NBA 2K22 Key Art
NBA 2K22 Key Art

Luka Dončić, Candace Parker Among ‘NBA 2K22’ Cover Athletes

2K Sports has today announced the cover athlete for NBA 2K22 – or should I say, cover athletes.

The middle of the year sparks a special time in sports games. Developers begin to take to social media to announce the cover athletes for the latest annual edition of their sporting franchises. The NBA 2K series is no different. With its September 10 release date quickly approaching, 2K Sports announced that this year, there will be four different editions of NBA 2K22, featuring a total of six cover athletes.

NBA 2k22 Standard Edition
Dončić will feature on the cover, in front of the colours of the Slovenian flag (2K Sports)

Generational talent and Dallas Maverick, Luka Dončić, will make his 2K cover debut. The two-time all-star will feature on the cover of both the Standard Edition and the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle. These editions will also feature the red, white and blue of the Slovenian flag, in homage to the 22-year-old’s home country.

Basketball legends, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant, will feature on the cover of the NBA 75th Anniversary Edition. They were chosen due to being “the league’s most iconic big men who revolutionised the league over its 75 years”. This will mark Durant’s third time on the cover. The current Brooklyn Net has previously been on the covers of NBA 2K13 and NBA 2K15.

NBA 2k 2022
Three legends of the NBA will be on the NBA 75th Anniversary Special Edition (2K Sports)

Parker Makes History

Candace Parker will make history as she becomes the first woman to grace the cover of an NBA 2K game. The WNBA turns 25 this year, and to celebrate, 2K Sports have announced the Chicago Sky superstar as the cover athlete for the game’s WNBA 25th Anniversary Edition version.

“Representation matters. So this is a special moment of progress for the sport and the series,” Parker said. “To be part of this historic cover is a testament to the growth and rising popularity of the women’s game. I’m proud to be the first female cover athlete to be the face of NBA 2K.”

The WNBA 25th Anniversary Edition will only be available in North America on the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S.

NBA 2k22
Candace Parker will make history as she becomes the first-ever woman on the cover of an NBA 2K game (2K Sports)

Finally, a special version of the Standard Edition will launch in Japan. It will feature Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards on the cover. Hachimura is the first-ever Japanese person to be taken in the first round of an NBA draft.

Palmer to Design Two of the Covers

The covers of the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle and the NBA 75th Anniversary Edition feature paintings by renowned Atlanta-based artist Charly Palmer. Renowned for his work on the history and culture of Black people, Palmer’s “America Must Change” was recently featured on the cover of Time Magazine.

“The culture around the game of basketball is vibrant and transcends geographical boundaries,” said vice president of global marketing strategy for NBA 2K Alfie Brody. “This year, we want to showcase that global diversity via Charly’s amazing, one-of-a-kind art.”

NBA 2K22
Charly Palmer painted the cover for the Cross-Gen Digital Bundle (2K Sports)

2K Games did not provide many details on the actual game itself. They only promised the “best-in-class visual presentation and player AI, historic teams, and a wide variety of hoops experiences”.

The NBA 2K series has arguably been the best sports franchise of recent times. If they can successfully build on last year’s effort should mean they are able to keep up to their high standards. NBA 2K22 will release on September 10. It will be available on PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One.