2K Sports is going back to the future for the cover of NBA 2K13. After featuring basketball’s biggest legends on the box art for two straight years, NBA 2K13 will highlight the brightest young stars currently in the NBA. Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, and Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose will grace the cover of the latest installment of the top-selling basketball sim.
Each of the players is only 23 years old. All are also Rookie of the Year winners. Durant took home the award in 2008, Rose in 2009, and Griffin in 2011. In 2010, Durant won his first of three consecutive scoring titles, becoming the youngest player ever to do so. Rose is the youngest player to be named Most Valuable Player, receiving the honor in 2011. The trio has also combined for eight All-Star berths.
The choice of those particular stars is interesting. Griffin’s likeness was used on the cover of EA Sports NCAA Basketball 10. Durant was set to appear on the cover for the reboot to EA Sports NBA franchise, NBA Elite 11, before it was cancelled. Rose has no ties to EA and was even featured in the artwork for the downloadable expansion NBA 2K10 Draft Combine. However, he is likely to miss the entire 2012-13 season after blowing out his knee in the playoffs.
Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird were featured on three distinct covers for NBA 2K12. It would have been too tall a task for a single current star to follow those legends but with all three players sharing a single cover, it makes for a worthy follow-up. The decision should appease fans, who were asked to give feedback on the cover athlete before 2K Sports finalized the choice.
Fans were also encouraged to tweet the hashtag “UncoverNBA2K” last week to unveil a teaser image with hints of the cover athletes. The picture featured a rose (Derrick Rose), a griffin (Blake Griffin), and a tarantula (Kevin Durant’s nickname is Durantula). The image also included the Brooklyn Bridge in the background, a nod to Jordan’s birthplace.
The company confirmed that Jordan will be included in the game in some capacity but has yet to reveal how he will tie in. However, 2K Sports did tease a major announcement for the game is forthcoming. Speculation and timing suggest the Olympics could be playable for the first time in the 2K series. The company already licenses former NBA stars so the addition of the original Dream Team could be the next step.
The cover also features a slightly revised, sleeker NBA 2K logo, breathing fresh air into the series.
NBA 2K13 will be available on October 2 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, Wii, and Windows PC with a Wii U version expected in the new console’s launch window. 2K Sports already announced that pre-orders for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of the game will include NBA All-Star Weekend as bonus content. A recent company tweet hinted more pre-order bonuses are still to be unveiled.