NBA 2K21: Cover star, release date, MyTEAM, MyCAREER, MyGM, new features, next gen, PS5, Xbox Series X & more

2K Sports have dominated the basketball gaming market for years, and it won’t change in 2020.

Tom Young by Tom Young
NBA 2K21 potential cover star Luka Doncic

While we can’t see NBA action on the court for the foreseeable future, we’ll have to settle for simulating it in NBA 2K21.

Fans are expecting a fantastic game if for nothing else than NBA 2K21 being the series’ jump to next gen consoles PS5 and Xbox Series X.

With EA’s NBA Live 21, returning after a year-long hiatus, it may be more important than ever that 2K games puts out an amazing release.

So let’s go over what we know so far about NBA 2K21.


Release Date

Again, as is the case with many of the sports titles which will be coming later in the year, the exact release date is not yet known, however looking at past editions can help gauge a pretty good idea of when to expect 2K21.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about NBA Live 21

We anticipate a September release for the 2K Sports title on the current generation consoles, with a next-gen version ready to go when the PS5 and Xbox Series X drop later in the year. With EA Play coming soon, and fans expecting more on NBA Live 21, the pressure’s on for 2K Games to hold on to basketball sim supremacy.


EPIC: The 2K20 trailer set pulses racing

Now with regards to a trailer, again don’t expect to see that anytime soon.

An announcement for the game will probably come in the early days of July (2K20 was announced on July 2nd) and if history is anything to go by, there will be a teaser trailer accompanying that release.

READ MORE: All the best badges to use in NBA 2K20

Then it will be time to turn your attention to the ever-active NBA 2K social media channels, where they will release a more in-depth trailer and all the key information about the game in the weeks leading up to release.

Cover Star

WHO’S NEXT?: Anthony Davis & Dwayne Wade were on the cover last year

Ah, the yearly battle for cover star. Every sports title has it, fans of all clubs argue why their star should be the face of the game, but that decision ultimately lies with 2K Sports.

There has been some BIG names on the 2k covers over the years too, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Michael Jordan to name a few.

This year saw LA Lakers star Anthony Davis front the standard edition, whilst All-Time NBA great Dwyane Wade was the man for the Legend edition.

There is likely to be two editions that hit the shelves again this year, but who will follow in AD and Dwyane’s footsteps?

RealSport’s NBA 2K21 Cover Stars prediction

Standard Edition: Luka Doncic
Legend Edition: Vince Carter

Career Mode

Idris Elba featured in NBA 2K20's career mode

In the current generation of sports games, offline titles seem to be a thing of the past, with many players opting to tackle the challenges of the online modes.

However, that is not the case for 2K. They continue to produce top-end Career Mode’s year after year, meaning fans simply can’t stay away!

READ MORE: NBA 2K20 has the best career mode you’ll ever play

This year’s mode was the best to date by far. Star names such as Idris Elba and LeBron James lent their voice to characters in the SpringHill produced ‘When The Lights Are Brightest’ MyCAREER.

While the storyline and career progression in this year’s mode was incredible, there are still areas to improve, starting with those darn microtransactions!


NBA 2K20's MyTeam

Another largely successful game mode in the NBA 2K series, including the most recent NBA 2K20, is the squad building MyTEAM.

It has had its fair share of controversy last year. In order to encourage participation, players are rewarded with mini-games such as drop the ball or spin the wheel.

Combining these casino-style mini-games with the ability to spend real money to purchase packs in an attempt to better your team has caused outrage amongst the community, who believe that 2K are promoting gambling to a young audience. Could we see these mini-games removed in 2K21?

READ MORE: NBA 2K20 MyTeam tips & tricks

There are certainly a lot of microtransactions in MyTEAM, meaning it is tough for casual players to compete with those willing to invest some extra money into the game. It’s not uncommon, but with the game alone priced at £59.99 for the standard edition or £89.99 for the legend edition on release, there shouldn’t be a need to pay big amounts of money for success.


nba 2k21 mygm chit chat gm mode next gen

MyGM is a unique game mode for the NBA 2K series with a lot of potential. Unfortunately that potential simply wasn’t delivered on in NBA 2K20.

MyGM in NBA 2K20 picked up a collection of frustrating features and boring mechanics. But with some reshaping, this could be one of the most popular game modes in the series.

READ MORE: NBA 2K20: MyTEAM Guide – How to win without spending big

MyGM in NBA 2K20 relies on a “chit-chat” system to retain every talent in your organization from scouts to coaches to players. It includes some of the worst dialogue ever written into a major sports franchise with lines like “Oceans or lakes…WHO YA GOT?”

With some adjustment, MyGM has a bright future in NBA 2K21.


The new PlayStation 5 logo
NEXT GEN: What do the new consoles mean for NBA 2K?

As we have alluded to already, the next-gen of gaming is coming, but what will the PS5 and Xbox Series X mean for sports games? You can keep up to date on the next gen at Stealth Optional.

For what we know now, the scope for development is going to be HUGE. The specs in the PS5 alone include a new eight-core AMD CPU based on AMD’s new 7nm Zen 2 architecture and a custom GPU based on its new Radeon Navi hardware.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about next-gen consoles

Now for you gaming nerds, this will excite you. For those who don’t quite understand all the lingo, trust us, it means big things!

Fighting for sport-sim supremacy

NBA 2K21 will be an important moment in gaming history. It will be one of the biggest games releasing around the time that developer 2K Games fights for exclusive rights to NFL-based sim games. The NFL ended its exclusive license to EA for NFL games, signing a deal with 2K games to make a non-sim game in 2021.

If 2K Games performs well with NBA 2K21 and its upcoming non-sim football game, we could easily see a tectonic shift in the sports game genre.

EA Play

While most game development has either been delayed or put on hold during coronavirus quarantine, EA has put out a schedule for its 2020 releases. Along with this schedule, EA is hosting its annual event EA Play on 11 June where we expect more news on its major releases.

rsz ea game release schedule 2

2K Games will have to compete with this huge development schedule, and eventually compete with the returning NBA Live 21 after a year-long hiatus.

That means NBA 2K21 will need to be a hit for the good of the franchise and company.


As we mentioned in our NBA Live preview piece, a feature which would be massive for 2K21 would be the ability to game, either socially or competitively, against users on other platforms.

Epic Games, the developers of our game of the year, Fortnite, revolutionised gaming with their addition of cross-platform gaming, could 2K21 be the start of cross-platform gaming on sports titles?

Only time will tell.

Tom Young