The Greatest NBA 2K Cover Athletes, Ranked

Which is your favorite?

NBA 2K doesn’t carry a curse like Madden but we still look at their cover athlete each year with a certain amount of curiosity and, often, reverence. From Iverson’s original to NBA 2K17’s Legendary Edition Kobe cover, here are the best of the players who were chosen to be the face of NBA 2K.

7.  NBA 2K16 – The Gasol Brothers

This cover is off of the Euro edition of the game and one we couldn’t pass up. A pair of Gasols probably wouldn’t ever make the cut for the US edition of the game but it also marks the only time two players shared a cover.

6. NBA 2K7 – Shaq

The Big Man returns. This was Shaq’s second cover; he was on 2K6 sporting his heat uniform too. Shaq’s big presence on the court translated well to the game but his big presence in real life made him a shoe-in for the cover.

5. NBA 2K9 – Kevin Garnett

Garnett rocked Celtic pride for his cover which makes sense since this was the aftermath of his championship win in Beantown and taking home the MVP.

4.  NBA 2K – Allen Iverson

Few can compete with the original. Iverson was a powerhouse in the NBA and rocked the cover of 2K for years before giving up his reign. We’ll still go with his original though, especially with that OG Sega branding.

3. NBA 2K17 – Kobe Bryant

Not to undermine the other cover athlete this year – sorry, Paul George – but the legendary cover of NBA 2K17’s Legend Edition takes the cake with its homage to Kobe. Bryant’s not the only retired player to grace a 2K cover but he is the first one to get that honor so soon after leaving the league.

2. NBA 2K11 – Michael Jordan

It wasn’t just the fact that MJ was on the cover, it was the fact that Jordan actually had a huge portion of the game dedicated to his career, especially for a guy who was notoriously absent from previous NBA video games. We’re looking at you, NBA Jam.

1. NBA 2K12 – Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan

It’s probably not fair that one year had three cover athletes, all of whom are firmly ensconced in the hall of fame and the history of the game. Then again, fairness isn’t a concern when 2K put together this much awesome in a single year. 


John Sciarrino