical features are determined, the player will be able to hit the court and play one-on-one or two-on-two match ups. Each new player starts with minimal abilities and requires skills training in a variety of disciplines such as free throws, dribbling, passing and more to help get them ready for their successive match-ups.
Once a player is fully trained in the basics, challenges take place on street courts and indoor arenas in various cities across the United States and overseas. Gamers can challenge or be challenged by opponents in online play for both the PlayStation2 computer entertainment system and the Microsoft Xbox console or challenge computer controlled athletes offline.
The in-console clock keeps track of appointments as players call for on-court meetings in real time. Allen Iverson might be available for a challenge in Philadelphia at 2 p.m. for a one-on-one game; players must sync their watches with their hardware system's clock because this mode plays out in real time. In 24/7 Mode, winning is everything as more virtual accessories and items become unlocked after each match-up and following the execution of key moves.
Unlockable items range from new courts to athletic apparel to accessories not typically found on the hardwood. Items include jerseys, shoes and wristbands a player can don for a game as well as some less-than-traditional accessories, including fuzzy bunny slippers, night vision goggles and a guitar that players can strap to their back as they hit the court. If the user gets tired of beating up the computer and yearns for a human challenge, he or she can take the "decked out" player online for street games with other customized opponents. In this mode, players will be compelled to ask others online for advice on who they need to play against or what challenge they need to overcome to obtain specific items.
For 2-on-2 match-ups, gamers will need to find a partner to take on another duo. To get connected with a partner on the court, they'll have to beat him first. Once a player has won in a one-on-one game in 24/7 Mode, the opponents phone number will be entered into the created players' cell phone. From that point on, a partner is just a phone call away.
In 24/7 Mode, practice makes perfect and gamers must work to keep their players in top physical condition through competitions and training drills, or they will lose their skills.