Zion Williamson and Damian Lillard will grace the cover of NBA 2K21

It’s only fitting that the late Kobe Bryant grace the cover of the NBA 2K21 Forever Edition. 8️⃣ Relentless. Driven. A true competitor. We celebrate Kobe Bryant as our Cover Athlete for the Current Gen Mamba Forever Edition 🐍 #NBA2K21 pic.twitter.com/1wfH4kTPPN — NBA 2K21 (@NBA2K) July 2, 2020 On Tuesday, we learned that Damian Lillard…

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It’s only fitting that the late Kobe Bryant grace the cover of the NBA 2K21 Forever Edition.

8️⃣ Relentless. Driven. A true competitor. We celebrate Kobe Bryant as our Cover Athlete for the Current Gen Mamba Forever Edition 🐍 #NBA2K21 pic.twitter.com/1wfH4kTPPN

— NBA 2K21 (@NBA2K) July 2, 2020

On Tuesday, we learned that Damian Lillard will serve as the NBA 2K21 current generation cover athlete.

Everything is Dame 🌐 Introducing our Cover Athlete for Current Gen @Dame_Lillard #NBA2K21

Pre-orders begin July 2nd pic.twitter.com/xuw20MX41b

— NBA 2K21 (@NBA2K) June 30, 2020

A day later, we learned which young star will don the cover of the next generation edition – and we all could have guessed who it would be.

The future is here 💪 @ZionWilliamson is our Cover Athlete for Next Gen #NBA2K21

Pre-orders begin July 2nd pic.twitter.com/HCbHEOZUfL

— NBA 2K21 (@NBA2K) July 1, 2020

Then, on Thursday morning, NBA 2K revealed the third NBA 2K21 cover athlete to be none other than the Black Mamba.

Mamba Forever 💜💛 A closer look at the covers

We love and miss you Kobe #NBA2K21 pic.twitter.com/Jf1M5kUewx

— NBA 2K21 (@NBA2K) July 2, 2020

Bryant, who was this year selected to enter the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, tragically passed away in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others.

The Forever Edition of the game will be available on both current generation consoles – PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Windows P and Google Stadia – and next generation consoles – Playstation 5 and XBox Series X.

2️⃣4️⃣ Legend. Leader. Champion. We honor Kobe Bryant as our Cover Athlete for the Next Gen Mamba Forever Edition 💜💛 #NBA2K21 pic.twitter.com/OOONVibhvX

— NBA 2K21 (@NBA2K) July 2, 2020

Earlier this week, both Lillard and Williamson expressed their excitement regarding gracing the cover of NBA 2K21.

Being on the cover of @nba2k is a dream come true. I’ve been playing 2K since the Dreamcast days! Hyped to be the #NBA2K21 Current Gen Cover Athlete. #YKWTII #DameTime ⌚ 🎮 pic.twitter.com/d1bPKTm0je

— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) June 30, 2020

The Next Generation is here 💪🏾 Hyped to be on the cover of #NBA2K21 Next Gen @NBA2K pic.twitter.com/zRg6XaY8wx

— Zion Williamson (@Zionwilliamson) July 1, 2020

Lillard is the first Portland player to be featured on the cover of a 2K game, and he spoke to Shams Charania of The Athletic on Tuesday about gracing the 2K21 cover.

“This is a special moment for me in my NBA career. 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.”

“I made it. I’m going to be on the cover of 2K.”

Our own @ShamsCharania sits down for an exclusive interview with @Dame_Lillard, the new @NBA2K 21 cover athlete. pic.twitter.com/BpiOt4f62P

— Stadium (@Stadium) June 30, 2020

Alfie Brody, vice president of marketing for NBA 2K, also voiced his excitement over the partnership.

“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. 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.”

Yet another cover for @Dame_Lillard. Arch Rivals reboot up next. https://t.co/cQ39sXrpTo

— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) June 30, 2020

Lillard is a 5-time NBA All-Star and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 2018. This year, he was in the midst of another standout season, putting up career- highs in points (28.9) and assists (7.8) before the 2019-20 campaign came to a halt due to the coronavirus.

Williamson, on the other hand, is a rookie who has only played 19 NBA games.

However, in those 19 games, he’s been nothing short of electric.

25.7 PTS | 6.2 REB | 56.3 FG%

First teenager with three 30-point performances in first 15 games

First teenager with 10-straight 20-point games@Zionwilliamson was setting a new precedent in February 💪 pic.twitter.com/fQAbhVYBfs

— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) March 2, 2020

On the season, Zion is averaging 23.6 points on 59% shooting, along with 6.8 rebounds.

His career night came against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers on March 1, a game in which he put up 35 points and 7 rebounds in 33 minutes.

Williamson spoke to The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears about being selected for the cover as a rookie.

“It’s one of those emotions I’m still processing … 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.”

Get ready for #NBA2K21 🔥 @nba2k pic.twitter.com/Ueg3QXoRwM

— Zion Williamson (@Zionwilliamson) June 11, 2020

NBA fans will get to see more of both Lillard and Williamson when the season restarts in Orlando at the end of this month. And you can bet the bubble will be full of NBA 2K tournaments.

In addition to the gaming masses, the NBA 2K franchise has become wildly popular among NBA players, and in April of this year, the first-ever NBA 2K Players Tournament was held, featuring NBA All-Stars Kevin Durant, Trae Young, Devin Booker, and Donovan Mitchell, among others.

Booker defeated Phoenix Suns teammate DeAndre Ayton in the championship.

The 2K series was first released with 11-time All-Star Allen Iverson on the cover in 1999. In the years since, the 2K series has become one of the most popular esports franchises in the world, with stars such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and LeBron James all gracing the cover.

They Will Know Your Name, just like they know the King’s. Introducing our 20th Anniversary Edition cover athlete @KingJames. Pre-order #NBA2K19 now to play 4 days early starting September 7th https://t.co/Fwn4OnQeur pic.twitter.com/Uw0IPMhArs

— NBA 2K21 (@NBA2K) June 5, 2018

Check back tomorrow to see which athletes graces the Legends cover of NBA 2K21.

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