The faces of "NBA 2K21" have been revealed and to cap off the trio of cover athletes, the video game franchise announced that Kobe Bryant will be featured on a special "Mamba Forever" edition. The "Mamba Forever Edition" will replace the usual "Legend Edition" and celebrate the legacy of one of the greatest players that the NBA has ever seen.
Bryant's cover was hand painted, which 2K showcased in a brief video announcement. The Los Angeles Lakers legend died along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a January helicopter crash.
Bryant is one of the three cover athletes for NBA 2K21. On Tuesday, it was announced that Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard will be featured on the cover of "NBA 2K21" for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows PC and Google Stadia versions of the game.
New Orleans Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson will be the face of "NBA 2K21" when the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles are released later this year. During Sony's PS5 announcement on June 11, Williamson was featured in a brief clip of the game to show off the graphics in the new console.
"This is a special moment for me in my NBA career," Lillard said in an interview of Stadium's Shams Charania. "I've been a fan of NBA 2K for years and love how they represent all aspects of basketball culture. I'm an avid 2K player, so I'm honored to join the other NBA greats who have been on the cover. I'm grateful to all my fans and can't wait for everyone to experience the game later this year."
Lillard is the first Trail Blazers player to appear on the cover of a "2K" game while Williamson is the third Pelican to be featured on the cover of the game franchise. Anthony Davis and Chris Paul previously appeared on the cover. Anthony Davis also appeared on the cover of "NBA 2K20" as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers
"There are a lot of great players in the NBA today, but Damian Lillard has done a particularly standout job of representing the current generation of NBA superstar," 2K vice president of marketing Alfie Brody said in a statement. "From his cultural influence, musical success, off-the-court leadership and on court domination, he's the perfect fit for our cover of NBA 2K21 on current-generation platforms; we're honored to have him."
Lillard was having a sensational season when the league was forced to shut down in March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In 58 games, Lillard put together averages of 28.9 points, 7.8 assists, and 4.3 rebounds while shooting 39.4 percent from three. Since being the No. 6 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Portland guard has been a five-time All-Star, an All-NBA First Team member (2018), and the Rookie of the Year.
Meanwhile, Williamson has played in just 19 games due to a torn meniscus that he suffered during the preseason. The 2019 top pick has managed to average 23.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists while shooting 46.2 percent from three.
"It's one of those emotions I'm still processing," Williamson told The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears in a video interview. "It's a dream come true. At those AAU tournaments, you're looking at the cover thinking, 'That's gonna be me.' For it to happen that fast, it's a huge honor."