Oh dear. This is pretty much the exact opposite of a slam dunk.
A number of people who bought copies of NBA 2K9 in stores were left frantically searching the packaging for Steam activation codes that had somehow not been shipped with the game. The PC version of the game is unplayable until it has been registered via Steam network.
After a somewhat heated debate on the 2K Games user forums (and after some users publicly recommended downloading a crack for the game) 2K issued the following statement via their website.
If you recently purchased the NBA 2K9 PC title in North America, 2K Sports is aware of the issues with the Product Keys and is working hard on a solution.
Check back here for answers by end of day today. We appreciate your patience.
(PC Version) Please respond to this, 2ksports —- What is with the Activation code!!! [2kSports Forums via Gamespot]