Kobe Bryant to Cover 'NBA 2K21'

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Kobe Bryant

The five-time NBA champion joins New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as the trio of sports stars honored by the franchise.

Kobe Bryant will join the roster of cover athletes for NBA 2K21, the next iteration of the top selling basketball franchise, publisher 2K Games revealed Thursday. 

The former Los Angeles Laker, who died Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash with 13-year-old daughter Gianna, joins New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard as the trio of cover athletes.

"Each of our cover athletes represent 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?" Alfie Brody, vp global marketing for NBA 2K said in a statement. "Three athletes representing the current, future and storied history of the game."

He continued, "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."

Bryant, a five-time NBA champion for the Lakers, was previously the cover athlete for NBA 2K10 and NBA 2K17. He will have his career and legacy celebrated in the Mamba Forever Edition of NBA 2K21 that will feature two custom covers and will be available on both current-generation and next-gen consoles.

The covers will honor the span of Bryant's career, from his days wearing the No. 8 Lakers jersey to the night of his final NBA game at the Staples Center in 2016.

"NBA 2K21 is a monumental leap forward for the franchise,” stated Greg Thomas, president of visual concepts at 2K. "We’re combining all of our experience and development expertise to craft the best game possible and for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. We are building the game from the ground up to take full advantage of next-gen power and technology."

There will be more announcements regarding 2K21 in the coming months, including first looks at new gameplay.

NBA 2K21 drops Sept. 4 on PS4, Nintendo Switch and Xbox One and will become available on PS5 and Xbox Series X upon their holiday season launch.

View the trailer for the Mamba Forever Edition below.