It can be a huge moment in a player's career to get the nod as a Cover Athlete, but who might get that chance for NBA 2K22?
There seem to be plenty of players to choose from, but a few are standing out as the favorites to be this year's NBA 2K pick.
NBA 2K21 Cover Athletes
Kobe Bryant was posthumously chosen for the Deluxe Edition of NBA 2K21, dubbed the Mamba Forever Edition, and it was an honor that felt fitting.
While multiple cover athlete choices are not uncommon, we saw a new split last year as NBA 2K21 chose a different athlete for different generation consoles.
READ MORE: All NBA 2K21 Cover Athletes revealed
Damian Lillard was chosen for the PS4 and Xbox One versions of NBA 2K21. Meanwhile, the much younger Zion Williamson was picked for the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S editions of NBA 2K21.
NBA 2K22 Cover Athlete Favorites
When it comes to the top contenders and favorites to be the Cover Athlete for NBA 2K22, there are three names that seem poised to take that honor.
We've already seen some impressive work this season by Luka Dončić of the Dallas Mavericks.
If Dallas can find their way to the playoffs, Luka might be the prime pick to grace the cover of NBA 2K22.
Playing with the Philadelphia 76ers since 2014, Joel Embiid set an impressive career-high with a double-double just days ago as he recorded 50 points and 17 rebounds in a win over the Chicago Bulls.
Embiid has never found his way to the NBA 2K cover, but this just might be the year he makes it happen.
While he's been in the NBA since 2013, things have really taken off for Giannis Antetokounmpo since earning Most Improved Player for the 2016-2017 season.
While the Milwaukee Bucks have come up short in the NBA Playoffs the last few years, Giannis has still played well enough to be named NBA MVP for two years straight, making him a definite top choice for the NBA 2K22 cover.
Who are the other contenders for NBA 2K22 Cover Athlete?
While the three named above look most likely, there are some other choices which stand out as definite possiblities to make the cover of NBA 2K22.
Nikola Jokić is on his sixth season with the Denver Nuggets, and he's really been delivering this year. Trae Young is in only his third season, and the Atlanta Hawks PG has also had a strong year so far.
Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal and Miami Heat small forward Jimmy Butler, both veterans, could definitely make a case as well as possible Cover Athlete picks.
After signing a rookie extension with the Utah Jazz, we've also seen Donovan Mitchell play well enough to make a case.
And while Embiid may get the shine in Philly, Ben Simmons is having a career year as well.
At the end of the day, though, none of these seem like the favorites for the NBA 2K22 cover spot.
Who will be the Deluxe Edition Cover Athlete?
While there are many choices for the regular Cover Athlete on NBA 2K22, there's also the question of which more experienced legend might grace this year's Deluxe Edition.
We've seen it dubbed the Legend Edition, and last year it took the unique Mamba Forever Edition naming with the choice of Kobe Bryant. After taking the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Championship last year, the all too obvious choice seems to be LeBron James.
That's now the third different team James has taken to an NBA Championship, and his fourth title overall. He last graced the Anniversary Edition of NBA 2K19, and seeing him on this year's Deluxe Edition wouldn't be a surprise.
When will the Cover Athlete be revealed?
However, it currently looks like the most likely time to expect a reveal will be May 2021 or June 2021. The official Cover Athlete reveal for NBA 2K21 hit at the very end of June 2020.
READ MORE: All active NBA 2K21 Locker Codes and Rewards
With the 2021 NBA Playoffs currently scheduled between May 22 and July 22, it would make sense for NBA 2K22 to make the reveal during that period.
There isn't an official Release Date for NBA 2K22 just yet, but it's not too difficult to predict when we can expect it.
While there was a time where October was the standard release month for the NBA 2K series, we've seen it release in September for several years now.
READ MORE: Everything we know so far about NBA 2K22
While Tuesdays were once the standard, the last two games released on the first Friday in September. That makes the likely release date for NBA 2K22 either September 3 or September 10, 2021.