Kobe Bryant will be the final cover athlete for NBA 2K21, 2K Sports revealed on Thursday (July 2). According to the gaming company's announcement, the upcoming NBA 2K series installment will feature Bryant on two special Mamba Forever Edition covers in an effort to celebrate his “incredible lifelong pursuit of victory and legacy.” Each cover features one of Bryant’s two jersey numbers, covering the span of his 20-year career.
“Relentless. Driven. A true competitor. We celebrate Kobe Bryant as our Cover Athlete for the Current Gen Mamba Forever Edition,” a tweet from the official NBA 2K21 Twitter account read.
With the announcement, Bryant joins Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson.
“Each of our cover athletes represents different eras of the game of basketball – Damian Lillard dominates the court today, Zion Williamson is a standard-bearer for the next generation of NBA superstar and what more could be said about Kobe?” NBA 2K Vice President of Global Marketing Alfie Brody said in a statement. “Three athletes representing the current, future and storied history of the game. Today’s exciting announcement is just the first of many for NBA 2K21; it’s going to be a huge year for basketball fans and NBA 2K gamers.”
This marks the third time Bryant has graced the NBA 2K cover, following his appearance as the cover athlete for NBA 2K10 and as the Legend Edition cover for NBA 2K17.
Last month, Bryant was posthumously honored with a special tribute from Snoop Dogg during the 2020 ESPY Awards. The rap veteran acknowledged Bryant’s feats on and off the basketball court with a two-minute rap song, delivered over a montage of photos and video of Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
Both the 41-year-old and his teenage daughter tragically passed away, along with seven others, during a helicopter crash back in January.
See NBA 2K21’s announcement below.