NBA 2K21 Legend Edition: Cover athlete prediction, release date, & more

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The NBA 2K21 hype is beginning now that the NBA season is on ice.

Whilst gamers are still happily putting the hours in on NBA 2K20, we are approaching limbo now. Fans look to the next release of the hit basketball sim in order to put their skills to the test once more.

For those who like to put the big hours into the game, the Legend Edition is the route to take. It might be the most expensive, it also comes with the best add-ons.

Some of the best players to ever grace the NBA court have featured on the cover of the premium version of the game in the past, but who is set to feature on the first release on the next-gen consoles?

Who features on the cover of 2K20?

Well, Los Angeles Lakers big-man Anthony Davis is the face of the standard and digital deluxe editions of this years NBA title, as 2K opted for a newly traded star to draw in the attention of prospective buyers.

Dwyane Wade 2K20 Cover
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D-WADE! The Heat legend features on the cover of 2K20

But for the Legend Edition – which we are focussing on here – it was Miami Heat icon Dwayne Wade who was honoured by the team at 2K Sports.

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He joins quite an exclusive list of talent to have featured on the deluxe edition of the game, joining the likes of Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant, who featured on 2K19 and 2K17 respectively.

NBA 2K21 Legend Edition cover athlete

There are obviously many NBA legends who could make a claim for the spot this year, but for us, there is only one man who deserves to be on the cover of next years game, Vince Carter.

Vinsanity has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, having become the first player in history to play in 22 different NBA seasons.

Galaxy Opal Vince Carter
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VINSANE: 2K have already dropped a galaxy opal Carter card into 2K20

Whilst he may not be putting in the big minutes that he did in his prime, Carter has racked up 49 appearances for the Hawks this season, scoring 258 points to date.

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One of the greatest dunkers of all-time, the eight-time NBA All-Star has been an absolute joy to watch over the last two decades and it only seems right that 2K honour his retirement with a cover appearance.

Kobe Bryant tribute?

We could definitely see 2K Sports honouring Kobe in some capacity. Though another appearance on the Legend Edition is unlikely.

Kobe Bryant 2K10 Cover
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KOBE! Bryant starred on the cover of 2K10 - back in those PSP days!

There was a memorial put in NBA 2K20 shortly after the fatal accident which tragically killed Kobe, his daughter Gianna and seven others on 26 January.

The tribute consisted of a black and white photo of the former LA Lakers star with his name and life span written underneath.

Kobe Tribute
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RIP MAMBA! This image featured in 2K20 shortly after Kobes passing

Kobe was not only a fan favorite, but a favorite of 2K Sports as well, having featured on the cover of the 2010 and 2017 editions of the game. 

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NBA 2K21 release date

There is no firm release date for NBA 2K21 yet.

However, looking at past editions can give us a good gauge for when to expect 2K21.

NBA 2K titles have slowly been moving forward in the last few years. 2K17 was released on 23 September, with 18 coming on 19, then 11, an last year’s title dropped on 6 September…

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2K are unlikely to aim for an August release, but early September is very likely.

Circle Friday 4 September as the most likely release date at the moment.

Of course, that will only be on PS4 & Xbox One. For the next-gen consoles of PS5 and Xbox Series X you’ll have to wait until they are released in late 2020.

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