Evolution of NBA 2K21 Cover: Zion on Next-Gen Consoles and Kobe Bryant’s Enduring Legacy

2K Sports Unveils New Covers for NBA 2K21

Exciting news for basketball fans! 2K Sports has recently announced the cover athletes for the highly anticipated NBA 2K21 game. Joining Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers on the main cover is none other than rookie sensation Zion Williamson, who will grace the cover of the Next-Gen edition. Additionally, the late Kobe Bryant will be featured on the NBA 2K21 “Mamba Forever” Edition. Let’s dive into the details and learn more about these exciting developments!

The Array of Covers

NBA 2K21 will feature a trio of covers, showcasing different aspects of the game. Damian Lillard, an impressive player from the Portland Trail Blazers, will be the face of the regular edition. The Next-Gen edition will showcase the remarkable talent of Zion Williamson, a rookie sensation from the New Orleans Pelicans. Finally, as a tribute to the legendary Kobe Bryant, the Legends Edition, renamed the “Mamba Forever” Edition, will honor his legacy and impact on the world of basketball.

Pre-order and Release Details

For eager gamers who can’t wait to get their hands on NBA 2K21, pre-orders have started today. The game is set to be released on September 4, 2020, for all current platforms, with a retail price of $59.99. However, for those who eagerly anticipate the Next-Gen experience on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the game will be available sometime before the Christmas holidays. The developers, Visual Concepts, have expressed their dedication to making NBA 2K21 a groundbreaking title that maximizes the power and technology of next-generation consoles.

Zion Williamson’s Journey

Zion Williamson, the cover athlete for the Next-Gen edition, has had an impressive basketball journey. After being awarded the 2019 National College Player of the Year while playing for Duke University, he was selected as the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Although he faced a setback due to a knee injury that required surgery, oddsmakers still consider him a strong contender for the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year, following closely behind Ja Morant from the Memphis Grizzlies.

In an interview with The Undefeated, Zion expressed his emotions upon being chosen for the NBA 2K21 cover. He described the experience as a dream come true, reminiscing about looking at previous covers and imagining himself in that position. He considers it a tremendous honor and a realization of his aspirations.

A Tribute to Kobe Bryant

The inclusion of Kobe Bryant on the cover of the “Mamba Forever” Edition is a heartfelt tribute to the legendary basketball player and his daughter, who tragically lost their lives in a helicopter accident earlier this year. As a nod to Kobe’s well-known nickname, the edition was renamed to honor his impactful presence in the game and to pay respects to the Bryant family.

Kobe’s exceptional career, including 18 All-Star appearances and five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, has solidified his status as a basketball icon. This isn’t the first time he has graced the cover of an NBA 2K game; he was previously featured on the cover of NBA 2K8 and the Legends Edition of NBA 2K17.

A Fusion of Eras

According to Alfie Brody, the Vice President of Global Marketing at NBA 2K, each cover athlete represents a distinct era of basketball. Damian Lillard, a dominant player in today’s game, embodies the present era. Zion Williamson serves as a symbol for the promising future generation of superstars. Finally, Kobe Bryant embodies the rich history and storied legacy of the sport, forever leaving his mark on the game.


NBA 2K21 is already generating significant buzz with the reveal of its captivating cover athletes. The combination of Damian Lillard, Zion Williamson, and the legendary Kobe Bryant will undoubtedly make this game a must-have for basketball enthusiasts around the world. With the promise of next-gen power and technology and the dedication of the developers at Visual Concepts, NBA 2K21 aims to deliver a truly exceptional gaming experience. Game on!


1. Can I pre-order NBA 2K21 now?

Yes, pre-orders for NBA 2K21 have already started. Secure your copy now and be one of the first to experience the game!

2. What is the release date for NBA 2K21?

NBA 2K21 is set to be released on September 4, 2020, for all current platforms. However, the Next-Gen edition for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will be available before the Christmas holidays.

3. How much will NBA 2K21 cost?

The retail price for NBA 2K21 is $59.99 for all current platforms. However, the “Mamba Forever” Edition, featuring Kobe Bryant, will be available for $99.99.

4. Why was the “Mamba Forever” Edition renamed?

The “Mamba Forever” Edition was renamed as a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his well-known nickname, honoring his incredible impact on the game and paying respects to the Bryant family.

5. Has Zion Williamson appeared in NBA 2K promotional content before?

Yes, Zion Williamson was also featured in a recent video teaser for NBA 2K21, adding to the excitement surrounding his inclusion as the Next-Gen cover athlete.

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Doug I. Jones

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