Fans clamored and posted it. NBA 2K listened and agreed.
Los Angeles Laker legend and NBA icon Kobe Bryant was named as the third and final athlete for the NBA 2K21 cover on Thursday morning.
This is the future Hall of Famer’s third cover appearance, with his previous features coming on NBA 2K10 and the 2K17 Legend Edition, which honored him after his retirement from the league in 2016.
Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, were two of nine people who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. With Bryant arguably ranked a top-ten NBA player of all-time, it makes sense why the legend is honored with two covers for the “Mamba Forever” edition.
After retiring in 2016, Bryant finished with an impressive resumé:
- Five-time NBA Champion
- Two-time NBA Finals MVP
- 2008 League MVP
- 18-time All-Star (17 consecutive appearances from 2000-2016)
- Four-time NBA All-Star MVP
- 11-time All-NBA First Team
- Two-time All-NBA Second Team
- Two-time All-NBA Third Team
- Nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Three-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team
- Two-time NBA Scoring Champion
- 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Champion
- Two-time Gold Medal Winner for Team USA
- 2018 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
Bryant also finished with a career average of 25 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game.
The unique part of this legendary and valuable cover is the art on each one.
Traditionally, 2K and other sports’ video game covers include a clean crop of the cover athlete, as Williamson and Lillard will continue to be a part of.
For the new and special “Mamba Forever” edition, both covers feature physical artwork of two of the Black Mamba’s most iconic moments not only in his career but in NBA history.
The current-gen version will feature artwork from Bryant’s 2006 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors, while the next-gen edition shows the legend waving after scoring 60 points in his final game against the Utah Jazz a decade later.
Kobe Bryant will grace the covers of the NBA 2K21 Next Gen Mamba Forever Edition.
— Prime Time Sports Talk (@TalkPrimeTime) July 2, 2020
Bryant’s name trended throughout Twitter after Lillard was first announced, with many fans posting their versions of 2K21 covers across the platform.
As for the video game itself, the “Mamba Forever” edition will provide users with dual access on both current and next-gen systems on either Xbox or PlayStation. However, this edition comes with a high price tag at $99.99, in which gamers will also have a standard-edition game for the next-gen system within the same console system.
The game will be available on PS5 and Xbox Series X this holiday season, pending their respective launch.
Until then, Mamba out.